Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Hospital Without Medication

            I go to this place every year to have my system checked up – A Thorough Check Up. It was not a 'one fine day morning decision', It has now become a yearly tryst. “As you all have heard about the saying “Precaution is Better Than Cure.” I make sure, that I do my thorough check and do the necessary rectification, before my system shuts down wholly. You might be thinking about which  place and which system.
            The place is a Retreat centre, and the system, my soul. Now you might be thinking, why all these junky talk. Anyway do hear me first.
So, this year, as usual, my spiritual clock went off when my last year’s spiritual energy started dwindling, I really started getting so much screwed up and a feeling of loneliness and depression started to creep in,  I knew then, “Meena, it's time to look around for a place to recharge your energy. But there was a problem, I didn’t know any place where I could literally leave my Self into the hands of God. So as usual my Lord, intervened. He brought an opportunity on my door step. So when the knock came, it came from my own roommate, Lilly Bernard. It happened like this, “Didi, I’m going for a retreat, I really do not feel comfortable going there alone.” And that’s how, I grabbed the opportunity to go to Faridabad, Divine Retreat Ashram. And I do not know whether you would believe it or not, my initiation to spiritual retreat was from their mother house Potta, in Kerala,   and consecutive years many a retreats followed. My first experience with this group of spiritualists was simply AWESOME!!!!! Seeing the multitude of people, I thought there was some sort of religious festival going on as India is a land of festivals and celebrations and for this all join without any inhibitions and it stays only for some hours or might be a day.when I came to book the room did I know that they too have come for attending the retreat. I thought of returning back. I really didn’t feel comfortable in the rush. And I was thinking again and again, would anything be possible in this rush. But seeing is believing. The end result is one and only one, people are happy and they return. Anyway, we’ll come to the Faridabad centre, I was very happy, when I knew that it was the branch of Kerala Centre.
            You might think, why should I be so happy. I had a friend, a little on the old side of age. She said to me when I decided to go to the retreat, “If you’re planning to go for a retreat, you should start with Divine, in Potta or Muringoor. I was a bit piqued, I asked her what’s the speciality of the place. She smiled and said, “You’ll know after the retreat, why break the suspense so early?” I shrugged off and I followed her advice. Now you might want to know, why, right? Well, you too will have to wait because I’m here to write about my experience in Faridabad. The first thing that attracted me was the peacefulness of the place, it might be because I stepped in before 8 in the morning, but in general it was very peaceful, we could feel that we are stepping into the precincts of a church, only when I stepped in I knew, it was not because of that there were less people. There were people, priests, sisters, lay people, people, who had come for the retreat, but they were silent – a very important necessity in a place. So we were allotted a very good room, very neat place and very spacious and the necessary accessories to make our stay comfortable. That in itself was a relief. We were four in number, except for me and another friend Elgeena, the other two, Lilly and Somari were physically sick. Somari was terribly sick. We were given breakfast. We all united in a hall at the stipulated time and all went well, the first day, with introductions and classes. The speciality of these classes is, it is taken by well educated and spiritually experienced teachers. Why these specification of qualification of the teachers. It's very very important because we are treading a path to the unknown, the soul, which very few have known, they are guiding us. It’s like a tight rope walk, one misstep and there lies our doom. That is one speciality of this place, they give a very strong foundation to the initiation to spiritual life. It's a very important facet of their healing. They do not take us for a joy ride, blindfolded. They make sure that we are aware of each and every aspect of our soul and the spiritual connection which leads us to physical well being along with spiritual healing.
            So Somari and Lilly had their share of physical discomforts on the first day, but they persisted to stay to hear the classes of the retreat, both are illiterate, but they liked all the classes on the first day, they were happy, but I have never seen Somari smile when she was staying in the hostel, she was always angry. Even if we smile at her, she looks at us like an alien. So her facial expression remained the same and I thought it might be due to her physical discomfiture. So if you want to know about Somari, she is a Hindu. She met with an accident in her work place, she had fallen from a four storeyed building and broke her hip and the back bone into two, but she didn’t die and she was bedridden and she was alone and the nuns of our hostel did all the work for her. Seeing her pathetic situation, they decided to take her to Faridabad to pray because they had faith in the prayers of the place and the priests and nuns and the director, Fr. Joby and they believed that Somari would walk. So our Somari was taken there and after the prayers the first day, Somari, with a broken backbone and a hip and the verdicts of the doctors that she would never walk in her life started walking and that too in front of many  people. That spectacle was very heart rending because, when we see it will we have tears streaming down. All cried, me too.
Somari had lots of other problems and all these problems, she came and cured it in this place. Now she has a wound which would never heal, according to her body immunity and health, she has no other diseases, which hinders her body from healing the wound, nobody could understand. So the nuns decided to take both Lilly and Somari to this retreat Ashram which was organising the inner healing retreat for four days. That is why I too joined them for company. For me, the retreat was my lifeline, they didn’t know but they were happy with my presence because I could help them with their luggages, no sweat because I really need their help in directing myself to this place.
So we are in that retreat. Somari was the same, no smile, always discomfort, etc...On the third day, the Ashram provided counselling to those who needed. So Somari was also given counselling. She got a very good counsellor. He immediately knew what her ailment was. He asked her, some questions and she was sitting poker faced because counselling is a personal affair, only the counsellor and the person knows, what is spoken. Then I saw him speaking to her and she was nodding and then she broke out crying. She couldn’t stop her tears. She cried and cried and then the counsellor prayed for her. She returned back to attend the testimonies of people who once were sitting in our seats. She continued her tears and by evening break, she was a changed person. She started smiling. I could feel she was happy. I was relieved. I knew, she was healed, she had forgiven and to be frank, only then I knew that she was a very good looking girl and I told her so and to smile regularly and this advice goes for you too guys, ok?
That evening a miracle happened, her urinary infection was cured and her wound started healing. She was very very happy. Only when she told me that she was cured of urinary infection did I know that she was suffering from it. That is one disease which is very difficult to sit for long time and the burning sensation, the pain in the lower abdomen. I really salute her for the strain and the suffering she took upon herself to get the healing. Anyway God worked miracles, not only for her but all of us and the whole congregation who attended that retreat, seeing the number of testimonies given, we will have to believe, that this place is indeed a hospital without medication. But the admission is for the selected few because we are chosen by God. It's for the people, who are ready to tread the path towards God. It's for the people who really needs a change or else, we would have lots of reasons, not to go. Anyway, reason or no reason, I too received my share of gifts, which for me is priceless and am still wonderstruck by the depth of it. So now I hope you understood why my friend asked me to go to Divine?
If not, then I’ll say it myself, you’ll never deviate from the path of God, first trodden. The base is strong and you could face the world easily and the faith towards God is unshakeable. So I would also recommend you the same. May the Spirit of God guide you. I forgot to say one thing, this part is written after a week of the retreat, Somari is still smiling and Lilly was cured of her ear infection and partial deafness along with her rheumatism. Praise The Lord.

Bye and Take Care.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dog, Friend of Man?

            I had a picture of Delhi before I arrived, its usually, the best view, which they project in news channels and news papers – A clean Delhi, usually it would be the Red Fort and its road, where not a strand of hair lies on roads and coming from the airport too, I didn’t have a clue, what was awaiting me, then it started trickling bit by bit, garbage, here and garbage there, then the dogs – stray dogs. I was shocked to see it, as Delhi is famous for Animal Welfare Societies who treats the animals with much care and voicing all sort of legal issues in papers, that I was struck with the pathetic situation of the dogs here. Since it was dark, I didn’t have much option of going to look for it, but to settle for the night.
Dogs are the best friend of Man. That I cannot deny but when the dog overgrows from friend to a burden, then what would be the situation of the dog? Well it has to roam about the streets, naturally and ultimately be a stray dog. These stary dogs don’t abstain from affairs of procreation. Then its situation become bad to worse, searching for food in the garbage or in front of hotels or houses, sleep anywhere where it feels safe. But we think about their pathetic situation only when it becomes a nuisance to the society.
 So I settled in a place where I would say, that the pulse of the common man beats. I have a habit of going for a morning walk and a spiritual rendezvous in one go. Usually I start at 5:30 am. Walk real fast and reach my destination, out of breath, better ask why? The stray dogs, Here the stray dogs are more than the residents. Its all over the place, on car tops, roads, pavements, cycle rickshaws, until then I liked to travel in cycle rickshaws, but seeing a dog, sitting in it, I now do have second thoughts, in travelling in it. Its not that I do not like dogs, I do like it, but the fleas and the dirt of the street on the dog do get transmitted to human beings, don’t you think so? But it cannot be openly aired, can we? Anyway, I have to look my well being, so I opt for my two leg ride.
The residents are much more kind hearted, they are very generous and so they give a share of their food to the society’s back street strayed residents at the back of their houses or in street corners. Now all the by lanes are full of food left by the dogs, the poor strays have a choice of what they could eat, after consuming an extravagant meal, I think the stomach starts troubling them. They defecate everywhere and the street sweepers sweep around the poop but not take it away  completely. Some poop are so watery that it looks like a slurry and the cows do add to the misery, by giving their share of bowel cleaning. Usually what I do is not walk, but jump from one clean place to the other. In India, we have a ritual of seeing a best sight before going to work or for the day to be good, but seeing all these I feel the day of a delhiite is mushy, I think, their sensation for responding has gone. And the sad situation is that the old residents sit around the poop with the flies on it. But we forget one factor, what we are bringing upon us.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed pet waste a “nonpoint source of pollution” in 1991, which put poop in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals!
It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. EPA even estimates that two or three days’ worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it.
Dog feces are one of the most common carriers of the following diseases:
·        Heartworms
·        Whipworms
·        Hookworms
·        Roundworms
·        Tapeworms
·        Parvo
·        Corona
·        Giardiasis
·        Salmonellosis
·        Cryptosporidiosis
·        Campylobacteriosis
Two days back, a she-dog, gave birth to  a litter in my street, to be frank in front of our gate. It was a nightmare for the pedestrians, thinking that her puppies would be attacked, she attacked all passers by, the children were the most aggrieved. They ran and it followed them. Then I asked one of my colleagues, what does the Delhi Municipality do? My colleague was not aware of all those things. She said, who has time for all these? Then I knew, they accepted whatever was put into the platter without a murmur. But where would it lead? I’m sure, we don’t have to be Anna Hazare to make a change. There are lots of unsung heroes, who have contributed their share of their capability to make our lives easy, but we cannot wait for these guys to relieve us from our problems. It is in our hands, we should be the heroes of our society, not with big announcements and banners, but by creating an awareness within friends, neighbours and together asking the help of the Delhi Municipality and the concerned people like Animal  Welfare Societies, etc..Then we join together and slowly help clean one place after another. Just imagine when a rain comes, what will happen to the wastes? We literally would bathe in it won’t we?
There is an old saying, face is the mirror of the heart and Delhi is the face of India and if it is in such a pathetic situation, its not the authorities or the media or the bureaucrats or the politician who is to be blamed, it is each one of us, who occupy the space, of this land. We citizens, should be aware of our living standards. Its not the house, the car and the luxuries, that should dictate the standards of our lives, it should be the surroundings and the people who live around us, that should be the criteria, we should live for. We can aid our bureaucrats to help them make our city clean. And help put up lots of Animal Shelters and help them by donating some money or services to do their work properly and provide all the stray dogs a shelter, so that they are safe from not only other dogs, but also from the diseases and human interference. And Delhi needs the presence of mind and your services badly. Why don’t we join with our dogly friends?

Meena Thomas


Sunday, January 29, 2012


Yesterday I attended a mass service of the seventh day of demise of a nun. I had no personal contact with the nun, but my invitation rose from the friendly neighbour relationship. So when the bishop who was presiding the mass, highlighted the nun’s personality, I was awed by the different facets he touched about the nun. And he concluded with a phrase which really moved me. She is a person who smiles even when her heart is breaking and I was awed by this comment from a bishop, so how much hardships she might have gone through, to bring such a comment?
Life is too full of problems, big, small, fat, thin, long, short, goes the criteria of problems. Human being has an inbuilt mechanism to solve problems. But the way he utilises is the problem. There are two ways to solve it. One, by running away from it and the other by facing it. Whether facing or running, there are different routes, people utilize it.
I had a friend, a farmer, who had a small financial problem. He took a loan from his friends to alleviate from the problem and in order to return the money, he loaned from small money lenders and then to repay the debt, he took a big loan from the bank mortgaging his land and his house. And then he couldn’t repay the interest of the mortgage losing all his property. Here my friend, faced the problem by trying to solve it. But he actually was running away from the fact, that he should have to work out the problem of creating an income which could solve his financial crisis and work hard to achieve his goal. Instead he took the easy way out. This same situation rose to another of my friend. He too a farmer. He immediately went to the market and bought some seeds which could bring yield within a short period of time and generates income twice weekly – vegetable cultivation. He immediately did the necessary preparation of the land for cultivation and after two months, he started earning a regular income. He after 6 months, not only repaid his debts but started his own new venture. That is the difference between running and facing problems. When you face a problem, there would be an end to it, if we are running, then be sure you are in a quicksand, you would be immersed in the problem within no time.
        The first and foremost, you have to take a problem as an opportunity. In the above two cases, the first man took the opportunity to beg money from others and thereby forfeiting his  own property and tripling the amount of debt along with his maligned reputation and above all destroying relationships, while the second one was much more shrewd, he used his know how and worked hard, he not only cleared his debt, but he started a new venture in the process. So now you have a choice, whether you want to be the first or the second person, when a problem arise. But don’t think you’d be free of problem, it's the second skin of man. So face the problem wisely.
Bye and Take care.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Tryst With Weirdness

            After a long time, I meet not as the same old Meena, now I have become in the language of the young, a weirdo. Yes. Now when I say, weirdo, it's real weirdo because I have learned some real truths. Will you believe it? The truths which all people ask at some point of life, whys and hows and wheres, etc...
            So you would like to know, what happened to make me a weirdo. Well, I have been writing a book - A book of adventure to find Self. It's actually a children’s story and while I started the first word, I had an odd feeling, I didn’t know what to write because a normal person doesn’t think of all that type of nonsense. But I wanted to write. For me it was breaking the shackles of my being. So then I was really stuck because I literally am not that genius. If I do not know, then what will I write? So I used my weirdo behaviour, I prayed, talking with God thing. I don’t know whether you would believe it, I spoke to God, well speaking in the sense talking to oneself silently in blank space of my mind (if I had to shout believe me, I’ll be in a mental asylum(smile)), feeling that God is somewhere and He will be hearing me and I started doing it regularly in church and on my way, when in work, etc....He heard me. I started getting ideas, it started as a trickle, then started flowing, like a brook, then it turned out to be a river and now it's like a waterfall, shall I say Angel Waterfalls? And I completed my book within a month. And the name of my book is “Heaven Should Be Your Limit”. You might ask why this name.
            I think I changed the name thrice and all the three wasn’t right for me, like, whatever we do something should touch the heart. It didn’t touch my heart. So I cut it out and the day to send my manuscript arrived and still I didn’t get a name. I asked, “God, you gave me the contents of the book, then why can’t you give me the name too. If that too is provided, naturally, it would be completely your book and lo behold, 10 minutes before I was preparing to print my manuscript, I got the name, but I didn’t know why that name. It just came out like that. Then I knew, God doesn’t want us to stop half way - the sky because we always use the saying Sky is the limit, now, I think He has set a new boundary .
            But all these experiences are new to me. Once I heard a college girl saying that she didn’t know anything for the final examination and she felt like crying seeing the question paper. She prayed heart rendingly and then she saw a television screen in front of her (I thought she might be joking) and there were all the answers she asked for. I was thinking at that time, God is helping to cheat? But now, when I started writing this book, I knew, God helps, literally helps, those who are in need and who ask for it. Believe it guys, anything and everything can happen with God.
We too do as such and much more, if anyone ask in a very heart ripping way, won’t we?  It's a God quality – Love is what is behind it and to learn this simple fact, I do not know, how to say, I really travelled a long way and I’m glad, I did it. I got a lot of answers and it is in this book. Let me be true, it is not my knowledge, that is 100% fact. These things cannot be written with intelligence. It is something above that. I’ll let you peek my book little by little so that you too know, what is inside. But before that the publisher to consent to say yes to my book only then I can say, it would become a book. And anyway, I leave it to Him, who wrote it for me. If He wants you to see, He’ll have to make the publisher say Yes. So until tomorrow, take care.