Legend of Good People

The world is built on legends. We come across many of such kind. We hear something about King Arthur, Achilles, Lady Godiva, Robin Hood, Odysseus and many others throughout our lives. But there are times when I do wonder about whom the real legends should be created. It is not about people who does great things, but about people who convert little things into something that inspires us; to something that makes us feel good in this world which is surely not getting any better.

The goodness in this world needs to be talked about because it is becoming more of a myth about which stories will be made in future, and people of that age will only reply that such good deeds are not possible – for them, it will be all about profit, reputation and happiness will be a reflection of how much one has earned and what all luxuries someone can manage to possess. This is why we need these stories of goodness, and get the much needed inspiration as we go through this world of chaos.

Lets not travel to El Dorado or Atlantis, and lets not search for the Fountain of Youth, Elixir of Life or the Holy Grail, as we are looking for our people right here, between us, making difference like no other. I would like to talk about the same with Father Joy Ettuveettil, who runs Snehakoodu, the charitable trust for boys at the town of Aluva. He has been one of the most dedicated priests who have been involved in social work for a long time, and this particular home for the homeless has been a wonderful initiative.

We were hoping to make the season of Halloween special with a special initiative which included collecting money and old clothes, and this was the first place which came to our mind. Yes, the first meeting was a few years ago, but even last year, the children had sent us a Christmas greetings card as usual. I was going through those usual negative things which keep coming to the mind, and then this one returned to my mind, and it is part of those few moments of light which brightens the soul.

Our notices before the first and the second Halloweens.

A sample of our notices during the season of Halloween.

This brings one back to that eternal question – is it about building those megastructures, all those worship places for God when what matters is what you have done for your fellow human being without discriminating on the basis of the social status, religion, community and caste? As you take the Parable of the Good Samaritan from the Holy Bible, you will find that even when Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other, it is the Samaritan who helps the injured man when people from the same community don’t care; humanity in the end is just one big family.

This is why every religion needs good leaders who don’t discriminate, and make sure that the needs of the common man is given the highest priority. We need leaders who try to do what they can to make sure that all our fellow human beings are provided the basic needs. The big festivals and more additions to the worship places can wait. We need good men and women who care for people just like they care for God and the places which are meant for him. We need religious heads who are people of God and men, not businessmen, and not those who make hate speech against others.

This is the same reason why we need initiatives like Snehakoodu, and Father Joy has done an amazing job in keeping the charity work going for the destitute and the homeless, as well as the other children in trouble. He has built this charitable organization from nothing, and it is a place which will require the donations. If you are planning to help, please go forward with that, as Snehakoodu is one of those charitable trusts where I visited so many times, and I have myself found it to be a very noble venture. Yes, goodness has its presence, we all have the chance to be part of it.

Btw, have you checked this link which serves as the mouthpiece of the youth as you take your time for the positive side and #SpreadTheVibe with stories of inspiration?: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/

TeNy

Spirituality: Special Ones

***About a few special churches from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from the City of Kochi to Kanyakumari. The photos were taken on my Sony Cybershot.

St. John’s Cathedral, Tiruvalla, Kerala
Have you travelled around Tiruvalla at some time? Then you might not have missed this one because it is such a beauty on the side of the road. We came across the church while going for Niranam Church, and this happened to be a big find because nobody really told us about this one – may be people at that side might find it too usual a thing and don’t want to make it a big deal, but this is not the kind of church you will see anywhere else. It is a special structure which you need to visit.

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Kappal Matha Church, Uvari, Tamil Nadu
The simple structure might resemble many things including a ship and an airplane, but surely not a church if you look from a distance. The scene of a ship carrying the plane might rather seem strange, but it is another special place to be – I found this one while searching for places around Kanyakumari, and added it to the list of destinations to visit while traveling to the southern most point of the Indian peninsula, and the journey towards this place is also an interesting one. There won’t be many visitors around here.

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St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad, Kerala
A very famous Marian pilgrimage destination and with a history which goes back to a time when Christianity hadn’t spread through Europe, and was not yet the grand official religion of the Roman Empire as proclaimed by Emperor Theodosius; this one actually goes even before Constantine the Great had declared the religion legal for the first time. It is also believed that the first Marian Apparition was here, and the church remains a much visited pilgrim centre and a beautiful structure.

teny (66)

Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam, Kerala
This is a major pilgrim centre about which you might know enough already. Nowadays, it is even easier to visit with the better road links, and this church with is locally known to be dedicated to Vallarapadath Amma (Local name for Mother Mary), this was one of the first few churches to be dedicated as basilicas in this part of the world, and as you climb to the top of those towers of the renovated church, the view is just spectacular. This one also has a long history which goes back through Kochi’s past.

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St. George Church, Edathua, Kerala
The Edathua Church is a very well known pilgrimage centre with devotees flocking from all around Kerala as this structure remains a place of peace on the banks of the river Pamba. The feast at Edathua is very famous, and people pray for the saint’s intercession all the time to save them from ailments. Whenever I watch the Malayalam movie – the beautiful romantic satire of visual and musical beauty, which was Amen, this is the church which comes to my mind (movie is to be remade in Bollywood with Ranbir Kapoor playing the lead role).

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Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
There are many things to catch one’s attention at Kanyakumari, and the list is like an endless one with more and more places added to it. But what caught my attention after the Thiruvalluvar Statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial was this church which catches the attention from a distance with its tall tower, and also has a special look with the blue sky and the clouds around. This one was actually not part of the places to visit, but just appeared out of nowhere and caught our attention.

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St. Mary’s Church, Thiruvithamcode, Tamil Nadu
This small structure is part of the seven and half churches which are believed to have been established by Saint Thomas the Apostle. We had read about the same, and so had gone searching for this one which was not really easy to find. This is also believed to be the first church in Tamil Nadu (formerly part of the Kingdom of Travancore), established in 63 AD. Located between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari, this church is a place of serenity, and remains the only church established by the Apostle in Tamil Nadu.

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TeNy

A Little More Divinity

Here is another flashback of my spiritual journeys that go back a few years to a season of Honda Unicorn. I have my doubts if churches can be called “cute”, but here are a few of them if they can really be called so. All of them are from Kerala, and have left a permanent mark despite their small sizes and in spite of not being that famous. This is the season of Lent, and I would consider a few more of the abodes of God can only do good. After all, I am one of those very few unlucky people who always have their birthdays during the time of Lent.

Christ Church, Munnar: Belonging to Church of South India and having a history of over one hundred years, this one goes back to the people of the tea who had arrived here in relation with the tea plantations of Munnar from Britain. The stone laid in on 11th March, 1910, this church is really well-maintained and you can have a very good view of the hilly town from here, which is beautiful, only to be challenged by the beauty of the church itself. You can see India’s colonial past and understand that this one has a lot of stories to tell.

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Church of Our Lady of Hope, Vypin: Located at the island of Vypin, which forms a part and is connected to the city of Kochi by the group of Goshree bridges, this is a small church which has the lake directly in front of it, and makes a very beautiful view if you are looking from the other side of the water body. There is a lawn, a cross and a grotto in front of this white church building, and also a number of Chinese nets and some huge trees which give enough to shades to have some spiritual rest.

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St. Sebastian’s Church, Thoppumpady: The new bridge which was built at Thoppumpady made sure that you can only travel to Fort Cochin and Mattanchery through the road which goes on the side of this church. This is a protected monument by the archeology department and the renovation works were delayed as it couldn’t be done without permission – it has been renovated now, and the photo that I have is from before that. Its antiquity is its beauty, and there is also the lake on the back-side with a nice view of the historical Harbour Bridge.

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Holy Cross Church, Mattanchery: More of a shrine than a church, this is a pilgrimage centre with historical significance. There is the presence of a small church-like area inside it though. It tells the tale of the historic oath which was made by the members of the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala that they would not submit to the rising Portuguese dominance which have been trying to forcibily Latinize the local Christian community that had existed with the Indianized version even before Christianity spread through Europe.

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St. Mary’s Church, Njarakkal: A part and a major centre of Vypin that I had earlier mentioned, this church at Njarakkal is not that different from Church of Our Lady of Hope in its architecture, but can still claim an identity of its own. It has more space inside the structure and also has very beautiful and traditional altar. The style is just like a number of older churches built at that time and having the feeling of being very old, but the renovations have made sure that it stays beautiful and worth the admiration.

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***I wish to leave the total statistics related to the number of the churches I have visited since 2009. The first one is the district-wise division, second on the list outside Kerala and third on the churches visited outside India. The only two districts missing are Kasargode and Malappuram. The districts might not be exact as I have my doubt about the borders, but the numbers are exact. *The photos used in this blog post are those taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310 only.
(Ernakulam-174, Kottayam-69, Thrissur-39, Alappuzha-29, Pathanamthitta-17, Kollam-9, Kozhikode-7, Idukki-13, Kannur-4, Trivandrum-4, Wayanad-4, Palakkad-3)
(Tamil Nadu-59, Pondicherry-11, West Bengal-11, Karnataka-8)
(England-41, Scotland-9, Sri Lanka-8)

TeNy

Twilight of the Gods

As a part of the Norse Mythology, this twilight which is more known as Ragnarok includes a number of future events including the death of major gods including Thor, Loki and Odin – not really a happy chain of events for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There will be a great battle between good and evil, and in the end, a new world will arrive. This is not something that is uncommon among most of the religions of the world too, and it should work as if it is a well known thing.

A part of many Scandinavian works including Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, this twilight is something that is expected to come sooner or later. There are things that speeds up such events, bringing more need to such events. Scandinavian mythology might not be interesting for everyone, but these events, in its full strength, cannot be ignored as humans are striving towards going towards that end. After all, almost everyone loves Thor and Loki, thanks to what Marvel has brought to the cinema.

A future Ragnarok in a modern city of chaos and destruction.

A future Ragnarok in a modern city of chaos and destruction.

Yes, we are speeding up the wheel of time as if it is our private property, which means that our time will be limited. We have been infecting our world with matters which are not needed, and taking ourselves down from the better state we have achieved through centuries of knowledge and wisdom brought to us by great people. We are coming down from our respected status, and there are things that contribute to the same, most important of them being a certain amount of uncontrollable lust, which leads to pre-marital sex.

The new generation thinks that it is just too cool, and it has lead to Bollywood also supporting the same. Well, Bollywood has been acting out of its mind for years now, looking only to find ways to make money. They always keep finding new lows to achieve in film making. The question remains about what the new generation attitude achieves. There is no such thing as being “cool”, and it is just part of the many freaky things that the new generation has come up with. We can be pretty sure that they will come up with more, but pre-marital sex surely is not even worthy enough to be categorized into the “cool” category.

Rangarok: you can't stop it, but may be the event can be delayed.

Rangarok: you can’t stop it, but may be the event can be delayed.

The end of the world is just a situation which is waiting to arrive in more than one form. It can be initiated in many ways, and one of them is our loss of morality, and the most saddening thing is that India, with its rich and respectable culture and traditions is losing it. When we think that it is the same thing that has lead to the Western civilization losing its power, I would say that it is an alarming situation, as India has stayed there in between all this development, holding on to its traditions and values. It was something that gained respect, even as some people won’t accept it.

May be the events like Kiss of Love happens to be one step towards this Ragnarok, as something emotional is brought to the camera like porn. Even as there are some good intentions behind it, one has to feel that the end results of that movement is not going to be positive. Can’t they go and kiss the orphan children and the parents abandoned by their sons and daughters? Wouldn’t that be a better Kiss of Love? What we need to hold on to, is our traditions more than anything else. No, I am not supporting any political wing in this case, but it is what can help us thrive; otherwise there is not much difference between humans and animals, as people keep asking for more and more freedom everyday to go outside morality.

Do visit the Facebook page of Poonaam Uppal at the link in the end.

Do visit the Facebook page of Poonaam Uppal at the link in the end.

This blog post was written as part of the contest at Indiblogger in association with Poonaam Uppal’s True Love – A Mystical True Love Story, a book I am longing to read myself. The question was about Yes or No to Pre-Marital Sex, and the answer, as you can see here clearly, is a big no. May there be wisdom among the youth of India, and let humanity prevail with goodness and true love instead of just lust and infatuation. *The images used in this blog are from Constantine’s and Ragnarok’s wikipedia pages and the official Facebook page of Poonaam Uppal (https://www.facebook.com/LoveDivaPoonaam) respectively. I suggest you check her book on True Love too.

TeNy

Strongest of Memories

This is something that I thought I should share on another day which would be considered more as the day of bigger relevance, but I don’t see any reason why I should delay this. To be frank, I think that I should have posted this one a long time ago. The one below is a poem which I had written on the demise of Jean Mathew, one of the earliest elderly brother figures I ever had; and to think more about it, I can’t remember any other. We had lost him to brain tumour on the third of March 2013.

He should be the most hardworking person I have ever known. Even at the worst of times, he was known for his faith, belief and hope, with a courage to face whatever comes next. He was active at http://jeanmathew.blogspot.in/ and http://photoshealingwords.blogspot.in/ during the toughest of times. The poem below has been shared before in his memories collected in a book form, but never online, and so I thought I would share this here too. This is no In Memoriam, ThyrsisAdonais or Lycidas, but just what I could come up with at that time. May be I can come up with something better on another day.

The memories go back to the 1990s
It was to Malampuzha that our first big trip
Happened like never before, with bliss
And I stood there with Jean chettan in front of
A structure which was India’s map in grass
And there was our first photo taken together.

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection of memories.

And just in a few years, during that sojourn
At Palai, among the first few computer games
Which I ever knew, one of them named Paperboy
Along with some random Tetris and Racing stuff
And then at Vagamon, still one of our best photos
With the wind, Jean chettan and myself.

And that is not everything about photos though
As he captured the best moments of the world
Freezing time and space for us all to behold
And each snap by Jean chettan brought thoughts
With Bible verses gracefully attached to them
Those lambent snaps added further sunshine.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

I still remember how much of hardwork
Jean chettan put into everything he did
And whenever I see any photo of those
Which were fallen autumn leaves or that
Which fell from the sky as pure white snow
I feel the radiance of what he captured.

Even as I shall never be able to show the same
Undisputed courage and strength in adversity
Or be that much hardworking as Jean chettan ever
His self-evident faith and optimism has done
A lot and has given strength to more than one soul
And left me further vivified in my own beliefs.

TeNy

In Search of a Soul

Based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, the movie I, Frankenstein continues the journey of the monster which was created in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. It does tell something about the background story which can be seen as a small introduction. The book has been among my favourite horror stories of all time, having an opportunity to read it during my childhood. Along with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, there was something about this novel which came second in my list at that time. So, a continuation of the tale of this monster was going to be intriguing.

The question about how good the movie is, might bring some discussions, but the major question about this work is not about its quality, but about one thing – the soul. It has Aaron Eckhart as the Frankenstein’s monster which wanders around the world we know without a soul. He has survived all the changes that the world had undergone and spends his time in loneliness. But he gets caught in a battle between the gargoyles appointed by the Archangels and the demons who are hoping to take over Earth.

Know the Frankenstein Monster, the man in search of a soul in the land of vainglory. He is Adam Frankenstein, the first monster created on Earth, the demonic paradise.

The soulless monster, Adam Frankenstein (Photo from movie's FB page)

The soulless monster, Adam Frankenstein (Photo from movie’s FB page)

The soulless creature becomes the centre of attraction because the demon Naberius, one of the original fallen angels, plan to use the procedure which was used to create this monster to re-animate a number of corpses without souls and use them as containers for the souls of millions in hell, unleashing an army of demons which will finally be able to walk on Earth and cause chaos. You remember the plan which was brought by Mammon and Balthazar in the movie Constantine and by Blackheart and his minions in the movie Ghost Rider.

It was quite easy to identify that the creature made my re-animating a dead body had no soul. But the interesting thing is that by his good deeds, he finally does grow a soul. Still, the question remains about the people of our present world. Do they have a soul? A conscience which makes them do good unconditionally in a world dominated by money where only the winners have honour and approval forcing one to shed goodness? The fact that a monster gained the same in a movie might not be consoling for many, as most of the current world lacks the abilitiy to be the container of a good soul.

Our monster does kill the wife of his creator in a few moments of anger and frustration, but the new generation does much worse. Their brutality to the people around them is not just related to some murder, but in their daily words and action as part of a long procedure which they consistently force upon their own species without any remorse. It is more like a river of anger and hatred flowing without restrictions on a monsoon. The anger at Maria Sharapova has subsided, but we do see a lot more every day, and the reality is much worse outside.

The creature was closer to the dead than the living, caught between two dimensions, of life and death, and yet manages to find life and the humanity worth his time and care. It was a creature without identity, and no conscience at all, until it became the “he”, changing his ideas about himself to more of a common hope for salvation, becoming part of all that he has known, from gargoyles to humans. He is still the equivalent of what we would call a zombie, but like in the movie Warm Bodies, he has something in him, and here it is more than just a heartbeat and a brain.

The beauty & the beast one step closer to the soul (Photo from movie's FB page)

The beauty & the beast one step closer to the soul (Photo from movie’s FB page)

Our creature understands his higher purpose and elevates himself to something beyond the selfishness that he had earlier gathered. He understands that despite what he has gone through, it is not in his power to deny God’s will or to deny himself his own right to do good, as he himself was created by a creation of God, thus becoming God’s own, in an indirect manner. He is thus Adam, the first of his kind, and unique, yet part of the universe and its plans. As they say in the movie “You’re only a monster if you behave like one” – so do most of the humans of our time deserve a soul more than a monster?

TeNy