Sri Varghese Pamplanil is more than a neighbour and friend to me. He is a staunch promoter of value everywhere. He talks not from his Kanjirapplly experience. He has travelled widely and also is a voracious reader. Thank you Varghese sir for the kingly eye opening pieces of advice. I also wish that we decide to change ourselves for the better. I will be there to celebrate the feast of St. Covid 19, sir. If that happens: “Hail the Saviour cum Redeemer Coronavirus ”!!! Joseph Mattappally: Asso editor CCV
The pandemic Coronavirus (Covid – 19) is a very terrible thing to happen. Thousands of people all over the world are infected with the virus, apparently for no fault of theirs individually. General public seems to be in panic and in the grip of mortal fear. Our hearts go out with concern on the the dire predicament of the affected persons. Let us hope that this malice will be contained and controlled quickly. Let everyone of us take all possible precautions to avoid the spread of this disease by desisting from sneezing and coughing into the open air and instead cover our noses and mouths with, ideally, tissue paper, that must be burned on reaching one’s own premises. Spiting on the roads and other public places should be studiously avoided. Congregating in places of worship. festivals, pilgrimaged, marriage ceremonies and the like better be skipped. There could also be other measures that experts in the field may recommend which ought to be observed meticulously. It is all that ordinary citizens can do.
Nature seemed to kill mercilessly time and again by unleashing plagues and pestilences when humans, out of greed, upset its rhythm and balance and order. Most of our wants are created ones, market induced, manipulated by clever advertising. Many products are of suspected quality and even dangerous too. What drives economic activity in the free market system is profit motive. Many manufacturing processes are environment- destroying. Sometimes viruses are deliberately created for biological warfare and experimented on unsuspecting third world populations with disastrous consequences.
We, Keralites are found even in the remotest corners of the earth. A Malayalee is compelled to be at his/her at best outside the state, survival necessitated. Torn out of the accustomed moorings, he or she would be forced to discard hitherto held habits and angularities to converge with the new environment.
Unwanted interference in another’s life is a peculiar Malayalee trait. Unsolicited gratuitous advices are thrown around thick and fast. Individual autonomy is not generally respected. It seems that a few are bent upon to reshape the world in their mirror images instead of undertaking self correction.
Despite the many bounties of nature bestowed to this land, our people seem to have failed to achieve their optimum potential. Varghese Kurian (of Amul), once succinctly observed, “Keralites are like worms in a bottle, if one worm tries to get up, others will pull it down”. “Nokkukooli” and “attimary", unheard of anywhere else, are the prevailing norms here. The money thus grabbed is wasted on hallucinating drugs, liquor, gambling, womanising etc. The end result: frequent road accidents, rape of innocent children and aged women. Criminals and other lumpen elements appear to rule the roost. Physical work, with rare exceptions, is meant to be carried out by people from outside the state; some of them hail from outside our country’s borders. Many of the migrants could be criminals and other antisocial elements. Most of them live in squalid conditions, sex-starved and frustrated. Given even a tiny opportunity, they are likely to indulge in criminal activities such as murder, robbery, thieving, rape etc.
The “Victorian morality”, shunned almost everywhere else in the world, seems to cling to the Malayalee psyche. Keralites may be literates, but hardly equipped for obtaining gainful employment. Hush money (bribe) is required to fetch the rare job opportunities. Corruption and wheeler dealings are rampant in all spheres. Quotation gangs roam with impunity doing dastardly deeds. Smuggling of narcotics, precious metals and gems such as gold and diamonds are rampant. The tainted money thus made is utilised for leading luxurious and often wayward life.
While on a visit to US, I came across newly wed couples coming out of the iconic chapel (attached to the prestigious Stanford University) after a brief marriage ceremony, lasting just a few minutes, accompanied by less than half a dozen close relatives/ friends. In U.K. too such a wedding is the norm.
Nowadays, marriage functions of Syro-Malabar-Catholics are like the plenums of political parties with participation of thousands. Event managers choreograph the whole affair with unbearable loudness, crassness and glitch. Average looking brides are converted to the likes of cine artists and models by beauty parlours. (It is quite likely that in an arranged marriage the bridegroom may get a massive heart attack on seeing the real face and body of the bride after a bath next morning without the layers of make up). Cacophony of sound and fury dominates almost all wedding functions.
It is an ordeal, especially for old people, to attend Syrian Christian wedding with a long winding mass along with the “bla bla inanities” of “paid” clerics (the going rates for the trivia dished out by bishops runs into thousands, l was told).
It would be a welcome thing, if Covid 19, put an end to the tedious marriage ceremonies and the huge wedding receptions with multitudes invited for lunch or high tea. Coronavirus may have the last laugh by enabling most of us to have the “great escape” from the jostling, maddening crowd rushing pell-mell to the dining hall, pushing and pulling, elbowing and some times stampeding others for food as if they are seeing it for the first time in their damned lives. It would be highly welcome if the “mad hatter’s”antics stop.
As in the old days, if the newly weds are received to the homes of either of the parties, in the presence of the family members, relatives and close friends in a homely atmosphere, how nice it would be. Eating simple home made healthy food hygienically prepared will go a long way in preserving one’s health and ward off diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiac problems etc. The money saved can gainfully be used for the wellbeing of the new couple. Those flush with funds could donate it to old age homes and other well run charitable institutions.
In the cynical way, I am inclined to go along with the view of Bernard Shaw that marriage after all is a “public confession of a private sin”. It is nothing more, nothing less. Pair bonding and sexual intercourses between males and females of the species had happened for millions of years, prior to the church butting its nose into the affair. There could not have been any shaman or priest to ensure that everything was done according to the book, chapter and verse; no book or priest would have been there when humans mated with whomsoever they had come across. No deity would have taken offence at the goings on. The ceremonies and rites of the church are clever instruments for the psychological manipulation of its credulous followers. The elaborate song and dance routine on the occasion of marriage could not have been that ancient. In olden times in USA, the marriage of a Negro slave was just “jumping the broom”. Despite all the hullaballoo, a good number of Catholic marriages now end up in divorces.
If one takes into account time from its beginning, the less than 2000 year old existence of the Christian religion, the oft repeated boast of the clergy as an example of permanency, can be counted in micro- seconds.
While visiting an ancient church in U.K. in one evening, I saw a lone young mother holding her baby in her bare hands rushing to a priest for its baptism. Compare this to the atrocities heaped on teeny-weeny Syrian Catholic infants, as young as 7 days old, in the name of “water dunking—“vellatthilmukku (in Malayalam)”. If Covid 19, put an end to the inhuman atrocities inflicted on the innocents, it will be a great blessing. When their cognitive system develop enough to grasp the true implications of the water dunking, at least a few children are likely to adore the enlarged picture of the deliverer St. Covid 19. If that happens: “Hail the Saviour cum Redeemer Coronavirus ”!!!
What would be the fate of the festivals in honour of the non-saint, who was long ago removed from the roaster of saints of the Catholic Church viz., St George alias Geevarghese Sahada turning up next month at Artthunkal, Aruvitthara, Edappaly and other places? Will the saint let loose thousands of venomous snakes if “kozhinercha” is interrupted ? Wait and see; hold your breath!!!
Something good sometimes come out of even the worst thing. May Coronavirus halt the marriage jamborees of “Zero Malabar Christians” as well as church festivals and processions where the participants give scant regard to the other man’s health with wanton unprotected sneezing, coughing and spitting, any time anywhere. The cheek by jowl crowds, packed like sardines, attending church prayers may come to an end. Will the church stop Sunday masses and catechism classes?
How many will throng the coming Easter midnight mass? Let us wait and see. Thin attendance in the churches mean empty church coffers, a “catch 22” situation! Once the vicious chain of superstition is broken, the believers may become aware of their stupidities and realise that their god is not a “bogey man” out to wreck vengeance on them for not following the arbitrary diktats of the clerics. Hope sanity has a chance.
The eminences and beatitudes of Zero church a.k.a Syro-Malabar Church may be forced out of their junkets, in business class, to U.S and other rich countries in search of strong currencies such as US$, Deutsch Mark, Swedish Kroner, Swiss Frank etc. They will not visit Rome and Italy, where the Coronavirus is doing its devilish dance killing hundreds, if not thousands. After all one’s own skin is a precious commodity, isn’t it? Thanks are due to Covid 19.
The song “I see something good in everything” seems to be valid in the macabre sense.
Adieu for the time being. Hope self and others will escape from Coronavirus. Let us all wish each other good luck.