Hannah Mungamuri

HANNAH’S TURNING POINT TRIP: Treasures from trivials


Week one – Christmas wreaths

The day was going superbly !
What a day to celebrate Christmas ! The church building was overflowing with people. Kids of all ages were dressed up in colorful, new clothes and could hardly contain their excitement. Even their Sunday school teachers gave up on quietening them, during the church service. So the excited, hushed conversation of the kids,formed a background sound, for the sermon, sort of like a bass key notes of a hymn. The pastor was smiling through the sermon and added a few lyrics of old hymns, to emphasize the jubilation of the day.He had a great voice and it only enhanced the festive atmosphere ! Oh! boy!did I sing my heart out, that day, in our church choir !

Everything, good or bad, happy or sad would have to end eventually ! Time takes care of that, doesn’t it ? The church service ended with the hymn ,”Joy to the world !” I came home with my family, after exchanging greetings with our friends. The smiling faces of my Sunday school students, as they surrounded me, showing off their finery and sharing anecdotes about their gifts, seemed like Christmas wreaths hung all around my soul ! What awesome images of wreaths, I had carried home in my soul, that Christmas day !


Riding home with my dad, had always opened up – some theological discussion ; and that Christmas day was no different. Dear old dad ! How I miss him ! He’d never let me float away on superficial happiness – always directing me, to draw from the well of Joy , that never changes with my circumstances.We both reached home joyful.

My grandparents had already moved in with us a few years ago, after they had retired. Our maid was helping my grandma,set the table for our Christmas feast. My uncle’s family had come, to visit us for Christmas ; and my nieces were already bombarding my aunt, with a “thousand and one” questions. How on earth my aunt remains tranquil, like a quiet, gurgling brook, I cannot fathom ! In her own sweet way, she eventually managed to herd all my nieces, to their places at the table – all washed and proper.As soon as all our family members were seated around the table,my grandpa said grace and we dived into the delicacies. As always,my dear old granny had saved a special piece of meat for my dad,her son-in-law. As a kid, I used to be jealous of my granny’s”motherly attention”, towards my dad – since I was her very own favorite.But now , as a teen, I found it quite amusing, to see her like a mother hen around my dad, whose mom had already passed away.


During the Christmas feast, grandpa told us, all the usual folklore ,that made us go back in time. My dad always treated him as the head of the family. I learnt respecting elders from what I caught my dad doing. It was my dad’s life, that made a humble human being, out of my “proud peacock” self ! My mom had always made sure, that I was well taught and equipped to be an over-achiever at school, home, church and our community. It is hard not to be a proud peacock, when surrounded by appreciation every where I went. My dad had always directed me away from drawing my worth or happiness from the swelling of pride.He had always reminded me to draw from the well of Joy within me – and not from the swell of applause, around me. Did he know, that God was using him to train me , for the very different future- that was in store from me ?May be not ! But he had trained me as a child, in the way he wanted me to be ,when I grow older. And our world is surely, a better place today, because of my dad’s endeavors in parenting. There is no telling,how much damage, a single spoiled kid , could do to this world at large !

I was still savoring, the sweet motherly affection, my granny showers my dad with, when my grandpa asked my dad, if he was still planning to visit his outreach village ,even on the Christmas day. When my dad answered in an affirmative, my grandpa said, “It is sad, not to spend Christmas with your own family!” There they were! The words that ended my sweet musings and treasured memories! Didn’t I already write, that, everything, good or bad, happy or sad would have to end eventually! I had not expected, such an abrupt end, though! My dad saw the disapproval on my grandpa’s face and the disappointment on our faces and blurted out,” I think, I’ll bundle up the kids and take them with us, to enjoy this Christmas day, with the villagers !” That was the one and only time, my grandpa couldn’t find any logic, to make a comment in favor or otherwise. So, off we went on our merry way, to celebrate Christmas – in the village square !

My dad doubled our joy, by doing two good things: he celebrated Christmas with our family, and went to his village outreach !

Week two – Yule to you’ll

It was already New Year’s Day ! What a week, it had been ! I sat looking at the “Fire of the forest” tree, in front of our house. I was ready for church and was waiting for my family on our front porch. I could have been helping them in someway; someone always manages to misplace a ring, or a hair band or some other accessory on New Year’s Day. Sort of like a family ritual, really ! But I was dwelling on the fact, that my dad would be taking me to the village again, if I ask him to. I’d meet the village kids,again! They were very different from my regular Sunday school students. There was a world of difference, and yet, they lived barely two hours away. How could I not have met these kids, for years, until my grandpa’s Christmas outburst, a week ago ! Talk about an ostrich with its head in the sand, or perhaps a frog in a well – that’s me !

Finally, I had made my decision on that New Year’s Day, in my teenage. I will try to do all the good I can – just like my dad. So what, if I have to miss a little fun with my classmates? I’ll have fun with the village kids. I had already noticed, on our very first visit, that these cute little village kids had less inhibitions,than my students in our city Sunday school .So I asked my dad, if I could go with him and my mom, to the village again. He was surprised, especially, because, I had complained non-stop, during the bus ride to the village.You’d complain too, if the village vendors smacked you on the knee, every time the bus jolted, making your knee touch their baskets of fruit. Anyways, my dad took me along to the village, and it became a Sunday evening ritual for me.

I was right, when I thought that the cute village kids had less inhibitions. They spoke their mind, right out to their parents – no fear, whatever ! So, one Sunday, one of the moms came and asked me, if I could convince her son, to wash up and come to the Sunday school. So I went to their hut, next door to the church building, and saw the kid, Joseph, playing with his marbles in the dirt. His grandpa was scolding him to go wash up, since it wouldn’t be nice, to let his teacher – see him playing in the dirt. But Joseph merely said, “God played with dirt and made Adam; I play with dirt too ! ” The little rascal ! Maybe, just maybe, I won’t be able to teach these village kids, anything proper. I almost gave up on my new found joy, of the village outreach. But his mom, knelt beside him and said sweetly,”But you are not God, Joseph !” That did it ! I had taught him, that there is only one God ! Between the both of us, Joseph’s mom and I , managed to get him to Sunday school, all cleaned up. and so, I had decided, that day, that I’d continue my village outreach ; it was proving to be kind of …FUN !!!

Everything, good or bad, happy or sad would have to end eventually ! My challenging village outreach ended ,when I married a man, arranged by my parents and came to USA. What a beautiful country ! But I couldn’t work outside of our home, as I had a handicapped wrist, and couldn’t cook and clean, fast enough for my husband. So I enjoyed staying home and raising our kids. Now they are grown and I started feeling, as though, I am “not needed”, at home anymore. So my sister told me, “Go back to college and restart your career !” At first ,I had thought ,that she was joking. Whoever heard of an old lady, with a teenage daughter , going back to college! But my teen daughter was quick to join with my sister,saying,“You will !”. And they cajoled me into taking some classes. My daughter came along with me, for the first few classes. Maybe, just maybe, I can do both good things – enjoy my kids at home, and work outside my home.

Then, one day, while I was in class, my daughter went to get something to eat and did not return, even after the class was over ! I was crying and Ms.Crystal waited with me, and consoled me saying, that, my daughter would be back soon. I was scared, to continue my classes any further. But Ms. Crystal said,”You’ll get over this fright, as soon as your daughter returns, and continue attending classes.You will !”. Sure enough, my daughter came back; she had lost her way, but managed to get back safe. Any doubts in my heart were pushed into the background, by her encouraging words : “You will !”From that Yule tide Christmas tradition to the present day “You will !”s, my life has been a thrilling trip !Like on any trip, half the fun is getting there !

I doubled my joy, by doing two good things: I stayed home to raise my kid; and now, I help my community, by pursuing a career outside of my home, after I had raised my kid.

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