Saturday, February 07, 2009

Praying m-anti(c)s


‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth “
‘Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep”
‘and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’

And God said, "Let there be light" *

And as I opened my eyes a brilliant flash of light struck my face …and a voice from behind thundered amidst heavenly digital hymns...

‘Wherever you go, our network follows’

I KNOW!! , but not so soon my good lord!!, I cried desperately…

And the voice said... ‘HUTCH!!’ That’s when my cousin who was reading the Bible went to the other room and switched off the TV. It took a few seconds and a brain restart to conclude the power cut was finally over, marking the conclusion of a carefully laid out prayer schedule perfected by traditional mallu christian families who share a fluctuating relationship with KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board)...Due to the recession its during these daily power cuts we all sit down and winzip our grievances to the Lord.

These are fervent prayer sessions where folks have own positions and strategies like in a football team... There is usually a striker who would be praying the loudest and sitting closest to the mini-altar… Then there are mid-fielders, usually the ladies at home who are somewhere in the middle of the pitch halfway to the kitchen….Defenders are usually the brats who are lazy and get fired up only when the team goalkeeper (usually the senior most player) give them a mouthful I believe in Aramaic language…But the entire team works in unison with the sole goal of getting the almighty to listen to us…and he better hear us, the way some try to get him listening.

In our home to make it really sure that the message gets across we sing a song at the end of the prayers... And being blessed with a voice that is …I am trying to type in here “heavenly, melodious and soothing” but seems like a warning message from MS Word dictionary “Do you mean, terrifying, fear-instilling and lethal? “. I think we got the point when we tried to sing that song at my uncle’s home which he warned is adjacent to a cemetery.

It is generally very difficult to figure out what goes on in the minds of people…But my theological analysis has shed light into what goes behind the deep intensity and fervour in some prayers…

*Mom is praying that the Appam comes of well tomorrow morning.
*Dad is praying that the telephone bill is lesser this time around.
*My cousin who was born with an identity crisis is praying that he gets to see Bourne Identity sometime.
*Our attacking mid-fielder aunt is praying passionately for Sreekutty who is bed ridden with cancer, beriberi and flu …’Sreekuttyude dukham’ the third in the mega serial series just completed 400 episodes in Asianet.
*There is someone at the back who might end up as a fine entomologist considering the interest he shows in playing with the insects hovering near the emergency lamp.

Apart from this due to the competitive nature of these prayer sessions, every other day there is someone trying extra hard …like for example, maximum words spoken in a minute…The abridged version of the Bible was written after recording one such discourse caught in slow motion. Most of the prayers are dictated like a car which starts in 1st gear and goes directly to fourth and then halts abruptly… We kinda assume that the middle part is for God to deduce... To avoid any miscommunication with God as it happened once to the horror of elders around, when I had emphatically articulated “Yeshu paatu paadi marichu” instead of “Yeshu paadu pettu marichu”, Bible reading went to kids who were on the slower lane….But soon we will get them trained to reach the expert level…

It so happens that God reminds us during such bible reading sessions the harsh realities of life in his own little ways…

“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how will we feed so many?"

Hearing this I have once seen mom hurrying up to kitchen at 200 km/hr yelling…

“ayyo...meen karinju poyyi kaanum...”**

See the Lord has his own ways of reminding people at the right time…However we remember the Lord primarily according to the power cut schedule …So last week someone thought this alarming trend has to end and called up the parish Priest…

“Father…could you do a talk this Friday evening on it”

“But Son…we have cancelled the sermon…no one misses the IPL kick-off match!! Which team are you…….?”


*passage from Old Testament of the Bible
** oops the fish must have got over-fried

29 comments:

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Good sense of humour you possess to make a grim prayer session seeem so humour-filled :)

Mishmash ! said...

"Most of the prayers are dictated like a car which starts in 1st gear and goes directly to fourth and then halts abruptly…" So true!! I have always noticed this ...and i don't think i can catch up with that speed even if i am reading from the book :O and you put it so humorously :))

“ayyo...meen karinju poyyi kaanum...”** LOL..this is quite commo at our place too....the only difference is that instead of prayer session it wd be a telephone call :)

Really a good one!

...nIShAntH... said...

Due to the recession its during these daily power cuts we all sit down and winzip our grievances to the Lord.

LOL...That was a hilarious read .

usha said...

lolz! :D
btw, I take pride in declaring that I hold the record for fastest bible reading in my family.

ps: you've been tagged!

Nitram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nitram said...

To avoid any miscommunication with God as it happened once to the horror of elders around, when I had emphatically articulated “Yeshu paatu paadi marichu” instead of “Yeshu paadu pettu marichu”
ROFL!!
Reminds me of the time when once, in a state of deep slumber, I may have accidentally challenged the Lord with "Ninte nirmala mukham(face) kaanichillenkil....." instead of the more appropriate "Ninte nirmala mukham kannikkaname"!!!

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

*Mom is praying that the Appam comes of well tomorrow morning.
*Dad is praying that the telephone bill is lesser this time around.
*My cousin who was born with an identity crisis is praying that he gets to see Bourne Identity sometime.
*Our attacking mid-fielder aunt is praying passionately for Sreekutty who is bed ridden with cancer, beriberi and flu …’Sreekuttyude dukham’ the third in the mega serial series just completed 400 episodes in Asianet.
*There is someone at the back who might end up as a fine entomologist considering the interest he shows in playing with the insects hovering near the emergency lamp.


Awesome, enthoru bhakti ulla family. Reminded me of my school days when i used to study with a Christian friend who used to have a prayer session everyday before the dinner. Even though i wasn't that much interested in the concept of GOD back then(self proclaimed agnostic phase of my life) i loved listening to the prayers. Especially when his granny mentioned me in the end. "E veetil innu vannuirukunna nalla kunjinum nanma varutheneme karthaave"

I used to go LOL @ that dialogue. :D Good dig :D

mathew said...

@Karthik
its mostly a serious affair though it gives it share of funny moments..:-)

@Mishmash !
hehe...yeah..we have strict timelines to meet even with prayers..;-P

running to the kitchen is commmon place ..same happens with a telephone call.

@Nishanth
thank you.. ;-D

@usha
hehe..yeah we have some professionals here..;-p

will do the tag soon..thanks..

@Nitram
karthavei...you are probably the first one who threatened the lord!!

@Abhi
yeah..its common to mention the guest too during the prayers..thought at our home we dont individually mention the names...

" nalla kunju" is it that what makes it funny..hehe..;-D

silverine said...

And what is even more funny is that people like my mom still carry on the tradition and in Malayalam too! :p

Ann said...

My Good Dod,i couldnt stop laughing this time.Familiar with all these and I think someone is going for a thesis on how the prayers and powercut is inter related..
During college prayers,i have seen many making their hair and talking impatiently..lol
And just remember kochuthresia in 'Manassinakkare'..Classic example..and on the ending note,Amen,ivar cheyyunnathenthaanennu ivar ariyunnilla....lol

Divs said...

hehee.. what were u praying for?? :P

i sermon cancelled coz of ipl?? :D :D

Priya said...

You really did spark off my weekend with a damn nice humor again.

Deepti said...

What did you pray for? :D
Whenever i see the regular doctor i go to pray .. I wonder if he prays for prosperity ... then its inversely proportional to my prayers ;)

Rahul S. Nair said...

:) LOL...
I have many Christian Friends... Once I had gone to one guys house to stay for a couple of days... This prayer session started and I couldn't make out anything of they were saying.

Like you said, the Car in 4th gear.. :)

Jyothsna said...

Lol!!! :) I wonder why it's almost a competition to read prayers the loudest or fastest....I've seen it in temples too :)

anN-series said...

i totally relate to praying in strategic positions and ending the prayer with a song!

mathew said...

@Anju
"and in Malayalam too!"
am bad tubelight...dint get that!!:-(

@Ann
that is indeed thesis material...i have seen folks trying to read from a newspaper which might be lying quite far away..

I loved her in that movie!! feels like watching again..

@Divs
world peace what else..(just trying to be cool here :-P)

@Priya
thank you..:-)

@Deepti
Depends..mostly i pray that my wine-stock never decreases...:-P

@Rahul
hey thats a mantra...you wont understand those easily...:-P

@Jyothsna
I think its like railway telephone reservation system..so many people are calling in...you have to do push yourself to get the 2nd class A/C seat!:-D

@Ann
hehe...I can understand..
so next time you go home where are you gonna sit.. :-P

thomman said...

Totally relate to it mathew, totally! When I'm at Ammachi's place there's yet another twist at the end -- Everyone need to say aloud the things God did for them that day. But my creativity increased you know, as a byproduct of it. :D And did you notice, the women read the Bible so fluently and when they give it to us it's like as you said "yeeshu paatu paadi marichu". And about the songs, usually i dont know them completetly, but I lip sync ;) And the times of Easter, ammachi wakes us up at 2.00 in the morn, and we've to walk like 3,4 kms along the kaadu and climb a steep hill to reach the church. Athu kazhinjaal sukham urakkam. So many things man so many to talk about the "traditions".

DARREN FLETCHER said...

Totally relate to ur post..Prayer sessions in my house underwent a drastic change after my parents attended a retreat sometime in mid-90's.The usual 15 minute session soon became hourly sessions .Once i hit +1 ,tuitions used to be a good excuse to skip the evening prayers..Jokes apart,having such a prayer session every evening did instill a few xian values in me that i would treasure all my life..:)

Bindhu Unny said...

LOL! Another hilarious post. :-)

maggi said...

Lolz...gud one!

Jackfruit said...

hmmm... poor god :D:D

KSEB does work hard make family bonds stronger. We use the current-cut time as quality family time with out interruption by TV.

mathew said...

@thomman
bingo...there almost seems to be a fight to pray the loudest!;-D

3-4 kms in kaadu..where the hell is your native..hehe..

@darren
yeah..i wrote it in a ligher vein..we have it usually in 15-20 minutes..i doubt how long these traditions last..

@Bindhu
thanks a lot.:-)

@Maggi
:-)

@Jackfruit
you said it!! thanks to KSEB!!;-D

thomman said...

Hehe, dad originally from Pala, but ammachi now in Adimali - high range with forests, about 30 kms from Munnar. :) Mom's place in Thodupuzha. :)

Tina said...

Hillarious account... :) Really wonderful...

Best of all are the hymns.. :)

Of course those who are not used to it(praying sessions) will find it really funny with chants of Amen and Halleluia.

Could relate to

“ayyo...meen karinju poyyi kaanum...”**

and

"*Mom is praying that the Appam comes of well tomorrow morning.
"

Anon said...

A very well-written post, I must say!! Hilarious, indeed! :)

Btw, if ur mom wud have prayed for the "meen" rather than the "appam", that could have saved her the "marathon" effort! :)

[http://the-incognito-blogger.blogspot.com/]

Maria said...

after reading this post, am so home sick :( I could totally relate to what you've written here. These days I miss the song at the end of the prayer (my husband being an NRI for most of his life, is not familiar with mallu christian songs :( ), back home we regularly sing "nitya vishudhayam kanya mariame" or "njan urangan pokum munpai" ...I miss those evening prayers :(

mathew said...

@thomman
haha..appo oru kochu forest ranger aanu alle..;-D

@Tina
haha..exactly..
“ayyo...meen karinju poyyi kaanum...” My mom happened to see this post..and she fully agreed..

@Anon
thank you..meen and appam..well thats just two..it happens with lot of curries..;-P

@Maria
hmm...i can understand that..
"njan urangan pokum munpai" is the song we sing at home too..but we are horrible singers..atleast me...and the funny part is that some of us might be actually sleeping when the song is being sung..;-)

thanks for visiting.

crispus said...

ROTL...cant stop smiling...guess this is the same in most of our homes and to boot it, my hubby says the prayers ssoooooo fast that i hear the beginning and then the end..he kinda gulps the words and i havent yet developed that speed for "prarthana chollaan"! He does it super fast to catch up on the live cricket and then its me now who prays for "tomorrows appam"! :))
Lov the way u have blogged on such memories. Happy easter. :)