Friday, April 28, 2017

The Pulpit

It is said that you can make three wishes when you visit a new church.
Last week we had been to the Cathedral at New Delhi (Gol Dak Khana) on Easter day. 

Was impressed by the way it is maintained with no major changes from the time it was built. Even the distance between the pews was something to be appreciated as it gave enough leg space as well as space for kneeling. 

The Sacred Heart Cathedral was the second Catholic Church built in Delhi by the O.F.M. Cap priests.
Out of the eight architects invited to submit their plans, the one by Mr Henry Med was finally selected. 

The benches too were designed by Mr Med and was made by a Chinese Catholic at a cost of Rs 75/- each.
There are many stories about how the church came up, including the donations from Japan and China.
One day an unknown young man came to meet Fr Luke. He left after leaving a short message: “withdraw your money from the bank for it is going to crash” Fr Luke did not question the veracity of the message, and withdrew his building fund from the Alliance Bank. The day after the Church building fund was withdrawn, the bank indeed crashed.
The mural of the last supper is also unique. It is one of those rare ones in which Judas is not shown. The Capuchin Friars working at that time in Agra Archdiocese were used as models for the Apostles and Jesus. The names of the Apostles whom these Fathers represent are painted below the mural.  For example Fr Basil, portraying Jesus was an Irish. 

The choir loft used to house a massive pipe organ which was functional till the early seventies 

For such a big and renowned church I found that the sound system was not up to the mark and there was some sort of an echo or reverberation. Later while reading the history of the church I found the reason for the echo.  The dome was so designed that it used to enhance the voice of the celebrant or preacher . The architecture of the thirties had no way of foreseeing the acoustic needs of the electronic era. During the seventies the church consulted many companies including Philips to make the sound system effective. It looks like the mystery of feedback of the sound system could not be fully resolved.
I got to photograph the place at night. The sunflowers are sort of confused (don’t know which side to face) 

I am always fascinated by the pulpit of the churches I visit (if there is one that still stands) The pulpit is not in use now anywhere in the world for almost half a century.
The woodwork of the pulpit in this Cathedral is simple but elegant. 

Compare this with the one I clicked at Brussels (Belgium) What intricate work. 

And the one at Notre Dame Paris

Here is the simplest one I found at a Cathedral near Normandy (France) The idea was that the priest should have an elevated place for his sermon. 

And here is the one depicted by our own cartoonist Mario Miranda with a humorous twist to it.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Manga Chammandi

There is a mango tree right outside my window and looking at those mangoes reminds me of the lovely “Manga chammandi” (Mango Chutney) my aunt used to make. 

I had to just pluck a mango and give it to her and she would make it in a jiffy, grinding all the ingredients together manually on a grinding stone.
With a vague memory of how she made it, I tried to do the same. Plucked a mango, added a few leaves of Kadipatta (curry leaves) and just three of these chillies from the garden. 

Got a medium sized coconut from the store, and grated half of it.
Adding a pinch of salt for taste, ground the whole thing in a mixer. (would have loved to do it manually on a grinding stone, but unfortunately we  don’t have one now)
The end result was not bad, but I am sure that my aunt’s chammandi was better. 

Plucking the mango was a bit tricky. It was a case of “so near and yet so far” 

Was thinking of designing a fruit plucker, when I came across a small video which showed “many uses of plastic bottles” and I used one of the ideas mentioned there.  Simple but very effective. 

All in all, it was a very fruitful experience. (reminded me of how we used to steal mangoes as a kid)