Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Free-Flight (A poem)

I was like a free-bird caught in the net
Of a society going through the pangs
Of re-birth! It was a society caught in
The pangs of an upheaval which had tipped
Away a regime based on spirituality!
I saw my friends’ fathers being carted
Away for seeming to sympathise with
The previous regime, fear writ large on
Pale faces full of anxiety, of what they
Had said and what they really had meant.
A world it was where associations rose and
Fell, and “traitor”s were treated with contempt,
To be carted away unceremoniously to be shot
Dead, or “re-educated” to emerge as strangers
To  families  speaking of philosophies so strange!
Of men and women long gone do I speak, all
Victims to philosophy of subservience to the
Party headed by a man who dictated complete
Subservience and obedience, so to swallow,
Aspirations like a vulture gulping chunks of flesh.
For so it was a society that that would curb birds
From flying the winds of freedom, and tenets that
Would curb the very thoughts that emerge from the
Minds as belonging to the party and so off bounds!
And so did I spread my wings on winds of words.
So do I sing of a time gone by, when men and
Women cried with tears of blood, a sacrifice
Laid waste by a philosophy of freedom laid bare,
By men of questionable intentions who’d feed on
Aspirations that would float on wings so light!
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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Alpha City-A dream

Glancing up at the sky early in the morn, before the sun had risen
And all the world yet slept, covered by a large blanket of sleep,
I stepped out of my home for a brisk walk. But at once did stop
My foot as glancing up at the clear sky saw more than the common
Number of stars and celestial bodies. Curious, I looked further!
And I was full of the desire to see more!

And Lo, saw I a large city etched on the firmament, well defined
roads and streets that did transect blocks of dwellings and homes.
From the grand city full of light did rise great ships with lights
So bright! Sure was I amazed at the sight of such a scene, each
Block, and grid of the grand city floating in the air seared in my mind!
And I was filled with wonder!

So I lay myself down on the ground so to gaze further at this celestial
Sight, all the while soaking in the images that flowed from the sky.
The ships did flit from different points in the city as if launched to
Explore distant lands perhaps Earth would be one! Soon saw I with
Amazement as one approached the Earth’s sky, moving with purpose.
And sure was I filled with amazement!

And yet the world did sleep as sky did blaze forth with the glow of
Engines and lights of a number of space-craft that flitted across
The sky, sent probably from another world. But then did my mind not
Fear what I saw, for it seemed as though it were expected that we should
Be part of a bigger purpose than those of selfishness and cruelty!
And I liked what I saw!

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Injera Chronicles-Rude Food of Ethiopia

When a relative of mine visited Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia and she brought some Injera, it was as if I was transported back in time to the days when I used to live in that wonderful country, the country of my childhood! Injera is a pancake like bread made out of fermented Teff flour. Teff refers to the tiny grains that grow in a grass like plant. The cultivation of Teff is a painstaking process in view of its being a tiny seed, white in colour. The Teff grain is ground into a powder and then it is mixed with water and fermented overnight. The fermented mixture is then poured over a heated earthenware gridle and cooked preferable over a stove that burns wood. The resulting pancake is dark grey in colour somewhat like the South Indian Dosa.
Injera, incidentally is the staple pancake for all Ethiopians. It is the bread which is eaten in accompaniment of Chicken, mutton, and beef curries, and the traditional Shero wat. Shero Wat is a gruel made of ground peas and a mixture of spices and root herbs. Injera would invariable served in the form of rolls, or in its extended form. The traditional method of serving Injera entails spreading it on a large circular platter with meats, curry, Shero wat(peas curry) and a leafy vegetable called Kosta ( a thicker variation of spinach) heaped on it. The platter placed on a wicker basket is then served to at least four guests who eat from the same platter. In taste, Injera has a slightly sour taste, springy yet delicate in form, it absorbs the spicy curry, often reducing the sharp spicy tang of the curry. People say that Injera is full or iron, and I guess this is true, looking at its dark grey colour and sharp, sour taste! The mixing of subtle amounts of maize flour would determine its texture and colour.
For all Ethiopians, Injera, like coffee is an institution. It is a cause for bringing together members of the family and a way of honouring guests. The eating of injera in the traditional way entails guests and diners eating together while sitting around a platter which is really huge, about one meter in diameter.  Injera is often served in accompaniment of various non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. While Birz is a harmless drink made of fresh honey, tela is a lightly alcoholic local drink made from fermented local bread, while tej is a highly alcoholic drink made from fermented honey.
Bureaucrats, expatriates, and diplomats  in Ethiopia often prefer to be served with injera in the form of rolls rather like spring-rolls. Otherwise, Injera has a large diameter of about a meter or more. It goes without saying that many of those who taste injera for the first time are smitten by its taste, texture, and appearance. For me to taste injera after so many years after I had left Ethiopia was like returning to what had been my home for more than fourteen odd years!
There are those however who might not like the rather strong flavour of Injera. My father, when he first arrived in Ethiopia thought that this pancake looked suspiciously like raw rubber latex. My younger brother did not like it because it tickled his palette. Others avoided it because, probably, its rather high iron content affected their digestion!  All in all, Injera has always been a weakness for me, and I would always go to great lengths to have a bit of it! Injera is the traditional staple food of all Ethiopians and it needs to be introduced to the international palette. Unfortunately, the existence of teff seems to be limited largely to the country, and the harvesting of the teff grain is tedious.
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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Thunder Birds – A poem

The birds of life gather above the thunder storm,
Peering at the Earth below, to pick on the stragglers,
Like cats pouncing on unsuspecting victims!

While people go on their daily rounds, little
Do they realise that the thunderbirds await the moment
To pounce on those who in sleep waste a moment!

And the graceful birds surf the winds, spiralling in circles,
Silent predators who swoop to Earth, to make a kill,
Of those who partake of a race of will!

For, as long as men do partake of a race to survive,
The thunderbirds do wait for  a sign of weakness,
As the world does engage in a battle of wits!

While I, the spectator do watch as men engage in a race,
Where victors do trample the losers underfoot,
Like machines that grind aspirations to pulp with a hoot!
animals,bald eagles,birds,flying,nature,endangered,wings,soaring,beaks
All the while do the thunderbirds watch the sad scene below,
Where men and women do trample each other to pulp,
With no thought of others to help!

For so has the world today become, a mad rush to reach,
The finishing line so close yet so far,
While competition conviction in fair play does mar!
animals,bald eagles,birds,flying,mountains,nature,wings,soaring
All the while do the thunderbirds swoop picking struggling victims
In beaks that appear sharp and cruel,
But blame I not the birds that hunt to fill stomachs full!

For have men and women become oh so cruel, to make a killing,
Worse when men do fight each other to reach
The finishing line, to breach!
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All the while do the Thunderbirds  skim  thermals so strong,
Watching the scene below, of students and professionals
Trampling others, surging to the finish  in a battle of kills!

But then sing a song that celebrates the Thunderbirds so graceful,
For I don’t blame them, the birds, for making a kill,
Their sharp bills but machines to kill!
exhausted,exhaustion,leisure,marathon runs,persons,runners,sports
While, I all the while do watch a battle so cruel from the shelter
Of bricks and stones while my friends and others do race the race,
Of defeated wills and faith so weak, as they do fall without a grace!

And so did my friends did tell me a song to write, of birds that prey
On will so weak! But then did I write of the thunder birds that
Float on thermals so strong, as they gaze on men who each other fight!

The message I would give them would be to wait awhile, for a moment so
Right, for not to favour the thunderbirds with a meal so
Rich would mean to love one another with feeling so deep!
For why do we join a race so cruel, with completion so cruel,
As the thunderbirds  lazily do hunt with zeal,
On spirits weak and wounds that will not heal!
If life be one cruel race watched by the thunderbirds that sail the winds,
Will not men and women not realize that success deals with a team
That wins, so together they might fight the birds of prey that sail the  winds?
animals,birds,creatures,eagles,nature,raptors,heads,beaks,preys,mascots,black and white,symbols

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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Teaching Higher Order Thinking in Literature through the Dialectical Approach

In times of extensive research into the best possible methods of teaching, educationists have come up with their preferred styles which include, learning by doing, experiential  pedagogy, problem solving, experimental learning (which is distinct from experiential pedagogy), the traditional lecture method, and, of course some are ready to swear on the effectiveness of Socratic Pedagogy! In simple terms, Socratic Pedagogy deals with debates and discussions based on the defense  of a particular point of view. In many cases, Socratic Pedagogy deals with the negative method of eliminating hypothesis, the same as used in the preparation of a Research Paper. In a research paper, the scholar sets out with a hypothesis which he ends up proving or disproving by the end of the paper. Many teachers, either consciously or unconsciously resort to Socratic Pedagogy, especially in senior classes where students are expected to have some basic knowledge of principles and concepts. For the English teacher of the senior grades, eighth to twelfth, the Socratic method of teaching could prove highly effective in the teaching of Opinion Writing, research writing, and the teaching of literature which includes poetry, drama, fiction, (Novels and short stories), and non-fiction (including factual descriptions, processes descriptions, travelogues) and Journals, scientific or discursive.
The Socratic method of teaching based on discussions, questions and answers searches for general, commonly held truths that shape opinion. For the students of class twelve studying the Literature section of C.B.S.E. English Core Syllabus, the concepts and themes of Linguistic Chauvinism, exploitation of marginalised communities by mainstream communities, child labour, the dichotomy between the laws of humanity and the laws of patriotism, escapism and day-dreaming, the irony of teaching slum children in an elementary school that too without first addressing their economic plight, are all highlighted in the short stories an and poems in the prescribed textbook. These social issues need to be discussed at length in class and this can take place when there is a healthy discussion which is properly moderated, and interspersed, from time to time with good, leading questions. During such lessons, it is a good idea for the teacher to introduce the Plenary, or a question whose answer encapsulates the central theme of the lesson. Value based topics that connect the lessons to the wider world could benefit a lot from a Pedagogy based on Socratic principles of critical thinking and a dialectical approach to the theme that is being taken up.
Developing the dialectical approach in students at the higher grades would be of great value while taking up Higher Order writing skills which include the writing of discursive and descriptive essays, speeches, letters to the editors and even report writing. In all these cases, the students’ grasp of the topic, his or her ability to develop a logical argument, and the ability to develop a particular stance or the ability to consistently support a particular point of view, all depend on the students’ ability to think critically! The use of rhetoric and logic to convince and persuade  the reader to accept one’s point of view is the result of being exposed to the Socratic method of teaching.  Effective opinion writing and persuasive writing are highly dependent on the students’ exposure to the dialectical method of presenting thoughts. Value based learning is almost entirely based on the quality of questions presented during a discussion session.
Many teachers make use of dialectical or Socratic Pedagogy in day to day lessons, and the lesson plans developed by most teachers contain these elements. One common general objective mentioned in lesson plans by most language teachers deals with the student’s ability to “critically analyze” a particular action or incident in the lesson. The critical analysis could also include the mention of advantages and disadvantages of a particular decision by the author. One poem that comes to mind is the Poem, “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost, where the poet mentions choosing one of two roads, early in life. The student could be asked to critically analyze how the poet’s decision to shift to England benefited him, and their answer could be supported by the line where the poet states that when he looks back, he realizes that his choice has made all the difference! Many teachers include discussion in their lesson plans as one of the important activities to be undertaken while teaching a particular topic to students in class. The discussion however has to be initiated with an apt and carefully framed question. This could also be in the form of a hypothesis. To add a twist, the teacher could introduce a null hypothesis in class to initiate the discussion. The inclusion of thought provoking, open ended questions in the lesson plan is another good way of improving the quality of teaching taking place in the class room!
It goes without saying that the Socratic Method of teaching can help develop critical thinking in students at all levels. The idea is for the teacher to tell the students not to take everything at face value, but in fact to learn to develop the ability to think deeply before coming to the point. This dialectical method is not about giving answers to students straight off, rather it is about making the students come round to the answer or a particular point of view through a series of questions whose answers lead the students to the obvious! Let the students probe and explore the problem through a series of questions till they come to the answer. This is in no way related to the trial and error approach rather it is about intelligent learning, learning through an intelligent process of eliminating choices and options that don’t form part of the solution! In this age of advanced technology however, Socratic inquiry cannot be initiated through a Power-point presentation, rather it is based on a very strong dialogue between the teacher and the students. This is a method that can be used to nurture complex thought processes in learners required to develop an understanding of the complex world that we live in. For the Socratic Method of teaching to be effective there should be a good and healthy relationship between the learners and their teachers. A confrontational attitude  in the students or their teachers will compromise the efficacy of the dialectical method of teaching! An atmosphere of mutual respect needs to be created between both, teachers and students before one can even thin of embarking on the Socratic Method of teaching. We have talked often about the need to create an optimum balance between students and teachers during the lesson so that the lesson is student based and teacher based in equal proportions! The healthy sharing of ideas between both teachers and students will go a long way in ensuring  that the lesson is interesting enough! To develop the Socratic Method of teaching to its optimum level would require thus a highly democratic environment within the class with, however, the necessary measure for preventing the discussion from degenerating into a free for all! The ideal teacher should moreover be ready to take suggestions from students that throw new light on the topic. It is about learning to look at a problem from multiple points of view. In many cases it would not harm the purpose of teaching critical thinking in students to introduce a statement that goes contrary to the expected learning outcome so that the learners can come around to proving the statement false by providing relevant evidence! In many cases, the teacher might have to become subservient to the learners in the interest of promoting proper learning.
The important question for educationists today is whether the Socratic Method of Teaching continues to be relevant today. In many cases where students are overloaded with information from the internet and other sources, it might become an overwhelming experience for the teacher to maintain a proper control over the discussion taking place in the class. In many cases, discussions are hijacked by the dominant group of students who might just want to keep defending a particular stance just for the sake of prestige. While it is true, very few educators have the exceptional foresight and logical reasoning of Socrates, it would however not harm one to develop the qualities of detachment, neutrality and patience as enduring qualities of a good teacher. Before setting out on a discussion, the prudent teacher should set out rules before the class. He or she should remind students that all students are expected to participate in the discussion, and he or she should ensure that this is enforced. Similarly, to ensure that an effective discussion does take place, chorus answering should be discouraged, students should to told to raise hands before making a statement. Discipline, therefore is an expected element of a good discussion in class. The tactful educator should moreover ensure that he or she prevents the discussion from taking up heated proportions, or from digressing from the main topic.
Discipline during a discussion session can be ensured through the setting up of relevant and appropriate question. A good discussion does not have to be completely student based if the questions have been carefully framed by the teacher! The teacher can start with questions that are within the students’ grasp and then he or she can introduce those questions with an increasing difficulty level. Giving questions that have too many possible answers, or questions which are too easy might not further the purpose of entering into a discussion. For that effect, giving students questions which are beyond their understanding too defeats the very purpose of dialectical learning. One major disadvantage of the Socratic Pedagogy is that it is time consuming, and the discussion could very easily go in round circles rather than progress in a linear fashion. Often the expected learning outcomes might not match the final learning outcomes. This is a danger that Language teachers have to be aware of.
The dialectical approach can also work very well when the class is divided into crews and small groups in clusters of four or five. In times when most of classroom teaching is student led, how does a teacher ensure that the students come up with an acceptable interpretation of a prose piece or a poem? This brings me to the contentious issue of how to teach a poem. Do you break the poem down to bits and peices, robbing the poem of its structured beauty, or do you let the students interpret the poem the way they want to do it? What I would do is to have one model reading of  the poem, after having done a brief research on the poet, and the background, then I give the students the learning outcomes, and then this is followed by dividing the students into groups. Each group or crew is then given one stanza to analyse. The students are then told to look for the theme or the message of the stanza, identify important figures of speech including images, highlight and explain interesting words, phrases and expressions. After the students are done, they make a presentation before the rest of the class ( form of peer teaching). After they are done with their presentations, they are open to a question and answer session. It is this session that plays the most important role, and it is here that the students and the teacher can then guide the group to a more correct interpretation of the poem, that is, if the teacher thinks that the group has somehow misinterpreted the meaning or the theme of the stanza. In no way should the teacher give his own interpretation initially because it would kill the students' interest in the poem, and also their abiltiy to think critically! The dialectical approach can help a lot in student led pedagogy, the questions can be suitably framed so as to lead the student to the right path. This would also involve discussions. The only constraint here is that this approach might lead to heated discussions, and sometimes these discussions might take a lot of time. A skilled teacher will however ensure that the discussions are ended on time, with proper closure, and he skillfully steers the discussion away before it becomes really ugly!

Note:  The Dialectical approach in teaching has not been new to India. The Prashn-Uttar-Upanishad is based on the dialectical approach of teaching where the teacher, the Guru starts the lesson with a question which is followed by observations, discussions leading to subtly placed questions each leading closer to the answer till it is a matter of time when one of the clever students will have a "Eureka Moment" and hit the target!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Cyber-Bullying in schools

A few days back when I checked a popular of  site on the net dealing with the process of asking questions and  receiving answers, I was particularly astounded to see the kind of questions and answers being exchanged.Some of the questions and answers were in bad taste, and they referred to a particular girl studying in another section. This was an exchange that was initiated by a student of grade twelve whose only objective seemed to be bragging about his sexual exploits. It seemed as if this student wanted to flaunt his masculinity by describing lurid details about his association with certain female students of another class, which I doubt, were founded on an iota of truth! What concerned me however was that this girl’s character was being sullied by this so called Casanova who who wanted to wreck the integrity and character of a girl who might in reality have had nothing to do with him! The posts, if read by this innocent girl would have devastated her completely! I referred this post to the school’s counselor with the result that the objectionable material was removed by this Casanova immediately!
What most students and professionals don’t realize is that  prospective colleges only need to Google the names of prospective candidates and the same goes for future employers. An important lesson for all is to be careful about what is posted on the social net-working sites. While an unguarded comment might lose you the opportunity of getting an admission in a college of your choice, it could also compromise your chances of getting an employment. Most employers do troll the net to get a look into the possible qualities of a future employee. Many of our young students are unfortunately unguarded about the comments they post on the networking sites, carried by the moment, and the spur of the moment to post the most nasty of comments. What makes such networking sites ever more dangerous is the fact that they are accessible to all! Anyone can see them, the teachers and future employees including. True chivalry (archaic though the term may be) lies in praising women and not is destroying their characters piece meal!

Cyber-Bullying in many cases takes up the teasing and demeaning of fellow students to another level, a level where others can see the diatribe taking place. In many cases Cyber Bullying might lead to the vilification of character, character assassination and besmirching of character done just on the spur of the moment, without thinking of the far-reaching consequences for the victim. What makes the whole thing worse is that others who are members of the chat-room or group join in adding to the slug fest of unsavory remarks! The bullying that took place in the class or school now takes place in Cyber-Space and is in most cases a free for all since it is not affected by the presence of teachers or any other adults. Cyber-Bullying is not limited to males only; females too can become the instigators of it . Girls  can sometimes unleash the most  distasteful comments on their classmates.

While many  young people dismiss such distasteful comments with a smile and a laugh, they don’t realize that such comments might affect their marital life , and job prospects in the long run! Many of our young students don’t realize that the comments made by them on the spur of the moment might go against them in the long run. In times when such comments are accessible to all who have access to sites on the internet, it makes sense to be guarded about what you post. While no doubt many sites gain hits based on the type of comments that are posted on their sites, the more the scandalous, the more the popularity, what they don’t understand is that such comments might have a negative psychological impact on the innocent person whose character is being torn to pieces! And this, in itself  forces us to think about the impact such comments might have on their mental health. Enter the concept of Cyber-Bullying!

Many popular social networking sites allow the posting of comments on their sites. These comments which are scurrilous and in bad taste might have the effect of  denigrating and destroying the self -esteem of the victim. One of the students that I once taught was devastated by the comments that a boy whom she barely knew, had posted on the social networking site. The boy claimed that he was her boy friend, and he described in graphical detail, the so called exploits that he had shared with her. The boy, a student of grade ten had boasted that she was his girl and warned anyone to dare befriending her as this would lead to certain consequences! For students studying in schools it is important that certain liberties of expression need to be modulated and moderated. In the case that I mentioned above, the girl was devastated by the comments posted by a boy she barely knew. The boy studied in different school!
The problem of Cyber-Bullying is however not just about boys posting objectionable material about girls whom they are not able to win over, it is also about boys posting objectionable material about some of the less popular boys studying in their own class, or it is about girls posting objectionable material about the girls who study in their own class. While bullying has its roots in class, especially dealing with those who don’t foot the line, or are different, it has a basis in fact that those who don’t conform to popular trend are subject to derision in class. Students who look different are targets of such attacks in class and these attacks might spill over on to the comments that are posted about them on the internet. Sometimes these attacks on social networking sites are so caustic, derogatory and vitriolic that the victims are driven to commit suicide! More often than not, these attacks target appearances, intelligence, and those students with strong moral values, those who are not ready to experiment with sex, drugs, or other popular and accepted trends!

Unfortunately what makes Cyber Bullying even more traumatic is the fact that comments posted on social networking sites are accessible to all. In many cases, innocent victims might be viewed as consenting participants in an orgy that never took place, or they are viewed as willing participants in a daring escapade. How do you view the feelings of a student who didn’t attend a party which involved drugs and alcohol and yet was tagged as one of the members of the party? While characters are made painstakingly, it takes a few irresponsible comments to destroy it in seconds. While no doubt the victim might be innocent of the exploits mentioned, he or she might lose integrity in the sight of his or her parents! The loss of respect caused by the lose and irresponsible comments made by a classmate or classmates might cause the victim to lose his or her character in the eyes of parents, siblings, friends and social circles.  It is exactly these comments that drive victims to commit suicide!
The only solution to Cyber-Bullying lies in the pro-active role of teachers counselors and parents. The society at large bears a huge responsibility in raising concerns about the impact of cyber-bullying. Schools can do a lot to sensitize students about the impact of Cyber Bulling. Teachers have their work cut out for them, they should be more accessible to their students so that their students are able to communicate their concerns about such cases of Cyber Bullying. Parents on the other hand should be on the same level with their children, being able to communicate with them and be able to somehow show some interest and awareness about the kind of friends that their children have on social networking sites. The society at large needs to be aware of the problem and act in a way that frowns upon the very idea of Cyber-Bullying! The Cyber Crime law enforcers should maintain constant accessibility with students studying in schools. They should conduct frequent workshops in schools so that aggrieved victims are able to contact relevant departments in cases of Cyber Bullying!   A seemingly innocent statement that a particular student “is not cool” or that a particular student “is not a party animal” or for that effect that a fellow student is “fact” might have serious implications for the victim. Many students are forced to do things that are inappropriate just because they don’t attend rave parties, or are not promiscuous enough! Schools have a major role in coming to the protection of students who are bullied on social networking sites and in disciplining those who post objectionable comments. Social networking sites need to be moderated in such cases too. One of the most popular social networking sites allow the hosting of   a confessions  group which often contain the most sordid details as confessed by the perpetrators of a crime. No doubt, these confessions are false and fictitious, meant to boost the popularity of the confessor, the fact remains that they have an adverse impact on the victim. Punishments should be more stringent for those who post adverse comments on social networking sites, and there should be grievance  alleviation forums in the schools and the society at large. Cyber-Bullying is a disturbing trend in today’s times and it needs to be addressed more seriously at all levels. We have all heard of students committing suicide because they were bullied on such sites. Promising and intelligent students have been so adversely affected that their academic performance has been known to have dropped drastically.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Oh, Lord, tell me that your annointed ones are true! A poem

For did I trust in your anointed one and did he choose to forsake me,
But I thought that he was truly your anointed one who would do me
Good! But then the time did pass and did he try to cut a tree in its prime
Like a gardener who had other things on his mind!As he sat regal in his
Purple robes, a face wrecked by his plots for gaining him earthly riches.

So do I question my faith does question your decision to anoint one to
Guide your flock- a shepherd a man dressed in the skins of a wolf, and so to
Lead a flock of sheep that hunger for one to lead. But then does he try to put
His herd  to sleep with words so fair; but  do they sound so hollow, and to
Assure them all is good, he sings a song to make his sheep to sleep!

All the while the wolf does range the lonely road as the sheep do go
To the fold to sleep! The wolf does pick on its victim as they go,
While the shepherd garbed in purple does sing a song to confound!
Does the anointed one have no conscience to prick and so to find
A refuge for his sheep so innocent? But then has he other things in mind!

So, Lord, do I ask, tell me Lord, that your chosen ones are the true guides!
That they are are true to a faith so rich. Are they forsooth the guides
That would deliver their sheep to the fold secure and safe from the wolf
That ranges? But then does the shepherd in purple sing the songs
That put the sheep to sleep! For Trusted they one who dressed in purple!

But tell me O Lord, that my faith is good, although your shepherd does
Sleep so deep and wolves do range the  forest, while the night does
Fall so deep! Tell me O lord that your Grace does transcend the night
So dark, that my  trust in you does surpass  one dressed in purple,
As he sits on a throne so grand! So does the flock move in faith so deep!

So tell me O Lord that my faith is good, that I may contain body and soul.
In spite of of a shepherd who has other things to deal
But cares least of all of a flock to deliver. So does the feel
Of loneliness fall upon the flock of sheep. And I one so full
Of faith that does transcend the shepherd  with mind so full!

So O Lord do I sing of songs that mark your Grace so great so great.
But tell me O Lord that my faith is good, that I might continue my journey
Without the shepherd in purple dressed. As I wander the path so dark,
I sing praises of my Lord so great. So need I nought a shepherd in
Purple, for my Faith in the good Lord does guide me through the lanes so dark!

So tell me O Lord that my faith is good to guide me down lanes so dark,
Although the shepherd does sleep a careless sleep in a mind so dark!
That I might not lose my faith to men of lesser minds, a shepherd so stark,
Who communes with the wolves that range! For if your anointed one with mark
So dark,does feed like a shark that feeds on the souls of to mark.

So do I bear a cross so drear, my lord, do tell me that my faith is good!
The journey is tough, the road so drear, where would I get but a guide
So fair, as when my shepherd deserted me so, to gain his wealth, to
Shed a sheep, but one of his sheep  one so many, does he  strum his lyre
To put to sleep! So my shepherd  does call the wolves to consume that lag behind!

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Sunday, 6 October 2013

A team of Moderators and Archbishops from all over the world visit the Church of the Epiphany, Gurgaon on the sixth of October, 2013

Today, The Church was honoured with a visit by Moderators, Bishops and Archbishops from around the world! The list of dignitaries  who visited us reads as follows:

The Most Reverend Bolly Lapok, archbishop of South East Asia,
The Right Reverend Michael Lewis, Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf,
The Revd. Dr Jeremiah Yang, province of Korea,
Ms Naomi Herbert, director of International Programs, Us
The Revd Canon Chris Chivers,
Chair of Trustees, Us and Vicar, John Keble Church, Mill Hill, London.
It was a memorable moment in which the members of the congregation were able to exchange ideas and experiences with the guests. For me it was a wonderful moment to meet the  Right Reverend Michael Lewis, the Bishop  of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Diocese in Cyprus and the Gulf, because I was able to get some information about the St.Mathews Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  where I was confirmed by the Right Reverend  Mervyn Stockwood, (then  Archbishop of Canterbury). I am eager to know more about the then Presbyter in Charge of the St. Mathews Anglican Church in Addis Ababa  Revd.. Collin Battel, from the Right Reverend Bishop Lewis when he visits Addis Ababa in a weeks time!
In his message to the congregation, Rev. Canon Chris Chivers, Chair of Trustees, Vicar of John Keble church, Mill Hill , London and Author of Fully Alive spoke about how while attending Mass at the age of nine he was so impressed by a message delivered by a priest from India, Revd. Subir Biswas who was then the Provost of the Calcutta Cathedral that he fell in love with the little Jesus Christ. Revd.Subir had come to Bristol to preach and present a charred cross made from the beams of a house destroyed by fire in times of terrible violence. At that time thousands of refugees had fled to India to escape persecution and violence back at home.Revd. Subir's message was so powerful as he spoke about  memories of seeing a Cathedral’s original beauty getting transformed by the number of donated items, blankets et al stored in the premises to be given Bangladeshi Victims of a cyclone.  Revd. Canon went on to speak on the thought for the day which was based on how much Faith we have in Christ and it had its basis on the proverb of a Doubting Thomas. Revd. Canon revealed a very side to the whole concept of the Doubting Thomas by mentioning the existence of the Eastern belief of a Believing Thomas, a man who looked for evidences so that he could share in the promised life. Thomas sought for signs, marks of divine suffering so that he could strengthen his own faith and share in the power to change the world! Reverend Canon also talked about the powerful sacraments, the Holy Communion as a metaphor of the ultimate sacrifice!

The Right Reverend Michael Lewis, Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf delivering the Benediction at the end of the service at the Church of The Epiphany, Gurgaon