Friday, December 25, 2015

Big bigger biggest

Had  been  to  this  church  recently   and  I  was  just  stumped   by  the  lavishness  with  which  it  was  built. 

I am talking about the St George church at Edappally Kerala.  
Later on,  I  was  told  that  the  total  cost  for  building  the  church  was  somewhere  between  35  crores  and  50  crores (Rupees)  

I was just wondering about the source of the money. Obviously it has not come from thin air. Are the parishioners so rich?  Then I started hearing stories. 

An auto rickshaw driver of this parish wanted a date to be fixed for his first born child to be baptized. The vicar refused to baptize the child unless he cleared his dues of Rs 35000/- for the rebuilding of the church. The helpless man mortgaged his auto rickshaw,  paid Rs 30000/- to the church and got his child baptized.   

Also heard that the "fees" for getting married in this church is Rs one lakh.
There may be many parishioners who may be finding it difficult to make both ends meet, but are coerced to contribute for this “big church”  (there are two other churches already standing in the same compound) 

the original church dated AD 593

So it’s a case of big, bigger, biggest.

The Malayalam daily Mangalam says it has a height of 146 feet covering an area of 85114 square feet and adds “instead of making it a place of peaceful worship, they made it an eye-popping posh architectural extravaganza” 

While  I  sat  in  the  church  I  was  reminded  of  the  black  and  white  drawing in  the  Old  Testament  (it was our text book for the catechism class in school)

I was hoping that Jesus would appear once more and do something similar  to  chase away all the people responsible for this blunder.

The things people do in the name of religion.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Little Angels

Came to know about this school through a common friend. The Little Angels school, situated on the Undri road (Pune) is for the differently-abled children. 

I fixed an appointment and visited the school to have a look at their daily routine.  When I reached the school, they were having their regular outdoor activities. I found this boy, happy and content being in the swing all the time. 

One teacher told me that it was a big leap for many considering the fact that at one point of time they could hardly do any activity independently  and now they can balance and pedal a cycle on their own.

Each one was an “expert” at something or another. This boy had mastered the trampoline and tried to go higher and higher with each jump

Jumping over small hurdles, co-ordination of mind and body. 

Throwing the coloured balls across the net was a fun event for many

I was surprised at the ease with which they balanced and skated around.  

Some of them looked forward to the daily practice of Yoga 

I was admiring the patience and resilience of the teaching staff as each student is in a different mood and need a lot of coaxing to get into some activity. 

The outdoor activities are held in the first session so that their pent up energy is released and they are calm in the classroom during the second session.

The class rooms may look small but that helps in giving individual attention to each one as the absorbing capacity of each student is different.

They have a class for vocational training in which the students are encouraged to make handmade articles 

The first school was started by Mr Jehangir Afshari in Mumbai about 13 years ago. The aim of the school is to give the children an opportunity to live independently away from their families. The second one (a pre-primary school) was opened in Bandra, and a training school was opened in Lonavala. 

Items made by the students  

At present the students in the Mumbai school are capable of taking the Govt. examinations i.e. National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) – X & XI and is also planning to do the same in Pune.

There was a cultural program in which stalls were put up by the school and it was good to see the students and the staff, turn out in their Sunday best. You can see more pictures in the video.