Nuestra Senora de Candelaria

Today, more than any other days, I wish I am back home.

The 2nd of February is the feast of Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, the patroness of Silang, Cavite. A place that holds numerous memories and sentiments for me.

People close to me will tell you that I am not a religious person. I am not a prayerful person. I am not a devout catholic. I am not pious in any way. But — I have faith, and I am a believer.

Growing up, I was taught Christian values that I sincerely adhere to. Educated in institutions that stressed the basic tenets of ethics and morals, I have become the person that I am today — certainly not a saint — but someone who respects and cares for every individual, no matter who they are or what they are. I look up to saints who inspire me, and I remember them and their teachings every step of my way.
Nuestra Senora de Candelaria is one of those saints who guided me as I traversed the winding ways of life. The light from the candle in her hand has helped me conquer the fears of darkness and steer myself clear of any wrongdoing. Visiting her abode in Silang, built in 1595, located adjacent to where I studied high school, is always the highlight of my trips back home. I cannot count the number of times I wept in silence inside the church, asking for her guidance. I cannot describe the wide grin I had when I married the man of my dreams, in the very same church. And I cannot contain my happiness when I presented my daughter to her, in thanksgiving.

As a young child, Silang fiesta meant attending the mass and going around the plaza to frolic on the wide array of toys on display. I can never forget the bright red horse, made of paper-mache, my mom bought me in one of those trips. As a teenager, the fiesta meant going out with friends to the perya, a local version of a carnival. The last time I had the privilege of attending the fiesta was more than 18 years ago, and I am hoping to be there again and join the celebrations soon.

The color and festivities of the season is an added attraction to the beautiful celebration of her feast day today, but simply seeing her regal image and feeling the warmth of her blessings is more than enough reason to want to be there right at this moment.
Viva Nuestra Senora de Candelaria!

Realities of realities

Time indeed flies. Before I realized that another year unfolded before my very eyes, its first month rolled so fast that not even the appearance of the “Super Moon” made the slightest difference. But is it really no different at all? Apart from the fact that my days became busier than ever, and my weekends more and more unrecognizable, life seems to be the same.

Three months and fifteen days of not chronicling how life has been … that’s not the same me. I am known to be someone who has to write, someone who has to keep a tab of what’s going on, and someone who keeps a record of those memories, good or bad.

The recent past slowed me down. The last few months, though full of vivid memories, changed me. Events and goings-on made me realized that with a blink of an eye, life can be something one would not expect it to be.

Well, forgive my ramblings but becoming a mess after my little one went off to college gave me the license to do that once in a while.

The last two months of the year were nothing but a blur now and all I can remember is the hustle and bustle of office work – recruitments, trainings, endless meetings, tons of projects, toxic schedules, deadlines, and deadliest deadlines! Travelling the 14-km stretch to DLF was (it still is) a nightmare with the chaotic traffic condition in Chennai, whatever the time may be.

In the middle of all the office pandemonium, I allowed myself the feeling of delight in anticipation of my little one’s coming to spend the winter break with us. But, tension overcame my excitement when she got stranded in Dubai due to a delayed flight from Manchester resulting to a missed flight to Chennai.

Anxiety attacked me like a monster that I didn’t sleep until I was certain that she’s safely settled at a comfortable hotel in Dubai and has a boarding pass (for the next available flight) on hand. I have never been so impatient in my life until we stood at the airport arrival area stretching our already overstretched neck to check if she’s coming. Lo and behold, she came — tired and flustered after all the unfortunate events during her flight, alone.

And then, everything suddenly lit up… our Christmas gift arrived! Seeing her again after three months was more than enough gift for the season.

We had to compromise on Goa after all the planned trips abroad that was not meant to be, thanks to my work … again! With only a couple of days of break, we flew to this land of marvels to spend the holiday season. And my of my, we were surprised as to what this state, which was once a Portuguese settlement, could offer. We had one of the most memorable and meaningful Christmas in Goa.

Back home, the thought of my little one leaving us again looms at the back of my mind. Amidst the shopping frenzy for things she wanted to take back to the university, I was feeling the pain killing me softly, slowly…again. People told me it gets better, but I disagree. As we dropped her off to the airport, it hurt like crazy. And as we reached home, it hurt even more! I say nothing can measure up to the pain of being away from her.

Then it’s back to the realities of realities. It’s me and my husband … in a house that can accommodate plenty, in a city where we are comfy, in a situation just like twenty-…  years ago.