i could barely walk, the wind was pushing me back.
And it was raining, though not very hard. Very early in the morning and the light started fading
it was kind of getting dark and chilly and i had no warm clothing on, i was shivering, barely able to stand. The wind was making loud noise, it was blowing so hard, made no effort to protect myself.
No it is not a defeat. i was just unwilling to fight the forces of nature
i just longed to be dissolved and consumed. i stood there, dripping wet and taking pictures.
i looked up, receiving the first drops of rain on my body, on my face,
A big drop of rain splashed on my spects suddenly waking me up.
i had to look for a Church
My friend Sherjee walked ahead, i am such an irritating company, i stop everywhere to take pictures. He was nowhere to be seen,
i was alone. Sherjee too did not know where the Church was. Perhaps he went ahead to look for it. No one in sight, this was not a total wilderness, we had crossed a tribal settlement a while ago.
Surprise surprise !
i was invited to attend a Sunday mass at this Church
i was decently dressed, not in my usual rags. Thanks to my sister,
new pair of shoes too, all wet now,
i stopped three ladies, perhaps tribals, not sure, each had an umbrella and they all were struggling to hold it upright.
if you take a video of these girls managing their umbrellas it would make a good break dance video. The wind was playing a havoc on them,
EEEEEE Palli yavde' ?? ... i asked ( Where is the Church ? )
Palli is Church in Malayalam, a mosque also is called Palli.
Palli yavde' ? (Where is the Church ?) i asked again, had to shout through the umbrella, her umbrella was going everywhere but she was managing it well, i would have let the umbrella fly. i have done it.
One girl pointed somewhere up in the sky 'atho' she said lifting her umbrella a bit, i could see her face now.
They were not wearing any warm clothes,
where ? yavde' i asked
'atho' she pointed again in the same direction
i don't see a thing, all i could see was white all around, just mist everywhere.
'onnum kanaanilla' i said ( i can't see a thing )
one girl was blushing the other two were giggling. These girls don't need a reason to laugh.
me standing there in rain all wet without an umbrella was a funny sight for them
they spoke in fast malayalam which i couldn't understand
all three of them broke into a loud giggle
ah haaa ! giggling to glory, ok laugh at me. At least i provided some entertainment to these poor ladies.
One chap crossed us, i think he said ' follow me'
i did not follow him, i wanted to take his picture, he too was struggling with his umbrella.
i started walking in that direction, it wasn't very steep but i was panting for breath
have to cut down my smoking.
i wanted to sit somewhere have kattan kaapee and smoke, but not in a Church.
But where is the Church ?
The man who said follow me disappeared in the mist.
oh dear ! its so beautiful. i saw a beauty emerging out of the mist.
i stood there stunned.
i could see the whole Church now as i went closer, still covered in mist, white Church white mist, invisible from a distance.
This was a beauty. Not the greatest, but it was majestic. Small Church. It may not look the same if i go in a different season.
i saw my friend Sherjee coming down looking for me.
This is not the way to enter a Church, dripping wet, i was the only lunatic there, without an umbrella
i was hoping brother Jijo would be inside. This is Brother Jijo, one of the sweetest priests i know, Very simple, very unlike other priests. Look at the innocence on his face. Out of respect, i never call him by his name, though he is years younger to me. i call him Chemmaccha. Chemmacchan is half Acchan ? Acchan is a father in Malayalam, no he can't be half father.
soon to be a father ? no, that is ridiculous. a Deacon perhaps. Junior priest.
The mass had already begun,
There he is, Chemmacchan, Brother Jijo, on the mic. Singing the hymns.
The mass, the rituals are full of drama, i don't know why they need such a dramatic display of rituals. i nearly dropped my camera in a Buddhist temple when the gong went off DHOiiiiNNNNGGGGG !
That completely rattled all my nuts and bolts. i think they do it to keep people awake ???
i couldn't afford to doze off, they were all looking at me including the Tirmeni, the Bishop.
It was misty inside as well, but i was not shivering with cold any more. You can see they all sitting on the floor, most of them tribals, In all the Kerala Churches men and women are segregated. The whole thing, the mass, takes two hours. stand up, sit down, stand up sit down, i was following what others were doing. But i was not singing along.
Listen to the sermon boys, don't look at me.
i already knew the Tirmeni, He had come from Kozhikode. Today was a special mass, i forgot what it was. A Bishop is called Tirmeni in Malayalam. He had invited me the previous day. No arguements nothing, i behaved well, i kept my mouth shut. Everything went off well.
i never kick up the dirt. Others poke me and i react.
Women always cover their heads
This happened to me in a Church a couple of times.
' this is my friend rauf and he tussant beeleev in Goad'
sub titles : this is my friend rauf and he doesn't believe in God'
i get furious, why bring it up in an introduction ? Its the tone which i don't like
its like saying This is my friend rauf and he is mentally retarded. There is an immediate look of sympathy and pity, and i drop my jaw and look like a certified looney, gaping at them.
i don't have to act, i look like a retard.
If he doesn't believe in God, what is he doing in a Church ?
kick him out
No one, no one says that. They never get angry, They just pull me and give me a bear hug, cracking my ribs
yes they eat very well. i receive their warmth.
They treat me with respect, and i avoid arguing, The priest puts his arm on my shoulder, very clever actually, bikkaas i have a reputation for asking some very nasty questions.
We will pray for you raufji, You are lost now and Goad will show you the way.
i look up and down, try my best to look completely lost
i smile and say thank you
This is Tirmeni the Bishop.
Why do you have to dress up like Michel Jackson ? , i asked my friend Mathew Acchan, another very sweet loving caring priest, he is in Bangalore Church, always smiling, my best friend Cherian's brother.
He just smiles. They all wear and i have to follow them.
The white cassok they wear is called a kuppayam.
Badly wanted to have kattan kaapee
this is kattan kaapee i talk about always
sat here with the tribals and smoked, they all sit around me and watch me smoke.
This is on our way back and here is my friend Sherjee, my clothes were still wet. i was in no hurry to change, the rain never makes me sick.