OPH Road and Commercial Street

Standard

[Part 3 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

11 August 2016. 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.

20160811_131546

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.

20160811_132828

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

20160811_135742.jpg

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

20160811_135356

20160811_135412

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

20160811_155931

20160811_155948

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

20160816_000223

 

Two days in Bangalore

Standard

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

Vijaya my friend

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

Standard

[Part 2 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

11 August 2016. 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.

20160811_124959

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.

20160811_125008

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.

20160811_125035

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

Standard

[Part 1 of Series Two days in Bangalore]

20160811_085921

11 August 2016. 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.

20160811_104757

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

20160811_105101

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.

20160811_112049

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

Standard

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.

Heading home

Standard

<Click here for America Posts series>

This will be my last post in this series. Philip and I are on our way home to Auckland after spending four weeks in America.

We made new friends everywhere we went.
We met some old friends from childhood days.
We met family.Some very close family members and others not so close.

20151119_081751

The meeting of the three Johnson brothers (my husband being one of them) and their wives, in America of all places, will become something of a historical landmark for our family. This close circle of six will get smaller in the years ahead as one by one we head home to be with the Lord and His perfected people.

Life is uncertain and we live in different countries. Soon we will get caught up in our own lives, and It is possible that we may not meet again this way. But we have a great hope that we are all heading home. This is the same hope that the Apostle Paul had, when he said: “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

May we live lives that make our heavenward direction evident, continually being transformed to the likeness of the Saviour—full of purpose, love, and good works.

_________________________

Ending on a lighter note

Finally some notes on how the US is different from anything I’ve experienced before.

Queues are “lines” in the US, and boy, are they long! You stand in line—in long lines—everywhere.

Toilet flushes, on average, in the US are different from those in New Zealand—more efficient and seemed to involve a suction/vacuum effect.

Doors to individual toilet stalls in public rest rooms have gaps (about a centimeter wide on both hinge side and bolt side), and some privacy is compromised.

School buses look like those in storybooks.

bus

Yogurt and  chips come in larger packaging than I’m used to.

yoghurt

chips

But then everything in the US is on a slightly larger scale—larger houses, wider roads, and greater portions in KFC (although the burger in McDonalds was the same size, if not smaller). Our last meal in the US was outside the Costco store in Norwalk LA, where a little money went faaaaaaaar.

Burgers can also be referred to as sandwiches. In fact any bread/bun that has a filling seems to be described as a sandwich.

Of course foods like Hot dogs and corn dogs are common here.

Paper bags. Unlike in New Zealand, stores use paper bags.

paperbags1

I conclude this post, as we wait to board our flight home from Sydney. Only seven minutes left for boarding time, and so I stop this series here.

Grace Community Church

Standard

Click here for America Posts series>

Going to Grace Community Church to listen to John MacArthur preach was a great deal to us, up there along with going to Disneyland and Universal Studios. Hero worship is disgusting and John MacArthur, the Pastor of this church is just a man. However, we respect the work that he has done in the Church of Jesus in our day, both in reaching people for Christ and also in edifying believers around the globe.

Philip was the first person in our circles to hear about him; this was in 1981. He had some old books, one I remember was about the work of the Holy Spirit, that John MacArthur had written back in the day. So we deem it a privilege to have been able to come and hear him, someone who has played a big role in moulding the way we think about the things of God.

We decided to attend the second service, at 10:30 a.m. As we have done these last couple of days, we used Uber and got dropped off inside the church campus.

20151206_233630

The Master’s College Collegiate Choir and Orchestra presented several Christmas numbers. It was beautiful. The Pastor, John MacArthur led the service. At one point he asked the ushers to give Welcome booklets to visitors. [Visitors were invited to the Welcome Center, where they could have some refreshments and also receive one of John MacArthur’s books. We did go later on and we did get a book, which was nice.]

a20151206_222620

After the music was done and it was sermon time, the choir and orchestra left the stage. John MacArthur began his sermons on John 17 today, and after the elaborate introduction, he covered Verse 1.

Introduction
We know that Jesus prayed constantly during His time on the earth; the gospels tell us He did. But we know precious little about what the content of those prayers were. Here in John 17, we have 26 verses of Jesus’ prayer. This prayer is plain and yet majestic, just as it is at once simple and profound.

The passage may be divided into three parts:
Vs 1-5  Jesus prays for His own glory
Vs 6-19 Jesus prays for His disciples
Vs 20-26 Jesus prays for all believers

The petitions Jesus made of the Father in Vs 1-5 have been answered. The rest of the prayer is ongoing. Indeed, Jesus is our high priest and intercessor,and continues to intercede for us.

Verse 1
John MacArthur than continued to explain Verse 1, speaking about each of the phrases in bold font below:
When Jesus had spoken these words, a he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, b the hour has come; c glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you    (John 17:1 ESV)

Immediately after the service, we were greeted by a lovely couple—the Rosenbaums—seated behind us.

20151206_121522

20151206_121544

They showed us the Welcome Center before leaving. After a cup of coffee in the Welcome Center, we went to the Book shop, where I met a sweet Indonesian girl called Sylvie. We bought some books to keep as a remembrance of this day, as well as some to give away as gifts for others.

20151206_124420

We took a few final pictures outside

a20151206_132456

___________________________

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Citadel Outlet. We could not help thinking that the Outlet Mall in Katy TX is nicer, and everything had been more reasonably priced.

a20151206_141127

a20151206_145858

It was time to get to our hotel room, where we would spend our last night in LA. For Philip and I, this would be our last night in the United States.