Last Thursday and Friday, dad and I set out for Mangalore. We took the night bus. Got tickets on the spot. The journey took around eight hours. Thankfully, I got sound sleep.
Thursday morning, reached Mangalore. Took an auto to uncle's house. Just a 5 min ride. We kicked off our shoes and refreshed ourselves with a bath and warmth of hospitality showered by our hosts, uncle Vally and aunty Vivi and cousins Vinola and Vinu.
We came to Mangalore to attend my uncles house-warming and 25th wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful thing for me to come for a family function after such a long time. We headed for the place and I went with cousin Rainier and Russel to fetch the priest, Fr Rudolph Ravi D'Sa from Bendoor church.
I took some photographs and met an old acquaintance, Rio D'Souza, an uncle-in-law. Rio does research on biometrics and is a professor in National Institue of Technology, Karnataka (previously REC Surathkal). It was awesome to learn about the kind of stuff he does. I was inspired and happy for him.
Of course, I met my cousins after long. Rainier, Rochelle, Russel and their mum and dad. We had a long walk on the mud tracks past the streams and undulating and sometimes uneven terrain of my native, in India's western ghats section. At peace with nature.
After hanging out, talking with my young cousin, Russel about huge spiders they find there, about cockraoches and video games, we headed to the church.
The Infant Jesus Shrine in Mangalore is known for the devotion of people all over the city. It is situated in Kulashekara, near a bus junction, Nanthur. The shrine is built by the Carmelite fathers. It is splendid in design and structure, shaped as it is like the crown of the Infant Jesus. The shrine itself is pentagonal from the top view with five majestic arcs meeting at the top to a sphere and a cross.
The services are complete with immense devotion for the Lord and edifies you to kneel and bow and pray silently, even if you do not understand every word of the mass. Then, we went to the adjacent adoration. This is the sanctum for Christians. It is the body of Jesus Christ exposed so that we can pray and bow and rever and touch and kiss it. This is the source of great miracles all over the world where this adoration is done or where the blessed sacrament, the body of Christ is exposed. You can see people pray kneeling for even an hour or more at a stretch. People have night vigils and pray through the night before the sacrament too.
We went later to our house at Vamanjoor. This is a beautiful place facing a vast expanse of green growth and some slender stalks of wild plants to one side. The house itself is a simple, clean and neat one with elegant aluminium sliding windows. There is nothing extravagantly expensive, yet it has a charm that I admire. It was designed by dad when he was working in Mangalore for about a year. It is on a piece of land gifted to my dad by my late paternal grandfather.