Posts from August 2016

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August 19th – facing death

by John Smuts

On the drive across into Kerala and up into the Western Ghats (in this case ghats are mountains, but in Varansi they are steps down into the ganges – go figure) we passed through several towns and villages in the far west of Tamil Nadu. In one we met a funeral procession – lots of […]

August 13th – Airport culture

by John Smuts

Waiting for a 2 hour delayed flight in Delhi I worked out how many flights, God willing, I will take before my sabbatical is over. 13. Good job I’m not superstitious. As I sip my flat white from Costas, in several ways the modern airport is an apt image of globalisation. The language of the […]

August 16th – Mumbai

by John Smuts

As for my trip up to Varanasi my connecting flight back to Chennai means a stop over in Mumbai. Thanks to my hosts I got a beautiful, if brief, look at the city – home of Bollywood stars … the playground of India. It was a lovely evening, the temperature was 29 degrees and there […]

August 15th – Independence Day

by John Smuts

On 15th of August 1947 India was granted independence from Great Britain (or is it declared independence from?) And so we gathered in the parade ground in front of the chapel for independence day celebrations. The children danced and sang songs, the local Police Chief unfurled the flag and we joined in joyful Indian nationalism. […]

August 14th – The Ganges

by John Smuts

Varanasi, on the banks of the river Ganges, is seen as the spiritual capital for India. Hindus believe that death in the city will bring salvation, making it a major centre for pilgrimage. The city is known for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform […]

August 12th – Delhi

by John Smuts

Thanks to South Asian Concern I am on my way to Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges to see a little of north India and to observe the heart Hinduism. However, there are no direct flights from Chennai and so my ticket takes me via Delhi (Delhi) on the way there and Mumbai (Bombay) […]

August 11th – Tamil Q & A

by John Smuts

Today was a busy but rewarding day. Mr Pandian (Sharmilla’s father) kindly arranged for me to meet some very experienced Tamil Pastors and then to be taken out to see some Lutheran churches in villages way out of Chennai. This was one of those experiences which is what my sabbatical is all about. It was […]

August 10th – Chicken Madras

by John Smuts

August 22nd is Madras day – celebrating the founding of the city (now known as Chennai) in 1639, when the Englishman (this was before Great Britain) Francis Day along with his superior Andrew Cogan struck a deal with the Vijayanagar empire to acquire a stretch of no man’s land, on which to build a fort […]

August 9th – Indian Bible Translators

by John Smuts

In 1978 Prof S. Paneer Selvam (Jabez’s father = the father-in-law of Sharmilla’s sister) had the amazing vision to start Indian Bible Translators. He was struck that, although he could speak English fluently, he was only fully comfortable reading a Tamil Bible. He became convinced that every person had a right to worship God in […]

August 8th – Blue Mountains

by John Smuts

When we lived in Sydney we loved to drive west out on the M4 for about an hour to the Blue Mountains – so named because of the blue haze created by the gum trees. This weekend I have been travelling around the Nilgiri hills in western Tamil Nadu (almost into Kerala). You can imagine […]