Happy Easter

The Lord has Risen and all is Forgiven. Happy Easter. 46 days of Lent. 46 days of Abstinence. Followed by Good Friday where God sacrificed his Only Son so that we can be Forgiven.

Many use Lent as a cleanse. A diet change. A pause in your bad habits. I myself gave up drinking alcohol. It was easy, maybe too easy so it got me thinking. Really what was the purpose of LENT in 2016 speak? I decided to do some research. Not the sermon preached by our guest speaker in Church this morning but The Man. Pope Francis.    “No need to throw out the chocolate, booze, and carbs.” Pope Francis has a different idea for fasting this year. “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

He also adds “Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.”

Right now on Easter Sunday, How many  Catholics will believe this in Paris or in Brussels? The violence in Africa and Middle East? Why take it to events of such Mammoth loss of life. What about in Delhi, where a 40 year old dentist was beaten to death by 12 people cos the Cricket Ball hit a one of their group. How can we fathom that today all Our Sins are forgiven? There is so much going on in the world today, so how do we hold on to our Faith? We have got to Believe. We have to keep Praying.

We Must teach our children to be kind, to be tolerant, to accept and to be gracious in defeat. We must do this year around. We must learn Patience and try to forgive. The latter being the hardest because maybe we have not been shown forgiveness. Let us raise awareness to the plight of the people that work for us or with us. We are so quick to judge, so quick to interfere, so quick to add our own two cents.

I went for Easter Service to St Stephen( protestant church) in Mt Mary Bandra. It was Half Full. Maybe many couldn’t wake up for the 7am service. I noticed a few people in Flip-Flops. It upset me. I caught myself thinking about the two men in Chappals, But at least they came. At least they made the Effort. I wasn’t better or more pious because I had freshly ironed clothes and the right shoes. I was the same as everyone else there.. I had come to be forgiven and God Forgives All.

Competitive School Sports at 40

This weekend, Big  Women’s Throw-ball Tournament coming up in the Fabulous Suburb of Bandra. Being the Bays self elected equivalent of Sporty-Spice. I gathered up 24 EX School players for Team A and Team B Otters Club.

Two weeks ago I convinced a motley crew of  Stay-at-home Mums, Business Women, Heads of Companies, Travel Planners, Cake Makers, Personal Trainers to represent our Club in the Throw-Ball Competition. My spiel – This would be fun! This is what we need to get the Zing back in our Monotonous Suburban lives. Team building. Etc..Etc..

This list consisted of women that played together regularly 7 years ago. Before that in school 27 years ago. : ) We are all in our Fabulous 40s. We are disciplined and fitter than ever. Yoga, Pilates, Cross-fit, Gym, Swim, Run, Cycle. Right now the Suburban Women are amazingly Fit. They rush to the gym, after their children leave for school. I mean look at us. Most of us do regular 7 km road runs, 16 kg Kettle bell swings, 100 Burpees under 8 minutes. Go to work, Run a house, Meet at ladies luncheons. How difficult could this be..?  Few practice sessions and we would be competition ready.We are cool enough to take on ‘ The Chimbai Chicklets’ ‘The Miss- Fits’, and 3 other teams from The Suburbs.

Day 1 of practice, 15 women left their children, husbands, evening chores and convened at the Newly Erected Grass Throw-ball Court. First sign of relief The Court was Grass. Our knees would not take a beating. If we fell, we would not get hurt. We had our own personal trainer to Warm us up. ( we work out, so we know we have to stretch). Ready to play!

The Serve would just not go over. Many tried, our arms would just not throw the ball over the Net. We were perplexed. Had the court grown Bigger? Why was the Net so high? Did we have to move to reach the ball? What about the 2016 Rules. They were too stringent from the 1980s rules. Holy Shit! What The Hell! Double-Tap was a Foul. Body was a Foul. Under- Arm was a Foul. Stretching for the Ball was a Foul. Moving Ball from Left to right- A FOUL. Nervous Laughter, small encouragements and clapping for those that did manage to Spin the ball over the Net.

Two weeks later, we are down to 14 Players. Just enough without Reserves for the main game.Pre-planned Family holiday weekend took 5 players away. Then came the injuries. Shoulder pain, fingers swollen, tennis elbow, body aches, bruised egos and tension building up. The Whats App group is now an advice group on treatment for the pain we are suffering. From last minute physical exercises like medicine ball, rotator cuff with terrabands to the physical well-being.Advice for long Massages, Ice packs, Tiger balm patches and  Pain-killers. I sit and write this with an ICEPACK stuffed in my bra strap. My left shoulder blade aches horribly.

The Wonderful Motto that we repeat to our children ” ITS NOT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE, ITS HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME !’ Will really stand true for us.It is too late to Forfeit. What kind of examples will we set for our Families?  We are going to fight for every ball. We will come pumped up on Legal pain killers. We will rest all of Friday for Saturdays Match. We will not let Age get the better of us.

Last but not least we will think before we sign up for Sports that we were good at in School!

Divine Intervention 2

After the motorcycle accident at 15 years, Common sense should have prevailed. I had cheated death. I got away with a suspension from school and slight bruising. In fact I got a lot of attention from students in school. I was cool, now! People wanted to hear my stories. The guilt, of seeing My  Parents’ Pain and Suffering, had slowly vanished.

It’s amazing how invincible you feel in your Teens. Your mind works overtime to figure out how to find ways to avoid homework, go to a friend’s birthday party, and sneak out when you do not have permission.This was not all Teens. This was me! My Parents had clamped down on me. No more Parties, I was not allowed for sleep overs, I couldn’t have sleep overs. No more basketball, football, swimming practice. Can you imagine how much IDLE time I had????? How much more trouble I got into?

After my A levels, I was Sent to Pune. My grandmother had connections and got me to repeat my 12th Std at St Helena’s . In the 90’s, IGCSE had no meaning and to get into an Indian College I needed a Migration certificate and a Transfer of Residence. I had None. I had to repeat a year and that in Boarding school. This took some getting used to. BUT I had come from an International School. The best in Sri Lanka.  12th Std at St Helena’s was a cake walk.

Pune is an amazing city. I made incredible friends. They are still my friends. We were regulars at Blue Nile, Dorabjees, Coffee House, The Place, Zamus. Nandus for late night Parathas.  Pune had everything,specially  Rally Maruti Gypsies and Motorcycles…..

Yamaha RX 100, Yamaha RD 350, Kawasaki 100. Kinetic Scooters. It was heaven. On weekends we would come out for Dosa and The Iranians and Kuwati day-schoolers studying there were so generous to us ‘Sisters’. We would ride in a huge group, we would race everywhere.

JB was an amazing dancer, still is. She has a dance school in Pune now. We met and I knew we would be BFFs. Her mother was the funniest person I had met. Her sister, KB, had just survived a car accident. You would never guess from the way the Three of them behaved, that they nearly lost KB. Laughter, music and the Queen’s English. Their home was always open to everyone. Mrs AB was working as a librarian. How many nights I have slept there Happy and at Home. Never once did they complain that they had an extra mouth to feed.

JB would always sit behind me. We were in sync on the bike. We were not reckless, I was aware of KB’s accident. The memory of her Gypsy accident was still raw for the whole of Pune Camp.

6pm over the Wadia College Bridge. I noticed a White Maruti 800, filled with men, come really close to us. Eve- Teasing, Passing rude comments. They wouldn’t let us overtake. We got over the bridge and the Maruti driver miscalculated or intentionally knocked my back wheel. The RX 100 flew off the road. JB was flung meters in front and her head connected with the cement light pole. I was hanging off the barb-wire on the road. The White Maruti 800 took off. I stripped off my shirt, didn’t feel the barb-wire rip my left breast. Ran to JB. Our Friends were behind us. We rushed to Ruby Hall Hospital.

Mrs AB and KB were there. I saw the fear in Mrs AB eyes. Another accident, another daughter. There were silent prayers.  She had 10 stiches on her head. She had to be kept under observation. I just had a scratch across my Breast and some bruising. I was devastated. Mrs AB turned to me, hugs me asks me if I was ok. There was No blame, no accusation in her voice. She tells someone to take me to their home. She tells someone to look after me. Forgiveness. How many would be so quick?

We were lucky our prayers were answered and JB was safe. I wasn’t ever going to test this again. I didn’t ever want to look into the eyes of another parent or a loved one and say I was sorry. Sorry for not thinking. Sorry for not being careful. Sorry for not keeping my friend/family safe from harm. We have to be aware that anything can happen to us, it may not be our fault. The next time we go for a joy-ride, or take a sharp corner, Text while driving, not wear a helmet. We have to know we are tempting Fate!

Thuk Thuks.

In the Suburbs of the Bay, Tuk-Tuks are a necessary evil. The only thing that is as fast as Two Wheels is the Three- Wheeler!

The tobacco chewing, beedi smoking, hero wannabe driver is inescapable. How many Three-wheeler passengers have experienced the death defying speed on a highway.? The straining of their 4 stroke DTSI engine, on the right lane, blocking the S class from overtaking! It makes you scared shit less. But you don’t wanna say something cos you would look like a like a wimp!

Yes they are the only mode of public transport that will get you to your destination before time. BUT they are driven by the most rude and temperamental beings. Make sure your destination is the one they are looking at going to. Be smart, give an address via another. So you make a short fare longer. Appease to their required daily earnings at the shortest time spent working!

Not everyone will be able to flag down their ride. Mothers with little children beware, they are not sensitive to your plight. Methinks, where they come from, Women walk Miles with child in arms. Weather plays an important role with their moods. If it rains, just walk. The moment it rains Three wheelers disappear. Otherwise they are double parked at every heavily congested street corner. If its Hot, they sleep in their Auto under the shade of a tree.. Its all habitual.

I sometimes feel nervous to stop an Auto ( Three-wheeler). In Bandra, If I have to go close by , I walk. Nothing can be more demoralizing then being turned down by the head shake, followed by a KHAK THU of red tobacco. I think I misjudge their slowing down for me. Most times it’s to spit chewing tobacco. Spitting is like an Olympic sport. How much can they collect and how far they can spit. First through their two fingers for direction and length and then just the head swing spit. For a Rider, these are the most scary to spot and avoid.

The nose digging, ball scratching auto driver has been given so much power at morning rush hour, this feeling of endowment remains till evening. Loud exclamations of YUCK. CHEEEEEEEEE, WTF…………… are wasted on them. they just dig deeper or scratch harder. Our roads, our lamp posts, our trees, our pavements are all acceptable targets for these Olympians. Its like when one dog pees, all dogs pee on that spot.

400000 Auto Drivers in Mumbai, easier to wipe out Zika , then teach them road safety and civic sense.

Divine Intervention? Part 1

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Do you believe in God? Or are you at that age where you think its just Luck?  Luck that cancels your Test, Luck that changes your red-light when you are in a hurry, Luck that makes you bump into Ranveer Singh at the Gym, Luck that gives you a Kind Loving Man, Or a Hot Young Woman.. Yes those are the moments that make people exclaim ” he/she is SOOOOO LUCKYYYYYY!”

How about when you witness an accident, Do you feel Lucky that it wasn’t you?             When someone has Cancer, it makes you think.. Or if you know of someone loosing a loved one unexpectedly.?  Old age, Terminal and  By Accident, these are usually what we hear are the causes of Death. Its the last one that is the worst, because it can be avoided. I cheated Death twice in my Teens. I thought it was LUCK, now I know it was much more.

Till I lived with my parents in Colombo, I went to church every Sunday. Sunday school, church choir, Holy Communion. I can still recite the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed by heart.  Please note if we didn’t attend my sister and I would be grounded for the week. No after school sport, no TV ( Two channels in Sri Lanka in the 80s, but still) and no PARTIES. Safe to say, Parents were Strict!

I was 15 years old, at a night party! I didn’t have my parents permission so I snuck out. I had to get home and I couldn’t find a Tuk-Tuk. I asked people at the party for a ride. I was offered one by a Guy with a Bike. Already an avid rider in Colombo. Mopeds and Scooty’s but a Rider. It was a Big Bike CBR 1000. (Sri Lanka has always had the best motorcycles and cars.) I was thrilled. Another friend lived close by so Bike Guy offered us both a lift. Three on a Bike- way cool! But there were no helmets for anyone. We didn’t care. We never rode with one. We would be home in ten minutes.

We came to a round-about at 100 Kmph. He tilted, I was in the middle, I tilted with him. Friend panicked and tilted in the opposite direction. He lost control, I saw the accident unfold as I got flung off. Nothing. Darkness. I opened my eyes to see the pain and fright in my Fathers eyes. I was at the BMC equivalent hospital in Colombo. I had no clue about the other two. My father thought he had lost me and he wanted to Kill the Bike Guy. There was a lot of shouting and screaming at the hospital. Blacked out and woke up at home.

Not a bone broken. No head injury. Lost a thumb nail and worst of all for me…. I had ripped my shiny blue stilettos.Bike guy broke his leg in three place. He was from an affluent family and had the best care. Passenger No 3 cut her head open. 23 stitches. No idea where she went or who took care of her. I was taken home. We never met again cos I was GROUNDED for Life!

The guilt I felt when I looked at my parents.Its indescribable. You want to die. They had no Anger. They were in Shock. My Mum watched me every night. She waited till I fell asleep to come kiss me, as she always did. She was so angry with me for so long that she never kissed me while I was awake. They blamed themselves. But I was the one to blame. We will never know what will be, but we must avoid bringing that kind of pain to the people we love.  Because Now  I know it wasn’t LUCK.. It was my Parents prayers that saved me.

Indicator, Rear and Side Mirror

 

Would you say these are the most important things you need to learn to use, if you are driving a car or riding a bike? Indicator, Rear and Side Mirrors.

I always watch the cars in front or on the side of me because I can gauge if the person driving is 1) Texting while driving 2) talking while driving 3) Or looking at their Passenger while driving. From where I am, I use THEIR mirrors to look at their eyes and determine where they may go. : )

The most dangerous thing in the Suburbs are Autos/ Tuk-Tuks/Tri-shaw/ Rickshaw. This will be a whole other story. Then Motorcycles and Scooters. The drivers that have got their driving experience from Learner cars with No Rear View Or No Side Mirrors are the ones to look out for. They do not feel that they are doing anything wrong. The 25 lac Cars automatically pop the side mirrors out. It must baffle them to its use. Many of the cheaper cars don’t bother to have them out at all. If you want to To turn right, Put your arm out and wave frantically in the direction the car is moving to. They don’t look back, Just in the direction that you are going.

Its absolutely amazing how many will swerve right to take a left turn. You will be lucky if you see an indicator turned on before the impending turn. If you are side-swiped, and you hand gesture ‘KYA?’ the Bigger Scowl and the ruder hand Gestures from the Offensive Driver, will make you want to fly into a Rage. But we don’t rage. We smile and say. ‘ Vat to do?’ They are like that only. But there are so many like that.

People reverse out of buildings onto rushing traffic, hoping that their building security guard can stand between the back-side of their car and the oncoming traffic. God forbid the security doesn’t manage in the first minute. Horns go off and more hand gestures. How would you use your Rear view mirror here. Instead you use Human beings!