Saturday, April 22, 2006

postcard from j: living waters

Surely, one may have wondered about the postcards theme that I use for my blog. There is a very good reason for that - a Jesuit priest introduced me to the dying practice of writing and sending postcards. No, I'm not talking about those really pretty picture postcards that you receive from some relative or friend who went backpacking across Europe. These are the typical postcards available at your friendly (and increasingly redundant) Indian post office - those dull yellowing rectangular pieces of paper which challenged even the most articulate among us to fit in the right number of words in the limited writing space on it.

I have received a few postcards from Father G in the course of my interaction with him since 1997. And each one has been inspiring and much treasured. The last few days have witnessed high drama with regard to the Narmada Bachao Andolan - Medha Patkar's fast, Aamir Khan lending his support to the cause, Arundhati Roy's comments, Narendra Modi's retaliation, legalities, court cases... By now, you may be confused about the point I want to make.

Its just that recent developments related to the NBA reminded me of one of Father G's postcards (dated 23rd May 2002). Father G was involved with education of a tribal group in Shirpur, Dhule (Maharashtra). So, without further ado, I'm quoting from that postcard:

I've just visited the Dhadgaon hills where the breathtaking Narbada flows, a most endearing river - like some attractive woman none can resist. Only the demonic dam blocks her course, denudes good former agricultural land of the adivasis, makes rampant tree-felling of the hills along the river a business prospect. Medha Patkar's NBA is doing splendid work uniting poor tribals displaced from their homesteads. I had a teachers' training over 2 days in one of their remote residential schools. It was an education for me.

Beautiful, isn't it? Makes you wish for more postcards like this. Father G is not a fan of technology. It took him ages to get 'online', and use email. Concluding this postcard, he wrote:
In that world IT is non-existent & irrelevant. For that matter most of modern technology is that way...
*Sigh* I don't know what I would have done without modern technology and its evils. But then, I don't think I would have ever wanted to miss any of his postcards. Now, don't you wish you received a postcard today?

3 Replies:

Ranju said...

I think I just did :-)

Darth Midnightmare said...

"No technology will ever match the personal touch of a hand-written letter". Thus spake a person I respect and never a truer word was spoken...Ironic though that we say this over a medium of technology that takes anonymous impersonality to a new level.

As for the Jesuits, Hell, studied in Xaviers myself and yeah, one of those chaps, T, did impact my life in a nice way too, so can connect on that one...

Cheerio

~j~ said...

You're a Jhavierite too? Hmmm... and TQ is one of a kind!!!

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