Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Found these on an email and they are rather funny :) They are apparently real church bulletein blipz.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on Water.'
The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So, ends a friendship that began in their school days.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be: 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Favourite Things

Trying to think of beautiful things. Don't want to be a Pollyanna 'thinkhappythoughtsandbegood' sort of person. But just want to remember the beautiful things of life. Amidst the debris around.

Things that are a joy to the skin, to touch and remember:

Soft silky things. Rough tough things. So many: Petals of flowers - today it was alamanders and frangipani. Silks that rustle. Fur of kittens. Skin. Satin. The feel of the rug under the feet. The roughness of beach sand inbetween your toes. The breaking of sea waves over your legs and sometimes over you. The feel of hard wood that is smooth and polished. The feel of the bark of a tree that is silk smooth but unpolished. The texture of leaves. A baby's grip on your finger. The licking tongue of a puppy smelling of milk and puppiness. The inexpressible comfort of being held by someone you love. The reassurance of a hug. The softness of a kiss. The velvety warmth of a horse's nose.

Colours that are a feast to the eyes:
Cinnamony white (someone I know insists that Cinnamon is not a colour). Wine red of a sari. Soft blue of the sky. Lemony green of the newly washed lawn. Yellow of the frangipani, orangey brown of alamander. Gold of skin. Blackness of newly washed hair. The glitter of clay colours on pebbles. Shiny grey of the polished floor. Browny, orangey, reddy bits of the new bracelet. The neon white flash of lightning splitting the sky. The rainbow spanning the grey. The clouds lit up with the proverbial silver or gold lining. Sparkling pinpoints of the diamond. The splendourous clouds of the sunset skies.

Smells that drift around and creep into your senses, that evoke poignant memories:
Freshly cooked rice drifting from next door. Newly brewed coffee early morning. Freshly baked bread when walking past a bakery. Chocolate when it is being unwrapped. Mint from the springy mint leaves. Frangipani from the large twisted trees. Jasmine from the bushes around. The scent of rain fresh on dry ground. Mown grass drying in the sun. Gardenia from the garden. The smell of a loved one particularly distinctive. The fragrance of skin. The scent of sandalwood when having a shower. The smell of linen freshly sunned after being washed with fragrant soap. The smell of christmas cake baking. The fragrance of cloves drying in the garden. The scent of the coffee flowers that drifts into the room. Burnt sugar with its caramelised fumes. Strawberries when you bite into them. A baby newly bathed and powdered. The milky smell of puppy yawns. The scent of lilies blossoming. The Queen of the night - Atteriya - drifting across large spaces in the late night times.

Tastes that comfort, awaken, shock, delight:
Red rice, Del curry, dry fish, and pol sambol.Bagels and cream cheese with smoked salmon.Coffee. Ambarella curry, mango curry. Mango pickle - freshly cut with chillie and salt. Pineapple. Peppers in Olive Oil. Salad made out of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, mango, mozarella cheese and sprinkles of smoked salmon. Coconut and pineapple smoothie. Dark chocolate with mint. Cashewnuts. Sharon fruit. Fish baked in foil with herbs and butter. A dark polos curry that takes hours to cook correctly. The fresh minty flavour of after brushing teeth. The savoured taste of a kiss. Almond icing. Chocolate eclairs. Sweet sugar cane...chewed to pulp. Chicken unhealthily cooked in coke. The tastes of mangoes - Kartha kolomban, gira amba, beti amba, and all the other varieties. Avacado salad. Mustard that stings the eyes and throat. Horseradish. Ginger beer. Marshmallows toasted.

The myriads of sounds around that swiftly pass:
the beating of the waves, the rush, the crush and thunder of the water arriving on the sand. The cooing of a dove. The gurgling laughter of children. The whistle of a bird with varying notes of trilling, and whistling and piping. The Beat of drums that excite the blood and hammer out rhythm into the atmosphere. The grandeur of thunder. The swish and flow of rain through the air as it approaches. The dub dub of a heart. The softness in tender words spoken. The low voice of passion. The Song of a clear unaffected singer. The notes of a violin. The poignancy of music heard from a room far away drifting down a stairway. The Cry of a night bird as it flies past. The chirping of cicadas. The chirrup of a gecko scuttling for its titbit that is scuttling across the ceiling. The sound of a shower tinkling on the roof beating tattoos of diverse rhythms. The sound of low voices that are loving and happy. The soft muted whisper of love that finds words difficult. The excited tones of children at play. The cheeping of newly hatched ducklings gathering around like school kids.

Oh there are so many good things in this world dear God...Give me grace to see the beautiful and the precious things. Despite the pain, the struggles, the betrayals, the hurtful, the murderous, the diabolic, the dangerous, the uncertain...amidst all these and more....give me grace to rejoice in the gift of life itself.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Freedom,,,and peace

For those who live with fear and who have to watch their back or check the footsteps behind them, for those who know the taste of dryness in their mouth and the thumping of their heart in the still of the night at the slightest sound, for those who lie awake in the dark with their nerves taut, for those who walk the days with uncertainty in every minute - for them freedom and peace have so much meaning. Freedom is so obvious when one does not have it, and peace is recognised and valued, when one has known the restlessness of a peace-less existence of walking on shards of emotional glass.

For those who do not know the meaning of what it means to have each day arrive as an unwelcome intruder into the blessedness of sleep and oblivion, and for those who do not awake in the night screaming in terror at the nightmares galloping through the brain - for these the only appropriate response is to wake up every morning and give thanks for the gift of freedom and peace. Freedom to live and peace to love, laugh and enjoy life.

For many around the world, freedom and peace are but words they read and expressions they understand from other people's faces. Never in their own faces that stare back at them from their mirrors.

I wonder what the "peace that passes all understanding" is like? I have never been very sure about what it really means.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It is not how clever you are but the privileges you have...

Some unpleasant hometruths struck the past few days. Going for an academic conference might seem the easiest thing in the world for most people. But that is just a fraction of the story told from one side of the world.

A student/academic in the Scientific sort of subjects - Maths, Physics, Engineering (perhaps many other scientific fields) is often sponsored for conferences. Those lucky to be in the Sciences are paid for going for conferences, paid for giving papers, sometimes in five star hotels with all expenses met.

The Arts contingent are not as fortunate. We pay for our conference attendance, even if we are presenting a paper. And finding funding for going for one, even in the UK, is virtually impossible. But still if one earns in £s paying for such conferences is not an issue. It is trivial.

For those in the Arts, living in the 'other world' where life is a bit more basic, where surviving the day, and making the salary stretch to survive the month, a conference is a different ball game. We do not pay a portion of our salaries, or savings. We clean out our savings and reduce ourselves to a zero in order to engage internationally with acedmia. And ofcourse we choose at that point, whether to progress in terms of our physical material needs, ie seek better living conditions, or seek intellectual progress. What a choice to make! Unfortunately those organising these conferences have no clue about the world we belong to. We are humilated into asking for concessions, and then treated haughtily as if we were begging. We often ask because we do not have...a humiliating position to be in to say the least. So, we save for months, maybe even years, wipe out our bank balances, and pay up in order to keep our intellectual interests alive. Alternatively we just give up and dry up, and just forget that we ever thought or engaged with issues.

Balance these odds in this lopsided game of academic excellence. The University I work for has little or no computer or internet facilities in the arts faculty. It has little or no books that one can borrow on any recent discourse from its library, and the British Council is closing down its library as it is not financially beneficial. We rehash photocopies of articles, that gradually fade as they are photocopied, we photocopy entire novels as there are no novels available for purchase. Few of us own computers or printers for that matter. Getting a print out is a long arduous journey to an internet cafe, that charges exhorbitant amounts for a single page.

Then add the vagaries of life. The regular bomb blasts, the rising costs of living, the imminent ethnic violence, the struggle to make ends meet, the exhaustion of using public transport, the unhappiness of suffering people around you...and you have an emotional minefield slamming across that thing called 'academic life'.

So how fair is this game then? Is the game not balanced heavily against those who are richer and have easier access to academic facilities and discourse? It is not surprising that very few voices arise from the 'other world' that are heard. Even less become famous and are respected as leaders in their fields. To be famous one has to be heard. To be heard, one needs to be in the right places. To be in the right places one needs the cash. But to have the cash one needs to be in the right places. It is a kind of circular loselose situation. And if you don't have the cash, you are not heard. However intelligent you might be. You are silenced.

My conclusion is that it is not so much the intelligent people out there, with something valid to say, with thoughts that can change the world and add to its richness that often get the platform to speak, the right to be heard, and the emergent fame. It is more often than not those who have the latest laptops, the infinite internet access, the unlimited supply of material and books, the leisure to pursue research and the luxury of insulation from suffering. It is also sadly those who have the means to be at the right place, at the right time, on the right side of the world.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


One wonders about beginnings and endings of all sorts. And then realises that sometimes they are linked...connected by fine threads. Sometimes they are not; then an ending is like a sharp blunt axe falling across a vulnerable unsuspecting neck, slicing through with no hope of reconciling head and body to wholeness again.

Beginnings are often linked to endings - new beginnings arise phoenix like from the ashes of an ending. And that is good. Leaving behind one life, to begin another - that is so ambiguous, so full of pain, so full of promise. An ending immersed in the emotions of tears and goodbyes, can be bouyed up by the flurry of hellos and welcomes at the other side. Or not as the case may be, when the hello never surfaces and the beginning at the other end is like crawling through a dark tunnel.

Relationships too, I realise, have beginnings and endings.
Some relationships survive and grow, flourish like well tended plants imbibing nourishment from the dynamics of the give and take, turning ones face to the sun of warmth, or resting beneath the shade of gentleness. Relationships can be shelters and refuges from the vagaries of life. Some relationships are like finely crafted works of art - worked on with care, faithfulness and deep abiding love. Like Jane Austen's novels that took her 18 years to write - to craft every sentence to what she wanted it to be. Like many paintings that take years to finish.

But relationships sometimes end. And end in many ways. Some peter out to a listless end, with time, distance, interest effacing what was shared. Some do not stand the test of time and people grow apart fired by different trajectories of their paths. Some end with bitter words or unresolved conflict that kills like a slow poison. I am reminded of Blake's poem "the poison tree":

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with my smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree

Perhaps we all face the end of relationships at some point or the other, and the wisest thing to do is to understand the kind of ending you face and take it gracefully. Perhaps we ought to pray for honesty at endings - where no one is left blundering in the dark fog of nuances and emotions they do not understand or even begin to make any sense of.

And if we face an end, perhaps we ought to pray, that somehow we are spared the felling of an axe, the bitterness, the anger and knife sharp edge of a violent end.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dear Blog...I return to you...

Oh well I have returned to ye olde faithfulle blogge for my writing ventures. Tired of Facebook - more or less. More, I suspect. Too much trivia, too much of everything. Too much of gush and mush with people sending each other drinks and throwing sheep, people kicking, biting, pinching and licking each other...I mean who would want to lick someone? Euggghh.

Facebook complicates life...maybe that is why there is a relationship status in it that says "it's complicated" and an XKCD cartoon that puts it extremely pithily see http://xkcd.com/355/

I mean I still like Scrabble - one of the redeeming features of the enterprise. I will hang on for the Scrabble scrabbling. Although some people are so pedantic about the words they put! You have to wait forever for a word to appear...but still! I like the flowers - they are a nice way to express something, or even the animals, though some of the flowers are people's heads or shoes, or hats?!

One wouldn't mind having close friends because it is great for sharing pictures or other stuff. But then so many random people add you in passing, then say nothing at all to you thereafter, and so you exist in limbo like a 'non-friend' forever. I fail to see the point of this. It then puts you in the position of having strangers who have access to your information, but who are declaring themselves to be friends. I have been baffled by at least 30 people that I have added, at their request, who have never said a single thing to me. Not even 'Hi nice seeing you after ages'. This is where virtual reality beggars belief...when friends are actually 'not friends'.

Facebook propels strangers into being intimate friends. A friendship in real life takes years of hard work to build; years of love and sometimes pain, real give and take, up and downs, disagreements, restorations, forgiveness, of knowing the real person - all of which isn't that easy at times. It takes a lot of commitment and love to sustain friendships through reality. Could real friendships become a nuisance, be seen as unnecessary because the online ones available are much more exciting and enjoyable?

And then there is the ultimate sadness - when someone actually takes you off their friend list, and then blocks your access and permanently closes the door to any chance of restoration. Happened to me so I ought to know. In real life, without the complication of internet, there would have been the possibility of giving time, and with time restoring through conversation something that was lost. Not anymore. Facebook puts paid to that option and the door to friendship is closed for good.

Deare blogge I return to you. It is less complicated.


Admittedly using four letter words is not the polite thing to do. But it cannot be helped when someone IS clearly a FW, or committing FWge. Call a spade a fork? Call a fork a fork really.

Mentionitis - when the regular mentioning of a name indicates a underground trickle of tinkles
F***wits - (aka Daniel Cleaver) those who play mind games with others
F***wittage - the games people play with others.

A few more:
Forkwits - those who use the fork for purpose other than the culinary
Fork wittage - the blithering blathering of forkwits
Men-shone-itis - the complex men have regarding their shining qualities which they dont have.

Moving lightly on...

The English Language

I discovered a few pithy, excellent phrases from Bridget Jones. One of my favourite books...even though I am supposed to read highfaluting arty farty stuff (As a friend calls it).

1. Mentionitis
2. f***Wit
3. Emotional F***wittage

So when I described a particular disturbing situation I had to deal with someone, a friend texted me saying "must be a F***wit who needs a good wop" :)

The English Language in its richness and variety.

silence and suffering

Madhushani - she lies in hospital right now. Hooked up to tubes. On a ventilator because if she breathes the internal haemorrhaging will start again. She is just 21 years, pretty, lively, smiling eyes, soft spoken and shy.

She went out with her sister. Stepped out of our garden to buy something from the shop nearby. They were walking down the road together, giggling, and chattering as I often saw them do - more friends than sisters.

The prada four wheel drive, a woman hanging on a mobile. A fraction of a distance. It was just the mirror that slammed her skull. She dropped like a stone unconscious. She hasn't opened her eyes yet. And it is now three days. If she moves, the bleeding in the brain begins again. They removed one clot, but they can't keep opening up her brain to mop up, so they say.

Dilky is just sixteen. Her sister. I don't want to see her everyday - her eyes listless and tired. Helpless really. You can see the agony written across her face...her voice is low and subdued.

There are no answers. None at all. Suffering and pain always faces silence.

the earthworm is a lucky beastie...

If memory serves me right, and I recall my zoology lessons accurately, the earthworm is a lucky beastie. I dissected the wretched things - all rubberised in formalin and laid out stiff under my scalpel - so I ought to remember.

The earthworm, you see, is a heamaphrodite.
Apparently so is the snail.
Now WHY were we - humans, the species that could have made use of it most - not given this amazing two in one offer?

Ok, so humans are not very savvy with giftings and nature - tend to mess the system big time. Ok, so lower the intelligence the less likely it will go pear shaped. Ok, so it can't be that much fun if you don't have the brain to appreciate it.

Still imagine the benefits!
- I wouldn't have to be afraid of a psychotic sex maniac trying to do me in - I could use my maleness and thrash the living daylights out of him.
- Women could, when required, travel around at night as a male unscathed, unraped, unmolested. Unafraid.
- One can read the dim recesses of the mind of a man much better - given that one already has half the mind of a man, and delve into the intricacies of worrying logical reasoning and BALANCE off all that with some good old intuition.
- Reproduction, child bearing, rearing, would have been a breeze.
- There would be no such thing as man flu!

;) There ARE, of course, other benefits (as Leslie Durrell of Gerald Durrell "My family and Other Animals" fame pointed out bitterly when he discovered these details about the gender intricacies of the low-life). But I won't go into that.