Sunday, 30 November 2014

Delhi Diocese's Ekta Utsav – 2014, a glimpse

This time, too like every year, the Delhi Diocese hosted the annual get-together in the Cathedral Church of Redemption’s lawns. Like always this was an occasion when people from far and wide could come together and catch up with the times. This was also a moment when all the priests, office bearers of the Diocese, Principals, and teachers from Diocesan schools were present. This time unlike previous times, most if not all of the Principals were with their respective stalls and not on stage with the mighty and the powerful! Also conspicuous by their absence were a Bishop for the Diocese of Delhi, the Principal of the St. Thomas School, Jagadhri. The St. Martins’ Diocesan School, Delhi Cantonment  school band  was missed this time ! However, without saying more, I have pasted a few photographs taken on the occasion, believing that pictures speak louder than words!

The Gang Meets Again!
A  Street Play on women’s issues was staged by The Calvary Church, Delhi. It was Crowd stealer!
A Candid pose for the occasion!

And the line up on the dais included from left, Revd. Timothy Shah, Dr. Cecil Harrison, The Rt. Revd. Bishop Collin Theodore,  The Rt. Revd. Bishop Pritam Santram, The Moderator, Rt. Revd. Samanta Roy, Mr. Alwan Masih, the Secretary to the Synod, and the fourth from him, the Secretary, Delhi Diocese, Revd. Mohit Hitter.
A welcome to Dr. Cecil Harrison, the Convenor for the Haryana Region by Revd. Mohit Hitter
Second from left, Revd. Kamal Mall, followed by Mrs. Anuradha Amos, and on the right, Mrs. Poornima Lall
A word of thanks by the Moderator, the Rt. Revd. Bishop, Samanta Roy
On the whole this was a very well organised event, and the credit goes to all those who worked effortlessly to make the occasion a grand success! Everyone who came to the fete had a wonderful time. What made the fete a grand success was the slew of stalls which included game stalls, food stalls, and stalls that sold books and literature from the ISPCk. Children had fun at the joy rides, while elders got to meet each other. The Sarson ka Saag and Makki di Roti was excellent and so was the Chicken fry sold by the Victoria Sr. Sec. School, was very well made! This however does not mean that the other stalls were in any way behind these in terms of the quality of food that they provided, it is just that I didn’t have the opportunity of tasting the stuff provided by them.
A Special word of appreciation for the Biryani that was served at the Free Church Stall, Sansad Marg, Delhi! 
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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Vignettes from the Kite Runner – The story before the actual performance

When on the occasion of Language month it was decided that  Vikram Sinha should direct a play based on vignettes from Khalid Hosseini’s Kite Runner, I decided to focus on the preparation rather than the final product. For this to be possible, I decided to spend the day with Vikram and the students of grade nine one Saturday. What I experienced what the Magic of the Director at work and the dedication and patience of the students who kept trying their best even though they were tired by the end of the day! All this while, their two teachers were busy shopping for costumes required  by the culture depicted in the novel. I could finally relate to the performance on the twenty-eighth because I had seen the practice sessions and the pain and frustration when things didn’t go very well during practice. I got a second chance to observe the students and Vikram practice but then that was only for a couple of hours. Without saying more, I have pasted a few snaps of what I saw, since, well you know, pictures speak louder than words!



Monday, 24 November 2014

Gravytarianism–Pertaining to the partaking of the Gravy rather than the Meat!

I would like to make a very strong plea to the Oxford Dictionary people to consider entering the word, ‘Gravytarian’ (Noun) - a person who claims to be neither a vegetarian nor a non-vegetarian! He or she is someone who doesn’t mind having the bread with the gravy! As such, ‘Gravytarianism’, yet another noun, pertains to the Philosophy of partaking of the Gravy rather than the meat! Both the words, ‘Gravytarian, and Gravytarianism’ are derived from the word, ‘Gravy’.
In times when it is really difficult to maintain a strict alignment with either vegetables or meat, or perhaps both, it makes good sense to claim to be a ‘Gravytarian!’ It is also convenient to adopt a ‘Gravyitarian’  (Adjective) Philosophy when you are living in the midst of meat-eaters, and might even have to cook a Rogan Josh dish without having to bite into the meat! Imagine living in a land where the only stuff you get to eat is meat and meat products. It sure makes sense to be a ‘Gravytarian’, otherwise you will surely die of hunger. Ultimately it is your survival that matters.
Looking at how the number of ‘Gravytarians’ has sky-rocketed exponentially in the Information Technology age, I am sure that the Oxford Dictionary People will add the word ‘Gravytarian’ in the list of most popular new words for the year 2015. So, then if Vape can be the Oxford Dictionary new word of the year 2014, then why can’t ‘Gravytarianism’ be the most popular word of the year 2015? I have already added, ‘Gravytarian’ to the dictionary in my laptop, believing that soon it will be part of normal usage.
While making a plea for the word, ‘Gravytarian’ to be included in the dictionary, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the contextual relevance of the word. The word Gravy is becoming very popular in the west, and so is Rogan Josh. In fact, Gravy seems to have a better texture to it when spoken than Curry. It is also the root word, or the mother word for ‘Gravyatarian’. With the increasing popularity of Gravy over curry, it will be a matter of time before the ‘Gravytarian’ becomes as popular!
This matter is dedicated to  a colleague who confessed to be a ‘Gravytarian’ rather than deny being a vegetarian!If the word does get the attention of the people at The Oxford Dictionary, then I guess it would be time to reveal my colleague’s name!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Dr. Jonathan Gil Harris visits The Heritage School on the Occasion of Language Month


If Shakespeare were alive today and wrote for Bollywood, is this what he would look like?

When I was told by a colleague of mine that Dr. Jonathan Harris Gil, Professor of English and Dean of Academics, Ashoka University would be delivering a talk on Bollywood and Shakespeare, I was a little sceptical about how these two could ever be connected. But then, today, on the twenty-first of November,  in his talk addressed to students of grade ten and eleven he did in fact make a very clear connection between Bollywood and Shakespeare!

And who did you think is the greatest script writer of all?
The talk started with a few homilies and jokes about some of the Bollywood films that had crashed in the box office, and then Dr. Harris did speak a few words in fluent Hindi, much to the amazement of the gathered students. And indeed, the link between Bollywood and Shakespeare became clear after he listed a few titles of the latest box office hits like Omkara, and Haider!
Sharing a lighter moment with students of grade eleven and ten
Shakespeare according to him lends a veneer of legitimacy to a form of entertainment that borrows heavily from scripts found anywhere in the world. Shakespeare continues to be relevant today, see, Omkara and Haider are the Indian versions  two of Shakespeare’s plays, namely Hamlet and Othello? Shakespeare continues to be great art, because we encounter him in literature classes. It is therefore convenient to think of Shakespeare as Masala for the Masses!
Dr. Harris also talked to students of grade twelve about the importance of Liberal Arts.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Art of Story-telling – Celebrating Children’s Day


Story telling is a dying art, and yet when the Junior programme invited me to witness the session of story-telling that they had organised on the occasion of Children’s Day, I was amazed. The story tellers were parents who had volunteered for the day, and of course, the teachers too. Some story-tellers were given a stall, while others elected to on a less structured setting and decided to tell their stories wherever there was a place to sit. It was amazing to see the story-tellers literally enthralling their listeners with different stories. Some of the storytellers used elaborate props while others used simple props and a few opted not to use any prop at all! What mattered most was the story each story-teller told, and the expressions on face, and voice modulation. Most of the stories were interactive and the tiny tots, some not so tiny, pitched in making the story even more interesting!
The power of story-telling cannot be denied at all. In a world that is steadily moving towards the dry presentation of facts and figures, statistics and findings, the power of the story is steadily being ignored! How much more powerful does a research paper become when it is narrated! When narrate the story of the research, it becomes all the more interesting and effective. In the past, when printing was not yet prevalent, the epics were transmitted down generations by story tellers, and bards. The fact that many of our existing fables, epics, and fairy tales once existed only in the minds of the story tellers stands testimony to the fact that story can never die as long as it continues to exist in the minds of the people! Somehow, I guess, the collective consciousness of the society is something that can persist even when you don’t have it recorded on paper or electronic media.
Besides story telling, drama is yet another powerful tool of expression, and the teachers of the Senior Programme too put up a skit for the students on the occasion of children’s day. The play put up by the teachers described a typical class room situation in which the teacher comes across students with different abilities. The understanding of a topic requires total attention on the part of the learner as well as the teacher. In many cases, questions should be clearly framed so that the student doesn’t misunderstand what the teacher wants to know. Drama is a more complex form of story-telling because it requires more props and a specific location and a stage, although street plays can take place almost anywhere.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Epiphany Church Garden Fete-2014

The Rt. Revd. Warris Masih, the Moderator’s Episcopal Commissary to the Diocese of Delhi delivering the Sermon
This year The Epiphany Church Garden Fete took place on the ninth of November, 2014. The Guest of Honour was The Rt. Rev. Warris Masih, Moderator’s Episcopal Commissary to the Diocese of Delhi. A fun filled day, it was an occasion when many people got to meet each other after a long time. There were a number of food and games stalls and lots of fun filled activities like Tambola, musical chairs, and to top it all the Raffle Draw. The Convenor of the Fete was Noel Chandekar, and the Fete was conducted under the guidance of the Presbyter in charge, Revd. Sunil S. Ghazan. The Rt. Revd. Karam Masih also graced the occasion. Without saying more, I have pasted below a few photographs on the occasion.
Welcoming the Rt. Revd. Warris Masih
On the dias
From the left you have Mrs. Helen Harrison, Hony. Secretary of the Pastorate Committee, Ordinand Sachin, The Rt. Revd. Warris Masih, and Noel Chandekar, the Convenor
The Cash counter was handled by these three stalwarts!
Mr. Vijay Dass of The St. James Church, Delhi regaled us with some golden numbers of yesteryears
The Rt. Revd. Karam Masih and The Rt. Revd.Warris Masih discussing a point.
The Kadhri Chawal was the best of its kind!
Keema Poorey, the ultimate in rude food
At the St. Crispin’s  school stall
Russian Roulette, any takers?
Mrs. Scott and her Grand daughter
Enjoying the exclusive food on a platter!
At the Raffle counter
A meeting of old timers?
How was the Chicken Stew? It was wonderful, amazing, you should have tried it!
The lead drummer happened to to be a nephew of mine!

The Stalwarts of the White Elephant Stall
Friends indeed! That is me on the left and Nitin Baliley on the right!
A Family indeed gathering
All smiles on being included by a friend in a candid moment!
My uncle and Aunt, Eric Lal and Edna Lal, whom I love so much!
Feeding Hungry Doremon!
A Prize for the winner! Sanjay I Lal announcing the name of the winner.
Memories are made of these, Mrs and Mr Andrews
A word of appreciation for the chicken stew which was highly appreciated!
Yes, even he had fun, even if it was with a simple whistle!
All set for the Tambola Game to begin!
The stalwarts of the Youth Fellowship; they did a wonderful job!
Preparing the Brochures
At the Raffle-Ticket counter, Mr. Massey and Mr. Lall
Waiting for the Raffle Prizes to be announced!
The proud winner of the first prize, Mrs. R. Pitamber
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