Saturday, 28 December 2013

Which 2 books should be on your bookshelf?

Together with late Dr. Benjamin Spock's book on "Baby and Child Care", my latest publication "Raising a Child the Montessori Way" is my most important work to help build the next generation. 

I was a mother at the age of 23, alone with my husband. No parents to help us in the middle of nowhere in a remote English Village! 

I raised our four children in England, India and Finland using my own method - which is similar to what Maria Montessori has expounded in her theory "The Child is the Father of Man."

I have blended the work of educationist Maria Montessori and that of spiritualist Ellen G. White (author of "The Great Controversy") to produce a masterpiece which gives a detailed account of how to bring up a child from the prenatal stage till the age of 6 years. 

I also tackle the problems that would be encountered when a new sibling arrives in a household. 

The roles of parents and the Community are essential to raise a child of the future. Living in a strange and distant country makes it even more important to develop the important skills as the local language while keeping your mother tongue also strong.

I tell you on reality being the essence of child upbringing rather than fantasy. Building blocks are far more important than Computer Games! 

You have to create the strong foundation in your child. That is your child's healthy future at stake.

I explain how you do just that.

The basic philosophy is that the Child is the Father of Man. 

Below is a picture of granddaughter Maria, aged 5 making her own cake in my kitchen, and thoroughly enjoying the experience. rather than playing games on computers. 

Such experiences are what children want and need.

You can forget toys which keep the attention span of children for a few hours or days and spend doing with them as a parent or grandparent what the child wants to do and enjoys - doing work to become a better individual.

This is an eBook which you cannot afford to miss!

This work is based on the intensive study I completed as Correspondence Course Tutorials. My Tutorial Guides are available online eBooks, also through

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Are you interested in news way of life?

My problems with putting my book "Raising a Child the Montessori Way" on line has continued. I am trying many ways to overcome the quality problem to make it readable.

So I took another job on hand and put up the INTRODUCTION TO THE TUTORIAL COURSE pamphlet to my series on Tutorials for the Maria Montessori Correspondence Course.

To complete a course in teaching children using the Maria Montessori method requires the student to complete a series of assignments. 

I completed this 22 part series and achieved an unbelievable 98% average. My answers were not based on the material which came with the Correspondence Course, but my own research.

To help students I am put up the text of what I wrote for my assignments which students can use to do their own tutorials quicker and faster. 

Also as I have done my research so thoroughly, I may have no equal in the knowledge of Montessori Education of Infants till the age of 6! 

This is because I used it with my own family before I knew about Maria Montessori.

Tutorial Guide Introduction
Tutorial Guide Introduction
I have also put up the first course tutorial book Tutorial Course Tutorials 1 A and 1 B which answers two important aspects of this course. The questions are:

Tutorial 1 A:  The Role of the Child in the Finnish Society 
Tutorial 1 B: Montessori sees the Child as the Father of Man

In the first ! A, I remain controversial as ever, as when I wrote this assignment in 1992, Finland was considered as one of the best countries for low Infant Mortality rates and Child Care. 

I had another opinion which I expressed raher freely. What I wrote then still holds true 15 years on!

The second part of this assignment is the statement of the philosophy of the Maria Montessori Method. It is no surprise that former American President, late Theodore Roosevelt, was of the same opinion.

I hope you enjoy this series.

Tutorial Course Tutorials 1 A and 1 B
Tutorial Course Tutorials 1 A and 1 B

Even if you are not a student of the Mara Montessori Correspondence Course, you will the answers to these two assignment topics of great interest. It sets the tone for your own life and work - there can be another opinion to widely held views.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

When should the cat play?

As all the children grew up in the mid-90s, I had much time on my hands. I wanted to do something in my life that I liked.

Maria makes a cake with Grandma Cover of my new book
Maria makes a cake with Grandma
Cover of my new book

After working for the English Club of Oulu teaching little children to maintain their English language skills, I had become fascinated with education of little children and I looked around for something to study.

I discovered Maria Montessori and that her view about Education was radically different than what I had learnt - but it was identical to the way I had tried to bring up my own children. She gave importance to the child rather than the parent or the teacher. 

Her philosophy was centred around the phrase that "The Child is the Farther of Man"!

She wrote volumes upon volumes about Child Education. Everything she said rang a bell with me.

I visited the Maria Montessori St. Nicholas Institute in London and enrolled for a correspondence course in the subject.

As luck would have it, there was a tutor in Oulu, Finland, who was heading a Maria Montessori school for young children here. She is a Venezulean and she is married to a Finn.

Anna Eskola was given the task of receiving my correspondence course tutorials and marking them. This consisted a series of questions to which I was expected to write the answers based on the reading material provided in the tutorial available.

I got almost every book written by Maria Montessori and her son into my personal library. I started to study the subject with great gusto. My tutorial answers were based on much more than what was contained in the course matter!

This was an interesting phase as I studied each subject and then wrote the answer to the question on paper. As I did not type, I then dictated it to Jacob. He is a ferocious typer and could keep pace with my dictation.

Soon I was rolling out the tutorial answers. My tutor was immensely pleased with the thoroughness of my answers. I was very happy with the replies, the comments and the grades I was getting. 

Writing in English, I did have the assistance of Jacob's enormous editing skills as he corrected my Finnish/Indian English into British English, or rather the English he used for editing scientific text which could be understood all around the world, from China to Argentina and from Zambia to Bangladesh!

As a result both of us got educated, but Jacob in a lot simpler way! :-)

The course went much faster than I expected and before I realised it I was through it all except for visits to schools, Montessori and other types to do the practical assessment. As we were going to India, I chose two schools in the small town of Kottayam, one a small Montessori children's school and another, called Corpus Christi, which handled children from Junior to High School.

Corpus Christi was the premier school in Kottayam. It was founded and being run by a lady called Mary Roy. She is the mother of Arundhati Roy, the Booker Prize winner.

Mary Roy is the same age as me, but she has had a stormy life, with her parents, her husband, her brother and her daughter. But she is a fighter, and it was this that helped her start one of the most famous schools of Kerala.

She is not a Montessori follower, but her education theory which she has implemented is very close to the Montessori system. I was surprised that when we met two little children for dinner the night before we visited the school, they were waiting to get to school the next day. (That little girl, Naiomi, is today a friend of mine on Facebook and got married a few months ago!)

I completed my course and my tutorials received an average of 98%. Now that I have got the hang of how to publish eBooks, I intend to publish my tutorial work as an eBook series!  The answers to each tutorial question are available with the assessment.

I wrote a condensed book -  "Raising a Child the Montessori Way" but unfortunately the original computer files have been lost.

But I do have the original and already in 1998 many people wrote to me asking me to publish it.  I made it into a paperback, and already wrote the Preface, but never published it.

I have been struggling for the last four days to put this book online. (That is why the blog entries have been missing!) The scans were not good. 

I am now trying several methods to ensure I can get this book up as soon as possible. I will not change the original version but add a few comments to update the context as 15 years is a long time since writing it.

I captured a picture of granddaughter Maria wanting to make a cake just like her grandma during last summer. I am intending to use it as the cover of the boo as it depicts what educating a child is all about.

Hope you will tell other about this book and also find it useful in raising your own child/ children. Very workable and it will result in a well rounded up-bringing!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

No job was too small!

When we came to Finland, both Jacob and I were unemployed. Jacob started to look around. I, too, was looking for something I liked to do. 

I did a few weeks in the Oulu University hospital with my nursing background. This was not feasible as I had to look after my entire brood (Indian style)!

Then I saw that the English Cub of Oulu was intending to run English classes for Finnish children. I contacted them. 

The Club Secretary, Pirkko Böhm, asked whether Jacob would do a talk about Indian culture.

Painting of Mother Teresa by Annikki (1984)
1984 Painting of Mother Teresa by Annikki
We constructed an exhibition of all our very rich collections we had brought from India - coins, stamps, antique lamps, my paintings of birds and antiques, batiks, books,  encyclopaedias, magazines and other items from our collection. I myself did the one above one of Mother Teresa. 

Jacob and Annikki (1984)
Jacob and Annikki (1984)

All these were put on display, and I even dressed in a sari! Jacob dressed in his traditional Kerala clothes of the mundu with jubba! [I could not dress in a sari these days as I have outgrown all my blouses! :-)]

It was a great talk as Jacob is a very good professional speaker. He held the audience spellbound. He cleared up many misconceptions about India, but he did call a spade a spade! 

The exhibition was well received. I was pleased with my effort to bring Indian culture to Oulu, my home town. And we made life-long friends.

My English Club English Class students.
My English Club English Class students.
Another of my English Club English Class students.
Another of my English Club English Class students.
As a result of this the English Club of Oulu, which is primarily an organistion to help Finns in Oulu improve their English, asked me to run classes for Finnish children who return from abroad so that they could preserve their English knowledge. Although it was just one hour a week, I did it with great gusto for several years. I had tapes, children's books and I used my own art to teach the chidden. I enjoyed it and I think the children also did.

In the process Jacob and I became Lifetime Members of the English Club, the status we still hold today! 

(Being a Lifetime Member is a good investment as you do not have to pay the membership year after year, you are locked in at a very low price, and the Club has the benefit of getting a larger sum which they can use when in the early stages of its existence!)

Elected as the Chairperson of the English Club of Oulu.
I am holding the gavel!

Later, because of the contribution of both Jacob and me to the running of the English Club of Oulu, I was elected as the Chairperson of the Club. 

During my time as Chairperson we organised many events including a fortnightly talk in English about various issues. Jacob did a wonderful talk about the freedom of the press in India. This was a very controversial period as the fatwa on Salman Rushdie (who was 3 years junior to Jacob from Jacob's school in Bombay, India) was issued at that time!

The moral of this story is that we made some wonderful friends due to a participation in the local clubs of the city, which has lasted us till today. 

It is another part of our Findians Love Story with the citizens of Oulu!

Whom do I think of most when I think of India?

With the present enormous furore about the maid servant of Devyani Khobragade and the diplomatic spat between US and India, I think I must tell you that when today I think about India, whom do I think of first? 

(I am glad that the Indian Government and Opposition have a common stand against the world's Policemen, who have no right for this type of behaviour against an Indian or any diplomat diplomat! This coupled with Edward Snowden's recent revelation (regarding Brazil) about the indiscriminate spying by the US Government shows what we are up against.)

Jacob's family or my very very close Indian friends?

Not really!

I think of all those who were in my "establishment"!

What was my establishment? I was a housewife with four children of different ages. 

Over the years the people in my establishment changed, but the final lot before we left Madras for Bangalore are listed here. I valued all of them and I had excellent relations with all of them, They changed over time as they had their own personal preferences!

(There were our maids, Maggie and later her daughter, Pushpa, and then a Burmese refugee, Lakshmi, cook Stephen Baby, and a few more. They came and went depending on their personal family situation!)

I had a driver called Narayanan who was with us from 1969 to 1975, when we moved from Madras to Bangalore. When Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) closed its office in Madras in 1969, Narayanan was jobless and Jacob's father, who was the head  of that company recommended Narayanan to us. We never regretted the decision to employ him!

Narayanan was crucial to my life as I depended on him for all my outside contacts and work in Madras as Jacob was travelling around the country almost 20 days a month. 

Narayanan would be at my house as early as I requested, take the children to school, two at the Vana Vani School in the IIT, Adayar, and one in the City Centre, in the Sacred Heart School, more commonly known as Church Park on Anna Salai! 

Narayanan was there to pick them up and bring them home after school. 

I could be absolutely sure that in his custody they were safe.

Narayanan used to do my daily shopping for provisions in Panagal park in T. Nagar, as I was not able to go every day to the market. When I did go, he was at my side to see that I was not cheated. 

I trusted him implicitly and his small family, of his wife and his children were an extended part of my family.

When we left Madras he started his own taxi service and till a few years ago he was running it. His son qualified as a software engineer and works for one of the leading Kerala software companies.

Narayan and his family. He made sure his taxi was at our disposal whenever we visited Madras.
Narayan and his family in 1992. He made sure his taxi
was at our disposal whenever we visited Madras.

When we visited India, he was there to drive us around and he would bring his family to meet us.

I had a cleaning lady, called Neela, who used to come to clean our house. Her husband was a drunk. Her son, Anbu, was our elder son, Jaakko's best friend. When Jaakko came from school, they were inseparable.

Shanti, my maid who was hilarious!
Shanti, my maid who was hilarious!
I had a maid to called, Shanti. Not very hard working! She was a friend who had me in splits of laughter. She was a small time lifter, but as I knew it. She used to take anything valuable from the house. I never left any valuables lying around. I always blamed myself whenever I lost anything as I knew it was my irresponsibility!

I had a gardener called Munuswamy. He was so old, he hardly could walk around the garden. He, however, managed to keep our large garden looking neat as most of the plants around the garden were sweet smelling perennials!

I had watchman, an old man, called Raju, who was from Ooty and spoke Butler English, who was pleasant company. 

Raju used to take the lunch by cycle to the two children in the Vana Vani School! Raju used to eat half of it on the way there, so I used to put double of what the children needed! :-)

Raju felt very important as he was my interpreter when my knowledge of tamil failed me!

As a housewife, I had the responsibility of ensuring all these were my happy family!

Yes, these are the people I remember most when I think of India. 

When we moved to Bangalore, only Neela could move with us. But she missed her son, so she moved back to Madras. I got her a job with one of Jacob's cousins and she worked there for several years.

My establishment in Bangalore was not as a large as in Madrs but they were as important, as you will learn from another entry of mine on this blog, and the eBook - the Findians Love Story, coming out very soon.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Finnish lies continue!

Recently we saw that a Viking Line ship M/S Amorella drove up against a rock and was run aground!

If one reads the stories on internet, it appears that the company did not learn its lesson of 38 years ago and continue to promote lies, as they did then!

Many people ask why Jacob and I do not ever travel on Viking Line.

Driving ships aground appears to be part of the tradition of the Viking line.

I will describe our experience on 15th August 1975.

We had come to Finland for a holiday in July 1975. We were scheduled to spend about a month in Finland. However, Indira Gandhi declared emergency in India. Some close friends of Jacob's, who were in the Indian Administration Service in New Delhi, sent Jacob messages not to immediately return to India as there were some problems related to my stay in India. (We returned in November instead of August as originally planned!

Luckily, as we were staying with my parents, there was not too much extra cost to carry on living in Finland. However, we were short of money.

As we had been living in England, I had left some money with my friends in England and our Barclays Bank was still active as I was not bound by Indian rules to close our bank accounts when we returned to India.

However, as there was no Barclays Bank in Finland, the only way was to go to Copenhagen in Denmark and draw the money from the branch there.

My brother, Eino, agreed to drive us there. We set off to Helsinki. We left or two daughters, Susanna (8) and Joanna (4) with my sister, Anneli, and her friends, while Jacob, Jaakko (7) and Mika (2) and me drove to Naantali on Western Finland to take the car on a ferry to Kapellskär in Sweden.

The reason we chose this route was it was the shortest and cheapest to do the crossing to Sweden. (It still is!!)

Official picture of MS Viking 1
Official picture of M/S Viking 1

Career Name: Viking 1 
 Operator: Viking Line (1970–1982) 
 Route: NaantaliMariehamnKapellskär 
 Builder: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, West Germany 
 Acquired: 19 August 1970 
 Identification: IMO number: 7018599 Fate: 
 Scrapped, October 2002 
 General characteristics 
 Tonnage: 4,239 GRT 
 Length: 108.68 m (356 ft 7 in) 
 Beam: 17.24 m (56 ft 7 in) 
 Ice class: 1 A 
 Propulsion: 5,965 kW (7,999 hp) 
 Speed: 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph) 
 Capacity: 1,200 passengers and 260 vehicles

We left Naantali on the M/S Viking 1 in the evening. We had a great buffet meal on the boat. We then settled the children in the bunks in the cabin and we went to the nearby cafe to enjoy an evening drink.

While we were relaxing, Annikki's brother commented that this was the best part of our trip.

Then suddenly there was a churning sound and all the curtains in the room started to shudder as the ship shuddered violently. Jacob commented that we had probably hit some rough weather, but one look out of the window showed it was a very calm sea. I knew that the propellers were churning backwards.

I ran to the cabin when the ship hit rock and it was obvious we were running aground.

Viking 1 (In Finnish. From Wikipedia)Rederiaktiebolaget Sallyn omistaman aluksen kotisatama oli Maarianhamina ja tunnuskirjaimet OGXO. Se liikennöi Suomen lipun alla.Viking 1 oli tulossa Naantalista Kapellskärin lauttasatamaan aamulla 21. marraskuuta 1971, kun ankara lumimyräkkä ja myrskytuuli painoi aluksen lujasti karille. Päällystö kuulutti jo lähestyessään satamaa, että laivan on vaikea päästä laituriin. Aluksella olleet 851 matkustajaa odottelivat kahvilassa , että veneet ehtisivät kuljettaa heidät maihin. Viking 1, jossa oli myös 10 yhdistelmäajoneuvoa ja 77 henkilöautoa, ei saanut karilleajossa vuotoja. Hinaaja avusti aluksen irti karilta ja alus siirtyi telakalle Tukholmaan tutkituttamaan vaurioitaan. Vuotojen ja koneiston siirtymisen vuoksi alus joutui olemaan poissa vilkkaasta joulunalusliikenteestä pari viikkoa.
Elokuun 15. päivänä vuonna 1975 Viking 1 ajoi Nauvon pohjoispuolella päin Järvisaarta. Väylä tekee paikalla lähes 90 asteen käännöksen, mutta alus jatkoi kulkuaan suoraan nousten saaren rantakalliolle. Potkurit ehdittiin kuitenkin kääntää ennen saarta jarrutusasentoon, joten vauhti hidastui ja vauriot jäivät vähäisiksi. Satamahinaaja Naantali ehti pian paikalle ja sai aluksen irti savisesta pohjasta yhdellä nykäyksellä. Alus pääsi omin avuin jatkamaan matkaansa Kapellskäriin, joten 407 matkustajan matka viivästyi vain 7 tuntia.

A look out of the window showed we were sitting atop an island with trees just outside of the window.

The crew was in chaos, while the passengers were even more in panic.

Jacob and I kept our nerve, collected the children, put on some clothes and went to the deck to survey the situation.

Slowly order was being restored. We knew we could jump off the ship too dry land!

The ship was supposed to do a 90 degree turn at that point and the person at the helm had forgotten this and driven the ship straight up into the island called "Järvi Saari" (Lake Island).

Now started the damage control by the captain and crew. They said that the matter was under control and they were organising for divers to inspect the bottom of the ship to assess the damage. They said that the tug boat to pull us off the ship would arrive and they would keep us informed.

I went back to the cabin with the children while Jacob stayed on deck to keep watch on things.

At about 7 in the morning, Jacob noted many crew members being herded into the dining room where they were served breakfast. Just at that time the helicopter arrived with the journalists. The passengers were kept well away from the journalists while a set up scene of the crew meeting the journalists as passengers was  organised.

The helicopter went away with their false story.

By that time 2 tugs arrived and attached the tug lines to the ship. As they pulled to try to pull the ship back into the water, one tug line snapped making the ship lurch violently. It could have well turned on its side!

They attached another tow line and the experienced tug captains this time very carefully got the ship off the island.

By the time we reached Kapellskär it was late on Friday afternoon, a delay of several hours.

We had to drive right across Sweden to Copenhagen taking the boat ferry from Helsingborg. We slept on the roadside under and in the car and we reached Copenhagen on saturday morning.

This was a wasted trip as banks were not open in Copenhagen on Saturday. We went to the parents of Jacob's friend, Viney Sethi, who was married to a Danish girl. They were very kind and gave us a hearty late breakfast and the we had to drive back all across Sweden to reach Kapellskär as we had to cross on the ferry back to Finland.

We found a different boat but the crew was the same as had brought us over - which was rather disconcerting.

The trip back was without event. We reached Helsinki, picked up the girls and drove back to Oulu.

Jacob wrote an article "Vikings invade Järvi Saari" and sent it off to the ship owners explaining the issues and our losses. They were extremely angry to get this letter as they were trying to cover up the incident as a mechanical failure.

This could have never been, as at 10 at night in summer, it was bright sunshine, so it was obvious the guy at the helm had lost concentration or gone to sleep! The captain was in the dining room just at that time as we saw him when we were finishing our dinner!

The Finnish version from Wikipedia shows that even 38 years on, there is the continuation of the lie - but they forgot that there were some witnesses - Jacob and I being among them!

The reason for moving to Finland?

Many people have asked both Jacob and me why we moved to Finland in 1984?

It is difficult to give a straight answer, but there were several contributing factors, but none of them were individually strong enough to the decision. 

There was another reason which we discovered much later!

The first reason was the terrible time I went through being subjected to a false charge by the Bangalore Police which had dragged on for 5 years. I was subjected to much humiliation. But it ended with the Police withdrawing all charges against me and acting as my defenders, but then I was subjected to harassment by the Indian judicial system! 

In itself it made me make a decision halfway through this episode that I wanted to leave India!

Jacob was being harassed by a totally corrupt Karnataka bureaucracy, and fight as he would, there was no way around this very public battle. It sort of made him decide that he was not doing anything constructive in Karnataka, and if he wanted to preserve his integrity and honesty, there was no other way than to go somewhere his work and talents would be judged on its merits. 

So he met Karnataka Member of Parliament, S. M. Krishna, who was then Union Minister of State for Finance in New Delhi, and explained the reasons why he was pulling out and moving to pastures where he had an even chance of succeeding.

The third reason was that both Jacob and I felt that our children had received and accepted their roots in India, and we both felt that they should be given a chance to understand their roots in Finland. So, if there was an option, we felt we should allow them a reasonable period for them to appreciate this. 

The children loved their life in India and they had a close bond with their paternal grandparents, so it was a very difficult decision for them.

We waited for Susanna to finish her School and after that, we felt it was time to move as I received my freedom in March 1984.

So we processed all our papers by mid April 1984 but with no job under the belt for either of us in Finland, trusting in our Lord, we set off to Finland. 

We were welcomed by my parents in their home in Oulu, Finland. It was a small house but we settled in into an upstairs corner with our own kitchen, a living room and two small attic bedrooms.

The children were back in Finnish schools in August, but it became very obvious that Susanna, who had to move into the High School system of Finland to get into University, would not be able to survive the three  years.

Since Susanna was born in England in the 60s, she had her British Passport. When one of her classmate friends from India invited Susanna to come to England, we made the decision that for her future, she should move to England and continue her studies there.

This was the first time one of our family was leaving us, and both Jacob and I were heart-broken, but we knew that we had to be concerned about Susanna's future and not our feelings.

So in November 1984, 8 months after our shift to Finland, Susanna moved to England.

Jacob had not yet got a job, but God looked after us in may ways and we were able to survive those 8 months. 

By 1985 April it became obvious that our elder son, Jaakko. was also having problems with the Finnish education system, so when he finished his middle school, we allowed him to join Susanna in England, as he too had been born in England and held a British Passport.

This was again a big emotional blow for all of us, as Jaakko was the life and soul of our family, but his future decided our action.

By that time Jacob had got a job in the Unversity of Oulu as an assistant Researcher and as Scientific Editor of English publications for the Microelectronics Laboratory. It became obvious he was outstanding in his job so he was firmly entrenched in the University, but I was keen to reunify our family.

So in the summer of 1986, I shifted, with the two younger children to Birmingham, England where Susanna and Jaakko were now well established.

Jacob came to England in September, but he was not happy with life in England and our circumstances, while he was doing so well in Oulu. We decided that I would return with the two younger children to Finland. We returned in November 1986 to Oulu.

I must give you some background of the situation in my parent’s home in Oulu. 

Also living there was my younger sister, who had, by her rather difficult experience in France in 1965, had become a schizophrenic patient. The Finnish system was that she was to be looked after by her parents, but they were unable to control her and she ruled the roost in there home.

I could manage her, to a point, but she was milking her parents and they could do nothing.

One fateful Friday in December 1986, I had gone to town for shopping. As the Sabbath was soon approaching, I cut short my shopping trip and took the bus home. I went upstairs where Mika was listening to the radio and put the kettle on for cup of coffee. I smelt some smoke and went downstairs to see what was the problem. 

When I opened my sister's room I saw a fire raging in one corner. I shut the door and quickly told Mika to get out of the house. I ran to the neighbours and asked the lady to call the Fire Brigade.

Our neighbour, being a reporter, also called her newspaper.

We soon had a crowd of people waiting for the house to burst into flames, as was the case with wooden houses.

I was concerned for my parents, whom I knew were in the house. Mika banged on the living room window, where we knew my father was resting.

I went into the house and when I opened the door of the living room, as it was already dark (in December darkness descends by 3 pm), I could not see him, but he immediately smelt the fire. He ran out and started to collect water in buckets in the small toilet and tried to put out the fire, which was gathering momentum, with dark smoke coming out of my sister's room.

My mother managed to come down the stairs from her room. She was blinded by the smoke, but we managed to get her out of the house.

I was wondering where my father was as he had not come out of the house. So I went in and I found him trying to close the door to my sister's room to try to contain the fire, but the force of the smoke was so strong, he was not able to shut it. I dragged him out twice but he just went back in.

Finally I understood his intention and I tried to help him, but the pressure inside the room was so strong that we could not together shut the door.

The suddenly, for no reason, the door shut.

My father acted slowly but surely. His clothes cupboard was just behind us. He opened and took out his main clothes and proceeded down the stairs to the cellar, where he had his shoes.

I went out by the front door and waited for the Fire Brigade. By that time people were streaming in from around to see the blaze. My sister was standing at the gate. She told a neighbour that it seemed that the fire had not started in earnest!

I was in the back gaden watching the blaze through the window while at the same time, the small ventilation duct was billowing out thick smoke.

Te Fire Brigade arrived and the first question was whether there was anyone left into house. I told them that my mother's dog, Jesse, was trapped in the upstairs bedroom. Thy went in with a smoke extractor and soon emerged with the dog.

They acted quickly and efficiently and before the house could explode, they were able to put out the fire. My sister's room was completely gutted and the entire house was flooded as the firemen ensured that no spark was left unattended.

They took my parents to then hospital to ensure they were not suffering from any smoke inhalation problems.

Joanna had been walking home from school and when she saw the Fire Engines rushing, she thought that our house must be on fire. She and her friends rushed home, but the main excitement was over.

The Police arrived and having establishing the facts took my sister to the psychiatric hospital.

If we had moved to Finland, if my experience in England had not been negative, and if I had not returned home before the start of the Sabbath, the lives of my parents and their home would have been lost.

Coincidence, fate or the handiwork of our Lord God, could have directed efforts to ensure that my parents survived and their home was saved.

There is no doubt in my mind why we had to move to Finland. As a result of this I was able to fight the case of my sister in Court that she was not convicted as an arsonist and to also get her a permanent place in the psychiatric hospital, so that my parents were freed from her over-bearing and demanding character.

For that I can surely say what or who was the reason for shifting us from India to Finland. 

Can you?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Details of the Bangalore earthquake in 1984! Natural or intervention from above?

You can make your own decision whether this earthquake was a natural phenomena or whether there was intervention by a higher being!

There is a web site, Amateur Sesmic Centre,  which lists all the major earthquakes in Karnataka and Goa, with their listing starting in August 1507. they are not very frequent.

This was the listing for March 1984:

20 March 1984 - Denkanikota area, Karnataka, Ms 4.6 (1).
12.550 N, 77.770 E, OT=10:45:22 UTC (2)
Felt (14) in southern Karnataka at Bangalore and Mysore and in Tamil Nadu at Krishnagiri. Intensity VI (15) was observed at Kelamangalam and Kowthalam in Karnataka. Cracks were seen in plaster and utensils were overturned at these places. A section of a mud wall also collapsed and a 2-metre tall papaya tree was uprooted (14).
12.550 N, 77.770 E, OT=10:45:22 UTC (2)Felt (14) in southern Karnataka at Bangalore and Mysore and in Tamil Nadu at Krishnagiri. Intensity VI (15) was observed at Kelamangalam and Kowthalam in Karnataka. Cracks were seen in plaster and utensils were overturned at these places. A section of a mud wall also collapsed and a 2-metre tall papaya tree was uprooted (14).

When you read "...for the hour of His judgement is come:...", you will see how circumstances caused me to receive my freedom from the corrupt judicial system in Karnataka!

Here is the Preface to the book written by me!

When I went to live in India in 1969, I had expected my life to be full and rich in content. I entered a strange and wonderful world. I knew that I had entered a world previously unknown to me, a world which was a blend of ancient history, customs, cultures, languages, religions and people with a touch of each bygone era existing together with the development and infiltration of the modern age. I enjoyed unravelling some of its past in trying to understand better its present. The country's past and present, its nature and people were full of surprises, both big and small. Each day was for me an adventure of discoveries, from the smallest insects to the big mysteries of life, the reasons for existence and the meaning of life.

I wanted to know the ways in which Indian society functions. I had not intended or expected to have any close encounters with its legal system, but that was in store for me, and I faced it. Along with the daily discoveries of life in India, I made my biggest and most important discovery: Life in Jesus Christ. I came face to face with my God and Saviour who freed me in a breathtaking manner during the final moments of my court appearance. He declared me not guilty.

On returning to Finland many people have asked me why we left India. After hearing some of the incidents, several people asked me to write about them. There are also many close friends and family members in India who do not know all the facts. Many did not hear of my final appearance in the court room and its outcome. The reason for writing this is to narrate, as clearly as possible, all the main events as they occurred.
The legal case was complex. Few people know little of the legalities of what it means to be a foreigner in India, or for that matter in any part of the world. The spiritual side of this episode could perhaps be even less understood without the exact account of the events and how they were relevant against the Biblical background. A struggle is going on, unseen in this world, between the forces of good and evil. For God, it is to free man from all bondage and slavery. For the devil, it is how to enslave and capture man without him having the least suspicion.

The intention of this book is not as a theological reference to the pages of the Holy Bible to persuade anyone to believe in, or an attempt to prove the existence of a distant, uninvolved God unaffected by the events in the lives of people. It is, however, my sincere attempt to prove the love and power of the living God of the Holy Bible, who is involved and interested in the lives of individuals, whoever and wherever they may be. The pages that follow are intended as an encouragement for people in situations that may appear humanly impossible to show how help can come in the most unexpected ways. It is also to show that when you take even the first feeble step towards God, He comes all the way towards you and remains faithfully with you in all your life experiences.
This book is not intended to be of theological or literary merit. It is the true life story of a mother of four young children living an ordinary life and the extraordinary circumstances which caused great changes to happen to the family. It is a story of how the presence of forces of good and evil touched them in a tangible way, where the presence of God was felt concretely in the events that took place in an unusual, awesome manner and caused her to accept God personally and His guidance in her life and that of her family.

Looking back to the time I was fighting my case against the police and the government and facing uncertainties as to the outcome, I remember a discussion with my family while we were living in Sommanahalli (Mandya District) village in the beautiful, tranquil Indian countryside. I was airing my feelings after one of our trips to a court hearing in Bangalore. I said that when this incident was over I would write a book. After my case came to such an incredible ending, I had all the more reason to put down the unusual twists and turns of events which led to those final extraordinary moments. This has been the time for it, nine years on.

I look forward to the release of this web version which was voted by you, the reader, to be the first of our books to be published on the World Wide Web to reach the widest possible world audience as part of our committment to spread the Word of God and his fantastic deeds and as a thanks to him for having kept us safe from evil all through these years.

Rauha Annikki Matthan Oulu, Finland.
He tested me in several ways. Our elder son was bitten by a deadly snake, the krait, far from civilisation, where there was no doctor or anti-venom, and he survived! 

In my greatest hour of need, He was always with me. He was my strength!

Can I ever repay Him?

  After all the legal obstacles were removed and I was free to go, Jacob had to wind up his work and business and be ready to travel. Although I was very happy to get back my passports and was now able to travel anywhere, I was very sad to leave my home and life in India. If I could have reversed those two things I would have. Everything would have been perfect. But I accepted the situation and knew we had committed ourselves too far to change anything. I trusted that there was a purpose and a meaning for us to start our lives somewhere else. It was not for us to know then, but time would reveal His will and it has.

"I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation." Psalm 118:21

The purpose of our move to Finland will be revealed in future blog entries, so do come back to read my continuing "love Story"!

Hope you enjoy my book! Indian, Finn, Christian, or one of any religion, you will see the importance of trusting implicitly in your Maker!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Does it need an earthquake to get justice in the Indian System?

I talk of a Love Story and I am trying to give you different aspects to this picture of this Love. 

Husband, children, grandchildren, parents. siblings, in-laws, friends, relatives, those who worked with you, and one more, above all!

In this list I must also include the undying Love of my Maker for ME!

When I was arrested and prosecuted by the corrupt justice system in Bangalore in the 1970s, I went through sheer hell for over 4 years. 

I had to present myself week in and week out in the Magistrate's Court in Bangalore to be humiliated.

But I never lost my faith in my Maker.

It was He who intervened with His full power to get me justice.

This is described in my eBook "...for the hour of His judgement is come:..." which I wrote after I had returned to Finland. It was published on the internet, probably one of ther first books to be published fully on the internet.

You can also reach the book by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

Did it need an earth quake for me to get my freedom? 

The answer is YES!!!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Part 2A: Is this Love Story about just 2 people?

From the inputs I have been getting, it has been assumed that this Love Story was just about 2 people - Jacob and me! That is far from the truth.

This romance is between the many tens of people who showered us with love and affection over the years starting with Jacob's late mother, Mariam Matthan (known to us as "Ammachi" - which means "Mother" in Malayalam).

K. C. Mammen Mappillai
The late K. C. Mammen Mappillai

Ammachi was the only daughter of the Doyen of Kerala, Mr. K. C. Mammen Mappillai. He and his wife (Kundjunammama) had 8 sons and one daughter. Out of the eight sons, four of them with a public profile went on to receive the Padma Shri Awards and one the Padma Bhushan as well. 

Is there any family in India who has this record? (Jacob's cousin, Mammen Mathew, son of the late Mr. K. M. Mathew has also received the Padma Shri Award!)

Padma Bhushan K. M. Cherian
Padma Bhushan K. M. Cherian
The late K. M. Cherian, the eldest, received the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan (1971) Awards. He took over running the Malayala Manorama after the demise of the father in 1953.

Padma Shri K. M. Philip with Mrs. Philip.

Mr. K. M. Philip (now 102 in 2013), who besides being the Father of the Indian Rubber Industry, was also the World Y. M.C.A. President was awarded the Padma Shri  (1993).

Mammen and his father, K. M. Mathew
The late Mr. K. M. Mathew  Padma Shri in 1998,
with his son Mammen Mathew
who also received the Padma Shri in  2005.

The late Mr. K. M. Mathew, received the Padma Shri in 1998, and ran the Malayala Manorama after the passing of Mr. K. M. Cherian. He turned a small town newspaper into an international communication channel for all Malayalees around the world and created so much out of the institution to build the Manorama Directory, the Balrama for children, the Vanitha for ladies and the Manorama Weekly, plus launch The Week, which today is India's largest English weekly magazine.

The late Mr. K. M. Mammen Mappillai, Padma Shri in 1993.
The late Mr. K. M. Mammen Mappillai, Padma Shri in 1993.

The late Mr. K. M. Mammen Mappillai who received the Padma Shri in 1993, with his brother, Mr. K. M. Philip, turned a toy balloon factory into India's largest tyre company, MRF Ltd.

Ammachi when she graduated from Women's Christian College, Madras in 1934
Ammachi when she graduated from
Women's Christian College, Madras in 1934

All eight brother's revered their sister, Ammachi, and she held them together to build the MM Empire. Without her daily chats sitting in her home in Bangalore, the entire family would have gone in different ways. Whenever there was a disagreement, they would be on the phone to her, and in her quiet manner, she would bring them around to a common viewpoint.

It was not unusual to see her brothers arrive at her home in Bangalore to stay for a day or two to work off their steam!

Ammachi opposed my marriage to Jacob and after Jacob's father failed in his mission to stop the wedding, she gave the job to two of her brothers, her eldest, K. M. Cherian and her youngest, K. M. Mammen Mappillai. Both of them were far ahead f their time and only established from Jacob that he was serious and committed to this relationship, and they advised Ammachi to quietly accept Jacob's decision.

Till the day we got married, she was opposed to the union, but within minutes of the wedding, she publicly declared - "What God hath put together, let no man put asunder", and from that day I was closer to her than her own daughter.

She was there at Bombay harbour to meet us when we landed in September 1969 and she whisked the two children and me way to her home to ensure that from that moment we were looked after in a way that I can never forget. Her love was unconditional to our children and to me.

When we moved to Bangalore in 1975, I decided to make something unique for her. I toiled for 7 months to produce a masterpiece art piece, "The Zebras" and this hung in her living room as the centrepiece till the day she died.
Zebras, a textile art piece made by me
for my mother-in-law in 1976.

On her passing away in 2000, the art work was returned to me and now is the centrepiece in our living room.

Till her very last breath she showed her love and affection for our entire family despite many attempts to break that bond by jealous family members. 

I have written here about the Kandathil family to which my mother belonged. I must tell you about the Maliyakal family to which Jacob's father belonged  It was equally distinguished!

Yes, this Love Story covers many many people. In future blog entries I will tell you about other wonderful people who have been part of my life in England, India and Finland!

Continuation of the Love Story! Part 2

I am so happy that many of you enjoyed the first part of this Love Story. These parts are not excerpts but a shortened version of our eBook to be released soon: "The Life and Loves of the Findians" (Title not yet finalised! Suggestions welcome.)

The second part of our life revolved around the time we spent in India (1969 to 1984).

Landing in Bombay in September 1969 was not a wise decision as it was humid and hot. And we landed into an Indian wedding where all the families of Jacob were present and meeting over 300 to 400 people who are all like his brother's and sisters was a very tough experience.

But the food was special and with abandon I took to all the Kerala food organised by Jacob's aunt, the late Mrs. K. M. Mathew, including the super spiced fish curry. Mrs. Mathew (known to me as Annammakochamma) became my very good fiend as she was just as crazy as me!!

I paid the penalty for my indulgence as I had to be rushed to hospital and it took me about 2 years to recover from my lack of vision. But, I loved the food and slowly but steadily I got used to the spices.

During the next seven years we stayed first in the centre of Madras and then on the outskirts, in a mango grove in Guindy in Defence Officers Colony, and then moved to a palatial house with a large garden at the top end of Velacheri Road, near the Saidapet Bridge.

It was an amazing life. I learnt the spoken colloquial Tamil as we had so many people working in the household (cook, gardener, driver, children's nanny, cleaning staff, night watchman) who only spoke this language. It was relatively easy as I found much similarity between Finnish and Tamil. (This formed the basis of our chapter in our 1994 best seller, now available as an eBook,  "Handbook for Survival in Finland" which says that spoken Finnish is not a difficult language!)

We had a few Scandinavians in Madras. The most prominent was Stina Vasu who was married to T. T. Vasu, the son of former Indian Finance Minister, T. T. Krishnamachri. She used to orgnse the Lucia party, in Swedish tradition, every year in December. We got a chance to meet all the other Scandinavians - from Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. 

Lucia Party in Madras, Stina, Susanna, Jaajoo, Joanna and me, 1972
Lucia Party in Madras, Stina, Susanna, Jaajoo, Joanna and me, 1972

For the most part I was the only Finn, and the picture above was taken in 1972 when we had three children, Susanna, Jaakko and little Joanna! Stina is the person in the background in this picture of me with our children!

The family at Velcheri Road, Madras in 1975

In 1975, the late Mathew Varghese, who was married to  Finn and living in Helsinki, came to Madras to do an article about our family, which was published in a Helsinki magazine, Koti Liesi. The photograph above shows our family sitting on the steps of our Velacheri Road house, with our golden labrador, Ruby.

1998 Award Winning Ginger Bread Village Church
1998 Award Winning Ginger Bread Village Church

It was here I started my Ginger Bread House creations which is described in detail in our book "Edible Art", including the first catastrophe, published as an eBook in Novmber 2013.

Detail of a lake in a mountain with a hidden water stream flowing into the lake (from the eBook Edible Art)
Detail of a lake in a mountain with a hidden water stream
flowing into the lake (from the eBook Edible Art)
 From Chennai, as Jacob's parent retired from Bombay and returned to Bangalore, I moved with my family to Jacob's original home town. I preferred the warmth of Madras along with the sea breeze which arrived every afternoon without fail by 3 pm.

Matthan family in Bangalore in 1976
Matthan family in Bangalore in 1976
The picture above shows the Kuriyan Matthan family in 1976 in front of their Basavangudi House on Market Road.

Bangalore was also very nice except that corruption was very rampant at all levels. It was from this house I was arrested. 

1993 eBook "...for the hour of His judgement is come:..."
1993 eBook "...for the hour of His judgement is come:..."
This resulted in a complicated situation and prosecution which is described in my sensational best seller thriller book and also an eBook, " :...for the hour of His judgement is come:..." which I wrote in 1993 when I was in Finland. This episode also resulted in my finding my faith.

This book has helped many people who were caught in the same situation. The last was a young student from Bangladesh who was arrested a few years ago inBangalore!

But all good things must come to an end, so when we were required to move to Finland, it was fate definitely calling us.

That is the third part of this Love Story.