Monday, December 11, 2006

can always count on those lucky numbers

sunday i went with my parents to church for the first time in a very long while. it's an indian service held mostly in Hindi. for many years growing up, my parents insisted we attended the english-speaking church where we had catechism, but never missed a week at indian church so we could be around other people from the motherland. that's a pretty tall commitment, and believe me, i often thought it was a drag.

we don't have any family here; it's just my parents, my brother and myself. and when we were very young, that made for some lonely thanksgivings and christmases. i was always jealous of people who'd say they were going to their grandmother's house or if their cousins were in town. because my cousins live on the other side of the globe, the most i interacted with them were some mother-mandated aerogramme letters that followed the basic formula of "hi cousin. how are you? i am fine. my mom and dad are fine. hope your mom and dad are good, too. i like playing basketball. okay, gotta go. love cadiz." i'd recieve the same at best, and now that we're all old, we only hear about each other through our parents. most of them are younger than me and most of them are married, so we have even less in common today.

but over the years, the indian church sort of became an extended family i got to see every week. to begin with, everyone addresses their parents' friends as "uncle" or "auntie" regardless of blood relation. after the church part everyone hangs around and gossips in the hall over tea and salerno butter cookies. and of course there's the uncle who's always got candy for all the little kids and the old grandmother who pinches your cheeks. gathering with those people every week and dutifully greeting everybody with a handshake, a hug and a "good evening," became kind of nice. they had cake with us on our birthdays, congratulated us on our accomplishments, and most importantly they were always there at the hospital with tupperwares of food and thermoses of tea when my brother was admitted. just as my real family would have done if they could.

going back there felt nice. even getting ready (pulling out an outfit from the section of the closet that takes up the most space and finding the jewelry to match) sort of felt like coming home-- even though i've pretty much been home all this time. there were new people and weird people but the old regulars were there and it felt awkward. but all that melted away when the singing started.

all the dozers (i counted five, including the pastor's DAUGHTER in the first row who is 22 and should know better than to lean her head on her mom's shoulder. dude, at least not in the first row.) woke up to sing. good old numbers 39 and 24. proof that the best things never change. seriously, i've been to religious services of all colors and sizes, all over the world and the overwhelmingly unifying and awesome part is the feeling you get from the singing. i'll confess that it's what will keep me coming back always.

unfortunately, i mentioned this to my mother so now i will be performing on christmas.

14 comments:

The Stormin Mormon said...

Shot yourself in the foot on that one...

Never admit to liking something, you'll have to increase your level of participation. Being someone in a crowd of many singing is good enough. You won't ever catch me branching out into my solo career.

jazz said...

ugh. church.

Anonymous said...

Oh oh. I guess you shouldn't haved said anything. :)

Ale said...

thats always a nice and warm feeling- its important to be good with your past- is only way to move into the future with a secure feeling

Anonymous said...

Many people think church is a philosophical sham or some sort of brainwashing operation. But it is really community. There is no stronger feeling of belonging as when you sing with your community.

Anonymous said...

Getting together with people who have something common with you does make it feel like a family getting together, doesn't it?

Good luck with the singing :)

Anonymous said...

Which song(s) will you be singing - do you know yet? And do you get to decide?

Jon said...

A lot of people don’t know this, but that is the exact reason youtube was invented. Church solos on Christmas. Lets get this done Cadiz.

Ale said...

i think you should have your lovely BROTHER sing with you! ;)

after all you put up with all the baby sitting and had to bring him on your dates... and bribe him to stand guard outside your room when you'd bring badboys over...

cadiz12 said...

yeah, i guess i should have kept quiet. who knows what i'll be singing. it'll probably be some hindi song and changed that day anyhow (it's happened before). whatever. even if i totally suck, no one will say anything. they're family.

feelings about institutional religion aside, i ADORE the singing. it really makes all the sitting-kneeling-standing-waiting worth it for me. that and the way the light comes through the stained glass, which has mesmerized me since i can remember.

my brother would NEVER perform. his debut and finale was "this little light of mine" in 1985. he thinks he's done his part. and though he'll never admit it; he likes going back during the holidays. everyone treats him like a frigging celebrity and women of all ages fawn all over him. currently there's a group of 4 girls who are dying for him to smile at them. he'll deny it, but take it from me, it's true. and it makes me gag.

oh and youtube? no way, jose. i mean, jon.

Anonymous said...

everyone addresses their parents' friends as "uncle" or "auntie" regardless of blood relation

That's one of the rare things I like about Malaysia. All of us do this. Adults have no names, they are all uncle and aunties or pakciks and makciks.

I tagged you for a meme before realizing Lia already did it. Consider yourself double tagged.

jazz said...

i'm with jon. bring it.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I had a really sparkling life in Jamaica. But something was missing. Then I came home and realised what it was. The people, relatives, that sense of belonging. I'm happiest too when I'm with my bros and my sis and my cousins, and we ain't even doing anything special.

I know what you mean.

Oh, sing LOUE AND OUT OF TUNE. They won't ask you again. hahaha

Guyana-Gyal said...

LOUD I mean!