Friday morning I took the train down to Bandra for some shopping. First stop, the gift-shop at Prarthanalaya, a retreat house on the Arabian Sea at Bandra Bandstand. Apart from the usual Catholic kitsch, I picked up some cloth prints done in Indian style with Christian themes.
Next stop the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore on Wakefield Rd. I spent some time browsing a row of books on missiology: most seemed to focus on issues of social justice, education and so on, and how to better "Indianize" the church. This quote from C.S. Lewis, which I just saw at the Siena blog, came to mind. I picked up a few books (yes, my major vice!), and a couple of CDs of Hindi hymns, one by a very famous priest singer, Fr. Charles Vas SVD. As I was checking out, the sister at the cashier's desk said, "Anything else you'd like, Father?" I assured here that I was still a little ways from ordination ... she did give me a generous 15% discount though. I chatted a bit with her, and put some prayer requests in their prayer box.
Here's what I got, apart from the CDs: A book of prayers by Br. Roger of Taize, a nice little bound volume of the Holy Father's second encyclical, Spe Salvi, the text of the Lineamenta for the upcoming Synod of Bishops focusing on the Word of God, a book of reflections on the Eucharist inspired by the Ave Verum Corpus and Adoro Te Devote by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, and the one that was an absolute steal: St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. The total cost for all of this? INR472, or just under $12! :)
I wanted to stop by the Opus Dei Reading Center (I never manage to get to it), but it was getting late, and my aunt had threatened dire consequences if I didn't get back for lunch. "You have to have one meal at our house!" :) so I decided to stop by the house of the parents of my good friend (whose son's baptism I attended on Sunday). His mother is in the last stages of her fight against colon cancer. I sat and prayed with Auntie for a bit, and visited a bit with the other family members.
As I got out of the rick at Bandra station, I noticed a police jeep and a bunch of cops milling around. There's a mosque right next to the station, and on Fridays, a section of the road is cordoned off for the salat-e-jummah, the Friday prayers. As I walked past the cops into the stations, a dozen or so rows of men facing west, eyes closed in prayer, heads covered in white caps of kerchiefs, bowed down to the ground in submission to the one God, as the loudspeaker crackled into life to undulating cadences of Quranic chant.