Did you have a good year? Was it placid and calm or one roller coaster ride? No matter which, it helps to have a friend to talk to. One you can unburden yourself to, without the “I told you so” or a bunch of preaching.
The lady above has been my closest friend since I moved to Mumbai. I have gone to her with tears rolling down my eyes, bursting at the seams with anger, and starry eyed, in love with every colour and nuance of life. I have had conversations with her where I have poured my heart out or just sat in stony silence, confused to the core with life’s mysterious incongruous ways. And at the end, before I left, I’ve looked at her face, and whispered “Thank you.” Thank you for listening and giving me whatever she felt was best for me.
To a non-believer she is merely a wooden statue of Mother Mary in The Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount, brought all the way from Portugal to Bombay in the 16th Century. To a believer she has miraculous healing powers.
The centrepiece of the Bandra Fair, people from all faiths, ages and social strata come to her to attend mass or simply sit in silence. Some walk down the aisle on their knees clutching wax offerings. Some chant the holy rosary in fervent whispers. Some just sit in silence [like me]. And some come waving colourful candles and are more excited about taking pictures with their cell phones of her beauty or of themselves with her in the background.
When I look at the bigger picture it was a good year for me, and I hope it was for you too. As we step into 2017 I would like to wish you all a wonderful year ahead. And my best friend would like to join me in this.Ok, I am being presumptuous, and perhaps it is the other way round—that she would like to wish you, and I am just tagging along. 😀
Happy Holidays, everyone. God bless. ❤
Note: The Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount, where the effigy stands, was originally a simple mud oratory (1570) for private prayer. It morphed itself into the grand semi-Gothic edifice it is today on Mount Mary Road, Bandra West, Mumbai in 1904.