Has there ever been a time like this one? Has there ever been a silence like now: each of us one voice asking the same questions/ the same quest for peace/ the same need? We are as a race quietened; we have never before been startled as we are today. I’ve not experienced a certain shameless scream inside, for each other. Never before has my heart been this unafraid to say it out loud: we need you Lord Jesus. No one else met me in my darkest hour; no one else showed me the Light. Yea I can say it without a flicker of a doubt: you and I have been loved by the Christ.
Here it is! Woooo! 😄😄😄🥳 We received 112 expressions of worship, from 20 countries, 53 states, 5 continents, in 28 different languages! Let’s get on our knees, praise God, and pray for our land! 😄 https://youtu.be/GpnxLbxlx1U
So I get serial visits from childhood. My mates in ‘tails & school blue. Ashok in red bicycle and forehead lock, his bright eyes lit up with mischief that time he asks Sis M. why they wear veils and wouldn’t she please lift that veil for us once please? Sis M. blushes pink red purple and glares at him through her brows but you know she isn’t angry.
Yes we got in a school mates W/A group; we see new pictures of old friends, Yesteryears tiptoe in, loud in my mental ears…
Ranjana the fabulous, first she wore little plaits then her straight black hair grew out like a sheath cut blunt to shoulder. We were 3 ft tall… she sent me little cards strung with felt tipped flowers. Then she started talking and when she did whoa…. it was interschool debate, podium glossy words: I remember thinking she’s the most brilliant girl I’ve ever..! Large dark dreamy eyes that looked beyond our little confines into a wider world waiting out there. She is our class Genius, the life of the party, still is!
Devasmita, my ‘twin’ some said for our similar dark rimmed glasses and hair, but nah. This one’s our class Beauty, and a Sport! We did Sack Race and Badminton together.(“3 leggeds..” she reminds me. What sweet sport! Now they have Fear Factor🤯😅) Deva still has pure marble like skin, laughter rimmed lips, soft brown eyes and wit that needs just few words, with sass mind you. Do not forget we’re the late 70s high schoolers. It was Sholay and ‘Yaadon Ki barath’.. Bobby, Oh Zeenat Aman at her best. Hair worn in side bangs, xxx ear hoops and platform heels simmering under 34″ bell bottomed pants.
Who wore the widest bells? Unsure. The largest starched collars…? It was somethings between Elvis Presley and Amitabh B. The guys wore swag!….oh c’mon ofcourse you did, still do. I’m amazed they’ve not lost the gloss of Pre- Man days. They were Man – Cubs, and they were/ are big brothers.
Were there in- house romances? I’m certain. They were good days, as in Innocence. ‘Dates’ were eyes looking away in corridors and sports field, hehe.
Vimal (Design & more) marries a Beauty with brains, she’s a Doc who also Motor cross country races for heavens sakes, ofcourse he would; Vim so like his Ma. Wide Bambi doe eyes, dark lashed in high cheek-boned face, pure like Gujarati ghee, untouched by materialism. On saturdays, aunty would pack dhoklas in a tiered stainless steel tiffin carrier. Haven’t you had dhoklas? Then you must. Vimal sent us pictures wherever he went in the world… pics in garden chair or mountain rides.. he remembered birthdays, yelled when you forgot, he kept your scribbles and holiday letters (mine were filled with fish tales he grumbled) threatening to use them when we became an MF Hussain, haha.
Hey my classmates are beautiful people inside out. Joyati, our very own Bong-babe soft haired long plaits to the waist, voice like a song. You never heard her yell, her shirt always white, like her socks ‘ neath blue pinafore. Glad they did not give us ties;
this was 10 kms from Coastal Odisha, humid monsoons and summers ripe with mango, oh Lassi thickened with coconut gratings, and cashew if you were fortunate. I loved the rain, especially when it fell in the Grotto in Momma Mary’s smiling face like she were doing tears of joy. Ay they were days of serious fun, and some.
Exams were the monster. For me it was Hindi, and Math. The details are deadly. I felt hounded by heaven and hell; my mates were brilliant. I gawked at their intellect, their knowledge of laws and physic, of mercury and Algae, trigonometric squigglies and theories. Who was I, why ? I wondered, but not these Mates mine they laughed at impossibilities. Vimal was it, or Bhabani…. hummed like a bee/ dropped book piles in the floor?? Oh Bhabani: school Princy actually liked sparring with him. Sis Rosalie, she had this little Maddona smile that said much when Bhabani would not tuck shirt in, he’d grin back. They did these silent half-smile matches where I suspect they let each other win. I’ve never seen anything like that since. They were 2 Gladiators, well matched… never mind the decades between them. One was a curly haired tall teenager who could not cut his hair up above ears please, simply because he couldnot, he said. Then the thing about his footwear. It hurt him, he said. He tried once or twice. It was something with his feet. Not possible to wear shoes… did he succumb finally to Sis. R? No? Yes? I cannot remember. But the memoirs of those convos curl with humor.
Here were a generation without Google, WA, & Asphalt gamers. The Net was what fishermen brought home, and Apple was still just a fruit. Phones were black creations on a side table, you went to it. You “rang” it, then you “hung up”. How you hung up determined your mental state. There were no Emojis, just physical stickers you sewed on your jean knees, or stuck on books, on bikes. Books were everything, libraries ruled. I mean ruled. ( And you didn’t know to say Rock for Compliment) …
Oh Encyclopedia sat there like emperors and their wives & children, decked in gold edged flat greens and blues. Readers Digest stared at you, vying for your eyes along with Panchatantra and Cabulliwallah. Enid Blyton though! Some of us ate her pages feeding our soul with Adventure that had nothing to do with Bungee jumping. Horror was stories we retold in verandas, some moonlit nights. Sis Rosalie did our literature …. ” ancient Mariners’ seas .. a ghostly galleon…” she knew how to whisper, how to lift her chin like a hymn being sung, then she’d stand all regal with one foot nestling in her other foot; one wrist on hip, waiting for us to shhhhlisten as we met Wordsworth, Chesterton & RK Narayan….
Surprised at the recall here. I haven’t thought of her Coleridge albatross in decades! But I’m stoked, bro as our kids say.
Nah and we didn’t stoop to auto correct, hey what was a Comp? Lap tops were exactly that. Tops of laps. Here we hid lil notes,
Paper slips that horrific day .. when we didn’t know the name of an Island. But Bhabani. He knew. Ofcourse, he was Guru General Cool. Did he wear a lil ring on little finger? Unsure. But he knew name of that Island; how he spelled it was his own. None of us recognized the name though Ms. Shameem did. She hid face in her white dupatta wrapped around one arm: “You people…” she shut her eyes carefully inside pale pink coral glasses, knowing we had all carefully copied out Bhab’s version of ‘Sacremento‘. Then she slow- swung in my direction and said in sorrow, “You too?”
2 things here. I was official Church Mouse, as decreed by Class officials, not just because I was quiet and shy but too, my existence represented the church in all its forms- my mom was Mrs.David the gentle woman with guitar and songs of Jesus- I had sinned. We had also done Ceaser’s famous Et Tu Brutei… I felt like a murderer of trust. Uh.
We had seen worse days. The time we wrote in the walls of our class with raw mango: were we angry about something? Sure there was rage to follow: Sis Ro. standing there in the grounds by St.Vincent in marble looking down on us as we stood socially distanced from each others elbows, oh spread out for Primary and Pre- primaries to see and know. The eastern Indian sun never fell so harsh and long, food in our lunch boxes curled with waiting… other teachers tut-tutted, we examined our shoe’s buckle and lace, our socks and knees, we pondered on the sand. I forget if we had to clean up classroom before or after this Runway show, but we did. Aye, ‘Ratilal (our tall aristocrat) refused to partner with his broom’, someone reminded us this morning. It should’ve been a great video, but those days ‘viral’ was only a flu’ and ‘U tubes’ lived in Chemistry labs; though now we have memos in our chips inside,
dearest Lord God, souvenirs of such days You made…
You made Shailaja and how come she doesn’t change one tiny bit, her head held high on a neck that’s still slender like the rest of her: a Princess still with that same peace about her, as if all the changes around do not matter. Patsy, she has that quality too, she… our nightingale and abs.charmer, now a teacher herself …. we were “Little Women” together,
with Sis.Margaret scowling at the gorgeous Alpana Watwe for not liking her green and red costume. “And hasn’t God made red flowers with green leaf?!” Sis M. rallied. (Alpana flushed: didn’t she know she’d look great even if they gave her a sack to wear?!) I worried about my ‘necklace’. It was a pale pink large pearly thing I got from where I’ve no recall. My role was Hannah the maid, in this great black velvet dress from costume wardrobe; it reeked of mothballs and damp wood… now I thought it needed my pearls. Sis M’s ferocious black eyes went through my skull then she burst into laughter; she nodded at my odd pearls.
I still wear it inside, a Reminder that we are what grew us. Teachers like Ms Brenda D’Coutho too, not just fairytale pretty but respectful. I wasn’t a star student, but no one laughed. If they did, it was friendly fire. It built. It did not break your back. We learned the simple things. Oh Sujata, our Ms. Joy. Today she is a Wizard in a Tech world, the first time we saw her she was in little red ribbons. Today I saw a pic of her in stylish grey crop and sweater looking like a Desi Hollywood Halle Berry, just wow .. she’s designed Helicopters?!
Here we are decades later. Yesterday Ashok Lohia actually now a grown up and ace Businessman thanked me for helping him draw his bio practical book cockroach, and I teared up thinking how the core of us never changed.
Shailaja : “Change is inevitable but all look good. And there is that special something about everyone which hasn’t changed. 💕 Ranjana: “Yes that something special…that only an old friend can tell!”
I could say some more but the words want to stare at each other and just say thankyou. Thankyou my mates, for still being there.
Stay precious, stay blest.
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Streets, people, trees, blossoms, faces, places, time, family,
What you see, sees you-
quieting thought that I can effect change, mood, laughter, peace…I am the music of my words, the harbinger of joy, yeah I can re arrange the furniture, heal, reveal a Well Spring of things and streams you & I own deep within, do we know, do I know
how wide I am created, to…..
…to bring all these gifts to a day like this…. do I, do we know.
What started two years ago with a few young people across Bangalore city, today was just Family, oweing to ‘Janata Curfew’: people’s voluntary curfew where every Indian stays indoors all day till 9pm this evening.
So we got together for today: our daughter Vihan who made our Haven call come true with her heart of steel and love for Jesus & every soul ever; our son Johann (I’ve written about him here, he’s recovering so well. Thankyou all for prayers). There’s the one and only NoelJeff without whom this family would be an awkward lot. Our second daughter KitsyRuth, the Bijli(electricity) of us (and Chef!). Then me: still catching my breath from some weird sort of illness- that’s-not-Covid🥴: glad for the grace of God that’s brought us through a strange 365×2 days, hallel! It was worth it all, to watch Family grow this way. Do join every Sunday, Subscribe for Updates, Share with people who might appreciate company, comment so we know you’re there…
Trusting these Vids are understood for the purpose of Sharing God’s Comfort. None of us are Pros., just extremely ordinary -everyday- veggie- chopping- hassled over nitty gritty- kind of people with an extraordinary Father who loves us all no matter what we think of Him, no matter how dark the road might seem. You are not alone.
So, no random wheeling around my city. No touching other Humans, Malls, or Theater, stay in!
I’m basically a hermit, but when asked NOT to go out, ah the urge – the urge to watch sunset from anyplace else but here. And where are we these days: an entire globe @home?
My own window fills ~ with papers, books, younger elbows, easel, plants;
I wonder what life is like for you. We learn new words like Social Distancing, we stall some die hard 9-5 habits, dawn walk, handshake, warm hug, oh do not even whisper words mask & sanitizer to me🤧😷🤒.
All across Italy people are turning to music in an effort to beat boredom, socialise and keep their spirits high as the country battles Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus. Video: David Dunne.
In the minutes before six o’clock, Jessica Phelan climbed the stairs to the roof of her building to look out over her Rome neighbourhood. All day on social media, a hashtag had been trending: “sonic flashmob”, spreading the word that something would happen when the clock struck six.
Phelan saw neighbours emerge at balconies and windows, from apartments where they have been living in isolation under government orders to curb Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus, which has been killing more than 200 citizens a day in Italy’s overwhelmed hospitals.
“People started waving to each other, calling ‘ciao, ciao’,” Phelan recalled. “A bunch of people started whacking tamborines, people had maracas. It was just noise at first. But then somebody started singing Bella Ciao.”
The “sonic flashmob” or “flashmob sonoro” began in Rome with the 18-member street music band Fanfaroma …
“We were saying on our chat group, what will we do? How can we play?” said the band’s saxophonist Luciano Belvilacqua. “Then someone said, ‘let’s go out and play on our balconies’.”
“It was madness, it was like New Year’s Eve,” he said.
Similar initiatives flowered spontaneously in other cities. Clips of apartment buildings producing impromptu choirs lit up social media over the weekend.
Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance. At noon on Saturday, one Bologna neighbourhood filled the with sound of applause after a resident broadcast from their window the Evening of Miracles, a song that recalls the town squares filling with people again after the second World War.
Comedian and musician Francesco Cicchella changed the lyrics of the traditional Neapolitian song Luna Rossa, or Red Moon, to tell the tale of the masks, disinfectant, and solitude of life under quarantine.
“Let’s make this go more viral than the virus!”he wrote on Facebook…
“We are trying to make this period of quarantine less sad, a bit more fun,” said Cicchella.
Children can call a telephone number to be told a story. Theatres stream drama. Opera house the Teatro Regio di Torino, founded in 1740, began broadcasting performances of Verdiover YouTube. The Museum of Modern Art in Bologna is publishing videos from artists showing their work….botanic gardens launched virtual tours…..
“The theme is ‘what you see from your window’. Perhaps we have more time to take notice of things, now that we are all shut in our homes,” Sanzo said.
“You need to respond in some way because otherwise people will feel too alone. Going onto the balcony to sing with other people gives you courage,”Belvilacqua, the saxophonist says.
Windows locking in on our lives, and perhaps more than windows..
I’ve read this somewhere: that we each have a Stairwell running from the roots of us to a zone above our present time, our present tense…… routing us to Things we cannot know exist even just moments ahead.
My Ma had a song about that. “There’s a stairway that winds up to heaven, and it takes but a moment to climb. It’s a stairway of prayer and you’ll find it, anywhere you may be, any time.Whenever I pray I climb a Stairway….“
Don’t you wonder what the past few weeks may be preparing us for: how a Season like this one could re-route you, me, all of us through to healthier or otherwise, co-existence in our respective communities?
Who knows how this will all pan out, but let’s please not let one Window stay shut, not miss one Step if we can. Tough call, but we are a Tougher Generation than we dare suspect. Did I just say that?
Have you had a Faith Moment when you believed in your core something beautiful was coming your way, never mind what else you felt? And you believed it would rain down, no matter the desert you were in… so you built trenches. You felt like an idiot, there were no rain clouds, there was nothing except the silence. But in the silence there was a Song, with your name in it. A Still whisper only you could hear. A Miracle waiting for you. You. I wish you that as you listen to this song. I believe these things aren’t just about blogs and likes, comments and subscriptions. We are human beings with questions and prayers. We have needs that none else may even want to know about.
The next few moments, may you dig deep, build trenches by Faith that God hears, He answers, He knows you by name. This one’s by my daughter Vihan. Recorded on a day that was hard for all of us at home.
Why do I believe in a God who cares? Because of a day like this one, when a new song was born, for you, for me. Hey, stay blest. That River of blessing flows for you.