Friday 23 April 2010

English, August

Just began reading Upamanyu Chatterjee's English, August. Already captivated. Not that the experience of drugs and sex, and the upper middle class culture is familiar. But the descriptions of the Anglo boys, their prowess at football and guitar, their easy pataoing of the Tibetan girls - all that strikes a chord! The hero of the novel seems to be Agastya, a half-Bengali, half-Goanese [sic! why don't novelists learn? Goan, not Goanese!] boy whose (momentary) envy of the Anglos leads him to wish he had a better English accent and a decent name like Alan or something. 'English' and 'August' are some of the many nicknames his boarding companions showered on him. August being of course an anglicization of Agastya.

And why there should be a string of Bong novels I don't know. Just finished Amitav Ghosh's The Calcutta Chromosome. And now this.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Cardinal Newman to be beatified

The Newman Newsletter 2010, which I get occasionally thanks to a visit to the Oratory in Littlemore, Oxford some years ago with Phyllis Wallbank, gives the news that Cardinal Henry Newman is to be beatified on 19 September 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI at a Solemn Mass at Coventry.

This has been long in coming. Already in 1990, when I was searching for a doctoral topic in Rome and was thinking about Newman and Lonergan, De Smet was saying that he could be soon beatified. That soon has taken over 20 years!

A.B. Braganza's work on the flora of the Western Ghats

Mrs Braganza showed me something astounding yesterday: files of specimens of the flora of, I think, the Western Ghats, collected perhaps more than 50 years ago by Archiebald B. Braganza, together with a whole lot of extremely interesting correspondence on the matter. Archie, whose first death anniversary is drawing near, was preparing a doctoral thesis in the area of botany, and, I believe, the thesis was almost ready. Whether it was presented and defended or not, I am not sure. I know that he did receive job offers from the US and the UK; why he did not accept is again something I am not able to say.

What Mrs Braganza told me is that Archie was a founder member of The Indian Society for Genetics and Plant Breeding. His unpublished work has been cited several times in the journal of that august society, The Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding.

The collection, now in the possession of the Braganza family, is something priceless. I hope it will some day receive the attention that it richly deserves. Books on the flora of the Western Ghats are surely available; I hope Archie's work will find its way into these. I, for one, would be delighted to see this happen.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

On feni and karvandas and Wiki

I've just checked: the Wikipedia has an article on Feni (spelt Fenny), but nothing on Karvandas. So that's something that needs to be done. But is there enough 'reliable' matter on the humble Karvanda?

A new book on the priesthood by two young theology students

David Maria Selvam and Gabriel Karunaraj, theology students from Kristu Jyoti College, have just brought out a book of essays, mostly by Salesians, on the priesthood. A creditable effort, something to be sincerely appreciated and applauded. Congratulations, David and ??

The book is entitled Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests. It contains essays by Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Dominic Veliath, Paul Puthanangady, Matthew Maruvathrail (MJ), Thomas Panakezham (PC), Thomas Punnapadam (PI), and several others, including one by me.

Theology of the priesthood is not really in my line, and I accepted this assignment only with reluctance. But it did give me an opportunity to read something, and that's when I came across the book of Peterson which has provided matter for several entries in this blog. David of course remarked that Lonergan features everywhere; but my impression is that Lonergan provides a foil. Is the final position Lonerganian? I am not sure; I think there is a tiny difference, or perhaps an advance. But I can't be sure.

The Calcutta Chromosome

Interesting book by Amitav Ghosh: The Calcutta Chromosome. On an unlikely subject: the history of the discovery of the malaria parasite. The subtitle is weird: A novel of fevers, deliriums and discovery. But interesting. And well written. Ghosh has a spare style of writing, witness his The Glass Palace, which everyone I know has read it likes it enormously.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

The Jesuit Zendo at Kodaikanal

Diego is just back from Kodaikanal, where he joined a Zen retreat under Jesuit Zen master Amasamy. He liked it: the set up is beautiful, he said, and so is Kodai itself. I agreed!

Amasamy said that we should stop being so workaholic. It is not necessary to be doing something all the time. It is good to just sit and relax sometimes.

Good advice for me! Sitting sometimes, doing nothing. Not so much part of the Salesian tradition. Is this the contemplative attitude? Without detracting from work. It is the ability that counts: can I? sit and do nothing? am I able to? Or do I have to prove something to myself by keeping myself dreadfully busy from morning to night?

Caesar Augustus... and Jesus

I finished reading Colleen McCollough's Antony and Cleopatra a couple of days ago. Immensely enjoyable, this account of an immortal yet doomed romance between two of the most powerful people of the ancient world. And familiar territory: the jockeying for power after the murder of Julius Caesar, the eventual triumph of Octavian over Mark Antony, the Pax Romana... and, eventually, the birth of Christ - not mentioned in the book, of course, except perhaps in allusion when citing Virgil's prophecy of a child to be born.... (I did not know that Virgil was a contemporary of Octavian and Antony.)

The killing of Caesarion by Octavian saddened me. Caesarion is presented as a good, well-meaning young man, Octavian is obviously reluctant to do away with him; but Caesarion is the spitting image of Julius Caesar, and Octavian feels he has no option but...

And Octavian is also presented as a decent man. And yet, the demands of power... I found myself thinking: thank God for Jesus, with his completely different set of values. Born in a backwater, somewhere between the client king Herod and the Roman province of Syria... A nobody, really. And yet, even from the point of view of history: who talks of Caesar Augustus, Divi Filius? The Divi Filius we talk about is Jesus, no doubt about that.

In a different key, once again this is a novel where the main character has nothing to do with the title of the book. The main character is undoubtedly Octavian, and neither Mark Antony nor Cleopatra, who do not at all come through with flying colours, and fail to endear themselves to the reader. The book is clearly Octavian's, as was also Rome and history. And yet....

Monday 19 April 2010

Black swans

From fish to swans.

Some months ago, Adolph Furtado lent me a book entitled The Black Swan. The author was a Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and the subtitle was The Impact of the Highly Improbable. I browsed through the book on the train journey back to Nashik, and then did not muster up the energy to plough through it. I remember my vague impression that there must be some connection between what Taleb was saying and Lonergan on statistics, probabilities, emergence, and so on, but did not pursue this clue.

Now, surprisingly, the book turns up again: in the set of essays that Phil McShane and his team have been preparing for the August volume of Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education, with the title, "Do You Want a Sane Economy?" Though McShane, of course, is critical of Taleb, as he is, even more, of a guy called El-Erian, who seems to be one of the great investment and management gurus around the place.

My point is that a connection has been made.

McShane's point is that the current science of economics is no science at all, and that it has urgently to be put on a scientific footing.

El-Erian, for example, he points out, nowhere really talks about business. He talks about investment and making money. He talks about how to take risks. But business is not about making money. It is about caring for the flow of consumer goods, and for the other flow of production goods. It is about people and their living.

Goan fish names

Good to know these equivalents, which I got from http://www.goa-world.com/goa/konkani/fishnames.htm:

Gobro is reef cod.
Raus or ravas is Indian salmon.
Tamoshi (tamso?) is Mangrove red snapper - but the huge red snappers I saw last year at the Wharf at Betim are probably tamso rather than tamoshi.
Halwa I knew was black pomfret.
But surmai is seer fish - while I thought it was king fish.
Chonak is giant sea perch. Lep is sole.
(Capsali) mandli is golden spotted anchovy. That's a hell of a name for a common little - and hopefully still cheap - fish.
Ghol or gol is Jew fish - I think this is what is so common in Uttan. A large fish.
And shevto is mullet.

Remembering Marie Lobo and her gobro. There was another fish she kept mentioning, but it escapes me just now. - I remembered it finally: it's modso. I think modso is dark, longish, and you can easily mistake it for a pilo or a baby shark, whereas gobro or reef cod has a somewhat flattish and 'fishy' body. See the net for photos. But: what is the English equivalent of modso?

Saturday 17 April 2010

Date palms in flower


Date palms in flower... The palms are purely ornamental, but they have been flowering furiously for one or two  years now, but fruitlessly...

Karvanda time


This is what you might call a file photo: something I took a couple of years ago, in the woods behind my home at Zosvaddo, Soccorro, Goa....

The kantam or karvandas are blooming again, I guess, or fruiting already... It's that time of the year.

A casual survey of the net revealed that the botanical name for karvanda is Carissa L. (though what the L. stands for, I can't imagine). This is the abstract of a recent study by Ghate, Kulkarni and Upadhye, at http://www.cababstractsplus.org/abstracts/Abstract.aspx?AcNo=19996775144:

A programme for surveying, collecting and evaluating natural diversity in karvanda or karonda (Carissa sp.) was carried out during 1993-1995 in the states of Maharashtra and Goa, India. Karvanda is a fruit-yielding shrub. This genus of more than 60 species is distributed mostly in warm parts of Africa, Australia and Asia. Some of the problems in the taxonomy of Carissa are discussed with special reference to India. The collection of karvanda fruits from the wild is an age-old tradition in the tribal regions of Maharashtra. Considering the difficulties in species delimitation, particularly in the fruiting stage, attempts were made to study variability in Carissa irrespective of species. From 45 locations within an altitude range of 100-500 m, 111 accessions were collected during the fruiting season (April-May). The following variables were considered: (1) spines; (2) number of fruits per bunch; (3) size of fruit; (4) shape; (5) colour; (6) taste; (7) pulp colour; (8) the number of seeds/fruit; (9) soluble sugars content; and (10) seed weight. The genepool has been transplanted for ex situ conservation to a protected area in Pune, Maharashtra (India). KEYWORDS: TROPAG | Carissa | fruit crops | Carissa | germplasm | agronomic characters | wild plants | INDIA | Maharashtra.
What strikes me is the absolutely descriptive nature of the study. Which calls to mind McShane's oft repeated remark that many sciences have not yet come out of their descriptive stages - including botany, I suppose.

On a vainer note, the pictures above are among the FEW pictures of karvandas available on the net. A blow for local biodiversity!

And, by the way, among the hundreds of names by which the karvanda is known, I think the humble "kali maina" of the Katkari tribals of the Nashik-Igatpuri-Shahapur-Karjat belt is quite missing on the official sites at least. But I could be wrong.

And for Douglas: according to info on the net, no, karvandas cannot be grown from cuttings. But they seem to grow quite well from seed.

What's this?


I don't know the name of this one.... Anyone? (Location: Divyadaan, of course.)

The laburnums are blooming again


The laburnums are blooming again in Divyadaan.... Much better this year, in fact. And the trees have survived, despite the pitiable rainfall we received. The roots must have gone deep.

Thursday 15 April 2010

A cool morning

Every now and then a pleasant surprise. This morning, when I got up at around 4.45, I could feel a gentle cool waft... and right enough, when I went out for my walk, it was fresh and cool. Absolutely delightful when the weather's like this.... Thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

And these??


I thought these were golden rods, but Anelfreda said some other name, which I have forgotten. Anyone? The flowers are in the SHTC garden, Nashik....

Thunder lilies?


Very familiar flowers that bloom in spring / at the onset of the monsoons here in India - I just remembered they are called thunder lilies. Is that right? These are blooming in a little corner of the Don Bosco Nashik school 'garden' near the statue of Don Bosco.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

The Practice of Dialogue - Swami Shilananda's latest book

Swami Shilananda, SJ, dropped in to see me yesterday; unfortunately he was late, and I was away for house blessings. He left his latest 'book' for me: The Practice of Dialogue. Swamiji's recent books are actually photocopied and spiral bound affairs; it is too troublesome for him to do anything else, seeing that he does not usually get the necessary permissions from his religious authorities, and perhaps there is also the matter of expenses. At any rate, The Practice of Dialogue is one such 'book' or typescript, of some 86 pages. It is dated 2010, and its contents are selections from Swamiji's own experience of dialogue in and around Nashik. In effect, Swamiji has given us his correspondence with various people: Dr A.V. Varti who wrote an article in Marathi called "Ravana in the disguise of Ram" referring, I suppose, to Swamiji; the Jain Muni Santbalji and Shyamsunder Shukla; Prabhakar Vaidya, a Hindu Marxist as Swamiji describes him; and Ashok Chowgule, President of the VHP in Mumbai.

At the end Swamiji has appended three pieces: one from Avery Dulles, one from Bishop Thomas Dabre, and an excerpt from my own introduction to Brahman and Person: Essays by Richard De Smet. (I am quite flattered.)

This is certainly a different experience and practice of dialogue. It might not vibe with the majority of the current exponents of dialogue in the Catholic Church in India: Swami is considered way too conservative. But that does not mean that he should not be listened to, heard out. His experience cannot be lost. And he himself has gone a long way in ensuring that it is not lost. The exponents of dialogue have to listen - openly - also to people who disagree with them - not only outside the church but also within the church. Interesting. I remember reading someone years ago to the effect that liberals are open to everyone except those who disagree with them.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Workshop on Economics at Divyadaan in September 2010

New again: Divyadaan is about to announce a workshop with the title: TOWARDS A NEW ECONOMIC ORDER. The idea is to get thinking about current thinking about economics: do we know what we are saying? and: is it good enough, that thinking and that saying? And: do we need some new thinking?

The main resource person will be the redoubtable 78 year old Philip McShane, who is one of the leading Lonergan scholars in the world, and pushing for the implementation of Lonergan's functional specialization in all areas of knowledge, the latest being economics.

The workshop is scheduled for 9-11 September 2010, at Divyadaan, Don Bosco Marg, Nashik - 422 005.

As of now, all are welcome. Most welcome are young (not necessarily chronologically) economists / business people / industrialists / management people who are open to the necessary amount of thinking.

The format will be McShane as the main speaker, with everyone free - and, indeed invited and encouraged - to interact.

For those who are interested, see www.philipmcshane.ca for online books and other stuff written by McShane.

See also McShane, "Do you want a sane global economy?" Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education 21/1 (2010) 19-36, forthcoming.

New on Gandhi

Two new items on Gandhi that have been brewing around, at least in my world. The first is Peter Gonsalves' very well accepted Clothing for Liberation: Sage New Delhi even had an international release, they have been so enthusiastic about it. The second is somewhat less well-known: Richard Howards and Joanna Swanger's new book which is being serialized in Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education, with the title: Gandhi and Economics or Gandhi and the Future.

Peter's book is extraordinary in the way it focuses on Gandhi's ability to use clothing and cloth as absolutely subversive measures in his already extraordinary non-violent struggle for liberation from colonialism, and in the way it suborns three Western thinkers in this reading.

But I do think that Howards and Swanger's book is going to be the really challenging one, in the way it faces questions about Gandhian economics: is Gandhian economics retrograde, in the way it looks down on capitalism, technology, machinery, and in the way it upholds rural industry and even the varna system? The authors come up with an absolutely extraordinary reading, one which I am not even going to begin summarizing here. But, if your interest has been whetted, please do read what has already appeared in Divyadaan: 20/2 has the Introduction, 20/3 has chapter 1: Gandhi and the Future, and 21/1 will be having chapter 2, which is on Nehru and his relation to Gandhi's economics.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Birds around Don Bosco Marg

Hugh Mascarenhas says he wakes up with the sounds of robins, mynahs and other Nashik birds. I was surprised to hear robins. But this morning I saw two little birds that were surely robins: rounded, brownish black. One seems to have been the mother bird, quite anxious, because the other little one was still not sure of its flying...

On the Walking Track I saw another bird, about double the size of the robins, brown mostly, with a black streak around the eyes. I haven't seen this specimen before. Wonder what it is.

Then after mass, our neighbourhood bulbul, pecking away at its reflection on the rearview mirror of somebody's bike. Quite oblivious of us standing around. It is getting into quite a habit. Just might break through to self-awareness, perhaps. Must get a photo of this persistent bird.

The other day, at the Phadtare place, in the gloaming, listening to the sounds of birds on both sides of the valley. Duggy says one cry was of the painted pheasant, and the other of the plain pheasant, I think. I would love to see those.

Wonder what the big birds were that were being hunted in My Father's Glory. A movie I want to see again. Laidback, turn of the (last) century France. Age gone by. But beautifully portrayed. What is it that gets one when one sees movies like that? No sex, no violence, no thrills. Just: life, at its own sluggish river pace, another time, another place. Days gone by. Nothing to do with us, with me. But: fascinating. Poetry. Something that is human in us reaches out and identifies. Whatever the postmoderns say. There is a bridge, a common humanity, a common ground. That I cannot give up. Will not give up. It defines what it means to be Christian in India today, anywhere: the brotherhood of human beings, the fellowship, the one family under God.

Friday 9 April 2010

Shijumon in Arunachal


This is Cyriac Shijumon Malayil, past pupil of Divyadaan, now spending some time in Arunachal Pradesh. Wonderful place, fascinating, from the little I saw from my one and only visit some years ago. These photos bring back memories. Truly an anthropologist's delight. No wonder a chap like Verrier Elwin persuaded Nehru to block Arunachal to all missionaries. He thought they would destroy the cultures.
PS: the other priest in the background is almost certainly Policarp Xalxo, another past pupil of Divyadaan...

Wine grapes

Wine grapes at the Phadtare vineyard (Mountain View Wines), Ambebahula, off the Nashik Mumbai highway. Not sure what variety this is. But the harvest is late this year, because the unseasonal rains delayed the pruning. The intense heat, which in turn is too early, has been sort of scorching the grapes so that their colour is rather uneven. In contrast to table grapes which are trimmed at flowering stage, so that the berries are large and well spaced, wine grapes need not look pleasing, so... they tend to be smaller, in tight clusters. What matters, I guess, is the sweetness. It is the sugar that converts to alcohol. 
Mr Phadtare is cutting down production, so as to have only as much wine as he can sell directly himself. Earlier he was selling wine in bulk to other labels. He is now trying to grow new varieties and really become a Boutique Winery, which is how he advertises himself, hoping to carve out niche markets through word of mouth etc. The big corporate players in the wine market are edging out smaller competition. Also, the rules are stacked against wine: for example, the smaller wines can be sold only within a state; to go out, they need to get a whole lot of rather expensive licences; and so on.

Amarelis at SHTC

I would have called this a lily, but Anelfreda says it is called 'Amarelis.' It was glorious, anyway - till a young novice accidentally broke the stem (the pot was placed in the chapel). Never mind, it will flower again. A truly vigorous specimen.
PS: From the net I learn that Amarelis is the name not only of this particular exotic specimen with several layers of petals, but the common name of all such flowers, even with a single row of petals... the ones that suddenly bloom around March in our parts.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Raghoba again

I am interested in Raghoba because he is so much a part of Nashik history, and because his wada was just down the road from Don Bosco, in what is today Anandvalli, a basti that used to be a slum.

Raghoba murdered his nephew Narayanrao Peshwa. The succession was contested by Nana Phadanavis. Raghoba sought help from the English, promising to cede the island of Salcette (today part of Mumbai - the area across Mahim creek, from Bandra onwards) and part of Vasai (see the Treaty of Surat, 1775). The English occupied Salsette and defeated the Marathas at Arras. However, they had acted without authorization from Calcutta, which cancelled the Treaty and concluded another one called the Treaty of Purandhar. Eventually, however, Calcutta decided to honour the Treaty of Surat. The first Anglo-Maratha war was on. The British advanced from Bombay towards Pune, but suffered a crushing and humiliating defeat at Talegaon. They had to concede a humiliating convention at Wadgaon.

Eventually, however, the English won Gaikwad over to their side, and conquered Ahmednagar and Vasai with his help. In 1780, Gwalior fell to the British; Mahadji Scindia made peace with them, and mediated between them and the Marathas. The Treaty of Salbai brought the first Anglo-Maratha war to an end.

It is said that if Clive was the military genius, Warren Hastings was the organizational genius. Through his many treaties, he set the stage for the ascendancy of the British in India. He had won over to his side the greatest existing power: the Marathas.

But the point is that it was Raghoba who brought them in, in the first place.

See Radhey Shyam Chaurasia, History of Modern India, from 1707 A.D. to 2000 A.D., pp. 59-60.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Raghoba and Navshya Ganapati

From http://navshyaganapati.com/e_abtUs.html:
The Navshya Ganapati Temple at Anandvalli,on Gangapur road going towards Someshwar, Nasik has history of around 300-400 years. The temple was built at the time of Peshvas. The Ganapati Idol is famous amongst its followers as 'Navashya' because it is said that he grants all wishes of anyone who comes to him, Ganapati answers to the offerings in prayers ('navas') and thousands of followers have experinced this act of god.

In the year 1774 Raghoba Peshava and his wife Anandibai built this temple. Shreemant Madhavrao Peshve and Matoshri Gopikabai were also devotees of Shri Navshya Ganapati.

On 15th August 1764, Raghoba Peshava and his wife Anandibai had a son who was named Vinayak. On that day the village was named Anandvalli and work started for building the temple. The temple is situated on the banks of river Godavari.

The idol is very attractive and its eyes are very lively.

Raghoba Peshava also constructed a palace at Anandvalli. In year 1818 the palace was destroyed by British Empire however the temples were untouched.

Monday 5 April 2010

The self and the mirror

Yesterday Duggy pointed out to me a bulbul that was pecking away at its own reflection in the car mirror. Strangely, I had noticed the same thing the previous day: a bulbul pecking away at its reflection in the rear view mirror of a two wheeler. And, serendipitously, this text from Victor Ferrao's paper at the Dindigul ACPI:
Traditional psychology taught that self-awareness arises from the infant's gradual and increasing awareness of its own physical body. The psychologist Henri Wallon argued that the individual would require a level of individual awareness in the first place in order for it then to become aware of its own body. Therefore, he pointed out that the infant must not only gain awareness of his or her own body and bodily functions but must simultaneously develop an awareness of its environment and its external world. The key process in this emergent sense of self, said Wallon, was the ability to recognize and simultaneously distinguish itself from its own mirror reflection. He suggested that between the ages of three months and one year the infant gradually progressed from initial indifference to the mirror image to an acceptance of mastery over the image as separate from itself. Lacan pounced on the role of mirroring in the construction of self and of self-consciousness from psychology and constructed his views on the same.

Lacan teaches that the mirror stage occurs roughly between the ages of six and eighteen months. It is somewhere at this time that the infant begins to recognize his/her image in the mirror and this is usually accompanied by pleasure. He says that the child is fascinated by its image in the mirror and tries to control and plays with it. Soon the child gradually overcomes the intial confusion of the image with reality. He/she recognizes that the image has its own properties and finally comes to the realization that the image is his or her own image, a reflection of himself or herself. It is during this mirror stage that a child for the first time becomes aware, through seeing its image in the mirror, that his/her body possesses a total form. This sense of mastery or completeness is in contrast to the child's experience of its own body, over which it does not yet have full motor control. This means that the infant feels that his/her body is fragmented and not yet unified. It is the image that furnishes him/her with the sense of unification and wholeness. At this stage the infant identifies with the mirror image, the image thought to be him/her. This is crucial as it is through this identification that the infant can get to the stage of perceiving himself/herself as a whole being. Therefore, the sense of a unified self is acquired at the cost of this self being an-other. This means that the ego emerges at the moment of alienation and fascination with one's own image. That is why Lacan says that the ego is the effect of images. Lacan depends on the structuralist Levi-Strauss and linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and Roman Jakobson for his radical insights on the subject. Levi-Strauss studied the marriage and kinship systems of so-called 'primitive' societies. He pointed out that what was significant in this process is not the exchange of real people - of actual women - but the way in which women were transformed into signs and operated into the symbolic exchange. The exchange of women worked like language - a formal system with its own rules and regulation which could not be infringed but at the same time remains unconscious to the individual users. This means that there is an unconscious structure which determines people's social position and regulates their behaviour without them being aware of it. Lacan derives his idea that what characterizes the human world is the symbolic function - a function that intervenes in all aspects of our life - from Levi Strauss.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Good intentions are not enough

The Krishi Nagar walking track is going from bad to worse, at least in my opinion. It used to be a lovely dirt track, surrounded by young trees, mostly set in their natural surroundings of Nashik grasses and weeds. The attempt to pave the track was thankfully staved; but the contract had been given, the money had to be spent, and so the victim was the non-track area: the grasses and weeds are being replaced by paver blocks, lawn grass and formal gardens. This morning was the limit: new tube lights. I felt oppressed. The track did have its lights - but two or three yellow halogens placed at a decent height. Yesterday, it would seem, there was, on Good Friday, a Prakash Krutajnata Sohala, and this morning, the whole new set of tubes. At five in the morning, it used to be so wonderful, just that lovely mixture of dark and light, when you could walk in relatively undisturbed peace, apart from certain undesirables playing their transistors or MP3s or whatever at top volume, and others shrieking Marathi conversation for all to hear. Today I found the excessive light oppressive.

God made the day as well as the night. We need the darkness and the night. Part of the problem in cities is that the night becomes day.

The Krishi Nagar walking track is a classic example of how good intentions can ruin a good thing.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Clive Telles in an accident

Fr Clive Telles, SDB, of the province of the Konkan, met with a rather serious accident yesterday somewhere in coastal Karnataka. The pictures that Tino has sent around of the jeep are shocking: the tempo seems to have hit squarely the driver's side of our vehicle. Thank God Clive is reasonably safe, apart from broken ribs and a dent. Prayer for Clive.

The priest and the lack of prayer

From a homily of Fr Joaquim D'Souza to deacons and theologians at the end of their spiritual retreat in Rome:
Illuminating in this regard is the diagnosis made by Massimo Camisasca in his new essay, “Padre”: “The priest today is killed by his orientation towards the outside. He is killed by activities, by meetings, by documents. He is often an addict of various technologies. The priest needs to rediscover the positive value of silence, of reading, of study. He must find his link with the past in order to launch himself into the future. He must enter into his own depths in order to determine what he has to do. Instead the life of the priest today is often parceled out into an infinity of little responses that exhaust him and give him the impression of a life that is wasted rather than given for others.
For the priest, writes Camisasca, “the anchor of life cannot be activities, action. Action, doing, become a source of nourishment only if at the bottom of our being we know how to nourish ourselves continually by relating to God. Otherwise action empties us, tires us out, and, after making us lose our balance, it will destroy us.” From such empty action, the author goes on, arise the lack of direction, the search for fame, the superficiality, and even the collapse. The remedy, for Camisasca, does not lie in questioning priestly celibacy.
Jesus to his disciples in the Garden: 'Watch and pray that you might not fall into temptation.'

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