Posted by: akilamoni | August 16, 2006

A quiet sunday evening

I passed through the Aiyappan temple on my way to work everyday. I have used it as a landmark when I haggle with the auto guys. I kept promising the Lord I would come and visit him sometime. After almost 3.5 weeks, I went to the temple.

As I stepped in, I felt like I had almost forgotten how it felt like to be inside one. I havent been to a temple in ages now. There was almost nobody in the temple. That is when I love to visit temples- when most people stay away from it. I will never be found in a temple on a crowded/spl/festival day.

Had a handful of payasam, went around the place and left.

As I walked out, I felt glad. I was glad that I was in a city in which I was not an alien.

I took an auto and found my way to the Santhome church nearby.

The Santhome church, is one among three churches in the whole world, to be built on the same land as the tomb of an Apostle of Jesus. The two other places are St.James basilica and St.Peters Basilica(Rome).

I went in. It was almost 6 yrs back when I had last stepped into a church.

I walked in. Not knowing where to sit, I used the Hindu principle- the spot closest to the deity. I found myself right in front.

I gazed at the statues of Jesus and his two apostles and almost naturally I started chanting “Nivasatu hridi bala nitya kalyana sheela” , the words that Kanchi bala periyava had taught me.The chant that I said whenever I passed by a temple. the chant that rose to my lips whenever I was in front of God.

After I finished the chant, it struck me and almost naturally(and of course foolishly), I wondered if Jesus would understand me. There I was, wearing the sandalwood prasad from the nearby ayappan temple, chanting my nivastu hridi, in a church.

I saw a few people walk right upto the altar. I was not sure if I was allowed to do that. How many times have you got past to the main shrine in a temple??

I waited and watched what people were doing? It was not like I had never been to a church, but this one was very different. I stopped a lady and asked her if I could go to the altar. She said “Oh yes, and the tomb is right behind”. Oh shucks, I had forgotten about the tomb.

I walked upto the altar and found it strange standing in front of the Lord with my slippers on.
On going nearer I found that The Lord there had been given an Indian touch. His robe had names of devotees all over it.

John Elias, jack, christopher…etc have been delivered from all evils because they have written their name on the statue of the Lord in Santhome church.

There was a door at the back which lead to the tomb of St. Thomas. The borad outside said “footwear this side”. It was okie to wear the slippers in front of the Lord but not in front of his apostle I thought.

I climbed the stairs down to the tomb and sat there for a few minutes. I racked my brain for a hymn/chant that I had used in my 14 yrs of convent education and the only one that managed to come up was hymn that I had sung in Choir for St. Teresa of Avila. Not bad. better than Nivasatu Hridi bala , I thought to myself. I hummed it and found my way back to the main church.

As I walked out, I started thinking about what my experience had been in Chennai…

(To be contd.)



  1. hi there,

    Again the same anany.U have many messages to impart. i think the blogg helps u a lot to open ur mind, or pour out ur inner thoughts.probably many r not there to understand u or ur feeling, or ur inner thoughts.
    On mant occations I hav read ur grandpa’s personal diary, ofcourse with his permission.Rather heinsisted that i must read.

    I am very much reminded the flow of his laguage. U too have it . Better u develope. I am sure u will turn out to be very big writer oneday. I pray to God to give me a healthy & long life to see that my dream comes true.

    Will cont.

  2. U R TAGGED..:)..just my way of sayin hii…

  3. Hi,
    Happened to come across your blog through another friend’s list. I enjoyed reading it though. I think you write with a good flow and keep it simple (atleast I found this one to be that). It was nice to read, especially when a lot of times I have wondered about how many months or years have passed since I have entered a Temple with the sole intention of worship.

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