Guidelines for a Holy Year

There has been a lot of talk related to the Holy Year of Mercy ever since Pope Francis declared the same. Well, these are not official guidelines relating to that, as I am not qualified for that. If you are asking about on what authority I am providing these, I would say that it is based on my vision on what I would want to do on a Holy Year. Yes, helping others is a major thing to do, but other than that, I have to add a few things that people can really do, especially if they respect Pope’s messages and call themselves Catholic. At least for an year, can you try these?

So, how do you get to the quality of mercy? Does that fly towards you and provide opportunities to be merciful? No, it doesn’t. You have to bring it to your life. Which are those parts of life where you can show that quality? I would say that the first one where it can be done is in the case of food. It is the Holy Year of Mercy, and do try to go vegetarian. I know that most of you will find that difficult and so lets just try to keep it as much vegetarian as possible. Obviously, it is not easy to keep being so during the functions.

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature :D

Let the quality of mercy flow like a river throughout the Holy Year.

Showing mercy to the animals and birds is a nice thing indeed. That brings me back to the final word of the last paragraph – functions. Lets consider that you are going to be married this year. Why don’t you take the message of compassion right into you on this special day of your life? Can you spend less for these functions and use the money to provide at least one day’s food for the orphanages or old age homes which will make sure that your most important day will be remembered by people in need? Doesn’t it satisfy a good soul that his or her day goes on in the best way possible for those who are not having the happy days of life?

Do you need a fancy car which doesn’t belong to you on the wedding day, especially when everyone knows that it is not yours? If you have a car or a relative does, isn’t it better to use that one itself instead of spending some extra money for rent there? Do you need so many groomsmen and bridesmaids which your elders had declared not part of our culture? At least keep the number low! Do you need to spend so much money on the clothing when you are not going to use them again? Is it necessary to make a show when it is a function supposed to be a union of souls? Shouldn’t the priests be caring about this rather than coming up with that ridiculous compulsory pre-marital course? Why would you generalize people and not understand that individuals are not the same, and they won’t be needing a course on the exact same thing?

I would suggest providing pre-wedding classes instead of the pre-maritial thing to the vain people, especially the parents and relatives of the bride and groom. They are also in real need for mercy and compassion classes. Well, is this the kind of mercy that the church is going to witness and what the Holy Father had intended? And do you need so many types of food items being served to people? Different types of meat and fish – what is the point? Is this a program to have food or the function which has two people decide to be together each other? Why should the focus be so much on a dead chicken or goat on a plate rather than the bride and the groom? All these because you need to boast about it? If it is the case, get married every year. Maybe something can be done about the funerals too in the name of bloody vanity.

Marriages are made in heaven, they say. So, do we except the display of such signs of vanity there? It is not easy for vanity and mercy to co-exist. These days, I try to attend less number of marriages, because they are all just bloody show-off. I get those invitation cards and I feel nothing; there is no real feeling to attend. If you are having a certain function for the rich and too many of the poor and the subaltern are in the surroundings not having enough, your marriage will not be Holy Matrimony, but a strange thing which is everything except holy. People should get married because they want to; not to show it to the society.

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is part of nature :D

Become the bridge, bringing the quality of mercy to the other side!

So, at least in the Holy Year, show some mercy, to your fellow human beings as well as those animals and birds around us. Lets waste less food, have more vegetarian items and show less vanity at a wedding. I am quite confident that too many people will find this one difficult; still there will be people who will display some signs of mercy here or there. But I say that if you want to make an impression, make the righteous impression, and not what the others tell you is right. If you want to spend money, spend it on the poor; those who are really in need of your quality of mercy. Be the brother and sister to the people in need, and be the personification of mercy. Also, take time to forgive more.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Question of a Million

There is one question which has been commonly asked during talks – What if you had a million dollars? Before converting into rupees, that didn’t provide me that shock which was needed. Well, one million dollars was equal to 65,369,500 rupees when I last looked, and that is an amount which I am sure that I will never earn by myself in my whole life. It is not just the money that I won’t have, it is also more than all the money that I will need. So, this weekend’s WOW topic had me in some doubt. Well, the solution comes in many ways for the extra money that you will have.

Well, whoever you ask if there is the need for money, I am sure that the answer will be yes, even in the case of the top level millionaires. There is a little bit of a journey which has to be done around the world, and that is all for which the money needs to be spent. It has to cover Eastern Europe, especially Romania, as I had mentioned in my earlier post. There are also those historical cities like Rome, Venice, Barcelona, Milan, Berlin, Florence, Lisbon and Paris with all those amazing architecture. The other continents actually don’t have that much for me to travel through, except for a few places and that too the cheaper ones to wander around.

And then there was the Lighthouse Beach at Kovalam.

You need the beacon of light on this one; after all it will be the season of doubts.

This actually means that I will be left with something to talk about after finishing the journeys. The number of places to visit will only get lesser in number if things get repetitive, leaving me with more in the bank. Back home, the need for another house, four-wheeler and two-wheeler are not there as I am satisfied with what all is there already. What I have as of now is good. Trying to get more and more will only make me not liking myself that much. Too much luxury will only make me not the person that I have been. Most of us already have more than what we really need.

I am also not a person who believes in changing according to new fashion, and so the already existing clothes will be there for an eternity; I never judged people by their clothes much and never really cared what people thought about they way I dressed. It just needs to fair and decent; nothing more. A person is to be judged by good he or she is, and not by the grand clothing, and so there is no expense coming up there for me. My journey to different parts of the world is to be quick and will have almost no shopping with minimum food, and so there will be more left in the bank.

A few years ago, we used to have a Halloween program, and we collected what we could from the homes around our place and donated the same to a number of charity homes. The youth had decided to turn the night which was looked upon in a negative way into something positive. The response was nice, and one of the recipients we considered was a boys’ home called Snehakkoodu at Aluva. Unlike the other places which had the support of a lot of patrons, this at that time seemed to be a place which could use a lot of help.

Is there a sign of relief among the dark clouds?

Be the light in the darkness; be the colour among the black and white!

The place would be my first home to provide a donation, and I am sure that it will be a very useful act for them. It is all about helping the people in need rather than anything else, and they were in need at that time. Sadly, after we moved from Aluva, I haven’t been there much, and I would like to leave quite something from the amount for them. There is also the Home for the Aged and the Infirm, a few kilometres from Aluva, and I also wish to leave an amount for the old and sick people there.

As we help people in need, there are many around us who are not in that much of good situations as we are. There are our own friends, relatives and neighbours who live around us, and they will also be in need at times, for which some of the money could be kept in reserve to provide for them. We also owe something to them, irrespective of religion, caste and status. It is our duty as an Indian not to discriminate by divisions, and to help our fellow countrymen, the people whom we see each and every day and are in need.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me only.

TeNy

The Need for Cleanliness

We ask for many things in this world. Isn’t cleanliness among them? My hope is that it will be a basic requirement soon, and people will get to realize the same. During my earlier visit to Singapore, I did wonder if India can one day have the same cleanliness. I wondered about what they had that India didn’t. I have found the state of Kerala cleaner as a whole, but never really steady in its cleanliness, especially these days as waste is indeed being thrown on the side of the roads. All photos used here were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC W310 except for the one mentioned otherwise.

What is it that a beautiful country needs? It is not the tourist attractions, because nature and history has already provided the same as long as they are not vandalized. What every nation needs is cleanliness, as it is very important for the health and hygiene of the citizens of the nations as well as the visitors. Without good sanitation, we can’t say that we are good hosts and follow the policy of “Athithi Devo Bhava”. Yes, some people might think that we are awesome hosts just because there is a phrase about it, but the real fact is that we have to work on it.

Is it fair towards the animals? I don't think so.

Is it fair towards the animals? I don’t think so.

The first thing that can come to some people might be to act that they should try to create a show for the others, acting as if trying to clean, just because it is the trend. No, you are not doing any favour to the nation by doing so. The first thing to do is to keep your house and premises clean, and then your neighbourhood area. It is how the whole thing should begin. Haven’t we all heard about the saying “charity begins at home”? Well, so does the health and hygiene – we can’t make the society any better without changing ourselves, can we?

Our responsibility to our nation begins at home. Whatever we do at home is significant, even as not many people are aware of what we do in our room or on the backside of our house. It is what we practice at home that we take to the world outside. It is our actions between our own that is reflected even when we are outside and nobody is looking. Yes, this has to start with oneself, and not with a bigger group. If you walk around a broom and keep your house untidy, you are to blame despite what show you can come up with in the public.

Kitty caught in what humans litter (taken on my Galaxy Duos)

Kitty caught in what humans litter (taken on my Galaxy Duos)

We have polluted our world, made it terrible for many creatures of nature, and it is all because we don’t care much. With that pollution, we have spread diseases, and these begin when we don’t care about waste disposal. Check all those rivers; are they any cleaner than they used to be? So much waste has been thrown into the rivers, and it is almost impossible to drink directly from there days or even clean. Even the holy rivers are not spared. This proves that clean India doesn’t mean that we should dispose our waste anywhere.

Yes, we have people who get rid of their waste by throwing it to the properties of others. We also have those who put their waste anywhere when nobody is looking. They are no lesser evil than those big industries which pollute our air as well as water, some of them even directly causing deadly diseases to humans and killing off a lot of creatures and plants. It is a need to raise our voice against these practices, but only when we keep cleanliness in our own home that we are worthy of the same, and it is what we should strive for.

This should be applicable everywhere, but why is that we need signs?

This should be applicable everywhere, but why is that we need signs?

This blog post is written in relation to Dettol NDTV Banega Swachh India campaign in association with Indiblogger, and it is a much needed move towards a better India. Please check http://swachhindia.ndtv.com/ for more details, and lets contribute to making and keeping our nation clean not as something which we are forced to do, but as a part of our lives as a duty towards our nation and the fellow countrymen.

This initiative is a program to address the rising need of hygiene and sanitation in India. It will try to create awareness about the same, and will also work for construction and maintenance of toilets. The brand ambassador is none other than Big B – Amitabh Bachchan. NDTV Dettol – Banega Swachh India bus is supposed to cover about four hundred villages across eight Indian states – Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, MP and Maharashtra. With the same, they will create awareness around hygiene and sanitation through a number of ways which can connect the best with the common man.

Cheers to http://swachhindia.ndtv.com/.
TeNy

People of the Halloween

It is that time of the year again, and the period of Halloween, a night which has kept me happier than most of the other night. This is that celebration, which even if not at all popular in this part of the world and not even heard about among the people of our locality, had a lot in store for us. Halloween did turn into something special in 2010, but it remained so only for just another year, and 2011 ended the same.

It was after my visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 that this celebration got going. Thanks to my cousin in England, I was able to get a few Halloween special items as the night neared. But I had to cut short my visit and return to India as my grandfather had expired. Soon, I returned with what all scary or almost scary things I had brought from the place. After a few days passed and there were only a few days to Halloween, I wondered what was the use of the costumes.

Our notices before the first & the second Halloween.

Our notices before the first & the second Halloween.

We had a group for the youth at that time, and more than a month had passed after the last meeting – I was for some odd reason the secretary of the group and decided to hold a meeting, in which I asked the same about the possible celebrations. There was not really a response in the beginning, but later we felt that may be it could be possible, not without doubts, but still there is hope.

The major arguments against the celebration were that
I. Nobody is aware of such a celebration and doesn’t care at all.
II. People will get scared and might even complain.
III. Some people might misunderstand the evil masks.
IV. We don’t conduct celebrations, only the elder’s group do.
V. We have absolutely no decision making power.

Hellboy, Mr. Brain, Ghostface & Wolfman :D

Hellboy, Mr. Brain, Ghostface & Wolfman 😀

But then we decided to give it a twist. I had read about the Halloween related fund raising programs for UNICEF which had raised a huge amount of money. It is really a nice idea, I have to say; for Halloween isn’t usually considered in a positive light, and this changes a lot: http://www.unicefusa.org/mission/usa/trick-or-treat. See what they say about the same “began in 1950 as a way to help kids who need more than candy”. Notice the tagline: IT’S SCARY HOW MUCH GOOD YOU CAN DO!

We thought, may be we could do something good with our group along with celebrating Halloween all at the same time. It was from this idea that we come up with the plan to give a detailed proposal to the association and get the permission to conduct the same. We printed notices and distributed them in each and every home to make sure that they will be ready when we arrived. We rented a few more masks from the shops to make sure that all our members were included.

Before unleashing the monsters...

Before unleashing the monsters…

We mentioned in the notice that we would take donations as well as the old clothes. Even as there were two or three homes which didn’t open the door or didn’t contribute, and even though a number of people were not at home, we did collect around five thousand rupees for the night along with a lot of old clothes, which we could take to the nearby children’s home and the home for the aged. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t go on for more than two years, due to the lack of volunteers and the absence of interest.

It is fun, and a satisfying thing to do. Unfortunately, our club did cease to exist.

How not to steal Halloween sweets! :D

How not to steal Halloween sweets! 😀


Happy Halloween 😀 🙂
TeNy