Twin Reminiscences

Mrs Ajitha Samuel & Dr Amitha Anando

Two - too much to say - the two of us - Ajitha and Amitha Santiago? Well, the question mark deserves its place, since we are now, Ajitha Samuel and Amitha Anando…

When we were little, the question that people often asked our parents was: Are they twins?! The fact that we looked alike, dressed alike and that our names had only a letter’s difference did little to discourage the question. Of course, our names, the way we look and our personalities, would never encourage the question now!

The two of us have memories of our childhood that are intrinsic to this precious little Church’s journey - from redsanded, red-roofed Sunday School, to today’s paved and cosmetically rearranged Wesley.

Our first memories are of Mrs. Paul, the elegant, poised, tall, enchanting teller of Bible stories and the chorus singing to the accompaniment of Ms. Simon on the piano. Colorful cardboard cutouts animated choruses such as “With Christ in the Vessel We Can Smile at the Storm” and “Give me Oil in My Lamp”, among others.

If Mrs. Paul towered over us as little kids in the lower class, Mrs. Karat towered over us by the sheer firmness in her voice. Our adolescent minds took on the colors of maturity under her able guidance. The other Sunday School teacher who taught us right from wrong in all solemnity was the gentle Mrs. Vinitha Samuel.

We graduated from being shepherds in the traditional nativity play at Yuletide to being two of the three Wise Men!!! This was simply because there were very few boys who were old enough to take on the roles of the Wise Men. So, with ‘pattu podave’ draped as cloaks and lustrous moustaches in place, we strode onto stage rather reluctantly singing “We Three Kings of Orient Are…”

We recall being part of Philo Raju aunty’s dance troupe along with Usha, Felicia, Anitha and Sunitha Raj, and Ruth Manoj. Practicing for these performances and hunting for costumes that would fit us children was exciting for us first time dancers.

After the morning services, choir practices took over. We were 7 and 5 respectively when our membership in the Church choir began. Our first participation in the choir was during the tenure of Rev. Thomas E. David. Our father was the Youth Choir Director at the time and Kavitha Thomas was the third little girl to join our twosome. The next two pastors were the Rt. Rev. P.J. Lawrence and the late Rev. Frank Macwana, both of whose children became our good friends.

Our memories include the plays that our father wrote and staged on occasion. Edwin and Jemima Moses, Deva, Prasad and Vijay Karat, Yvonne Aunty (whom we adored), Brenda Aunty, Ruth Wesley Aunty, Neeraja and Vanaja Aunty, Divya Aunty, Shantala, Sudhir Uncle and the sweet voiced Molly Aunty, Anitha and Vanitha Moses, the accomplished guitarist Anand Uncle of Macmillan, the musical genius of the late Eugene Titus, and the unforgettable playful antics of Bhasker Paul made choir practices ever so worthwhile.

This time of music and laughter continued when Rev. Henry took over as our Pastor and Nehru Isaac took over the choir. We were back at choir practices and participated in lively Youth meetings at this time. The highlight of this phase of our life in Church was “The Bible Concert”, ably directed by Nehru Issac.

The youth at about this time had come together to start a newsletter called ‘Voice’. Many an evening was spent in editing, printing and ‘cutting and pasting’ the final copy of the newsletter, which was then photocopied and made ready for distribution on Sunday morning.

Bracing December chills, we thawed in the warmth of carols sung by candlelight. But this magical event was the culmination of a week of caroling that we always looked forward to. Under the care of Ruth and Nehru Isaac we were permitted to go caroling and Christmas couldn’t have been as meaningful without these freezing nights and funfilled van rides. We recollect choking with laughter at the hugely funny Harry Belafonte numbers that erased every thought of sleep. And who can possibly forget the “doggie bags”!

As we turn the corner of November and journey towards December, we realize that time has moved on. But our Church remains…in our memories, in our faith, in who we are. The two of us in large part owe our identities to the experiences, people, friends