Friday, February 27, 2015


Sometimes, I am asked to work on the text of a prayer and one such assignment came my way recently.  Formulaic prayers are not really my forte, so I looked up the books and put the words together in the traditional way.  But we also cater to the now generation and I had to contemporize!  I struggled and how.  Personally, I am spontaneous in my communication and after I encountered ‘Hey God! This is Anna’, I never looked back. That was the way I would always get in touch with my Maker. And the connection is unbroken (unlike that of my network supplier!)
The present exercise made me take a look at the oldest prayer, the Our Father. How would it sound in the modern idiom? Something like this????

Hey God, somewhere up there in the Universe, our lips are blessed each time we say your name. We’d like to see heaven happen down here too in real time, right now. You can do it. Yes you can. And while you’re about it, we’d like some food – the real thing (you know, like Coke, Pizza and Big Mac) and when we’ve been real bad, just take care of that, huh?  Please? As for those who’ve been mean to us, we’ll try doing things your way (the operative word being ‘try’!). And when the bad guy tries to grab attention, just take him out, okay? Thanks for the time!

I tried sms and twitterspeak versions and am in danger of suffering serious brainfreeze.

Nah! It does not have the same feel and resonance. Some things are best left unchanged. 

Old is indeed gold. The original article is the genuine thing. 

And we have God to thank for that!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This is what’s on my mind…

All the advice for Lent that now pops up on my screen, from the various social media, led me to indulge in some serious introspection. Lent should be a time to re-learn how to be Christian. And how does one do that? Simple. Follow Jesus. Two thousand years of history and human interference (strong word, but I mean it!) have added layers that sometimes obscure the real person. But we can find him in the Gospel.

What is there about Jesus that we can emulate? For me there are three things: Jesus interacted with people, He led a simple lifestyle and He loved unconditionally.

Jesus reached out to everyone he came in touch with. He spoke to them, listened and answered their questions. Today, we hardly find time to interact with our own family in our own homes. We need to reconnect.

Jesus was unencumbered by material possessions. I am, too, afflicted by the ‘I want’ syndrome! Each time I clean up house, I remind myself that less is better. Then, when I go out I see something I like, money in the pocket is spent on one more acquisition. It’s time to let go of things that tie me down. Yes, possessions do that! (I’ll make books and my crochet stuff an exception to that good intention!!).

The last is a toughie. Love unconditionally? But there are so many ‘buts’ in that one. I’ll try all the same. If I begin at the beginning, with the first one, perhaps following Jesus, step by step, will be easy as one-two-three after all.

Have a blessed Lent.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I was born in India. I was raised here by a father who served in the Indian Army. A man who honoured his country through the faultless observation of the motto: ‘Service before self. Death before dishonour.’ I was raised to this standard too. I continue to live here. I hold an Indian passport.

Does this make me Indian?

I am as accustomed to greeting with a Namaste as I am with a handshake. I am at home in a sari. In fact, I have earned compliments abroad for its grace and beauty. We enjoy upma and masala chai for breakfast and chicken korma, raita, rotis are lined up for lunch. I stand to attention and sing my National Anthem with enthusiastic devotion. I pay my taxes. I obey the law.

Does this make me Indian?

NO! Not if what my Catholic Faith teaches me is true. I am only Indian – a true citizen of my motherland – when I serve my country. For Christ taught us to be servants and not masters. And we must continue to be servants till all know and understand that they are equal in God’s sight. This is our calling. This is what we believe. This is who we are.

This is why Catholics build schools: we educate all, irrespective of economic status, social background, gender and religious belief so that our children – the children of India – can step out on an equal platform, formed as ethical citizens to face the future with the necessary skills and knowledge. We turn out thinking citizens who will make India proud.

This is why Catholics build hospitals: to offer medical help to the needy, the economically distressed, the ones who are discriminated against.

This is why Catholics start missions and homes: to reach out to those who live beyond the margins and fringes, the forgotten, the neglected, the ignored, the abandoned – migrant labour, untouchables, lepers, street children, the dying.

This is why the Catholic heart beats for the poor: we are taught that even when we have little – too little for ourselves – we must still share. For there are those who have even less.

This is why Catholics practice their faith in peace: our churches are quiet oases in a troubled world which allow us to come together to praise and thank God.

And this is why Catholics may be perceived as a threat: we are opposed to violence, fanaticism, closed minds, inequality, muzzling of free speech, gender discrimination – everything that denies the rights of humanity.

Yes! I am Catholic and proud of it. I am also Indian.

When did I become an ‘outsider’ in my own country?

Wendy Chaves