If I tell you that I have always
wanted to be a priest, I would be a huge liar. I wanted to be cardiologist ever
since I was in my middle school. I opted for science with maths, devoted almost
all my time to books but for the 30 mins I was attuned to the He-man Show every
single day! Things changed when I
started visiting the Blessed Sacrament after school. Thanks to Fr.Bernard
Lawrence, the then parish priest, who initiated 2000 hours of adoration to mark
the birth of the new centenary. The Lord invaded me, kept me glued to him. I
could not think of a better way of spending time. A desire to stay close in his
presence took root and the next thing I knew I wanted to be a priest. My nerves
wrecked at the very thought of proposing this to my parents for I am their only
son and they had huge dreams for me.
Finally, I told my parents. It
was a night, we retired after a long day, and lights were put off. I mustered
all my courage and said, "Appa, I want to be a priest”. My dad got up, switched
the light on, turned to me and said in a husky voice, "Seruppu Pinjidum,
paduthu thoongu” (Chappal tearing, go to sleep).
I never raised the subject again
for like three months. Then I planned revenge. I stopped studying, did poorly
in maths in the cycle test. The public exam was just three months away. I got
my teachers, the principal and parents to stop and ask me, "Now what is
happening?.” I knew that was my chance. I told them I can’t think of anything
else except joining the seminary.”
Fr. Arputha Samy, the then parish
priest, was pulled in. The sweet man that he is, put me to a serious test, when
he said, he would recommend my enrollment only if I scored above 90 percent in
my +2 exams. I panicked, returned to my books and started studying seriously. I
scored 89. When I asked him to excuse me for losing 1 percent, he smiled,
patted my shoulder and said he would.
The Right Road:
The Lord wanted to add a little
more spice to my simple call story when he fixed the vocation camp to be held
at the Sacred Heart Seminary, Poonamallee on the exact date of my entrance exam
for professional courses, to be conducted in Veltech college, Avadi. I was
riding pillion on my dad’s bike. We reached
Kamarajar Salai. He turned to me and asked, "Which road should I take?” The
left was to Veltech and the right to Poonamallee. I told my father, "Dad, take
the right road”. Thank God, it has remained my right road for 13 years now.
It has been an unpredictable run
since then. Life introduced me to its sweet surprises, agonizing moments, tough
situations, never-imagined cities, villages, slums pleasant and not-so-pleasant
people, exciting studies, philosophies and ideologies. Each of them has played a
role in making me what I am today and so I am grateful to them all.
I fondly remember my rectors: Fr
G J Antony Samy, Fr Amal Raj, Fr Jude B Pragasam, Fr Ornelius Couttino, Fr
Pradeep Sequira, Fr Joe Antony and Fr Francis Gonsalves.