Flashback to the Kir’ba-Priscy-Alex days

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[Part 4 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

After returning home and having a cup of Premi Akka’s tea, Hannah booked an Ola for me, so I could go and visit Kir’ba and family, Priscy and family, and Rachel in nearby Cooke Town. Cooke Town was not like the quiet spacious suburb I remembered it to be; it  was noisy and busy. But I digress; this post is about some very special friends from the past.

Their brother Alex is abroad with his family, and their parents have both passed on. I remember taking little Alex to Clarence in 1980/81, his first year in the school and my last. He would be seated behind me as I rode my bike from Williams Town to school, past Tannery Road and the Dhoddi. I would be worried that his feet would end up in the back wheel; every two minutes I would ask him if he was putting his feet in the wheel. Immediately he would spread out his legs and the resultant white flash of his impeccably Blanco’ed keds would give me confidence to continue . . . for two more minutes.

Although I did not get to meet Alex, I met the three sisters. Rachel had been just a todder when I last saw her. Kir’ba and Priscy, I knew well as my Sunday School kids in the late 70s and early 80s.  They were also neighbours. At one stage, I spent every free moment in their home, which  was different from my own,  a difference that for some reason I found refreshing.

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I do not think I should even attempt to explain how blessed and beautiful the meeting was, as they shared their testimonies and recounted the Lord’s leading in their lives. How the Lord has been faithful!

To all Sunday School teachers out there, especially the very young ones, do not underestimate the value of what you do. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet my wards after 30 years, but even if you do not have that opportunity, you can be sure that the word of God is powerful and will do its work. Yours but to teach it faithfully.  In turn, today Prisy is involved in ministry among children. This meeting alone makes having come to Bangalore well worth the while.

Pleased with the airports

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[Part 8 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

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I was impressed with the domestic airports in Chennai and Bangalore generally. The passengers were disciplined and polite, quite unlike those in our flight from KL to Chennai, for some reason.

But this post is about my breakfast in Bangalore airport, the morning I was flying back to Chennai. I had enough time to scout around for the best-value tiffin place. Having purchased a copy of ‘India Today’ for Rs 50, I had only Rs 160 in cash left. After waiting my turn in a long queue, I ordered a plate of vada (4 nos) and coffee. I was short by about Rs 10, but before I could change my order, the man at the till said “Never mind ma’am” and gave me a token.

For someone leaving Bangalore very disappointed with the traffic congestion and haphazard growth, this gesture was a pleasant surprise indeed! It was good to know that somethings were nice about today’s Bangalore. 

The coffee was also excellent.

When I posted this on Facebook, a number of people responded, urging me to look more kindly at the changed Bangalore.

Friend 1: Like our lovely airport, a lot of the city’s infrastructure has improved. I think because you live in a sparsely populated country the difference hits you. But if you think about it, I bet you didn’t see a single bus so overloaded and tilted, that it seemingly moves on two linear wheels – the way we travelled to college . . .

Friend 2: While I crib about the garbage on the road , the other day I had to walk to some place and the weather was just gorgeous – the Gulmohar trees , greenery – it’s still pretty green – was just lovely ! . . . Places like MG road and Brigade road are terrible. 100 ft road in Indranagar is the new MG Road]

Friend 3: New places like Yelahanka, Sevanagar, and HRBR are the posh areas now.

I consider Bangalore as my city and I’ll always love it. This visit to Bangalore was mostly for going around and looking at places and people from my childhood. Places had changed so much. MG Road and Brigade road had been gloriously different in the 70s, and I cannot help remembering what those roads used to look like. The traffic is atrocious. All this makes me sad, and yet I am amazed that the city functions at all with this vast population.

OPH Road and Commercial Street

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[Part 3 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

Our next stop was Old Poor House Road (OPH Road) and Taj hotel in particular. In India, when we say “hotel” we usually mean “restaurant”. I remember the many times, I  have come here to have Biriyani.

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The Biriyani was just as it was 40 years ago. The little lumps of cooked tomato masala in the rice still satisfies the taste buds as they did then. The mutton kebabs are not available anymore and have been replaced with lollipop chicken. The luxury of the finger bowl is missing.

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We washed the food down with two glasses of butterscotch milkshake shared among the three of us.

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I took the following pictures of the busy street from a window of the restaurant.

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We then went to the once posh Commercial street to do some serious shopping. This street looked tired.

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The one thing I found interesting and hence bought is this miniature cycle.

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Two days in Bangalore

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I am grateful to the Lord Jesus for giving me the opportunity to sneak into Bangalore for these two meaningful days. The following links will take you to posts that have primarily been written to help me remember.

My Periamma, Akka, and Hannah

Doddigunta better preserved than most places

OPH Road and Commercial Street

Flash back to the Kiruba-Priscy-Alex days

Ramaraj and his family

Meeting a Baldwin-Girls girl

Clarence-81 rocks

Pleased with the airports

Doddigunta better preserved than most

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[Part 2 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

I doubt that anyone has ever blogged about Doddigunta—it’s that kind of place. All that is about to change now. In 1974, when my family of mummy, father GB, and I came down from Calcutta, we stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in this part of Bangalore for six months. I am not sure how the grownups felt, as they had developed their long faces by then, but for myself, this period was filled with excitement.

Even as our Ola taxi passed the Cox Town circle, entering into Doddigunta, I was aghast at the way Charles Campbell Road had changed. What was I to expect of Doddigunta then? But as it turned out, the place still looked pretty much the same.

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The house had two floors, and our family had been given a large room upstairs. You could see heaps out of those windows—processions, drunk men, children playing, corpses being taken for cremation, fights, decorated cows for Maatu Pongal and so on. Although you can see these upstairs windows right away, to get to the main door, you needed to walk a short distance down a narrow lane. Not much had changed, even the smell was the same.

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The first left took you straight to the front entrance. The large driveway-like square that is concreted, used to have large uneven exciting-to-a-child stone pavers, possibly made of granite. The occupants of that square were a few milking cows.

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When my aunt and uncle’s family lived there, the house was maintained impeccably inside. It is not like that now. However, the elderly couple who were there were friendly and spoke to us. They had been living in the neighbourhood before and so recognised Premi akka and knew my Periamma as “the teacher.”

We stepped inside the front door into the little courtyard and pointed out various aspects to Hannah. We remembered the cool polished red-oxide floors and the boarder, the evangelist Caleb, who always wore saffron. When even I could remember so much about the house, I am sure Premi akka must have had many more memories coming back to her. While one can occasionally go back and look into the past in this way, one cannot dwell therein for too long.

It was time to go, we had other things to do, and Ola taxies are not meant for long waits.

My Periamma, Akka, and Hannah

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[Part 1 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

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What more does one want for a good start to a day than a good breakfast? That too when its made by a favourite cousin.

After a quick selfie, Premi Akka, Hannah, and I were on our way to meet Leela Periamma. Premi Akka had made some yummy chicken curry that we were taking to her. I had a warm throw for her and some sugar-free confectionery items.

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This is what the side streets in Lingarajapuram look like now.

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Leela Periamma, who lives in a retirement home, knew that I was due to come one of these days, but did not know the exact date. We thought we’d surprise her.

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Once we got into the auto, Hannah called her to let her know that they were bringing her some chicken kuzhambu. How come, they were doing this on a working day, she wanted to know, they could not have taken leave just to bring her chicken kuzhambu. Hahahaha, was she smart! Even from a distance, we could see her waiting for us in the balcony. When we reached, the others took the stairs where as I waited downstairs for a bit and took the lift.

She was happy to see me. I remembered her welcoming, “Selvi, vaa vaa vaa” from the past. Of course, she was a lot frailer now. After spending half an hour or so, we said goodbye, but not before taking some more pictures.

Deadline

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41rawi3qfkl-_sx326_bo1204203200_After what must be years, I have finished reading a storybook, Deadline by Randy Alcorn. I’ve enjoyed the book. Unputdownable and of 426 pages.
Two of the characters die, one goes to heaven and the other to hell; the storyline goes in and out of the earthly realm seamlessly. To do this, the author develops his idea of heaven. I would not touch a book like this, if I were not confident about the author’s theology and world view. And even then, I’d normally have been worried about such an attempt, but I think the subject was safe in this author’s hands.

One day, we hope to find out how well his imagination compares with the real thing. About this, in his note at the end of the book, Randy Alcorn writes: “I have therefore taken biblically revealed truths and developed (hopefully not distorted) them in a speculative (hopefully not reckless) fashion. I have carefully studied the biblical accounts of the afterlife and sought only to include concepts and portrayals which conform to or at least do not violate any biblical teaching. While much herein is extra biblical, I have sought never to be unbiblical . . .”

Most of the time, I was comfortable with the author’s imagination; I felt that he had perhaps over developed the guardian-angel theme, and under played the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the daily life of a believer.
However, I found the afterlife descriptions refreshing and exciting, filling me with greater resolve to make what remains of my time on earth count for Jesus.

I think the author has been a trifle too ambitious in wanting to incorporate the many contemporary issues and topics that have been included in the story. Thankfully his skill nearly matches his ambition, and the interest of the reader is sustained through the book, at least mine was.

I wish I had kept tabs of the many times during the reading of the book that I was tempted to post a quote from the book on Facebook. Below are some of the bits that pop out when I thumb through the pages.

Finney marveled not only at what Zyor was telling him, but that the angel had never ceased to wonder at an event millions on earth affirmed in their doctrinal statements with such little wonder at all . . .

And just when we thought Elyon could not surpass this greatest miracle with another, there came the greater one.” Zyor stood, and his voice trembled, not only with awe, but now with unmistakable anger.
“That little hill, where little men were permitted to do unspeakable things to Elyon’s Son . . .

“. . . When you were first closed out of the Garden of God, I thought He was done with you. You have seen so many things here that cause you to wonder, and you have barely begun to see. But for me, the greatest wonder is that you are here at all.

“We writhed in agony, ” Zyor continued. “We had never thought such pain possible here in the perfect realm. And yet we grew to know—though not completely understand —that all this was necessary to meet the demands of Elyon’s justice and His love. He did not need us to rescue Him. With a single word, with merely a thought he could have unmade all men . . .

And now at last, he’d been united with Jenny. He was no longer on the underside of the tapestry, where all he could see were the snarls and knots and frays. He was now on the top side, where he saw the beautiful work of art woven by the Master Artist.

Dealing with the uniqueness of human beings the angel explains

I am spirit capable of taking on a body. You, however, are spirit and body integrated into one. That which you take for granted—for instance, inhaling with your body the fragrance of a flower and having it move your spirit—is something I have never experienced, and cannot.

And perhaps the section I enjoyed the most comes earlier on in the book (pages 76-79). On the subject that we will not know everything as soon as we get to heaven.

Finney said, “I understand things so much more clearly than when I was in the other world. But there’s still so much I don’t yet know, so much I fail to understand.”
Zyor looked puzzled. “That surprises you?”
“Well, yes it does.I always though when we got to heaven we’d understand everything.” . . .
“Do you mean,” Zyor measured his next words, “that you thought you would be God.”
Well, no. Of course not.
“Who but Elyon understands everything? To expect to understand everything is to expect to be God.”

Of continued learning in heaven

The great wise warrior seemed genuinely perplexed. “I do not understand why. And I certainly cannot imagine why anyone would want such a thing. Learning requires curiosity, exploration, evaluation, and dialogue. To be granted the product of knowledge without this process would violate what it means to be a creature. It would circumvent the process of growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord . . .

Of boredom in heaven

“Boredom? Here? It is unthinkable. Heaven is the very opposite of boredom. It puts one in the presence of the Beloved himself, and of multitudes of beloved ones. Lovers are never bored, for their delight is in each other . . .

I would gladly recommend this book.