Friday, April 17, 2015

The Community Physician's Prayer

Amy wrote this prayer while working on one of her assignments for her MA course with our amazing coach Dr. Stan Nussbaum. I was really moved when I read it and thought I would share it with all of you. The photograph is by Dr. Rajesh Isaac.

Easter celebration

This Easter, the fellowship department of CMC organised a celebration of the life of Christ through music and dance. Here are two songs from the musical. It takes ages to upload so the rest will come slowly. Due to the poor quality of my handicam, you may need to watch these in HD.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Time to get back!

It's been more than three years since I stopped writing regularly. I have often thought of getting back, but the timing has never been right. Plus, there's always the worry that you will announce you are back in a fit if enthusiasm and then be unable to continue!! Well, here's hoping that won't happen!! Life has been great these last few years, with the usual ups and downs. We added two new members to our family and made a lot of dear friends out here in Ludhiana. There always seems to be a lot happening and I hope that in spite of everything I can get back to regular blogging. Special thanks to those of you who have been asking me why I stopped writing. I really appreciate your love and encouragement. Hope to keep seeing you around on the blogosphere. There's no really good way to end a post like this.... So that's it. Nuf sed

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas (and some news)!

This has been a wonderful year for us! We had two new additions to the family - a dog in January and a baby in November! Our cup of joy runneth over and we are grateful to God for all His goodness to us. The arrival of the baby made this year a most blessed one and though there were a number of ups and downs, 2014 has been a landmark year for sure. The highlights of the year for Amy were completion of her data collection for her thesis and the whole pregnancy period and the delivery of the baby. We were grateful to both our mothers who could be here with us during that time. Arpit enjoyed his involvement in the Sunday School and with the students both academically and musically, the highlights being a concert of instrumental music and the musical 'Shrek'. We thank all of you who have journeyed with us in thought, word and prayer and wish you all a Christ-centred Christmas season and a blessed New Year. We look forward to 2015, knowing there may be many new beginnings and value your prayer for all of us in the New Year.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A new addition to the family

There has been some big news in our small family in the last year. After a long time of zero growth, there has finally been some activity! It all began on January 14th when I called my one and only first cousin to wish him for his birthday. (The fact that I have only one reaches significance only with the added information that Amy has 39!!). In the course of the conversation he asked me we were planning to get a dog. I said, no way! We had enough going on without the additional responsibility and given that we are such frequent travellers, keeping a dog would be well nigh impossible. I had already explored this with some of the dog-owners of the campus and after listening to them, had decided that this was too much for us at this point. Maybe, when we were settled down permanently (will that ever happen?!) somewhere, sometime in the distant future…We then moved on to other topics.

That same evening Amy and I stopped at a departmental store to get some groceries and supplies for a meal we were hosting for friends that evening. Right opposite the store where we parked our car was a pet shop. Outside the shop was a cage with 2 tiny Labrador (or Labradog, as it is known in these parts!) pups. Amy and me, both ardent animal fans, went over to look at them and make the usual accompanying noises – Awww, so cute and such like. Unlike usual, we stayed a little longer than we probably should have, making silly noises at the unsuspecting pups, who, of course, reciprocated as all pups in cages would do – with wagging and whines and a general dispensation of ultra-cuteness.

Once the critical limit was passed, the same thought began to form in both of our minds. As we looked at each other, I did not need to hear her words to know what she was going to say – Shall we get one? Having already been befuddled by the dashed pups, how could I then handle the deep pools that were my dear wife’s eyes?!! 20 minutes later we were the proud owners of a tiny pup, a bag-load of accessories that we were told were completely essential and a ton of advice on the various methods of making sure the pup did not die.

I am not used to making on-the-spot decisions. Usually, every decision is accompanied by many hours of research, dithering, pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth. But after January 14th, I think that maybe, being a man-of-the- moment may not necessarily be the worst thing in the world. For bringing home that puppy was one of the best decisions that I have ever made, though it went against all the advice I had been given and my ‘researched’ plans! And so ‘Awesome’ (as I named him over all Amy’s vehement protests!) Mathew came home to spend what would turn out to be a tumultuous day at No.8 Gateway Terrace!!

(to be continued)

Friday, August 15, 2014

CMC chapel choir sings Vande Mataram medley - Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! As we honour our great leaders who won our freedom for us at great personal cost, I feel happy and proud to be a member of this great nation with its rich and varied heritage. As we worshipped in the church this morning, I was wondering at the magnanimity and openness of our leaders who enshrined the precepts of secularism in our constitution. How easy it would have been for this country with its huge majority of Hindus to declare itself a Hindu state and follow the path of so many of our neighbours into religious fanaticism and destruction. How easy it would have been for our leaders to have won the votes and hearts of the majority of our population with a narrow-minded agenda. How easy it would have been for them to declare - Hindustan for Hindus. But it is a sign of their greatness that we live in this land of freedom in all forms, including religious. Where I am proud to call myself an Indian although I come from a minority community. Where I can follow my own life and path without fear of prosecution or retribution. Where I can join with my fellow Indians to sing together 'Maa Tujhe Salaam - Vande Mataram'

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The existential contradiction

Today I came across 2 articles in the news. Their extreme 'oppositeness' struck me, as did the fact that one was a widely reported event, but the other was stuck away in the back pages. One talks about 2 people and the other about 3.5 million children. The first is the article which talks about a celebrity couple who recently spent an estimated $ 30 million on their wedding. One partner had spent $20 million on a previous wedding, with the marriage lasting a whole 72 days. The other article is one that quotes the aid agency Oxfam as estimating that 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK alone. Which one would you likely click on if you saw them on your facebook stream?

The danger of our modern world is that with the luxury and facilities available to us, we are likely to forget that life has treated the majority of our race in a different way. A few facts which I gleaned from this site.
  1. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
    At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
  2. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.urce
  3. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source
  4. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.Source
  6. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
There are many more numbers and figures that I have found in different places. All of them tell me that the majority of the world is deprived of many of the things I consider essential. I do not need to look far away. I just need to walk down the road with my eyes and ears open. The people in need are everywhere. But in my air-conditioned car with windows up and in my closeted world which only the rich can access, I may never see them.

I wish the newly weds all happiness and blessings. However, I do pray that whatever they can do or give to ease the suffering of others they will do. And not waste their billions on things that have no lasting value. And I pray that I will do the same.

Monday, January 13, 2014

News from the Mathews

Hi everyone. This has been my longest time away from the blog. More than a year! I haven't made any new year resolutions about restarting blogging though I have thought about it once in a while. Lets see what happens... This post is just to share our new year letter with all 5 of you who may still check out this blog once in a while (or am I being too optimistic!!). It's been a good year and we are looking forward to 2014. To all our friends on the blogosphere, here's wishing all of you a blessed New Year with lots of fun and happiness. Ciao!

This was supposed to be a Christmas letter, but has become a New Year one! So belated Merry Christmas to all of you! Hope the season brought much joy and a special reminder of the great blessing that we received 2000 years ago. And we wish you all a very happy New Year filled with blessings and happiness. 

As we come to the end of 2013, there is much to be grateful for. We have been blessed abundantly as a family and our lives have been full of happiness. One of the biggest events of 2013 for us was Amy’s completion of her Diploma in Anaesthesia and entry into the MD programme in community medicine even before her previous course was over! This was most unexpected and for us it was yet another indication of God’s clear guidance regarding our future. As is her wont, Amy made a smooth transition and is thoroughly enjoying her new vocation, just as she did Anaesthesia. Being equipped with both degrees is sure to be a great boon whatever she chooses to do in the future.

The other big event of 2013 was that we finally moved out of our room (cosy as it was!) to a house. After the two lovely years we had spent in our three-story mansion at Shillong, we were really excited to move into our new home on the campus which is just as lovely and has been set up superbly over the last month by Amy. Moreover, after enjoying having so many of our friends staying with us at Shillong, we are happy that we can once again welcome anyone who is passing through and needs a place. We have made some close friends here at CMC and look forward to many happy times with them in our new home.

Another excitement of the year was all the music. Under the lofty-sounding banner of the CMC Philharmonic and Choral Society (CPCS), a group of us get together every week to enjoy music and have fun. There are now three distinct entities to CPCS. The children’s choir conducted by Amy is a great hit on the campus and the kids are always surprising us with their talents. The adult choir, made up of super-talented students, loves to experiment with different styles and forms of music and it is always great entertainment! The instrumental group which recently added a euphonium to its ranks (in addition to the violin, piano, lead guitar, bass guitar and drums) favours jazz, and loves interpreting classical music in a rock style. The final effect is not as bad as it sounds (pun not intended!).

As we look forward to 2014, we are really excited by all that is in store for us. The victory of Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP coinciding with our celebration of the birth of our Saviour has been a great morale booster and cause for hope. If one man and his team can make so much happen in one year, surely we can all make a difference. As we enter the New Year, we are becoming more and more aware of our need to search diligently for God and His ways and we look forward to a much closer walk with Him in the New Year. We thank all of you for your love and prayers for us. Here's wishing you all a blessed 2014.


Amy and Arpit

I leave you with the song the faculty choir sang for Christmas last year. God bless!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas cantata

This last year has been a really bad one for this poor blog!! Let's hope that the next one will be better!! There are many reasons for the slump, which I think are best left unsaid!! But just to let you know that all is not dead creatively (!!), here are two songs from the short Christmas cantata that Amy and I composed for our institutional Christmas programme performed by the faculty choir conducted by Dr. Jacob Koshy (the wonderful soloists are Christine Joshua and Preethi Paul). Wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed Year ahead.

P.S. There are a few more videos of the Christmas choir and also the Easter musical on the same youtube page - thanks Rev. Stanley.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The death of a revolution

Last week, hidden amidst the sensationalism that passes for news nowadays, was the quiet announcement of the disbanding of Team Anna. From the heady days just a year ago, when it appeared that the strong arm of Corruption had finally met a worthy foe, it was painful to see the slow but sure journey to destruction that the movement took as it blundered from mistake to mistake. Last year, when Ramlila Maidan was filled with exhilarated mobs, it appeared that our country was at last taking its destiny in her hands and making some much-needed changes. Though there were some sceptics (myself included, I'm afraid!), there was general excitement as the recalcitrant Anna Hazare and his team stood up to the behemoth of the Indian administrative and political system. Even Time Magazine counted it among the top 10 stories of 2011. Sad to say, those glory days were short-lived. And today, the revolution is dead and buried albeit amidst hope that it will rise again as a political movement.

Far be it from me to point fingers of accusation at any of the key players in this drama as I wonder why it failed. Rather, just as I did last time, the blame should rest solely on me. And my ilk. For the driving force of the revolution was and had to be the middle class. The rich were not bothered and the poor had too many other things to worry about. It was the middle class who began the revolution and it was they who should have stuck with it till the end. But unfortunately, the Indian middle class is all too comfortable with the present state of affairs. How easy it is to get things done just be greasing a few palms along the way. Why not just continue with the status quo and let the Anna Hazares of this nation shout themselves hoarse in their mistaken idea that they are doing what we want! What we want is to continue to get train tickets from the TT by slipping him an extra hundred, to be able to escape a traffic ticket by giving the cop on duty money for chai-pani, to escape the tax-man by selling our land and houses in cash (one of my friends has huge bags of cash sitting at home for the last 5 years from the land he sold!!), to be able to move any form of government machinery by bribing whichever official is involved. When things are so smooth and fine for us, why should we really bother to affect any change?

My guess is that out of every 100 citizens over the age of 30, there will be only one who has never paid a bribe. And that would be an optimistic estimate! And what has that one man gained for his honesty? Much trouble at the hands of the government - many, many visits to the officials, long delays in processing even the simplest of requests, fines for non-existent offences (recently there was a case filed against a policeman who fined a driver for not wearing a helmet...... IN A CAR!!!) and huge loss of time and money amounting to much more than the original bribe would have been. How much better to quietly pay the bribe and then rationalise it in the context of the situation.

The problem with our middle class is that there are too few who are ready to take up the gauntlet and suffer for the sake of their conscience. And that is why, at the present time, revolutions like Anna's are bound to fail. But there is hope yet. We only need to reach that critical mass of honest people. The tipping point, so to speak. Then there will be no turning back as the wheels of justice overtake all our corrupt officials and systems and the honest man will no longer be troubled but helped. So let us pray for that day. And work towards it. By being the ones who make the change and not leaving it all to the Anna Hazares. By standing for truth and honesty even in the face of severe provocation. By not considering corruption to be the norm, but rather an abomination. By standing up for the downtrodden and disenfranchised rather than allowing the corrupt system to run right over them. It will be really difficult. But it will surely be worth it.