Hate Brings No Good

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that we are supposed to be here? This is the world of the dead and we are kind of immortal. By arriving here, we become the immortal dead which is kind of paradox.

Vampire Bat: You are now an emissary to the world of the dead. We are the only connection between the dead and the undead, which in turn connects the living and the dead. So, lets not think about unnecessary things and wait for the Representative and the Left Hand of Lady Death to arrive.

Vampire Owl: I don’t want to, but that creature is looking at us. It feels strange. What is that thing? I have never known that one.

Vampire Bat: Maybe we should go and ask.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure? It looks angry and frustrated.

Vampire Bat: It looks sad and depressed. We are diplomatic representatives, and we gave immunity against all attacks from the dead. Don’t worry.

The Creature: One plus one plus one and add another one to the total, makes it a hundred; I killed a hundred and I don’t know why even now.

Vampire Owl: I think that this one failed in Mathematics. It is a subject that makes many people mad. A dangerous thing indeed.

Vampire Bat: What is your name, creature?

The Creature: I have had many other names, but for now, please call me The Disfigured. I am not of this world, but I decided to belong here as I was dumb.

Vampire Owl: So, you have nobody to blame. It is really a sad thing. You should make more friends.

The Disfigured: I used to have many, and one day, I lost them all. I made the decision to choose the wrong ones, and that made me miss them all.

Vampire Bat: Why do you talk in riddles, The Disfigured? And why do you call yourself by that name?

The Disfigured: It is part of my penance. I disfigured myself and made me what I am now. The world of the dead has its own special punishments, and among them, I was given the choice; I decided to choose the one which I inflicted upon myself.

Vampire Owl: You are too weird even for the vampire standards. Are you really dead? And if yes, what has brought you to this situation?

The Disfigured: I lived at a place where people of all religions were leading happy lives, respecting each other for their beliefs. I had friends from all religions and communities. I was a religious person, but never felt anything bad about the other religions. I studied science and scored well in the subjects, but kept religion and God close to my heart. But one day, that man came to our land, and he changed things a lot. Even after he left, some people followed his path and made things worse.

bloggingforpeace

Vampire Owl: The great bringer of death?

The Disfigured: Something like that, yes. He came to our worship place and told us how the people from other religions will one day come and murder us. He told us that our religion was perfect and the other religions were worshiping the devil, and their cults needed to be destroyed. He brought a long list which he carried inside his huge bag. It was so long and as he told us the problems of other religions and made us believe that our religion was never wrong and will always be right till the end of the world. He gave us the idea that only our religion can save the world with us as the selected people, and that is the will of the God, the right God, which is our God.
Vampire Bat: That is quite natural for some people; but an educated person like you fell for that speech? Didn’t you study a lot of science?

The Disfigured: I learnt things by heart for the exams. That was all which was needed. I was never really taught values with studies. I was told to study everything by heart, get good score, find a job and bring money home. But then, this idea sounded better. I could stop studying and get my reward in another way. I could be a hero of my religion and my people who would keep screaming my name.

Vampire Bat: But what about the people from other religions with whom you were very close? Were they not your people too?

The Disfigured: I forgot them at that time. They were my friends and brothers by love, but I decided to go through them too. I was taught the art and science of murder in the name of God. I had decided that those who said something unpleasant about my God and also everyone else from that religion should die; if the ones from other religions also died, it came as a bonus because only we worshiped the real God.

Vampire Owl: So you killed your own friends and neighbours in the end?

The Disfigured: Yes, I pulled the trigger. I saw the river of blood, fire and the ashes as I felt myself becoming the abomination in their eyes during the few last moments of devastation. During those moments between life and death, I saw and heard the screams of the mothers, the cries of the helpless orphaned children, and the souls of the little children leaving that world for the other. I saw my former best friend, and he pointed at me and I knew he was asking me why. I was here, and I found nothing here; not the glory of a martyr or the reward for being a murderer for God. I understood that I made myself unworthy of even going near that God whom I once worshipped.

Vampire Bat: I don’t understand why you would think that God would want you to kill his own creations? It is a terrible misunderstanding. You felt that murder can bring you heaven and not good selfless deeds? Even zombies know better.

Vampire Owl: And now what has happened to you?

The Disfigured: I still awaited my chance to be lifted to firmament, but nothing like that happened. I was left here surrounding by the inferno and I could see the people I killed right on the golden clouds high above me, with wings made of star-dust. I tried to jump into the fire, but it brought me back each and every time, more and more burnt.

Vampire Owl: I am not surprised at all.

The Disfigured: One day a woman appeared before me, pale and wearing dark clothes, with a huge black cat and a big dog which burned bright on her side. She was wearing a crown made of parts of a giant skull and bones decorated it. She told me that I had a choice, to enter the inferno of eternal torment to be punished by the demons of the other world or to stay here, in the world of the dead as a symbol of what happens to those who hate their fellow beings, and punish myself as instructed. I decided to choose the latter, as I stand here, burning and impaling myself, being the symbol of what reward hate brings. May be doing these myself as penance can give me a second chance. I haven’t lost hope yet.

Messenger of Death: Greetings, emissaries from the Vampire World. Lady Death’s representative will see you now.

The Disfigured: Let me get back to my schedule then. I have to jump into some boiling oil now. You should go and meet them, but please be careful about that dog.

Vampire Bat and Vampire Owl continued their journey into the interior circles of the world of the dead with the Messenger of Death. They wondered what it would take to make the humans stop hating each other. There will be religion, caste, race and community now, and during other times, there will be some other reasons. They felt very much relieved that they were not among the humans. They reached the Dark Gate of the Palace of Death, and as they looked on, the gate opened by itself.

#BloggingForPeace with BlogAdda

TeNy

Advertisements

Dome: A Special Thing

Whether it is of Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial or Humayun’s Tomb, I have always loved the domes. Most of the pictures which I took at these places were of those domes. Whenever I passed in front of a building with a dome, I had to take a clear look at it, because I have always considered them the most beautiful element as part of a building – other than those Gothic elements. Simply speaking, we would consider the dome was the half of a sphere. But such an architecture always gives an even more special feeling.

I wish to visit many buildings in the world with the domes, including the Pantheon, Santa Maria del Fiore, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Saint Gereon’s Basilica, Dome of the Rock, The Marble Church, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and along with them all, Hagia Sofia, and the large number of buildings which was inspired by this Eastern Roman or Byzantine structure. The list is rather endless. Also among the buildings in India, I want to have a few names which are to be in a must visit list.

There are a few churches which I have noticed around here with those domes. None of them are that big in scope; these are the simpler ones. I believe that the largest dome I have seen until now is of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. But the cutest dome which I have seen should be of the church on the way to Angamaly from Aluva – Saint Martin de Porres Church. It has been there for a long time, I can remember it back to those times when I first traveled on the NH 47. I first noticed it due to the dome, and it is good to have such a simple spiritual building on the side of a road which is a lot traveled.

DSC05378

Saint Joseph’s Church on the side of the NH 47 at Karayamparambu should be one of those churches which can catch anybody’s attention. Situated on the way from Angamaly to Chalakudi, closer to the former, it can be seen if you are travelling from Kochi or from the Cochin Airport to Trichur or Northern Kerala. There are figures of the Apostles around the statue of Jesus Christ right in front of the dome. Inside the dome, light gets through the cupola on the sides of the wings of the Holy Spirit in the form of dove, which is a nice arrangement. It is surrounded by photos of the saints.

DSC08767

Saint George Basilica at Angamaly stays as the symbol of a rich history of the town. It is one of the largest churches in South India, and has a nice cupola on the top too. There are images of the Apostles on the glasses of the dome, and if you look from the inside, you can see that the light also comes through the glasses with the pictues of Apostles painted on the glasses. You can also see the smaller domes at the front. The use of painted glasses can be seen throughout this church, and the light makes some wonderful reflections!

DSC05348

Saint Joseph’s Cathedral can be seen at Muvattupuzha just before reaching the town while coming from Perumbavoor/Angamaly or returning. You can see the domes from some distance. The Malankara Catholic Cathedral has a total of five domes of which three are visible from a distance – the number five should be representing Jesus Christ and the Four Evangelists. This big onion domes are rather rare in the case of churches here – it is good because I won’t have to travel to Russia or parts of Eastern Europe to see them.

DSC04290

Saint Thomas Church at Karumalloor on the way from Aluva to Paravoor, has a newer style of domes. It was rebuilt in the last few years, and even though it is not special in its architecture, the domes and the altar are worth having a look at. Having three domes in the front and the rest extending like a hall, there is some modern variety here, for there are domes, but none which reminds one of the antiquity. We do keep looking for some variety everywhere, don’t we? Well, here is one.

DSC05784

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

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.

DSC09546

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.

DSC08843

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.

DSC05868

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).

DSC09602

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.

DSC08896

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.

DSC09194

TeNy

Religion and Love

There might be a lot of people who have achieved more, and a good number of them got the potential to reach the summit of greatness like nobody else – it is the quality of the list of people related to #WillOfSteel by JSW that makes us feel proud of our fellow countrymen at the first look. But then there is the realization about what we really want. Above all, what comes to the mind is more about what the nation needs than anything else. It is not people who make a lot of money or those who become famous for being good at a random thing – it is more.

Each and everyday that we spend on Facebook or the internet as a whole has become more of a curse, and it continues like there is no end. There are more hate messages than there is the true essence of any religion. Everyone has their own idea of bringing hatred, and they go on with the same. People hate all who spread the message of love just because they are of another religion, and we know how the venom spreads when some people opens their mouth.

Therefore, Krishnadas becomes the man whom the nation really needs and should inspire a lot more with the message “Follow your religion, love everybody”. He has spread the message for years as he stands at the centre of the busy street holding the placard having the message; also leaving something for the people who visit the beach. With a few declarations which have been made in the recent days, I would expect the intolerance to rise to a new level and people are going to be doubtful about the other religions. Some worship centres are going to be closed to others due to fear of mob violence, and some devotees are going to avoid certain places of worship due to fear of the same. This is where people like him can do wonders.

wos

When we wander through the dark realms of the internet, we see those high achievers and those men with lots of money, education and fame that make ridiculous speeches spreading hatred against other religions. Then we have this man who spreads love in the name of all religions to everyone alike. If your religion is not love and kindness, but hatred for other religions, you need to rethink in the name of any God which you follow – is this what your God has taught you? If hatred comes free with some people, you have to wonder what kind of devotees they are.

Some people bring the past to hate other religions, but if you do repeat what has been happening in the past in present modern age, it only gets worse in your case. It doesn’t get any better, and extremism in the modern world of globalization is plain stupid, no matter how much you can fool people. The world has changed, and it is time for people to stop going through the Dark Ages again. Yes, some people need to be reminded of love very often and may be we can have this written everywhere! This is actually with a potential for the end of religious terrorism that we have here!

What we need are people like him, not politicians who divide us in the name of religion, caste and many other things. We need educated people who understand the true meaning of religions, and spread the message of love. We don’t need the religious leaders who spend their time talking about how bad the other religions are, and we don’t need those who care about others only after looking at what has been filled in the “religion” column. Yes, love people regardless of their religion – why is it so difficult these days?

Well, all we see on the road these days are religious processions and political protesters on the roads, but it is so difficult to spread love. May this man’s #WillOfSteel be inspiration to many, and work as a device for not hating other religions just because some of those so called “leaders” say so. If anyone comes close to being a true sage these days, it is him. We need someone like him everywhere as we always see the loss of respect towards other cultures and religions. People need to know that being Indian is beyond religions. This man is more than just a sign, because his sign is the new hope. He has #WillOfSteel.

I’m voting for Krishnadas’ #WillOfSteel and blogging on BlogAdda to help him get felicitated and eventually enabled by JSW.

***The image used in this blog post is from the BlogAdda page related to the same.

TeNy

Conversion or Transformation?

Dark Eldar: No, you can’t take care of our dying. It is not fair. As the leader of all eldar kind, I prohibit the same. I have even prepared a long list of the things that I don’t allow and published it as a book. You can buy it from the book shop for three hundred and ninety nine gold coins.

Vampire Bat: What? Why? We have come all the way to the other world after going through twenty four portals of hell just to take care of these people, especially of your uncle and your grandfather.

Dark Eldar: We are the eldars, the oldest group of people in the world. We have doubts that our people will be converted from our worship of coffee to your religion of tea, which is unacceptable. May be you are terrorists too, how can we be sure as you worship something else?

Vampire Bat: You are accusing us of conversion and terrorism just because we belong to another religion?

Dark Eldar: Yes, we eldars are very much an elder race. We are so old and awesome that it amazes me.

Vampire Owl: I think he is dead.

Dark Eldar: No, don’t touch him; wait, yes you can touch him and try healing without converting. No vampire conversions here.

Vampire Bat: It is a vampire transformation. Not conversion. It is also done by biting. What is wrong with you people?

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is dead. Congratulations.

[A team of people armed with claws and swords comes in, and the eldars get their wand-guns and knives ready].

Vampire Crocodile: Is that a werewolf?

Eldars have advanced weaponry, but still your hostile neighborhood extremists.

Eldars have advanced weaponry, but they are still your hostile neighborhood extremists.

Werewolf Anger: I am the leader of Werewolf South Squadron 47. You can call me Anger.

Vampire Owl: I could have easily guessed that name. You look very angry. But are the werewolves always very angry? So I wouldn’t consider that a nice name for a werewolf standing among many werewolves. I can call you all with the name Anger.

Werewolf Anger: Forget my name. You can call me Master Tintu instead. I am here for the dead grandfather. Any questions?

Vampire Crocodile: What do they call you when you are not angry? It is unfair to call you angry when you are slightly less angry because when compared to the standard werewolf anger, that should be too less to be officially called anger.

Werewolf Anger: What? I hate these religious fundamentalists who are not of my religion. We, the worshippers of lime juice are offended by the tea and coffee drinkers. Now, any questions which are not related to my name or any type of anger?

Dark Eldar: I am not going to ask any questions. See, my dear fellow eldars; he is too stupid, like an eldar without his magic wand. He doesn’t even know that this is our dead body.

Werewolf Anger: How can you say that? No, this is our dead body.

Dark Eldar: Shut up. This is our dead body. Ours, ours, ours.

Vampire Bat: One question. Isn’t this actually the dead person’s dead body?

Vampire Crocodile: Wow! What a question. This is why I have joined the vampire team.

Dark Eldar: He is our great grandfather. How can his dead body be not ours? He is a martyr for our Great Eldar Religion.

Werewolf Anger: No, he was bitten by a werewolf last night. He was going to convert into a hybrid werewolf tonight. So, he is our dead body, and the martyr of the Legendary Werewolf Religion.

Vampire Bat: Why do you people keep using the word conversion? People transform into vampires, werewolves and even eldars.

Dark Eldar: Dude, it is the new trend. If we say conversion, things sound pretty cool.

Werewolf Anger: Your grandfather was going for a homecoming, Mr. Eldar. Accept it. He has a bloodline of werewolves through his mother’s side.

Dark Eldar: Forced conversion! He had already returned home with the “home return programme”. You bit him and tried to convert him, you religious fundamentalists of lime juice.

Werewolf Anger: He came to us and asked to convert him. This is voluntary conversion. It is you who do forcible conversions.

Dark Eldar: No, we take only those people who were always ours; its a re-conversion.

Werewolf Anger: Nonsense. We have copyright for all re-conversions in all known dimensions of the Southern Realm.

Dark Eldar: Do you remember what happened at Satyrisya?

Werewolves are always ready to pounce on others, just waiting for the right opportunity.

Werewolves are always ready to pounce on others, just waiting for the right opportunity.

Werewolf Anger: Don’t you dare to say even one word about Satyrisya.

Dark Eldar: Why? Did you receive Satyrisya as a reward for forcibly converting all the poor satyrs of the Ting-tong forests?

Vampire Bat: People with brains have the tendency to explore other religions. Intellectual people can’t stay at a point and blindly follow the ideas of just one religion and surely can’t stand its extremists who come up with hate speech. Conversion is one’s personal decision. Why are you so much bothered about it when it happens between almost all big enough religions?

Werewolf Anger: I am Anger.

Vampire Crododile: Everybody knows that already.

Werewolf Anger: I am just saying that to remind myself about it as I was brainwashed by religious fundamentalists and got some major memory problems. I am just left with one doubt – is it eating potato chips that we have banned or was it about tapioca chips? I am actually kind of hungry angry.

[A group of zombies enter through the window].

Lich Queen: Am I late? My zombie minions wanted to have ice cream on the way. I am looking for a dead grandfather.

Vampire Bat: Meet Miss Lichie, the Great Queen of the zombie underworld. They believe in ice cream and its greatness.

Vampire Owl: I have just received the text message that a group of mutants are heading this way, lead by a Professor XYZ. They are holding flags with beer cans printed on them.

Vampire Crocodile: Damn. Here we go again.

*A few parts of some dialogues were inspired by the Malayalam movie Sandhesam, the best political satire ever produced in India and the flick is also part of IBN Live’s list of greatest Indian films of all time. ***Please don’t consider this as anti-religion, but as anti-extremist concerning the haters. This is exactly how you sound like when you fight over religion – please don’t discriminate by religion and pray to God that you may be granted the wisdom to know about the same and love your fellow human beings! *The images used in this blog post are from http://hdwallpapersfactory.com/

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.

DSC01712

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.

DSC01733

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.

DSC01463

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.

DSC01624

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.

DSC01797

***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

The Spiritual Variety

As I have been thinking about variety, there are a number of churches which come to mind – those which would seem like small structures, but manages to catch our attention with a certain amount of difference with their looks, as they are combined with beauty and spirituality in the right manner. Here are a few of those smaller, but beautiful structures which I wish to share here – all of them from Kerala, and to be more exact – from the Ernakulam district except for the first one in the special mention.

1. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Muvattupuzha: On the way to Muvattupuzha from Perumbavoor, the dome of this beautiful structure catches our attention from a distance. The photo was taken before the church work for the rebuilding was complete and so it looks even better now. Unlike the other churches around here with a dome, this one has onion domes of different sizes. It reminds me of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, and whenever I dream of traveling to Russia with all the churches with similar domes, I look at this cathedral and be happy, telling myself that I shall see more of it 😀

DSC04297

2. St. Joseph Church, Karayamparambu (Angamaly): I have waited very long for this church to complete its renovation or rather rebuilding. After the process, this surely looks like a structure that you can’t miss while traveling from Cochin to Trichur on the National Highway 47 connecting Salem and Kanyakumari, just after Angamaly, on the way to Chalakudi. It has a very beautiful altar and you have to look under that beautiful dome right after you enter. There is a lot of nice imagery surrounding the dove as the Holy Spirit. A small structure here, but still so Herculean in its beauty.

DSC08765

3. St. Xavier’s Church, Aluva: This rebuilt church at Alwaye has been my favourite church to attend a Holy Mass for quite a long time. They have the English Mass too, and what catches one’s attention more than anything else are those glass paintings which are around the altar and beyond. The saints are there, and so is the representation of the scriptures. The crucifix image is also different and catching our attention – there is a lot of spiritual feeling with the evening programs as the lights enter through the glasses. It is the major reason why I go for the evening mass too.

DSC04373

4. St. Thomas Church, Chowara (Aluva): Unlike what people think, Aluva surely has some of the most beautiful churches, scattered around the town and its outskirts, mostly Syro-Malabar and Latin in rite. It has a mixed design, and inside, part of the old altar is preserved. The floor has wood as well as tiles, and the option of AC is also there. The imagery is nice and so are the surroundings. You can see the top of the church building from quite a distance and is located just before the town when coming from Aluva on the route to Sreemoolanagaram/Kanjoor.

DSC03710

5. St. Thomas Church, Karumalloor (Paravur): With all the lights inside switched on at night and shining in the darkness around, I have found this one a very special structure. You can easily notice the beauty if you have travelled through the route at night. With some very effective lighting, the church has some simpler and yet effective imagery inside. The lighting as well as the borders and colour combinations make the images more beautiful. There are also some nice work on the glasses, even as they are lesser in number. This is on the right side while you travel from Aluva to Paravur.

DSC05808

Older churches: Special Mention:
St. Thomas Church, Palayur: This church founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle in 52 AD is believed to be the first Church and thus the oldest standing Christian worship place in India. Connected to many ancient trading centres through rivers and lakes, and with the existence of ancient Jewish settlements, this had become a perfect place to find the church, and this structure maintains the ancient Kerala architecture even with a lot of additions being made to it. It has a Saint Thomas Monument and a museum too.

DSC02371

St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi: Here is the oldest European church in India, and its antiquity is actually easily visible from a distance. Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in the year 1524 and was buried in this church before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The structure has a great historical significance, as it was a witness to the colonial battles for supremacy and a long lasting symbol of India’s colonial past. There are a few things of interest inside the church, but as photography is not allowed inside, I have no pictures.

DSC05671

***All the images used in this blog post are from my camera (Sony Cybershot DSC W-310).

TeNy

A Special Ceylon Rewind

My journey to Ceylon is something that I rewind and play very often in my mind. There are many things that I was sure about, but one thing among them was that I had a fantastic time with the Ramayana Tour arranged by Riya Travels with the company of the newfound “spiritual uncles”, all of them who seemed to be above the age of sixty and myself being the not-so-little kid 😀 Here, I am sharing a few places that I wish to recollect – my little packages of joy.

10. The Ravana Ella: There have been a number of waterfalls during our journey through the high altitude areas of Ceylon, and among them, this waterfalls named after Ravana has the first say. This has a background story going back to Ramayana, and it is believed that Ravana hid Seetha in the caves behind this waterfalls.

DSC00829

9. The Kandy Lake: This man-made lake is a beautiful sight to witness. Built by the last king of the place, Vikrama Rajasinha, before going under the British occupation, this is a nice place in the heart of the city, located next to the Temple of the Tooth. Here is one for your favourite lakes list.

DSC00610

8. Hakgala Botanical Garden: Often connected to Ravana’s Ashoka Vatika in Ramayana, this is now a botanical garden with nice collection of trees, plants and flowers. The climate is nice and cold, with the place having some beautiful spots for taking photos. Yes, the tea is also around for us.

DSC00694

7. St. Xavier’s Church, Nuwara Eliya: A walk through the cool climate of the place felt good, and during one of those walks through the hilly town, we came across this church, and an attempt to enter with chappals left on the outside almost lead to the freezing effect. The structure is nicely built and things were nicely arranged.

DSC02056

6. St. Anthony’s Church, Bandarawela: When we were wandering around the town with lots of spare time having nothing else to do, we found out this hidden gem. It was not a big structure, but managed to be different in its style. It is located at a higher area of the town, and with its attractive looks, has a calm atmosphere.

DSC00780

5. Seetha Amman Temple, Seetha Eliya: This is where Ravana is supposed to have hidden Seetha after abducting her. It is not a big town or anything, but a peaceful place which seems to have its own spiritual significance for anyone who wishes for some serenity during their journey. This a small, but beautiful structure which stretches from the rocks below to the heights of the road.

DSC00677

4. The Negombo Beaches: We didn’t have much to spend at Colombo, and therefore the adjustment was made whatever was left with the beaches of Negombo. There were some nice, beautiful scenery there, and some spots which reminds us of home, in an extremely positive manner. There was a lot of Kerala at parts of Negombo, and I didn’t feel away from home at all.

DSC00298

3. Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Factory, Nuwara Eliya: Providing us with breath-taking scenery of the tea plantations and also for providing us with the much needed awesome tea, the cold climate contributes with a sudden blow of wind which takes out breath away and then we realized that we need to drink more tea.

DSC02045

2. Temple of the Tooth, Kandy: A royal palace and a temple complex, with the sacred relic of the tooth of Buddha – I don’t think that it could get any better on that trip. It was actually the first Buddhist temple I had ever visited, if my memory is correct; and yes it was not like anything I had seen before.

DSC00462

1. The Kelaniya Temple: This is where our journey ended, as we went directly to the airporty at Colombo after the visit here. The temple takes us back to the time of the final visit of Buddha to Sri Lanka. It has wonderful paintings and sculptures all around, and special mention is needed for the reclining Buddha. The paintings show the life of the Buddha, incidents related to Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also a few things from the Jataka tales.

DSC00997

*The photos used in this blog post are all taken by me using a Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and a Sony Cybershot DSC-W180 – had two cameras with me in case one gave me trouble 😀

TeNy

What Remains of Christmas

*I would like to begin this post with a statutory warning which has been issued by Uncle Dracula in association with the whole vampire community and a message from Simona the Lionhearted. She asks everyone to wear your helmets during this Christmas, and not to drink too much that you might end up forgetting your helmet, as it is not too different from forgetting the significance of your head. Simona loves her helmet and prefers to save herself inside it, a lesson for all the humans to learn. Use your helmet, no matter what 😀

Simona likes helmets and chooses to save herself. Do you? :D

Simona likes helmets and chooses to save herself from those possible injuries. Do you? 😀

Now, what can I say about Christmas? I doubt its existence as the big thing that it used to be. It still exists for me because it needs to. There is the loss of power of celebration that I associate with a number of festivals, and I can do the same with Christmas. I haven’t really seen a Christmas carol for ages. But no, this is not a festival that you can let go that easily. Unlike the others, this one keeps coming back, and the best reason for the same may be the time of the festival. May be there should have been full power snow here – that should have worked a lot better.

Christmas has had its charms during the childhood days. There was Santa Claus, and there was hope; even as nobody really gave me the presents; none of those self-proclaimed loving uncles or aunties – not even the big cousin-brothers, when I have seen my dad giving to the relatives, and a lot of my friends receiving from their uncles. Nobody even gave me five rupees to buy black tea. But I still believed at that time, because others did receive, and I thought Santa Claus might give something to me directly.

Every year of not receiving anything, the level of that hope comes down. Now, we are left with the absence of Santa Claus as well as that hope. As it is said in the end of the movie, The Polar Express, “At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe”.

The Christmas Crib there - prepared it again after more than fifteen years.

The Christmas Crib there – prepared it again after more than fifteen years for no reason.

We were all dreamers, but when we grow up and choose not to believe – I live in my doubts, created from the chaos that is in my mind. I have been that close to disbelief that I could never believe in anything anymore. Christmas had its magic, but it seems to be disappearing, just like all the traditions and those celebrations that we had. Who wants magic in the world of science, right? Who wants tradition when without it one can be free evil and do anything and everything? Then there are the saviours of traditions who rarely makes sense. There will always be non-believers who choose religion for material benefits.

We are left with people who celebrate the festivals for showing off, or for some random personal benefit. Everyone wishes to show the money power and the Merry Christmas is no longer merry. The only thing that comes with a certainty is its reverse, Remy Martin – people take this as another occasion to drink along with the hundreds that they have ever year, and it passes. Santa Claus gets stuck in the chimney with his reindeer sent to the slaughterhouse and nobody will care – thank God that Mahabali comes from the underworld; he only have to save himself from the pot-holes taking him back to his abode. We have gone on to become a selfish group of people, and every festival has gone on to reflect the same.

The star for Christmas - put it once again after a long time just because I could.

The star for Christmas – put it once again after a long time just because I could.

We have reduced faith in God and it has reflected in our love and care for people. The hatred that we see everyday is just too high. Some people think that it can be solved by converting people into one religion. They are as responsible for this as much as those without faith. We are being thrown into a world of mutual hatred, and it is getting only worse. Whatever happens, the fact remains that we are influenced by more than one religion in our life time, and we don’t belong to just one. Why would Santa want to come and receive the news about Peshawar? Why isn’t there the chance for every child to celebrate Christmas and get the presents? Isn’t there at least a chance for them to live?

We need all the customs and traditions, and we need each and every world religion with all those good things that they teach. The world needs all its beliefs because humanity was shaped by them. We need people to explore each of them, and understand the basic message of love. Lets do something good on this Christmas, and not publish it on Facebook. That would be a good idea. It will bring back a part of the magic of Christmas; lets give it to someone else who is in need. Lets do it irrespective of religion, and let no one take away our right to be good to people, not considering their backgrounds.

I shall keep my doubts, but all of you have a wonderful Christmas nevertheless 🙂

The decorations for the crib are from
I. Trinity Supermarket, Keezhilam
II. Pittappillil Stores, Kuruppampady
*Just mentioning because they proved effective and substantial in making the crib, something I did after a break of fifteen years or so.

TeNy

Finding Possible True Love

William Shakespeare, in his Sonnet Number 116, talks about rosy lips and cheeks. He tells his readers how insignificant the beauty of body is, in the case of true love. This actually takes the case of pre-marital sex away from the equation, and as a post-graduate in English Literature and an admirer of the literature of all times, I have always wondered about those lines from the Bard Of Avon. True love is not completely about beauty and sex, and pre-marital sex is something that defies the same. The media nowadays might think different, but lets not fall for that.

So, a question comes here. Is pre-marital sex in any way related to true love? I would say no. There is absolutely no need for such stuff in true love, because it is beyond all that. It is the superpower of true love. It extends and stays far above one of the most powerful thing among the Seven Deadly Sins – fornication; that is accomplished by true love with ease due to its power. It might be more difficult these days, but there are not many things that true love is not capable of. Ask any religion about this – all of them have been found for the good of humans, even as some people who are actually non-believers, take things out of the context.

Listen to what the great man says - is it too difficult to follow?

Listen to what the great man says, or at least try – is it too difficult to follow here?

True love’s existence itself is something that creates a leviathan of doubts. But saying no to pre-marital sex is a certainty. There is nothing to be doubtful about it because we have grown up in such a world, rich in its traditions and extravagant in its beliefs. We have been taught to say no to many things, and it has helped the righteousness grown strong in our world, which separates us from many other nations of the world. Do we need to descend into chaos? I wouldn’t want that, because we are civilization which has known righteousness and mutual respect since a very long time ago.

Take the case of the poem When You Are Old by William Butler Yeats. Our poet addresses it to his only love that was never fulfilled and tells her that he loves her not thinking about her physical features – he says “one man loved the pilgrim soul in you”. His love is not of random sexual desires which lead to pre-marital sex. It certainly has platonic elements, and the significance of the same is that his thoughts were free but still pure, and not thinking of pre-marital sex. Is it too difficult to listen to the most creative minds, and one of the best Ireland has ever had?

Poems about love - always helps one to believe in it, right?

Poems about love – always helps one to believe in it, right? Just wait till marriage.

The difference between true love and fake love is sex. It stands there between the two separating them, with the fake one taking on the pre-marital sex and the other one tells love to wait for marriage. There is a tug of war going on between the two and the question remains about why one can’t wait? True love waits, and impatience is many things, but not true love. What the lovers need to think about is if it is love or lust that takes over the romance. Is it the infatuation or is it eternal love that you have here – a doubt that is answered only by the existence of absence of pre-marital sex.

Those who support pre-marital sex clearly challenges the idea of true love and are responsible for its near extinction. They are also challenging the Indian culture for the Western tradition which used to be the same at some point of time, but has lost its purity due to giving too much freedom to its people. The freedom that we need is not the freedom of pre-marital sex and similar things, but the freedom to be good and fair. But the West has gone beyond that. Do we need to imitate them? The answer once again is no, except for a few good things.

There are poems, there is romance and there is true love.

There are poems, there is romance and there is true love – but no to pre-,marital sex.

Between all these, take some time to read Poonaam Uppal’s True Love – A Mystical True Love Story. This blog post is also part of the contest related to this work True Love – A Mystical True Love Story by Poonaam Uppal, in association with Indiblogger. Yes, true love needs to win, and it doesn’t need pre-marital sex. It needs trust in one another, and the faith that goes beyond all realms, for eternity. I am hoping to read Poonaam Uppal’s book and take that fictional journey from Las Vegas to the Great Himalayas. *In this post, I share the commonly used image of William Shakespeare from his wikipedia page along with two photos of beautiful poetic verses which I captured from the Botanical Garden of Ooty (all are cropped).

TeNy

The Path to Redemption

2009 saw the release of Solomon Kane, telling the tale of the rise of a hero, a protagonist who was different from the rest, and even his motives having a separate cause behind them. It has James Purefoy has the protagonist, a former mercenery seeking redemption. It came up with a great atmosphere, which was not scary, but still haunting, and its use of the elements like plague, demons, sorcery and swordfights without overdoing anything, is worth mentioning. It was one of those movies which came instantly into my favourites list.

Our hero is Solomon Kane, a ruthless man who has massacred innocents in war, and one day, captures a castle in North Africa where his men are taken away by demons from the mirror around, and he comes face to face against the Devil’s Reaper who is there to take his soul to hell for the terrible things he had done. But he rejects the fate that is put in front of him and jumps out into the sea to begin a life in hope for redemption.

You don't mess with Solomon Kane (Pic from movie's FB page)

You don’t mess with Solomon Kane (Pic from movie’s FB page)

He comes to believe that his hope for salvation will be attained by pacifism. But that would change when he is provided asylum by a family which is later slaughtered, and the young daughter of the family is taken by an evil sorcerer. There comes the alternate path for redemption, and we see that he says “There are many paths to redemption, not all of them peaceful”. From there, he travels a different path, not something that is unknown to him, but something that was there to be taken.

The world itself reflects the state of the protagonist’s mind. There is wasteland all around, with not much hope left for anyone. There is evil running through the world and goodness is rare to find. Demons ravage the world and the angels are nowhere to be found. Well, not that much different from the present world, but in the case of this movie world, it was clearly visible – in this century, even demons can act as angels really well and any possible angel is mistaken as a demon.

The name itself reminds us of two people, and we see the contrast there – the wise king who was Solomon, and the cursed human whom Cain ended up becoming, after slaying his sibling. These two personalities seem to exist in him, and it was only upto him to decide which one he had chosen to become. James Purefoy is a lot like the poor man’s Hugh Jackman, and here he is, like Hugh Jackman in Van Helsing – and that helps. Do look out for the yound Rachel Hurd-Wood as Meredith Crowthorn, the same person who played Sibyl Vane in 2009’s Dorian Gray, another character of innocence.

“If I kill you, I am bound for hell. It is a price I shall gladly pay” – this is what Solomon Kane would eventually come up with. The movie has no clear presence of God or the Devil, as there are only messengers to those beyond Earth. Devil himself chooses to send the Reaper rather than bringing himself or his trusted minions to Solomon Kane. Even the redemption of our protagonist is a story which seems to be never-ending, and only a few sequels can bring it to the finishing line. There is a lot left for humans to accomplish on Earth by themselves, and for the same, we might need help, but not new human gods.

Behold evil in all its glory (Pic from aceshowbiz)

Behold evil in all its glory (Pic from aceshowbiz)

Solomon Kane’s message is to react to the evil rather than let it thrive. It asks to act for the righteous and on the side of goodness rather than checking such things and thus seek redemption for the wrong that has been done. Even for the worst, there is the hope for redemption, even during the worst of times. The movie’s message remains strong as it has a strong protagonist played by a wonderful actor, and the atmosphere of the movie keeps the viewers interested in it. I loved the rain that kept pouring. This is a movie I choose to recommend highly. It deserves to be watched – for Solomon Kane didn’t get a release at this part of the world.

TeNy

Vampires of the Soul

There is no other book that I loved more than Dracula, and I used to read many versions of the same in English and Malayalam during my childhood, and I have known Bram Stoker before I knew William Shakespeare. Count Dracula has been part of my early life more than anyone else and even inspired me to read more horror and made me watch my first horror movies, and my first horror movie in English to be watched on a VCR, John Carpenter’s Vampires. It would introduce me to the entity called “the vampire” which would never be redefined better than it did for me in this work.

Dracula was one person who never really scared me. But people around the world were worth being afraid of more than this one vampire. Some of them suck the life out of you, others money, and the worst of the suck the happiness out of you, and they are the vampires of the heart and soul. Most of them feel that they are the only people in the world, and the Earth no longer revolves around the sun, but instead exist for their own needs and all the people in the world are made for them to use. This one-human-centric universe have been sucking everything good out of our known world for centuries.

Consider the case of Count Dracula. He wanted to migrate to another country leaving his rural world behind. For the same, he leaves his old world behind and is ready to blend in with the so called urban people. But what does he get in the end? He is forced to keep running and in the end gets a stake through the end for trying to understand other cultures and mingle with them. He was a man of nature, blended with his natural environment and feared by the people of his land due to him being an introvert.

Bran Castle, commonly known as the Dracula Castle (photo from wiki)

The beautiful Bran Castle, commonly known as the Dracula Castle (photo from wiki)

Now, there comes the problem of being introvert. There are many organizations for supporting even the dumbest things in the world saying that it is one’s personal life and there is the choice to be different. But being an introvert is rather too difficult, as the other take away or rather suck everything away, and bening terribly talkative has been becoming a need, and on the tip of the talks, there would be big lies which will help one to advance in life. The others who can’t lie or show off their vanity will suffer like Dracula.

Still, the society considers introverts and people who can’t use tell a beautiful lie every hour or so as not easily acceptable. Being talkative should be a choice, and when people are chosen according to the performances during a few minutes of interview, it is a case of losing the right person for the job and instead finding someone who can talk and justify all mistakes and atrocities. You can’t find the right person by talking for a few minutes, because lies are too easy to say for the new generation designed just to succeed. This is the world of fake smiles, and the season of faking love.

Dracula was undoubtedly an introvert and a man who couldn’t socialize easily, and the use of diaries, letters and logs in the work and making it an epistolary one means that it was rather the idea of a group of people from one side of the society, and even the ideas claimed to be of other people could have also been forged. May be he had some bad teeth, and it is also possible that he was too much addicted to wine – there goes the ideas about bad teeth and drinking the red fluid. He just belonged to another culture and it is usual to be afraid of the customs and traditions, plus he had his own special abilities.

Christopher Lee playing the Count (photo from wiki)

Christopher Lee playing the Count, considered the common depiction (photo from wiki)

It is a usual misconception to related Dracula to the devil, and it is plain wrong. The vampire is surely not the devil, and beyond that, the Count has a personality which is far better than this plagued society which is not just affected by hatred towards other religion, caste, race and community, but also towards the random people who don’t know one’s idol or their most awesome person, a sportsperson, a movie star – any random celebrity. Yes, vampires have to look scary and not like a dumb teenager, but the story of the Count is debatable. Dracula was million times better than most of the vain humans of this age even on his worst day. Yes, the Indian cricket fans have already proved the same with their racist and sexist comments.

TeNy.