Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunday's weren't always Sundae's.

On weekends, I enjoy sitting at the riverside near my home.

There is nothing more relaxing than listening to the flow of water and quite often these times my mind wanders in rudderless thoughts. So last Sunday I was lazing near the beach and somehow pressed the rewind button of my memories tape recorder. It took me to the time when I used to attend Sunday class at the Lourdes’s church.

(A 10-year-old boy has written this post and author barely recognizes this character. Please respect his un-intelligent rant and which is not meant to be offensive in anyway)

* Sometime in the 1990’s at Trivandrum*

I was of the devout types who loved to occupy the seat farthest from the Altar. You know, just in case the Priest caught me yawning. Sunday classes were loved and hated at the same time...Loved coz that meant escape from the school books and homework’s...And hated coz of 3 kilometers of cycling, the last leg of which was a steep climbing road...Since the church seemed to stand on a hill, it almost felt like I was the Lord carrying two kurushu (my bike and bro) at the same time. If it weren’t for lack of opportunities I could have been Indian version of Lance Armstrong having already won back-to-back titles in the prestigious Tour de Muttada*. And after that tiring hike I wouldn’t be exactly in a mood to kneel down on my already wobbling knees and tell Lord...’Thank you for all the good things in life!!’

Anyways for the information of un-informed Sunday class is preceded by the mass, which normally runs for like 1.5 hours, but often felt like eternity. Infact I was the biggest fan of the priest who had the shortest sermon and sang abridged hymns. No wonder I have seen many folks doing the sign of the cross more or less resembling a blinding karate action…At times I have even slept standing like a horse during the mass…The only interesting thing I remember doing in the church was turning my neck around 45 to 60 degrees towards my left in undetectable swift movements to check out any cute girl on the other side. But even that has its own logistic issues like a familiar uncle or aunty who might be out there as spies. After about like 1.5 years…err…I mean hours the mass is over…Am so happy that I would be eager to clench my fists and shout.’ YES…FINALLY!!’. Am sure many elders out there wanted too...but they were pretending not.

So after the mass bro and myself go to respective classes. We would be told Bible stories and taught moral lessons through these classes…My favorite Bible stories happened to be 'Noah’s Ark' and the story of ‘The Good shepherd’. Other favorites were ‘David versus Goliath’ which I consider truly inspirational if you are planning to deal with bullies in school...That story simply inspired me to throw stones at certain people…whoever said Bible is all about love.
Another character that I liked was 'Samson' ...I wanted to be like him and he was my favorite super hero after giant robot…Most of Shaji Kailas movies are inspired by the Samson story if you carefully study the finer nuances.

Now here comes the funny part. I joined the Sunday class quite late…Therefore when I joined 1st standard, I was already in 3rd at regular school. So that meant I was like the big brother in class. It also meant I could show off among them the teeny weeny kids. Many Sunday class teachers were ruthlessly harassed when I asked questions like ‘Did Jesus use fevicol to fix the ear of that soldier when St Peter’s cut it off’…Such horrible jokes made me a hero in the class though later neutralized by someone at home called Dad who proved hero’s can cry during certain intimidating circumstances.
When I reached 5th standard I met with a major bottleneck in my attempt at biblical prowess. Sunday class exams started taking shape of written format and that spelt disaster for me… Being student of a central govt school meant they dint teach the native language. My knowledge was limited to spoken Malayalam and was barely good at reading (which often caused blunder’s during Bible reading at home like...’Yeshu paatu paadi marichu…instead of ‘Yeshu paadu pettu marichu’)…So in a remarkable turning point in my academic history I took the exam where I answered the Malayalam questions in English…But the trouble happened when question pertained to certain hymns were asked and my translation of them would have made classic comedy jingles. The extra effects along with the hymns made it sound like contemporary rock.

‘Hello Lord…Forgive me...Oh…Oh..forgive me. "

Also I also took such exams to express creatively and personal interest in checking IQ levels of priests.

Questions like ‘Which Sabha are you from’ would be answered with cryptic clues like

Unfortunately in very tragic circumstances I failed in fifth standard.

So by the time I reached 7th standard I was writing the boards in school. It also meant that I was exposed to facts that it is possible to take the bus to the cinema, catch the latest mohanlal movies and reach back home perfectly in time in synchronization with the Sunday class. But after two such trips the guiltiness factor took over and I returned to the ‘kunjuaadukkal’ attending Sunday class. The only saving grace was that my baccha classmates showed tremendous respect and addressed me as chettaa** for being the senior most citizen in class... Soon I stopped going to Sunday class after age caught up with me …board exams, tuitions and such bad things happened in life which ending my biblical career.

Even now, I believe I would have made a good priest.
I am simply effusing with goodness, grace and appetite for good food. It is sheer bad luck that the clergy missed out this wonderful man who could have been destined to be the Pope one day.
*wikipedia link currently stopped for data update and website is down for routine maintenance.sorry for the inconvenience.But i swear it is world famous.
**elder bro


Priya said...


Even now, I believe I would have made a good priest.

Ghosh, I cudn't stop laughing with ur humor all over the post.

silverine said...

Loved this one as Sunday Bible classes and Communion preparation classes are a sort of milestones in our lives. I loved Sunday classes and since we were in Blr,the masses were tailor made for us kids and very enjoyable. Now they have special Sunday mass for kids at certain Parishes,with more meaningful sermons and interactive prayer. The kids love it. Thats why I guess I loved Sunday classes as opposed to my cousins in Kerala who went through the very same ordeal like you. Good one!!!

Anphy said...

"I was the biggest fan of the priest who had the shortest sermon and sang abridged hymns".I second dt.
and d "zero-mala-bar" was very innovative.

ap said...

Since have spilled the beans.....

when i was in 4th there was a similar qn ...which is ur roopatha (diocese)?????

anyy guessess for the answer???

mukham....(face) :)

PS:after that incident they put me to english catechism

VIDYA said...

:-d As usual


mathew said...

thanks a lot..
and god bless you my child..

I liked the communion preps which I did independently at a convent..and I must Sun-day Bible classes weren’t all that bad..its just that I preferred reading the childrens Bible and watching that tele version of the Bible movie..Most of my Sunday class teachers were reading out the text book which didn’t make it any interesting..

zero-mala-bar was a common joke in my class..and even the hymns they changes a lot..modernising the tunes and all..I loved the older ones with the classic tone which were more melodious..

Hahaha..I guess I would have managed that..
i dint have that luck though with English catechism..

thanks a lot..

celestial said...

you have a great skill of creating humour in your writing my old friend...............
i loved it! sarin

Mishmash ! said...

Tour de Muttada!!! "kidilam" as a Trivandrumite would say :) read some funny parts to my hubby too.....another funny piece of writing from you..:)


Rejil Krishnan said...

cherian scores again..adipoli.. :)loved every thread of humour laced the post..i remember u mentioning in school about being a senior in 7th standard bible class...:)...
zero-mala-bar isnt?... can't stop laughing dear...

Neena Padayatty said...

" ’Yeshu paatu paadi marichu…instead of ‘Yeshu paadu pettu marichu’) "

ROTFL...We sure had a lot of 'illiterate' Malayalis from KVs and English mediums at Lourdes..The first time i read(rather,was forced to read) the Bible during Mass,i read "kunnukalikal" instead of "kannukalikal"!

Dhanya said...

ROFL throughout especially
the rock song
‘Hello Lord…Forgive me...Oh…Oh..forgive me. "
, the graphics for Syro Malabar and your final realization
"Even now, I believe I would have made a good priest"

anN-series said...

will all the artistic talent u possess, u should have drawn a proper bar counter over the mountain..u might have topped ur class...i was 23 wen i received my confirmation, and prepartion class (read one 90 minute chit-chat session)included a lesson on use of contraceptives by a very cute yet kickass nun!! i see tht 'modern' nun, aged 76, with renewed respect after this incidence...

Jiby said... another one who was in the 7th when i took the board exams!

how i got to the 7th is another story. i remember only studying in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th grades...i would drop out in two year stretches, and i would fail every year i was readmitted, then my dad would go to the priest asking how so big a boy could sit in so low a class and i would get a double promotion ...hope u figured out the math! by then everyone involved in this bargain gave up and the only condition imposed on me was to never miss a sunday mass.

though i can laugh at it now...i tell you man, i cried a lot over sunday school. the reason i hated it was that i was real bad in malayalam...maybe not as bad as you!

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

hey nice post, I have heard many sunday school stories from my friend, so could relate to a lot of ur writing :). the "cryptic clues" were priceless :D

eljo said...

Fr.Matts: Used to dread sunday school in Kerala but loved the one in Madras. Hey,in addition to the love of good food you forgot to mention the love for wine and "small" by the priest. In a way, its good that you didn't become a priest. You would have finished all the wine during the "Kurbana" and poor devout attendees would have got none ;-P

mathew said...

thanks for dropping by..and nice to see you in the blogworld!!

@Mishmash are getting better at it..i guess you will have to stay for sometime in tvm for complete transformation..

thanks a it..i had forgotten that..amazing memory!!

kunnukalikal" instead of "kannukalikal"! Lol..that’s classic..;-P

I remember that day of my blunder..even Appa normally would frown if some one laughed during prayer sessions..that day he couldn’t even bear it.

thank you..that is tip of the ice berg..most of them are atrocious translation of malayalam songs!! ;-P

gulp..they dint teach me that!! ;-P
Confirmation preparation wasn’t as much a big event as holy communion..and you did that so late?? So u are less holy than me!

hahaha..high fives ..fellow thottu thoppi itta nasrani!! ;-P
for me my dad wasn’t interested in get me double promoted..remember the movie dia-logue..’pre degree nere chuvaa padichu edukenngil koranjathu 4 kollam edukkum’

I guess I used my bad Malayalam skills as a nice infact was a weapon during uncomfortable situations in the church..

that cryptic clue was popular in my class..;-P
I love reading Sunday school stories ..most of them are really ROTFL material..

@Sister Eljo. MoC
Love for ‘small’ is something which everyone knows but no one talks about..sort of a secret known to all..
And I admit the love for wine..I remember when myself and bro drank like half a bottle of wine which was kept at home..we were like drunk at the age of 10!! ;-P

Neha said...

I always liked sunday school for the various dramatics, competitions etc...nothing more to it..
loved the days when it rained,was freezing, hot way too hot anf the sunday school teached was not able to come *grin*

jj said...

awesome post...
can very much relate to the sunday school stories esp, being the central school product and attending sunday-school in a sister concern of Lourde's church.
Sadly, no english exams for me... I joined late, but was promoted by 2 classes in 2 weeks time... if I comment more, it will more or less end up being as long as a blog. So I guess I'd rather do that :)

Karthik said...

Lol..Great Post Mathew!

Anonymous said...

Guess everyone has the same kind of experiences in sunday school.

I tried hard to get double promotions but in vain.
I am also a 'know-only-to-read-malayalam' malayalee much to my embarrassment these days.Sunday school exams were a terror for Amma as she had to sit and read through the whole text for me as I conviniently blamed her for putting me into Sanskrit classes in school.

I wrote my 10th std sunday school exam during my 1st year in college that too after much prodding from my father and a beeshani from the 'palliyil achan' that he would give me consent/marriage certificate only if I produced my 10th std pass certificate... (*frown*).

And I remember wearing a skirt and top unlike my normal salwar, when I went to write the 10th std exam as all the others attending the exam were small kids in their 9th and 10th stds in!!

mathew said...

nice to see u after a long time,,

yeah...we were the martyrs..2 classes in two weeks..uh..only if i was shown similar mercy..

thank you

hahaha..seems like there are a lot in here who are thottu thoppi itta types..;-P

but i would say my bad perfomance was my own making!!

Anonymous said...

ROFL! Your writing is too good, man!

Keep going! I love it.


mathew said...

thanks for dropping by..glad that you enjoyed it..:-)

Priyankari said...

Hey, really enjoyed ur post!