Tryst with Dubai

Two weeks flash past ;

starts with a surprise upgrade

On the flight

Then the warm welcome

From daughter Annalize and

Ian her beloved .

Special meals in-house

As well as fine dining

With a taste

of local cuisines

And some from afar

Family gatherings were fun,

Music and song to bring out the joy;

Birthday celebration

Not once , but twice !

And then Ras Al Khyma,

A weekend resort

Seaside encounter

And dip in the ocean!

Two evenings of tennis

Count four stars

To experience the joys

Of service , returns

And deft placements .

Alas, the final day of

Sights to see;

The well known Dubai Mall

Giant Dinosaur, Giant Aquarium,

And an exquisite display of fountains to music !

Oh yes the tallest and scintillating

Bhuj, at sundown,

Glitters in solitary splendour

Thanks to Annalize and Ian

Tilll we meet again

Bye bye Dubai !

Welcome meal
Jammin’

TT in serious mode

Warming up for tennis doubles
Vincent and Ian
Annalize and Anjean

With friends
Birthday celebration
The second celebration with Felix (brother)
At old Dubai
Weekend at Ras Al Khyma
Aquarium
Largest dinosaur skeleton
Musical Fountains
The two of us
with the Bhuj background

THE BIG POSER

Who is Biggy?

My blog today is on a little dog, abandoned earlier, who made a BIG impression on many .

He is about 12 years in age; Black in colour and of poodle mix. But his eyes catch my eye .

Annie and Mike, his rescuers, say he is partially blind. I saw him with trimmed fur. He was half his size when they got him . His daily sustenance was from a dump, where he befriended a gang of cats. He was very sick with infection .

However Annie and Mike have doted over him. With care, visits to the vet, and good food , he has recovered .

How could someone abandon him?

He was the star of our evening visit . His survival is a miracle. He stayed at the dump for six months , Now he has three cots . And lives in style . He responded to us so well .

Biggy’s day begins at 6.30am . He will nudge Annie to wake up for his drink of water. He then goes back to sleep and wakes up later at 11.30 am for the rest of his day . Well then, that sounds like quite a retired life .

We did not hear his bark. But let any delivery man appear, and Biggy barks his loudest .

A neighbour always thought that Biggy was a cat from afar. You can imagine his shock to hear Biggy’s bark.

I was so happy when Biggy came to me and posed for a picture . Yes, he is a Poser, and so affectionate.

My memory of him, are his beautiful eyes, when he wished me good bye!

If only he could talk.

Thanks Biggie , you made my day!

BORN FREE

Look around and reflect ,

Who can stop you

From thinking,

speaking and

Doing the right thing ?

Can any law stop

You from loving

Even your enemy

Who may one day

Become a friend !

Yes and my soul ;

Can any man destroy

That which God holds

In his loving arms !

Our Creator who gives life and also sends to hell fire

So am I willing to see that

My soul is meant for an eternal goal,

Eternal joy or eternal slavery

Heaven or hell!

Perfect love casteth out fear

Love always overcomes hate!

Love gives life !

Then you and I are truly FREE!

Oh Carole !

‘May I write a blog on you” I asked Carole  Viegas when she visited me a month ago. Her immediate response was, ” I’d rather you don’t ” More like, I enjoy being the person who I am, and do not want any publicity.

On Friday 19th July 2019,  I had attended the Eucharist and was due to visit the housebound with Holy Communion. As I commenced on my rounds, I thought of a few questions I would ask Carole on my visit to her home. …mainly for the intended blog on her,

I reached the neighbourhood and realized   something was amiss at the Viegas household. I went up to her home. The silent group of people assembled with her husband Gerry, was enough to signal that Carole had already departed to her heavenly home. 

Carole was always more concerned about Gerry’s health, both being cancer survivors. However she displayed tremendous courage and joie de vivre. Her daughter Gayle mentioned “ Mum was quite upset when first diagnosed;  but I encouraged her to be brave and battle it out. And she did heed that advice to be positive, and outgoing as before.  In fact her peaceful departure while asleep, was certainly a victory for her. It was more heart related , rather than the cancer.”

Two days before her demise , I met her in the neighbourhood. She was  returning from  the  Bombay Institute for the Deaf and Dumb , where she worked to get donors involved.Her initial involvement was with the Board of the Institute. It was also her 75th birthday the previous week and I was so happy to wish her well. She lived life to the fullest.

In our Village of Matharpacady, she was one of the most active residents. She was President of the Holy Cross Committee. We did not realise that The  Holy Cross Feast on 1st May 2019 would be her last. We will miss the Meetings at her home before and after the feast. She also served as an animator of the Parish Zone 8 and earlier on the Parish Council of Rosary Church. But her notable contribution in the Church was her passion to sing in the choir. You could never miss seeing Carole for the mass choir, specially at the main feasts of Christmas and Easter. Most of all when people needed a choir for a funeral,  it did not matter who it was..she would always pitch in to help in the matter.

Her special attribute was to be an ‘Encourager’. I say special, as she made it a point to find something good to say about any service done by people. Being a  beneficiary of it myself, I know how she has impacted many. Carole was very loving and  had no malice. She always strove for unity and went out of her way to overcome any differences. She could connect with people of all ages. At meetings she shared her opinion without ruffling feathers .

I remember the early family days, when Carole’s home was full of life. There were parties, and songs floated into the night.  She and Gerry were good dancers. I think their jive was so relaxed that it looked as easy as ever.  An important event earlier was the celebration of their Golden Wedding . It was a very joyous occassion and well attended. Yes indeed , she was richly blest.

I was amazed to see the church filled beyond capacity at her funeral mass. She had touched the lives of so many, who came specially to bid her farewell . Carole’s granddaughter Keira sang a beautiful hymn ‘Be Not Afraid’ , to reiterate that spirit of courage. Eulogies flowed from her children , grandchildren , and extended family. Her grandchildren Maya and Neel, recalled how she told them stories of the yesteryears and always encouraged them in their endeavours. Ignatius read out a message from her cousin Rosalind. Jordana her godchild, spoke lovingly about Carole. Even her former office colleague Marisa, shared some beautiful memories of her.

Her son Garth mentioned that this was a celebration of her life well lived.  Yes , and the family did followup with this emotion at the end of the day. They bid her farewell that night the way she would have wanted , with joy and song.

Farewell dear Carole…… May you rest in eternal peace with our Heavenly Father.

Artist of myriad dimensions

Suzette Advani

Have you entered a home with 22 dogs barking their welcome to you .

It’s a home on the slope of a hill giving you a distant and picturesque view of Goa with rivers lakes and lush greenery .

We were received by Alcina,into the spacious home, for our meeting with Suzette. My daughter Annalize had been called for the trial of her wedding gown.

“When a client walks in, a human being walks in first, and before I lend them my hands I win their hearts . “

This is the motto of Suzette as Designer. For Annalize , the lace and material for her gown was just right ; the designing and fit most suited for the bride. Suzette works with passion to give her best .

However she is also an artiste, poet, author of short stories and has a non funded NGO for stray and abandoned dogs . But most of all a very compassionate person.

I saw some beautiful paintings, each of which has a meaning. I was surprised to learn that it had taken 2-3 years of deep life experiences , 2 month’s to put down a feature and 2-3 days to paint . In like manner, Suzette writes poetry and short stories .

Her pet project is really the pets she has rescued . When she refers to the universal opinion of the good breed of dogs over stray dogs ….she opines that dogs are just dogs , and love makes a difference in their response . She continues “ But who am I to preach the gospel of universality; idealised I am just an artiste who was designed to create art and not change the policies of the world .”

She has rescued 22 stray and abandoned dogs . The first was named Thomas ; he had fallen off a bridge and fractured his spine. She has nursed him to good health . All 22 pets have been rescued in some way and restored to normalcy… each of them having a name. The most recent pet was named ‘Blue’ as he has blue eyes. He is so affectionate, and kept licking my feet all over.

She also daily feeds 30 stray dogs outside who patiently wait at specific points as she drives on the food trail.

Suzette is a survivor of a serious motor crash , but was at peace even then. She has no regrets of any kind and believes that life is transient . She has a deep sense of spirituality. Her daily discipline includes yoga.

“I am ready for the call when it comes “ says Suzette.

So ended the encounter with a courageous lady of myriad dimensions.

Through the Storms

WALKING WITH MY LORD

My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has  been a pillar of strength and peace, during the past 6 months of a rollercoaster ride. The storms of life blew over but his presence was enough to see me through this phase.

Between September and November 2018 , I drove to Goa several times with Anjean, to prepare for our daughter Annalize’s wedding, Goa being  the venue.

However in November I began to have a throat problem , which did not get cured with antibiotics . As the problem persisted , I consulted a specialist who observed a small mass on the tonsil during the oral examination. Subsequently , he advised that a biopsy be done, which led to the early diagnosis of Non Hodgekins Lymphoma.  Dr Jaquie was very helpful at  the Hinduja Hospital, from  that first instance as well as during my regular hospital visits for the chemotherapy later.

In November I also got a shock to know that my investments with our trusted broker were in jeopordy , as his business had failed. His promise to repay everything , would remain a promise until he hoped to recover,  by merging his company with a bigger firm, in the near future.

I was diagnosed on 13th December 2018 , and  Annalize’s wedding was scheduled for 27th December 2018. The doctor calmed  us ,  specially Anjean and Annalize,  and mentioned that the early diagnosis was very helpful and the cancer could be treated and cured ( a blessing indeed).  He advised us to celebrate the wedding and commence my treatment soon after.

However due to the urgency and financial duress, I was constrained to take loans to meet with these challenges.

My son Ralph , was a big help at this stage. He had  come down from London for the wedding. All my family  proceeded to Goa which was the venue . He stayed back to help me with my visits to  the hospitals and so much more. I admired his steadfast approach , not knowing that he was quite upset himself.

Our celebrations in Goa went off very well.  The Lord had given me a total acceptance of my health condition. I took part wholeheartedly in the celebrations. My family too got over the initial shock and all went well .

We returned  to Mumbai on 1st January 2019 and my treatment commenced on 2nd January 2019.

For every  session , I was admitted to the hospital , to be administered the drugs. The specialist doctor and his team, and the nursing care, was excellent. The after effects of the chemotherapy, were at times very painful. Surprisingly  during  3 specific  occasions Romeo Fernando, leader of  the Community of the Good Shepherd,  telephoned me.  He  prayed  fervently with me , pleading of the  Lord for my healing ;  and with God’s grace  I was relieved from pain. His intercessory group prayed regularly for my healing. I cannot forget  my mentor Ken Knoecker ( Elder of the Servants of the Word) , for all the  prayer and support extended to me, during this time.   I also discovered , the aspect of sharing my suffering with the Lord, and interceding for others.

Members from my Community (Community of Jesus: Light of the World)  and the local Church and Communities ( Sword of the Spirit Communities)  from far and near  prayed for me. There was an outpouring of love as members regularly telephoned or visited me,  and also prayed with me.  People who I hardly knew as well as old friends,  assured me that they were praying for my healing and visited me.

My eldest daughter Karen with her family  from UK, specially changed their flight schedule, ( which involved a fresh ticket) to be with us for the first session. Subsequently my son Ralph took time off , for one month from his job in London ( while working from home) to be with us in Mumbai for the next sessions. Annalize too spent more than a month later and finally Larissa was with us in May.

I was administered 6 cycles of chemotherapy from January to April, and after the 4th cycle , the petscan showed that I was clear of cancer. Praise and thanks to God!

This was a time of great restoration and renewal. I had plenty of time to pray and read scripture. Importantly  , Ambrose  our community member brought Holy Communion for me daily, which was a source of healing and kept me positive and courageous.

Aroon willingly took up responsibility to lead the Community of Jesus: Light of the World , in my absence during these months. His numerous visits were an indication of a brotherly tie, which I deeply cherish.

I also saw bonds of brotherhood within my extended family being renewed. My two elder brothers, Allwyn and Gerald who are doctors, and my niece Joanne (also a doctor) , reached out to me in significant ways.

Anjean cared for me so well .  Diet and medicines were constantly monitored. So I came through these months peacefully.  Dane, a young man from the Youth group , was kind enough to drive us to the hospital on several occasions . Some of my community members also took time off to be with me at the hospital. But Anjean was my constant companion.

In the meantime , help poured in from various sources. I am truly overwhelmed at this support.

God showed me His love , through these brothers and sisters.

He also assured me that His provision is enough

A few days ago , when again  I experienced a setback, I was assured by the following words from scripture:

‘Give  us this day our daily bread ‘( Matthew 6:11)

( on further reflection and study, I was led to believe that daily  bread is for daily sustenance and not to accumulate wealth. Bread also signifies the Eucharist ,which is life giving.)

A little further :

‘ No one can be slave of two masters; he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’ ( Matthew 6: 24)

Matthew 6:25-34

‘ Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,  what you are to eat and what you are to drink, (Matthew 6:25a)………..‘But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.’ ( Matthew 6: 33)

Isaiah 55: 1-3

‘ Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;

Though you have no money , come!

Buy corn without money, and eat,

and, at no cost , wine and milk.

Why spend money on what is not bread,

your wages on what fails to satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat

and rich food to enjoy.

Pay attention , come to me;

listen, and your soul will live.

listen , and your soul will live.’ (Isaiah 55: 1-3)

The Lord has revealed his love and care so much more during these days. He is truly my Saviour  and Healer and I can trust in his provision daily.

For this I say “Thank you Lord”

And “ thank you” to every person who has reached out to me.

Anjean was my constant support
Taking Annalize to the altar on her wedding day
With Ralph

THE PRESENT

 

img_0467IMG_0189

The blur of the past

Sustains the present

So I presume,

A storehouse of

good memories

And junked failures

 

Pray

Are these stepping stones

To a bright future ?

Can we bask

only in success;

And dismiss failures ?

 

Who can fathom the future

Except the One who is Timeless

His Presence sustains

Past, Present and future

A Gift to be cherished

Forever

 

He is the Alpha and  the Omega

The beginning and the end

Who holds us in the palm

Of His Hands;

Do  I trust Him?

Now ?

 

Combat or surrender

 

‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of  power and love and self control.’ ( 2 Timothy 1:7)

‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’ ( Acts 17:28)trekking

 

Times of change,

Challenges abound;

Do I fear?

 

At any age,

I hear of

Courage with a C

 

But there is a C

Cancer which oft

may counter Courage

 

 

How do I face it?

Fight or flight ;

Combat or surrender

 

The only way I see it,

Trust in His Spirit

Of power , love and self control!

 

He is ever near,

Holds us in his loving arms,

As a Father to a son

 

Am I willing to share this pain

With him on the cross

As  grace in abundance  flows

 

Accept with courage

And when unbearable

Surrender

‘into your hands, Lord’

 

And take each day as a gift

Not forgetting

‘To live is Christ and

To die is gain ‘

 

I am assured that its better to  surrender into His loving arms at all times, as

‘In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28)

 

An Arrival.. New Life

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The date 19th September2018 is very significant.
I was thrilled to get the news of the arrival of my 3rd grandchild on 19th September morning .
I met with my sharing group of our community for our monthly meeting that evening. We shared on the 3rd chapter of Colossians .
The 2 themes were how we look at the old self ,which we were and how we become the new self, literally with new clothes.. how do we discard our old ways ,
Quote: ‘But now you must get rid of all such things- anger , wrath, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)
and live with lives of compassion.
Quote: ‘As God’s chosen one’s, holy and beloved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive . Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts , To which indeed you were called in the one body.’(Colossians 3:12-15)

After the round of sharing… we concluded that there were areas where change had taken place and some where we still needed to change. Anger, and patience were some common themes .
But we realised that we are all work in progress , requiring The Master’s help at all times.
One of us beautifully shared that in the end , it is love that helps us to see others in new ways ….
Quote : ‘Love is patient; love is kind; love is not an proud or boastful, arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable, or resentful,; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all thing , believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.’ (1Corinthians 13:4-8)
The inability to love leads to poor relationships and further many more pitfalls to sin .
Jesus came that we may rise to new life ….
We start with a clean slate ,when we acknowledge our sinfulness and the need for forgiveness and to forgive others .
I was thrilled to get the news of the arrival of my 3rd grandchild on 19th September morning .
He is such a chubby and healthy baby boy.
As I was shown his pictures , and was told his name to be given:
This struck me:
1. He is being named Daniel Michael ….surname Jordan
Daniel is my favourite prophet of the biblical times…. why ? Because he was courageous and spoke for the truth .
Michael is the name on both sides of Daniel’s parents family tree….and of course Michael is also the angel to fight against evil .
2. When a child comes into the world, the little one comes with a clean slate….This is new life.
We can also start with a clean slate in life no matter our past failings .
John 3:16
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son , so that everyone who believes in him ,may not perish but may have eternal life.’
Think about it , every day is an opportunity to start afresh……

Sounds at Sunrise

img_0503-3Listen,
Can you see, or hear, or imagine?
The majestic morn ,
As sunshine streams across ,
And every creature ,
Sounds present .

The sparrow flits through,
In search of the tasty morsel.
Parrots screech away…… I am hungry.
Crows caw lazily….before their day begins .

I also hear the sweep of a broom,
Does not persistence pay..
Imagine the day when the sweeper
Is away.

The sun rises ,
more seriously.
People plan their day
Pray , can we forget the
Beauty of creation?
In the midst of making ends meet?