South Indian Christian tradition holds that Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus (you know, Doubting Thomas? yeah, that guy), came by boat to Kerala from Judea in 52 A.D. and preached between 52 A.D. and 72 A.D., when he was martyred on what is now known as St. Thomas Mount, in Chennai.
He is known around these parts as the patron saint of India and is credited with bringing Christianity to the subcontinent.
This is the cave where he is said to have hidden before being killed.
There is also a spring just outside the entrance to the cave. The sign on the stone wall behind it says that it cures diseases, and the lady who tried to get me to drink some of it told me that it was holy water. I had to pass on that. One – I don’t currently have any diseases that I know of that need curing. Two – I wasn’t sure how to explain it when holy water gave me diarrhea. So, I told the lady, as to not disrespect her belief in the holiness of the water, that I don’t think that my belly is so holy.
We spent a wonderful weekend this past weekend, visiting my new in-laws, in Chennai.
One of the differences I noticed, between life in Delhi and the surrounding capital region and the coastal area of Chennai, was the pace of life. It was more relaxed, more laid back. You know, like the kind of place a neighbor might just drop by and share some tea with you on your front porch.
Another difference that I noticed was in the men’s attire. Much of it was western, but many men also wore the more traditional lungi, which looks like a skirt to me. It looks like a big sheet wrapped around their waist. If it’s really hot, they fold it in half and make it short. Sometimes they match or coordinate with the shirt, if any, but just as often they don’t.
One of my friends who has family there but is much more modern and urban, commented that she thought they were horrendous. But I gotta tell ya: In the tropics of the South, among palm trees and coconut trees, when the highly humid temperature is already in the 90 degree (Farenheit) range in late March (while many of my friends and family in North Carolina and Tennessee are still battling snow)……………creating space for some breeze in one’s clothing is not such a bad idea!!
The first one in this series is a picture of Captain Lungi (my new father-in-law) in his lounge wear reporting for coffee in the morning on the front porch. He was such a good sport!