Greetings to Christians all over the worldDecember 25, 2006 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Methodist Church | Leave a comment
Merry Christmas to you all. It is just past 10 p.m. G.M.T. and your celebrations must be at the peak and happiness and bonhomie must be overflowing. There will be a lot of hugging all around and affection, love and romance must be overwhelming. Santa must have have heaved a sigh of tired contentment.
Being born a South Indian Brahmin,I remain rooted to my own faith. This did not prevent me from getting acquainted with the Christian Church. During my three years of life spent in Poona, as Pune was called in in the 80s, I was initiated into singing in a Methodist Church English Choir. My voice was tested by Mr. Daniel Manoharan, the then Conductor of the Choir, and I was found to be a First Tenor. To this day, my voice hasn’t changed. My friend and room-mate, Samuel Dawson Peace Thanasingh Christopher, whom I called Christopher, had introduced me to Mr. Manoharan, and they were both Tamil people from Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu.
I spent two years of my life, attending choir practice regularly, going to the Sunday Mass and singing in the choir every week. This was when I really started wearing presentable dress with tie and shoes, the first time I was in a good gathering and really disciplined and poised in my life. It was a good sized choir with about 25 or more members and when the occasion demanded we also acquired a good orchestra.
I have lived the regulated life of a Christian without becoming a Christian actually. I have gone on carol rounds, sang in the early morning on the mountain, went for practice regularly, participated in two Christmas eve midnight mass. I never learnt cite reading properly ever in my life but must have sang from memory. Obviously I never went wrong in pitch, tone or delivery. It was Pastor Johnson’s term at the church and by the end of my two year’s acquaintance, he was shifted to another church. Also by then Mr. Daniel Manoharan was posted out elsewhere in the Defense Accounts Department where he was serving, as also and Christopher. Manoharan was succeeeded by Mr. Luke Manoranjan. These were the days when I actually saw the first piano. I remember one day when one girl from our choir played Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago, on the church organ.
When I left Poona suddenly, I lost touch with all this abruptly because a door was rudely slammed into my face, and, Poona and everything and everyone there were suddenly torn away and from me and I was thrown away by cruel fate to wander and roam my inner space to find the lost threads to contunue my preordained existence. I could never establish contact with Mr. Manoharan nor Christopher. I met him briefly a few times when he was working in the Madras Offices of the Defence Accounts, and also been to his house once and met his wife. I learnt that they had a single girl child who was born to them when her mother was attacked by paralysis and also jaundice. Their child must have been a God-given for them. I could never ever regain or even relive those magic days of my life in Poona.
One occasion needs a special mention. The Choir and a big orchestra presented a Cantata, The Greatest Story Ever Told, by Eugene Clark, if I remember right, at a Church in Byculla, Bombay. They printed a leaflet announcing the performance with all the names of members of the choir mentioned individually, including my name which was printed as Raja Narayanan. We went by train as a merry gathering. A pleasant experience.
I remember places in Poona. Rasthapet where I lived in Jew Street, in a house facing the synogogue and adjacent to a blindmen’s school. I remember Lakshmi Road, the city parks, British Council Library, movies at the West End and Empire Theatres, a fleeting glimpse of a beautiful girl in her panties and a brief top I saw through the wall to wall glass of a rich house, the week long Ganesh Chaturthi festivals, our canteen and messhall, a Udipi Hotel where we had uppit and kadak dosa eater with spoon and fork. Oh, those days are gone.