Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Are you old school?

For once, I thought I was on top and in touch with the latest..It's my generation, my time has come, I'm the 'in' thing...But now, I'm increasingly realizing that I'm becoming old school...Looking at younsters- their gadjets, their attitude, dressing sense, music choice etc. -makes me realize that. But I guess you have noticed this: 

There are some old guys who are funnily traditional, old fashioned and looks uncool. However, there are some old people who are old but in a 'nice' way:-) In behaviour, attitude, speech, et al. they display such grace and composure. They look good being old and it suits them ;-) I'm not talking about those 'weirdos' who try to look young and make a fool of themselves. 

In the movie ‘Gran Torino’, there’s a conversation between Clint Eastwood, the grand old man, and his neighbour, a Chinese girl Sue  

Sue: I wish our father had been more like you…He was really hard on us; was really traditional, really old school  
Eastwood: Well I’m old school  
Sue: Yea, but you’re an American 
Eastwood: What’s that supposed to mean?  
Sue: (Shrugs shoulders) 

So, one tip to those who are growing old and have fear of going out of fashion: It’s ok to be old school if you are an American (or act like a proper way)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Online activism

We get these invitations to fight cancer, fight global warming, fight for animal rights, fight against child labor, fight against poverty, fight for world peace etc.; all online. Facebook is one popular site where you see people taking up righteous causes and showing their solidarity by joining a group or becoming a fan of some webpage. All they have to do is click! I don’t know what difference that makes to them or to the cause. One question that I constantly have is; ‘is doing good that easy?’ Far as I know, to do something good is very difficult. It engages your time and energy; it costs you something; something of worth. These issues that I have mentioned above are very crucial issues. Maybe I shouldn’t be too serious. After all, these people are just having fun or maybe they are useful in subtle ways, like sensitizing people; or atleast they are not harming anybody. But to take these issues casually like making some fashion statement (I suspect many are) can be a cruel thing. Cancer isn’t something displayed to grasp your attention and sympathy in a Hindi movie. To go hungry for a day is not at all easy. We can stop being casual about these issues and consider what we can actually do in the real world.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jonah: It's the fish, isn't it?

What makes us remember Jonah? It's the fish, isn't it? Without the fish, the book of Jonah would've been obscure and unfamiliar like Obadiah, Zephaniah or Nahum. The thought of Jonah surviving and praying in the belly of a fish is just amazing; very suitable for a sunday school lesson. Did he try to escape during those three days and three nights? I'm sure he did. He might have knocked on the wall of the stomach, "Hello Mr/Ms Fish, let me out". It must've been slippery as he tried to make his way through the oesophagus (do fishes have oesophagus?). Well, hold on a second, how can a guy survive inside a fish for 3 days? That's impossible. in sunday school, how did I not think of that and asked my teacher? Then we heard a preacher say that even if the Bible say that Jonah swallowed the fish, he'd still believe. 

 I don't doubt the ability of Jonah's God, my God; but Jonah's encounter with the fish isn't the central theme of the book. The book is about God's love for a foreign nation and the arrogance of his people examplified by Jonah the prophet.  

The book tries to examine the following questions: Does God have favourites? Does he care about what happens to different nations? What does he think about countries or people who apparently take no notice of him or his standards? (Dick Hines) 

The cruel and godless Ninevites 'from the greatest to the least' repented, and God showed mercy on them and withold punishment. This removes the impression that in the Old Testament (or now), God loved Israel (or certain communities) and hated certain others. 

There's a T shirt with logo "Nagas: God's own people". That's true but He is also the God of Meiteis, Mizos, Kukis, 'Plain walas', the Palestinans..... We need to be careful of the tendency to claim exclusive rights to God's blessings...or a feeling of having special status before God's eyes 

We are so enamoured by Jonah's encounter with the fish that we miss the central message of the book. Now somebody says that it was a whale. Did the Bible say that the big fish was a whale? We are back to the fish. It's the fish, isn't it?

I can't wait any longer

What are we waiting for? 
Let's get it started 
Love me and let me love you 
A life time's too short 
We don't know how many years we have 
Let's not wait any longer

Katie Melua: Just like Heaven


Saturday, April 4, 2009

The thin line between dream and reality


Aveo (my brother) was drunk and we had an ugly quarrel. I couldn't control myself anymore and I punched him. But it was not Aveo I punched, my friend Anthony who was sleeping next to me received my blow.
Quarrel with brother was in my dream; but for poor Anthony, the punch was real.

Lamentations: Hope in the midst of despair

In the darkest moments of your life, when you think all hope is gone, have you experienced that tiny, tiny sense of hope from deep within? It is pitch black and you want to give up but you just don't, because of that single ray of light within. After you have overcome the situation and come out of the dark valley, you realise that it was that hope that sustained you and brought you out. Jerusalem is destroyed and deserted (1:6). She weeps bitterly in the night and nobody is there to comfort her (1:2). She remembers the days when she was queen, with all the splendor and riches (1:7) now all gone. She stretches out her hands to her friends but they turned their backs; they betrayed her (1:19). She is disgraced; she became a laughing-stock to everyone (3:14). Her children and infants faint in the streets, their lives ebb away in her arm (2:12) In this situation, she remembers the Lord's love. This she recalls and hope rises in her heart (3:21). The Lord is compassionate and He won't cast her off forever (3:31). The Lord disciplines those He loves, he restores them. His faithfulness is new every morning. The above description sounds personal and individualistic. However, the book of Lamentations talks about a community- a nation who disobeyed God and is totally destroyed and sent to exile in Babylon. The book is a mixture of despair and hope. In this desperate situation, the author calls the people to examine their ways and test them. he calls them to return to the Lord in repentance (3:40-42). Looking beyond the personal, there are many things in this world that makes us to despair: depletion of natural resources and the increasing population, climate change and possible mass migration of people, recession and fear of depression, violence and political instability, 'social ill-being' etc. What should we do as Christians and what motivates us to do the things we do? "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope"

Panic at Hindu Rao Hospital

It is impossible to remember each and everything that has passed through our lives. But when we look back, there are moments that stand out, some moments we can never forget.

I had one such experience last sunday. It was my 24 hrs emergency duty and as I was drawing blood from a patient, I had a needle prick injury. My first reaction was to panic. It was Sunday and the lab for testing HIV was closed and the pharmacies/centre dispensing HIV medicines were closed. I rang up friends asking if the RML hospital testing centre is open; turns out it was closed that day. I know the chance of getting HIV through a needle prick is only 0.03% but recollecting the story of one colleague who contracted HIV through a prick (mine went real deep) and the need to take preventive medicine in the first 24 hrs got me dead worried.

I searched for private clinics near the hospital (was still on duty) and happened to come to a lab which was about to be closed in 5 minutes. The man there asked me to come the next day but I requested him and he agreed to help me out. I rushed back to the hospital, took out some blood from the patient and got it tested.. Whew! negative.

This experience made me think again of what I used to say, "I'm not afraid of death". To die for a righteous cause or something that is out of your control is a different thing. I wonder if I have neglected to do that test or search for medicines that day and die of AIDS someday. I don't want to die unecessarily

Hindu Rao, 2007