Of Karjat and the Karjat Feast : Don Aguiar;        

On the Occassion of Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, an article from Don Aguiar;




 Don Aguiar

Many people who visit my place at Karjat want to know why there are hardly any monkeys around when just a few kilometers away is Matheran which is overcrowded with monkeys.

Our Parsi Bawa neighbor 80 years old Mr. Rustomji has this to say – Many years ago in our village and the surrounding villages’ in Karjat, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs10 – The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at Rs10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He further announced that he would now buy at Rs 20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms.

The offer rate increased to Rs 25 and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!
The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at Rs 50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him.
In the absence of the man, the assistant went to Matheran and told the villagers in Matheran. “Look at all these monkeys in the big cages that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at Rs 35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell it to him for Rs 50.”
The Matheran villagers squeezed up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys.
Then they never saw the man nor his assistant, only monkeys everywhere and the reason for no monkeys in Karjat.

*Welcome to Karjat the place that gives you the peace and quiet, the serenity and rustic charm of nature first hand. There are no monkeys or monkey business in Karjat – “Its heaven on earth!!!!!*

In Karjat – Going to Church on Sundays takes the whole morning because most of the activities are done on this day since all are busy in their work during the week. Sunday school is a must for all kids and the class is divided into different age groups. My friend Lilla was about to start her 4-year-olds’ Sunday school class when a little boy showed up without any identification. Lilla managed to get his first name, but couldn’t find out his last name. “Anand, what’s your daddy’s name?” she asked. “Daddy,” he replied. She tried again, “Anand, what’s your mommy’s name?” “Mommy,” he answered. Suddenly she realized exactly how she could get the answer she needed. “Anand, what does your daddy call your mommy?” His face lit up. With a grin and a deep voice, he replied, “Hey, Babe.”………… that’s the cool life in Karjat.

Every year around this time people from all over Mumbai and the surrounding areas start planning to visit Our Lady of Fatima Church, Karjat for participating in the Feast Mass and services as well as the fellowship that follows thereafter. The spark in the young parish priest and his organizational capabilities is commendable because all has changed from what it was – the surroundings, the people, et al – to what it is – the ever increasing number of devotees. That means, when the parish priest has the “SPARK” in him we experience changing times – activity, fellowship, devotion…..

The Church organizes a monthly devotion on the 13th of every month to Our Lady of Fatima. Incidentally this year the Church Feast too is on the 13th of this month of October. With Karjat being heaven on earth with a cool lifestyle, it is just the surroundings that creates the dedicate devotion to make one and all to join the increasing number of devotees on the 13th of this month for the FEAST.  With the devotional surroundings and fellowship at the feast one experiences the peace and happiness.

There are four thunderstorms that lead the people to reminiscence of the past – disappointment, frustration, unfairness and isolation. It cannot be avoided, as like the monsoon they will come into your life. You just need to keep the raincoat handy to not let these four thunderstorms get the better of you and that is what the parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Karjat and his dedicate team have strived for.

Although basically we lead such one dimensional lives, always focused on our times that we have few options we can pause. Equally our society is so strange that they worship those who are ‘important’ and ‘resourceful’ which means that we will never want to inhabit a corner of this earth where no one wants anything from us and this perhaps is the rub of the issue. The past will not be able to guide nor should it be taken as a guide to the present where the ideas of the present parish priest of merging with the moment and flowing into a natural rhythm have succeeded with increasing devotee’s devotion is a lesson the colleagues of the parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Karjat could pick up.

What Our Lady of Fatima Church, Karjat is today is what the present parish priest has made it! What then is the secret of the ever increasing stream of devotees of all ages to Our Lady of Fatima Church on the 13th of every month as well as on the Feast day? I think it is a fair share of Selflessness and Service, mingled with Patience and Punctuality, Courtesy and Kindness tempered by Impartiality and Integrity, sustained by Awareness and Alertness and enriched by Love of the Parish Priest and his dedicated team of our Lady of Fatima Church, Karjat. The erection of the shamina outside the Church and crowd control every year for the novena and feast masses sees regular improvement requires to be highlighted.

Families from far and wide spend the entire day out here which brings them peace and happiness as well as community bonding. As the saying goes – If you cannot find peace and happiness in action you can never find it through abstaining – and that is the concern of the parish priest and his team to enunciates the eternal principles of life and living in fostering devotion to Our Lady of Fatima with community bonding and a festive atmosphere because –

Our Bible teaches us a philosophy which enunciates the eternal principles of life and living. Living is an art, a skill, a technique just as one would, for playing a musical instrument or flying an aircraft but sadly most of us are not interested in this process of learning. It is not taught in school or university but is being put into practice by the parish priest during the services on the 13th of every month as well as on the feast day. If you have never participated in the Feast Mass and the feast celebration please do make it a point to participate this time as you would then, just like the thousands of other devotees, want to make it year after year.

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