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M.A. Student

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Life at the College as an M.A.Student

I stayed at the Staff Quarters.Prof.V.J.Augustine was the Head of the Dept. He took a special interest in me and encouraged me to do my best in studies. it was his encouragement that enabled me to do well in exams. i was placed in the fourth Rank at the Kerala University exam.

It was while I was in the first year of M.A. that Archbishop Kavukatt passed away. While I was about to finish the mass in the private chapel I was told about the demise of the Archbishop.Myself and Fr.James Valiaparampil went to to the Archbishop’s house right away after the mass. In those days , fans were very few at the Bishop’s house.Our two table fans were given to be used there at the hall where the body was lying in state.

The demise of the Archbishop was a sad moment in my life. Even though I never had any close interaction with him except on formal occasions, I knew that he cared about me and that he knew me well. He allowed me to go for graduate studies and told me even before I started the course that I would be appointed in the Dept. of English. He changed the whole course of my life. What a gifted and saintly person he was. All through my stay in the United States for my doctoral studies, I kept his picture in the Bible I was using for daily reading and reflections.

His voice and his words are still unforgettably stamped in my mind. At one of the meetings after the Liberation struggle, he said the following words: " Hate communism but don't hate communists." It was the ideology that should be resisted and not the people. He was the one who gave very strong leadership for the historic Liberation struggle against the communists in Kerala.When the communists were determined to pass their notorious Education Bill, the Archbishop ordered all the schools to be closed and not to be reopened after the summer vacation.

At another meeting in the Kallarakal hall, quoting from Tennyson and said: " It is better to have loved and lost and never to have loved at all."

I was one of the coffin-bearers in the funeral procession when his body was taken for the funeral.I feel privileged and happy that he was the one who ordained me and sent me for higher studies. All that I did as a preist was because of the initial start he gave me in my life.


After the viva for the M.A., some of us priests went on an All India trip.Fr.James Valiaparampil,Fr.Antony Kadavil and Fr.Thomas Mattappally were in the group.We went straight away to Calcutta and stayed at St.Xavier's college.From there, we proceeded to Mother Teresa’s convent .We visited the places in Kalighat where the old and sick were nursed by the sisters as well as to the place where the abandoned children were taken care of.Mother Teresa was not there.We talked with some of the sisters .Some were from Changnacherry.We met a young foreign-born sister.We asked her how it came about that she joined the convent.She told us her story of meeting Mother Teresa at the Eucharistic congress in Bombay when she came to attend it a tourist from Germany.At a lunch hosted by the Archbishop of Bombay, she was sitting opposite Mother Teresa.During the lunch, the Mother was looking at her.After the lunch, she asked her why she was looking at her.Mother Teresa then told her that if she would join her convent , she would give her a sari.She left for Germany after the Eucharistic Congress but then came back and joined the convent.She was the first non-Indian to join the Congregation of Mother Teresa.

During that trip, we visited Darjeeling, Kurseong etc.The visit to some place in Darjeeling to see the Sun rise early in the morning around 3a.m. was unforgettable. We did also travel to Kalinpong in Sikkim.

From there ,we returned to Kerala through Nagpur.At Nagpur, we stayed at St.Charles' Seminary and also visited Raipur.At Raipur, the German Bishop himself came to the railway station with his jeep to pick us up.We stayed at the Bishop’s house.At night, we slept outside as it was very hot inside.We visited Fr.Mattappally’s brother who was a pastor in a nearby parish.

When I came back from the trip, I heard that one of my friends,Mr.Joe Tharakan had passed away.Jose was supposed to leave for the States the week before.It was a tragic piece of news.It was conveyed to me by Mr.Cherian who was a gardener then.Later Cherian worked at the college office.


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