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End of the month and these are the songs that left their mark in my ear and my heart.

Top five songs:
1. Praise like Fireworks: Rend Collective
2. Desert Soul: Rend Collective
3. Boldly I Approach: Rend Collective
4. Alive: Hillsong
5. Dhanya Tera Naam: Sheldon Bangera

Artist of the month: Rend Collective (You would have guessed that by now!)

Lets see what the next month throws at me!

J's favorite activity after a busy Sunday school at church is train watching. The drive back from church takes us across a railway crossing and he must be the only person who gets upset if the gates are open and we make a quick crossing. He loves it if there is a delay and he gets to watch a couple of trains toot and zip across the crossing. Even though it can mean a 15 minute delay, we have grown to love this time.
I sometimes wonder if I tend to miss out on the simple pleasures of life by quickly zipping through life and not pausing to watch something as innocuous as a train thundering past. Sometimes those fifteen minutes seems like an eternity, but the look of joy on J's face is priceless. I thought he would outgrow it, but we've been doing it for almost 2 years now.
I wish that amidst our gadgets, urge to reach somewhere quickly and our impatience to do something else we could be like a little child and simply enjoy the sight of a train chugging along. Let us not outgrow the simpler pleasures of life.

After celebrating 68 years of Independence on August 15th, lots of people were chatting and facebooking about what has changed after Independence. Ironically this full page front page ad on the post independence day newspaper seems to sum up what is so wrong with our society. The ad involves a top newspaper, a well known jewellery store and two well known celebrities. You would expect the message to be positive given that it was the day after all the Independence Day celebrations.
Unfortunately this ad is wrong on so many levels it's almost impossible to blog about it. This ad could  be legally banned in a lot of countries.
At a time when womens equality is a norm and people are professing  that marriage is a relationship rather than a social obligation, this ad drags India back to the dark ages.


The first page states,"If you have a girl in the marriage-able age group it's a lot of tension". It then comes up with an interest free EMI plan for the parents to buy the jewellery and "take care of the tension".

It indirectly, but blatantly, assumes that parents of the girl have an obligation and an expectation to deck her up with jewellery or give jewellery to the in-laws - an illegal practise to the best of my knowledge.
The ad also dis-empowers the girl and expects her parents to "take care" of her wedding and marriage. She is thus depicted as a liability to her parents.
The ad then disregards the importance of a relationship in marriage and makes it materialistic - stating that the tension in marriage is the jewellery. It seems that if you sort out the jewellery issues in a wedding the rest of the 50 odd years of a marriage will be a cakewalk!
Everyday at work I see parents and grandparents beam with joy when a boy is born and grimace when a beautiful girl baby is born. This ad not only shows us the reason why but also encourages this disparity.
I know what some people will say - "This happens a lot in India; so just shut up and accept it. Also the ad never directly states what I've written above - so don't come to conclusions!"
At a time when the common Indian is trying hard to break free from all the shackles that bind us and achieve true independence, it is appalling that people, corporates and the media strive harder to pull us back and halt our progress.
I know I have been brutally honest in this blog entry and it is quite different from my usual light-hearted entries, but I hope that some readers will realise why and also share their thoughts on this issue. Share it on social media if you think its worth it or take it a step higher and write to the newspaper or celebrity.

Today, as we drove to church, a store, a lunch get-together at Bagayam and then back home, the predominant music playing in the car was by Rend Collective.
Stumbling on to the band was semi-accidental.
When we were in Chennai last year, we worshipped at a church called Ashraya. The worship leader led in a very lively song that stuck in my mind for weeks and then slowly faded away. In November 2014, my sister visited us at Vellore with her family. As we caught up and did lots of exciting things, we also played some songs that our children liked. J said that K loved this song and then played a video for us from youtube - the song was "Build Your Kingdom" by "Rend Collective". We instantly loved the band, their style of music and the deep lyrics. That night while I played a few more songs from the band my mind once again awoke to the song that I had heard at Ashraya - "My Lighthouse".
JJ loved the lighthouse song and we must have contributed to half the page views on the Rend Collective Youtube Channel for the next few months.
I hunted their albums at a few Christian stores, but never found any of their albums. I tried buying the CD online at an Indian store, but never succeeded.
Finally I looked at iTunes, but discovered that my Visa Debit cards could not be used - you needed a credit card. By now I was desperate! I searched eBay and bought an iTunes card (at a 25% premium) and that night I downloaded two of their albums.
So thats how Rend Collective finally got into my USB drive and got plugged into my car.
I've always been a music lover, but my passion has been subdued by a very busy work and home life.
I finally loved discovering a band that reignited the passion. I am now awaiting the release of their new album "As Family We Go". I'm pretty sure I will be the first person to buy it from the iTunes India store.
Here are the links to the two songs that helped me find Rend Collective.
 - "My LightHouse" by Rend Collective from the album "The Art of Celebration".
 - "Build Your Kingdom Here" by Rend Collective from the album "Homemade Worship by Handmade People"

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