Wednesday, January 16, 2019

BRIDE PRICE

I had some time before the OPD finished for the day so I started talking to one of our young friends who is all of twenty years.
Her father is a weaver of carpets but has made sure that none of the children take up the profession because it is hard work.
Most people in the villages around do weaving in some form.I met an old person today who weaves the famous Banarasi saris and has invited me to see him at work.This man earns around Rs 400 per day but the sari ,the basic one, costs around thirty thousand without the gold and silver work.He seems to think that most of these saris get sent abroad because according to him 'Indians cannot afford it'.He is blissfully unaware that the richest asian according to the Forbe's list is an Indian.I choose not to correct him beacuse it will not make a pi of difference to his life.He has invited me over to see him at work.

My little friend's father weaves the humbler carpet which sells at around Rs 3000 per piece but gets paid only Rs 150 for his labour per day.
I got talking to her about her aspirations,she wants to get married after her graduation but needs to arrange for money for that.She is twenty years old, so marriage could wait till she is twenty five,she has time in hand to increase her worth in the sight of the potential grooms who will put a price on her accordingly.

Out of the blue she suddenly quoted -'a bike and one lakh rupees'.
A bike and a lakh of rupees was what a potential groom would put her price at.I just started chuckling away,it was just so matter of fact.The pathos of it all was bordering on comic,'a bike and one lakh rupees'.
Between the two siblings they earn a sum of twelve grands which the father uses to educate five siblings and a daughter-in law who is doing her BEd second year.The father had to take a loan of forty thousand rupees for the son's wedding ,some of which is being gradually paid off.They got a dowry of thirty thousand rupees and a bike for her sister-in -law because her widowed mother had already enrolled her into the BEd course.It was seen as an investment for the future.

For me it was fascinating and a privellage to peep into a world that is theirs and she was willing to let me see it.
Then she mentioned that her sis-in law was a believer and apparently some of our colleagues had visited their house for prayers.
My respect for my colleagues increased a several fold just hearing that.
They were getting to know the God who put a bride price for us as well and it was nothing less than 'He' himself.
Christ paid the ransom for you and me. He paid it on the cross with His life.That is the value the Lord has put on you and me.Hope she gets sold for nothing less eventually when she gets to learn her actual worth.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Where Christ dwells..

I am not sure I should be writing this blog because I am in a confusing space at the moment.I spent a day doing a lot of things which can translate to 'not going for work'.I was meant to go to Varanasi today but after mentally meandering the path and praying about it I decide to take a quiet day catching up on replenishing my kitchen stock,trying my hand at planting some herbs with a lot of inspiration from Sharon,reading through the book of Job and keeping a track on how Ranveer Singh's films are doing.
Mid afternoon I picked myself up and realised I had to go shopping or starve, so off I went to the market with a mental list which easily outweighed my ability to cart it.I found myself planting my stuff in different shops to be picked up later.One bright ten year old thing sprightly offered to help me with the shopping stuff and as we walked to my house together ,I gathered that she studied in the christian school.She chatted away brightly as one would expect a ten year old to chat.Once I was home I wanted to give her some pocket money but she bluntly refused with a smile and said,'I also worship Yeshu Masih'.I was taken aback.Her parents sell items made of clay in the market and I frequent that shop often on the lookout for pots and stuff that take my fancy.
Yesterday while going through my cousin's message on whattsapp where Jonty and Rene are picking up oysters in a beach somewhere in New-Zealand where they stay ,I realised that I had a lot of catching up to do on the seafood front.I have not had oyster in my life,if that matters.It is wonderful to see the siblings growing up together,nearer home our Annie is a big girl now.
I have also been deeply burdened about some of my colleagues and friends who are going through their own struggles.
When we were children I remember my maternal uncle who was a young guitar totting youth getting up in the church with his friends to sing a song ..'madhya raat ko taapu haroo...eklaas eklaas dara haroo ...krist tehi cha tehi nai cha '-which translates as 'those midnight islands and the alone hillocks '(deserted),those are the places where Christ dwells.....may we remember whereever we are in these times, as someone told me 'nothing is allright' is the exact place where Christ meets us.
To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.....Ephesians 3 vs 20-21.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

These days.....

These days have been hectic to say the least.With stipulated time at home I spent the days cooking meals for the carol,cooking christmas dinner for the family and just doodling with my neice,my sister,my brother,my cousins and my precious parents.By doodling I do not mean sketching.Post Christmas has been hectic with a sudden decision to take a cousin's husband for a scan .He has been showing signs of stroke for the past two years but stubbornly refused to go to a doctor.He had multiple infarcts at a young age of fifty five in the MRI.My last but oneday was spent in the hospital corridors of Manipal in Gangtok.Was back at home at around ten at night to find my beautiful family waiting up for me with special dinner and my bags packed for the early morning journey I had to make to the heart-land.Once back I have not had too much time to think.
On the flight from Baghdogra to Delhi I was a withness to that uncomfortable struggle of ordered meals with no cash in hand to pay.The aircraft did not have facilities for debit card so the family just in front of me were actually asked to return the soaked noodles.I watched the entire melodrama hoping something would workout but when the hostess asked me if I would like the noodles I had asked for which had run out ,I just offered to pay for their food.
They hesistated a bit and finally accepted my offer.
I took the connecting flight from Delhi and landed in Varanasi on time.Rajeshwar was butting with the big news and poured it all out as soon as we were safely out of the city.There had been a riot of sorts in the town between two communities and there had been an arrest of about 200 people and the town had been under a curfew of sorts.One youth was badly injured and fighting for his life.Such incidents are very common bere.I remember sitting in the out-patient and examining an elderly lady and her daughter loudly declared that it was a happy day for her mother because her husband had just arrived home after a prison sentence of fifteen years for a murder he had comitted for land issue.
I have been doing a protracted night calls for three days now with my junior down with a very bad AGE which seems to be doing the rounds of the area,
Just yesterday night another badly beaten man with a GCS of 6/15 was wheeled into the out-patient.He was decerebrating and thus we wanted them to take the patient for a CT scan of the brain but they insisted they had no means to take the patient onwards and wanted to keep the patient overnight.He succumbed.It was a fight between the brothers.Apparently the brother's son was as serious and had been taken to Mirzapur from the government set-up.
In the ward,Barsati baba after whom our garden has been named keep us entertained.He must be in his mid-nineties,apparently was a very faithful gardner and had stopped eating and drinking for the past ten days or so and his family had given up on him.He keeps his eyes tightly shut but makes an interesting conversation with intermittant demand for bidi.He has started eating and drinking very well and is just enjoying the pampering in the ward.
Church today was beautiful as always.I was deeply touched by an anecdote of an individual in Bhutan which pastor Mervin shared .Apparently an american missionary planted himself in that country,He could not preach because it is banned but he could play the guitar well and sing beautifully,so he would do that in the steps of his house.One day an adolescent kid walked up to him and requested him to teach him to play the guitar and offered to pay for the lessons so the missionary agreed to teach him free of cost since salvation is free.As he taught him to play the guitar,he shared the gospel with the kid.The kid accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior and he declared it to his family.His father was very angry and he beat the boy.After that almost everyday of his life when he came back from school his father would ask him if he still considered Jesus as the Lord of his life and he would affirm and he would be soundly beaten.At sixteen years of age his father kicked him out of his house.Later in life he went on to a bible college and became a pastor.Sixteen years later he had the joy of baptising his father into the faith.
I am also looking forward excitedly for Dr Verghese Philip's book 'living audaciously-30 reflections on rennaiscence painting' which I have placed an order for today and should be in in the new year. I have been in the recent past discovering art as a very powerful medium of expression.
Life goes on sometimes audaciously,sometimes timidly desperately holding on to our savior for the courage to take one step more...and He never fails.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

In the Stars His Handiwork I See



Travelling home for Christmas had me very thoughtful.I had my tickets booked via Delh in a Vistara flight and I got more than I bargained for.Flying was a joy.The service was impeccable and the food amazing.I actually enjoyed a biryani for it's fragrant rice instead of the meat pieces and that is saying a lot considering that it was a packed lunch on the flight.The entertainment panel was open to our electronic modes as with the international flights.They were hassled about the delay and hurried things up and almost made time.The hostesses were helpful and kind.The road travel from Baghdogra to Mangan was a four hour drive through the bends and breaks.I travelled along Teesta as the evening lights were flickering on and one could see stars and Christmas decorations in the christian homes on the way.
It has often brought a lot of joy to our hearts.
My uncle who goes for early morning walks to the town towards the North suggested we get up early in the morning to see the Christmas lights in the town.The older generation have been going to that town for their morning walks forever.There was not a single believer in those dark places.My father was suddenly diagnosed to have diabetes in his early sixties and like most things he does he took his morning walks seriously sometimes getting up as early as three thirty in the morning and when he reached that town he used to sit by the road and used to pray his morning prayer.
So much of effort has gone in from different denominations and as we walked in the dawn we were able to catch the christmas lights with the stars all along the hillside.
While driving home from Baghdogra the other day I had been scrounging around for Christmas stars in the houses we passed by when my eyes suddenly fell on the stars in the dark sky.That was when it hit me that everything actually belongs to Christ regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Merry Christmas


December is here.I spent the first evening sharing a meal with our dear girls in the nursing hostel and ended it with John's kebab at Dr Raju's.
Today was the second of December and we heard a sermon on 'Hope in Christ 'from Dinesh.What touched me was the picture of ...'the nature groaning as in the pains of chilbirth right upto the present time.'....and he corelated it with the bible verse which was read today,Isaiah 55 vs 12 onward-'You shall go out with joy and be lead forth in peace,and the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands.Can you imagine the joy of watching the nature rejoice,mountains and the hills bursting into songs and the trees clapping with joy while we go out in Joy, being lead forth in peace.
Mind you ,the verse before that goes,'so My words that proceed from My mouth will not return to me empty,but it will accomplish what I please....'
It also says 'the wolf will live with the lamb..'Isaiah 11 vs 6

That 'Hope in Christ' is our lifeline and our wealth.

I say a prayer for all our near and dear ones all over the world going through different challenges sickness,war,persecution,strife and sometimes just life,may we live in the 'paradigm of Christ' everyday of our lives and hold onto that 'Hope of glory'(Christ in us).

Merry Christmas.
....

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Getting the diagnosis from the Lord.

A sixty years old lady was brought in with a history of being bed-bound for better part of ten years with a gradual mental decline.She had her left leg flexed and would not let anyone touch it.She looked considerably pale but had a comfortable haemoglobin of nine and would struggle with pain day in and day out.We got an ultrasound of her abdomen incase she was tracking a cold abscess in her psoas.It showed hyperechpic kidneys bilaterally and a gallstone.In the evening when we went for the rounds we noticed that the painful legs were unusually cold as compared to the right side so we made a note to send her for doppler of the left feet the next day.Her chest X-ray showed extensive haziness on the left side which to our unsuspecting eye looked semi-homogenious.We tried unsuccessfully to get some sputum and was somehow not settled with her because we were missing something beyond the dementia which the relatives claimed she had.
The next day I was in the chapel and the worship was going on and while the worship was going on I saw the old man,her husband standing in 'the middle of the corridor just outside the chapel door with his eyes closed,an unusual sight for a patient or a bystander while the worship was on '.I was deeply touched and so I told the Lord,'I will go back and relook the case Lord.'
We went back and re-examined the lady.I had reprimended the staff about the patient's hygeine the first day and was promptly told that they had done a good PV care in the morning and the patient was on a diaper but I still got a stench.We got the fetal doppler and we went through all the vessels in the lower limb.Her dorsalis pedis was missing on the left side.She was throwing an emboli from somewhere so we auscultated the heart,there was no murmur.The other thing we had to consider was marantic endocardites( non-infective) in which case she would have to have an advanced malignancy.Her USG did not show anything but at this point I walked up to Dr Cecily our visiting obstetrician to do a PV/PS.Which she did promptly with a lot of protest from the patient who was making animal sounds by then.Her cervix was irregular and she was bleeding PV on touch.
In the meantime I had already reviewed the X-ray and I could see faint shadows of cannon ball in between the semi-homogenious shadow.
So within fifteen minutes of my talking to the Lord we had a diagnosis in hand and then we got our wonderful palliative care team involved who were more than willing to cart her to Tata institute (Homibhaba)which is by God's grace half way to Benaras from kachwa.They were not only going to accompany them but also help them with paperworks and government machineries with Ayushman,etc.
Even as we talked to the patient and the bystanders and arranged the paperworks,I just sat down put and thanked the Lord for his grace.I could visibly see a sense of humble acceptance in the eyes of her husband and the son.
The diagnosis was nothing to write home about but the Lord helped us to come to the diagnosis so that we could help the family in what way we could ,given the circumstances.
(The lady was difficult to examine and was very hostile towards anyone touching her in anyway. )

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Notes tomyself 2

EXODUS-
Exodus-Sinai-Tabernacle.
Deliverence-Law-Presence.
The God who delivers-1-18.
The God who demands-19-24.
The God who draws near-25-40.
'I will bless you'Genesis 12 vs 2
The blessing is fulfilled two-fold,firstly by giving God's law on mount Sinai and by His presence with his people in the tabernacle.
The Law reveals our need for a savior.
The law reveals God's standard.
(His charecter).
Exodus 20 vs 2
'I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt,the land of slavery.'Exodus 20 vs 2.
There is deliverence before the giving of the law.
If obedience to law is not the path to membership in the covenant of God,it is required for the enjoyment of blessing within the covenant.
'If you obey me fully and keep my covenant,then out of all nations you will be my treasured possesion.'Exodus 19 vs 5.