Saturday, January 26, 2013

Remainers,returners and relocaters.

I thought I was the missionary in my family because I have been relocating myself in all sorts of odd places eversince I gave my life to Christ after I finished my twelfth.
I realised I was not.
In my haphazard way of relocating from place to place if the Lord has used me for His glory that was by his grace..but I do have some sterling examples of returners and remainers in my family.
My mother is a remainer.She might have been born in Darjeeling but was brought up in my hometown and married into my father's family.She has a missionary heart.Eversince we have been children we have always had houseguests from the church visiting and staying with us.The church used to be a small church with no guest house then.
Our house used to be an open house where missionaries from all walks of life used to park themselves.We as children enjoyed having them as well.There used to be odd missionaries who would fast and pray and my mother was the person who used to make sure that the water,milk...whatever it may require was there at hand .
It did not just extend to the missionaries alone, it also extended to a mad man called anum Lata who lived in a shack made of leaves and wood.We children were petrified of him but my mother was always on the look out for him.If she did not see him moving around for a day she would send the helps to check him out,feed him,...
All the mad and sad people in the town had a way of communicating with my mom.Deaf and dumb people would look down from the road and communicate with my mother in the garden below.We children would be greeted with smiles and a query' when did you come?'
She was also the first person to start nursery school education in my home town.She started teaching toddlers in the church premises which later developed into a nursery school which the community got together to build.She is going seventy and she is still going strong.
My cousin who died always used to tell me 'Your mother is a good christain.'He never said that about me.
My brother is a returner.A civil engineer by training ,he did his geotechnique and soil mechanics from Wyoming in the US of A,but decided to come back to his hometown.
He is a great christian although he never professes to be one.Ask the helps,down and outs and the disadvantaged.His one motto in life is to help others so much so that it sometimes takes the wind out of well-meaning believers like us.Someone asks for money and he will empty the purse.He spends most of his life doing somebody elses job because he is obviously good at most things.He has always been a star student right from his school days to his days in Wyoming but he prefers to work for his tiny hometown.In a society whose moral fabrics are nothing to write home about he operates from a standard of integrity which I wonder sometimes is human.He never discusses the wear and tear-of which there must be plenty.
He continues to be at home, looking after my old parents and looking after the town in many ways.
Then there is my sister M.She is a returner as well.
A mixture of contradictions,a woman of prayer...she does her bit ,picking up the disadvantaged and educating them.She has two small girls with her now.She is still learning along the way but with God to guide her ,she will reach where she is supposed to be.
I have two more siblings ,I am equally or more so proud of them..and ofcourse there is my father...he has been a sacrificial father ,an example and unflinching in his stand for his faith.
As for me I carry the tag of being a missionary because I am a relocater-I must remember to hand it back the next time I see them.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I found the books!

I left the hotel in Bath at nine-thirty in the morning after a hearty breakfast.Even as I walked down the stone paved path to the townsquare I could not but take one last look back at the Pulteney bridge over river Avon.
I boarded the ten thirty to London Paddington.With a good book to keep you company the one hour journey seems like fifteen minutes.I dozed off in between.A pleasant black man came checking our tickets,before long we were pulling into Paddington.Once in Paddington I walked up to the information desk to ask for directions to the underground and a huge giant of a  man decided to pull my leg.'You are standing on the underground 'was what he said -I was a floor above.
Paddington to Tower bridge went in a jiffy.In tower bridge I bought myself a hot chocolate and a hot-dog with onions and walked into the trinity park to sit down on a wooden bench to just enjoy my fare and watch the world go by.Saw the memorials for those lost at sea at various times...
Walked around and saw a lot of people doing what I was doing catching a moment to themselves.......I almost feel like I have reached home!
Walked to the Fenchurch street station boarded the trian to Basildon,another forty minutes and I was at the station I had started my journey from three days ago.
Made a quick trip to Iceland and the 99 p shop to pick up a few essentials and took the bus up the Basildon hill to Nethermayne.
By the way I found the books I was looking for-'Red Letter Christain' by Shaine Clairborn and Tony Campolo which has been keeping me busy since I laid my hands on it and 'An Irish Country Doctor' by Patrick Taylor which I found in the christmas market in Bath.Looking at the rate at which I am devouring the books I think I was a little starved for them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Big joys in little moments.


I was at the Abbey in Bath today.Most Abbeys look the same but everybody visits it nevertheless,so I ambled into it as well.I saw 'The lamp of the west'-as someone called the stained glass windows ,I saw the the simple steel cross lying against a stark white sheet , a little odd in the splendour of the cathedral.
Then my eyes fell on a podium on the side where a mamoth Bible was placed .I climbed onto the podium to look at the lovely large letters from Paul to the Ephesian church.I did not realise I was being watched.A lady who was passing by walked up to me and said you like this ,pointing at the podium which I noticed then was quite a work of art.She further added that she had cleaned the podium everyday for twenty years.
I was touched but I clarified that I was filled with joy to see the life-giving word of God on the podium.
She asked me where I was from and blessed me.
I blessed her too because in that small instant she had with those few words shared the testimony of her life and partaken in my joy.

Finding Bath


Whenever you visit a place you are always looking out for something that you take with you for keeps,something that brings you joy and something you want to fold into the memory shelf for some other times when you want to remember it.I drank that hot chocolate and doughnut to beat the snow in the high street.Old men with caps and jackets walked in with their newspapers to sit for that quintessential cup of tea.A young school boy made an order for a dozen doughnuts with variety of sauces to top it and he actually made conversation with the gentleman behind the counter-spruced up with tie and all,very english ,I thought.
I walked in the snow asking for directions,old men ,young men,young ladies,old ladies...walking an extra mile with generous smiles and a friendly demeanour to keep me on the trudge.
I am looking for that book again-the one that you want to pay for,the one you want to keep away safely in your bookcase and go back to again and again and again,the one you want to curl with, in your bed on a cold ,snowy Bath afternoon..the one you want to drag along from place to place in your nomadic existance......will I find one today?I wonder.
Something with charecter which will freeze a moment in time with it's lucid potrayel of time and space which seems so human and yet is definately another era.
It will be sometime before I forget Hugh Jackman's potrayel of the convict in parole,Anne Hathaway as a prostitute or even Russsel Crowe as the straight-jacket Javert.
This is going back to 19th century France......
......And I thought I was looking for Bath ....I found the 'Little Theatre ' though.

Monday, January 21, 2013

BATH.

Reached Bath at 2pm in the afternoon-nearly missed the station.I have this habit of forgetting momentarily as to where I am.While travelling from Paddington to Bath,the journey was beautiful with snow everywhere.Suddenly it struck me I have travelled so much in life that I could be travelling anywhere.
It could be the coconut trees one passes through on-route to oddanchattram,it could be the mustard flowers by the wayside in Jharkhand,it could be the endless water bodies in Bengal....or it could even be the endless turnings up the Dehradun hills.I am lost in my thought .........
On reaching Bath I took a taxi to the hotel which is surprisingly reasonable in England.Oldfields House is one of the elegant Victorian houses.Barbara welcomes me into the house.I make myself comfortable in the lounge near the hearth while she serves me tea.We go through the introductions,homely and comfortable.I ask her for some advises about the places to see and she shows me a bunch of brochures and guides me through the map.Once through with my tea she offers to show me to my room.
It is a reasonably comfortable room with all the modern amenities-they even have a DVD library for the guests.On my bed is  a coffee table book on Bath and one of the hotel.
It is two in the afternoon and I have two whole days ahead of me to explore Bath the way I want to starting this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A list....there is a lot more!


That moment when the sun suddenly decides to rise above the London skies....
You wake up to sip that first cup of coffee...
You are actually hungry before a meal...
You are walking without any clear agenda in hand ...for the sake of walking and enjoying it.
You have just finished a chore that has been pending ..and have finished well.
In the rush of the work you take time for a moment of peace..a quiet time.
After a heavy session of work you have a day to just laze around with a good book in hand.
A worship time in a church when you feel the oneness of spirit.
That moment when it strikes you that God's still using you and showing you things.
A revelation that pops up from the Word of God.
When someone close to you has a close shave.
You connect with another human being for a worthy cause.
When the stress you have been carrying around just lifts up.
When someone tickles a funny bone and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear.
When I have made my peace with my God...and myself...and therefore....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A God who is one step ahead of me.


Today a young lady took time to share from the word with us.She was working for a cause which campaigned against 'violence against woman'.She mentioned the Delhi rape case which she said was defining a relook at the law of the land,etc.I pray to God that it might be true.
She during the course of her meditation on the word brought to my attention two enlightening passages from the Bible ,which was in a way, a revelation.
Genesis 3 vs 16 was one of them...'I will make your pains..........your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.'This was the consequence of the sin and the fall.'
The concept of husbands ruling over wives was a curse .....in Jesus Christ it is broken.Amen.
The second subject that keenly got my interest was the Good Samaritan.We all are familiar with the parable.
First person to pass by is a priest..the second to pass by is a levite.....and the third person  who does not pass by but stops to help,bandage,pours in the oil and the wine ,puts the man in his own donkey,brought him to the inn and took care of him,The next day he takes out two denarii and gives it to the inn keeper and asks him to look after him with the assurance that he will pay back the extra expense.
The third person is actually a  samaritan,an out-caste.
It was in a way an explosive parable.........
Surprised and flaggerbasted when your community does not arise to help you in your time of need? Do not be.
It is often the Good samaritans who go the extra way.
I have been the priest,the levite, and the bleeding and dying man on the Jericho road.
I can never say I am the Good Samaritan because in Christ I am part of the community but I do want to thank the Lord for the Good samaritans who have ministered to me in my time of need.
After all Christ did not quote the parable for the sake of quoting it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Miracle at Cana


I was meditating on the miracle at Cana,the wedding feast where Mary urges Jesus to perform his first miracle..to convert water into wine..to meet the need of the wedding feast at hand.
I could not but draw a parallel between the water in the jar and my life as a christian.I am the water,have been a water all my life,I feel comfortable being a water...and suddenly one fine day ,the need of the hour is the wine and not the water and hence the struggle begins....
That is when the Lord furrows the fields of my heart...difficult..difficult job..the temptation is to hold on to the coat but the lord beckons that I like the lame beggar throw away everything and run after him.
I always thought water was what was essential.......but wine was the need of the hour.
Keep me on my knees Lord till I become what you want me to be -water or wine in your hands to meet the need of the hour.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The verdict.


We had quite a bit of story telling during our growing up years.There were listeners and there were the tellers.My oldest sibling could literally make us dance around ,the carrot   being stories...and more stories and later on during the years in school we had an ayah di who could make everything come alive with her narration.To think back she must have had a photographic memory because she could even describe the colour of the costumes worn.
We used to be lost in a totally different world.My last but one sibling ,me being the youngest,had this penchant for making up stories as she narrated them to us .She was sometimes this painful 'fiddler on the roof 'who would follow us all over the house with her stories.
Now that we are officially crossing over to the middle-age bracket this is not done, so  she writes them in between the papers she publishes for the state gazeeters and things
like that.
She wrote a children's story and decided to test the waters with the children in the family.
My five year old charming kiwi nephew was very generous with his comments.Called it 'exquisite' and in a lower tone to his mother whispered 'did not understand it'.
The next moment he was on the desk with a pen and paper writing stories of his own.
My thirteen year old neice's comment was 'a lot of spelling mistakes!'
My seven year old neice from New Zealand was silent .We take the verdict to be 'No comments!'
My sister and I had a good laugh over it even while we chatted on the skype.
I must remember to write a children's story and test waters myself.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Somebody touched me while I was praying-must have been the hand of the Lord!


The last couple of days have been strange.Walking through the hospital corridors which are yet to bounce back from the holiday mood,I came across exactly six people crying .I have not seen anyone cry in the past three months I have been here.I wondered if someone was praying for me.
An elderly lady ,could have been in her seventies was looking hassled in the corridors.She was lost.She had come out of the emergency unit to grab a coffee but she had been going round in circles.Not only did that upset her but the condition of her husband as well.He had been discharged a fortnight ago but had come in again.She somehow felt he would not make it this time.She specifically used a line which we seldom hear here,'I feel so lonely'even as I guided her through the corridors to the canteen where I waited while she bought her coffee and a few crackers.It was past mid-day but that was the first meal of the day.She offered to buy me a coffee ,I declined and then I walked back with her to the emergency.Her face lit up when she found her husband's bed-side.I left her there and got back to work.
A Vietnamese gentleman with cystic fibrosis had come in with secondary infection and haemoptysis.His young wife,fragile, was crying by the bed-side.Not only was she fighting the battle alone but she was also worried about her own health ,she thought she might be catching some infection.They had housing problems,she felt isolated because her family was so far away.I could just about communicate my empathy because of the business of the emergency but this morning she caught me when I had some free time in hand and she started talking...I listened and I prayed asking God for wisdom.
I continue to ask,I continue to seek......I continue to see......  'what Oh Lord?'