A Merry Greek Christmas

I love Christmas. As far as I can remember, Christmas has been good for me. I have some of the fondest memories of my life associated Christmas. It is little wonder that I look forward to Christmas every year.

This year, Christmas was different. Different because, for the first time in my life I was not at home for Christmas.

I began Christmas this year by going to Westminster Cathedral for the 6pm mass on 24th. The church was decorated with a huge Christmas tree, but it was also rather cold, since Christmas Eve was cold this side of the world. Met up with a college pal for a quiet dinner. Was home before the clock struck 12.

Pavlos had invited me over for Christmas lunch with his family. Christmas lunch was in the traditional Greek style with caviar, soup, sweets, desert and a full roasted and stuff turkey. I don’t think I need to say that I ate to my fullest :)

My plans for boxing day went for a toss with the tube strike. However, I plan to finally go out and see London tomorrow, before I report to work on Tuesday.

With that I’ll leave you with this beautiful song.

A Birthday Party and a Farewell Dinner

Friday at 12am we brought in Sneha‘s birthday by cutting her cake and dirtying her.

After a long day of lectures on Friday, in which we gave two presentations in Strategic Management, we headed out to the city. Sneha and Namrata had finalized on a joint called TC’s in FC Road. We had booked the place for eleven people.

Caught the 7.30pm bus from college which drops us at Atur Center from where we caught rickshaws to the place.

TC’s is decently sized place with a good ambience and service. However, I really wonder why they needed to have the lights fading into various colors!

The prices weren’t that high compared to the other places we have eaten at, but then again, neither were the portions. We were offered 11 tequila shots on the house, a pity only five were consumed.

Then we desperately hunted for rickshaws back to Atur Center and rushed to catch the last bus back to college.

Woke up (or more like was woken up) early Saturday morning as all these folks were off to Alibaug for the weekend. I’m not much of an outdoor person and had tonnes of work so decided to stay back.

Went with Maria and her sister Tina for mass on Saturday. Was asked to and did the Prayer of the Faithful. After mass, we decided to go to Mainland China, which is close to where we had to catch the bus back.

This is my first visit to a Mainland China. The food was decent, so was the service. However, they really need to understand the meaning of the word “spicy”.

The bus back to campus was jam packed, but we were fortunate enough to get seats.

Sunday was a quiet day. We gathered together to bid farewell to Maria, who is the first among all of us to begin her job.

Am really exhausted now and will be hitting the bed soon. Have to still get my hands on photos of the birthday. Will put them in my album.

An Anniversary, a Birthday and a Journey

After a quiet two days at home, I finally ventured out on Sunday evening for mass. I?ve realized that I can spend days at home without evening stepping outside and not even think twice about it. Pizzas always get delivered, don?t they? ;)

Anyway, Sunday the 4th also marked the 28th Wedding Anniversary of my parents and since Dad isn?t here I decided to take Mom out for dinner. However, she chose to order home and so be it.

Dinner was Chicken Manchurian, Prawns Masala and Chicken Fried rice. We tried a smaller new restaurant near my place instead of the regular one I ordered. While the chicken was good, the prawns was terrible. Note to myself. ?Do not order sea food from small places?.

Monday and Tuesday were normal days. Aditya was in Mumbai yesterday on placements work and dropped in after that was done. Took him to InOrbit, Malad whose sheer size had him all amazed.

Got back home, bid farewell to him and got ready for Seema?s birthday party. We were at her place gossiping and chatting till post 10.30pm before I drove back home. Had no energy to make any of the blog posts I had originally planned. Had also decided to make my way back to Pune and so needed to get some sleep.

Caught the second Volvo to Pune. The last time I was on my way back the bus tire was punctured and the driver and cleaner spent a good hour fixing that. Fortunately, today I didn?t face any such problem, though the bus that I missed by a minute broke down on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. After our driver lent a hand, we were on our way.

Reached here in the morning, met up with friends and then got down to making those blog posts. The count of unread posts in my RSS reader is slowly mounting. As is the case of my Gmail inbox which seems to be locked due to Google detecting unusual activity. Now, me not checking my email for 20 hours is characterized as unusual :( Hopefully, this gets unlocked by tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a long day with a lot of lectures scheduled. We also have a so called Finance paper to work on tonight.

Shopping and Church

Fourth semester at SCMHRD is one of the most relaxed semesters. We have Neev just around the corner and so I am relatively free. Decided to go to church today. Maria was pleased since she has been after me to do so for a long long time! Am sure my Mom too was pleased.

Today was the feast of Christ the King as well as it happens to be my brother’s birthday. The feast of Christ the King marks the end of the liturgical year. This is usually a big event in my church back in Mumbai. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. I can finally start playing some Christmas carols :)

We took the 5.05pm bus to Atur Center and then went to the Food Bazaar at Pune Central to pick up some eatables and other essentials.

Mass at St. Anthony’s in Model Colony was over an hour. However, it was filled with singing, something that I haven’t indulged in a long time.

Met quite a few other Catholics of SCMHRD of both the juniors and senior batch who landed up for mass today.

Caught the 8pm bus back to the campus and grabbed a simple dinner of double full fried eggs in the cafeteria.

We have a company on campus tomorrow morning. Have to attend the pre-placement talks before I decide if I should signup with them or not.

Wish me the best of luck. Will provide details tomorrow or day after. I plan on going home on Tuesday since the rest of the week is relatively free. Also have to pickup my final installment demand draft.

Code Words among Catholics

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.

HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.

HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

INCENSE: Holy Smoke!

JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to find colleges with good basketball teams.

JONAH: The original “Jaws” story.

JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.

KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava. (it means Lord have mercy)

MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn’t covered by an HMO. (The Bible’s way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)

PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusio n of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel, and stand.

TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.

USHERS: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

Little known facts about the Catholic Church in Las Vegas :
There are more churches in Las Vegas than casinos. During Sunday services at the offertory, some worshippers contribute casino chips as opposed to cash. Some are sharing their winnings – some are hoping to win. Since they get chips from so many different casinos, and they are worth money, the Catholic churches are required to send all the chips into the diocese for sorting. Once sorted into the respective casino chips, one junior priest takes the chips and makes the rounds to the casinos turning chips into cash. And he, of course, is known as The Chip Monk.