Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 23, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

Me, Sister Beena and Sister Josie

Hard to believe, but I have reached the halfway point of my six month sojourn in India. I can’t think of one day when something unusual didn’t happen. India is full of surprises and revelations… and I have only seen a tiny fraction of the country.

As many of you know, I “ entered the convent” on December 30th. There are two large gates that open on to driveway before you reach the property. Most of the time the gates are closed. One of the staff lets traffic in and out but he has many other duties so often the gates are unattended. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the grounds are quite lovely with many large palm trees and plenty of flowers and vegetation giving it a tropical, paradisiacal feel.

Besides all of their charitable work, the Sisters operate a B@B on the premises and the office faces the gates. With the best internet connection on the property, the patio outside the office is a gathering spot for staff and guests. With people coming from all corners of the globe, it is a great venue for sharing life and travel experiences.

So, the other day a small group of us were chatting when I looked up and saw a large, black cow grazing in the flower garden, 50 feet from the office next to a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I looked up and sure enough, the front gates had been left open and the cow had ambled down and found a patch of sweet, green grass.

How many of you remember the 1960’s sitcom, “The Flying Nun?”  It was about a surfer girl who decides to become a nun. She weighed 90 pounds and when the wind was right, she could fly and often got herself into predicaments, much to the chagrin of the Mother Superior.

Sister Josie, one of the Daughters of Mary, happened by and when she say the cow, she took flight. I don’t think Usain Bolt could have covered that 50 feet any quicker. She started yelling and the cow, realizing its life was in peril, took off up the road towards the gate. I learned later, that Sister grew up on a farm. With her habit flapping in the breeze as the chase unfolded, I was thinking that I’ll call Sister Josie, “ The Flying Nun” from this point forward.

And while we are on this bovine theme, you are probably not aware that there is a major protest going on in Southern India right now involving bulls. Kanyakumari is in the state of Tamil Nadu and this state has a tradition called Jallikattu which is celebrated during the festival of Pongal. Somewhat akin to the “running of the bulls” in Pamplona, Spain, bulls are released into the streets while multiple human participants attempt to latch on to the large hump of the bull with both arms. The bulls are returned ( alive )  to their owners after the event has taken place.

PETA ( Persons for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ) convinced the government and the courts to ban the practice,  siting cruelty to the bulls. The long and short of this is that the state has ceased to function. Quiet and respectful student protests have turned into massive rallies throughout the state forcing the cancellation of school and universities. Railways, a key transportation link for people, have been shut down and just about every business has closed its doors. As I write this, it appears that the government is going to back down and reinstate the practice. I posted a video clip the other day. Just when you thought India couldn’t get noisier, the Jallikutta protests have turned the decibel levels up a few notches. At Saturday mass, the Jesuit priest spoke for several minutes before mass started. I quizzed him afterwards and he told me that his mini lecture was about Jallikutta. He is 100% supportive of the protests.

Thanks to the generosity of people back home, the Sisters have been able to purchase 5 wheelchairs and 5 wheelchair tricycles for the leprosy community next door. I will be posting a story later this week about some other projects that require financial assistance.

“ When E.F Hutton ( Smith Barney ) talks, people listen.” Those of us collecting Old Age Security ( still not crazy about this name. I don’t feel “old”. ) remember the successful ad campaign from this iconic investment bank. I have my own version of this slogan: “ When Mother Superior speaks, Len listens.”

While I didn’t receive the message in person, I was asked (?) if I would give English language training to 8 noviciates for the month of February. These are young women who are planning on joining the order. Mother Superior wants them to have a working knowledge of the English language. True, I was a school teacher way back when but I have never taught ESL so I reached out to a friend from back home for some advice. She suggested that I keep things really simple with such a short time frame. I was thinking that I would start them off by having them learn the words to “Barrett’s Privateers” or “American Pie!”

Once again, I will be dusting off an old skill set. All jokes aside, I will definitely use music as a teaching tool.

At the end of my e-mail exchange ( thanks to E.M.I. ), my friend left me with these words: “ Good luck, Len. I’m sure the Sisters will do well. Motivation is a powerful tool.” To which I replied, “ I know the Sisters will do well. I’m more concerned about the instructor!”

Play your “trump” card this week. Be kind to others.

Have a great week.

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Comments

3 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Greg Albert says:

    Love reading your stories and find them very interesting.

  2. Rhonda Bowen says:

    You are definitely living the dream Len. Enjoy very much your Posts, God Bless!

  3. Kay James. Calgary says:

    Hi, Len, I read all of your stories that give us a great insight to living life in India. I’m ready to donate, but , tell me, how do I get the money to you !!! Could you give me this info? What an experience you are enjoying ! You took that chance! Good for you!

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