In a shed that stands on the fringe of St Thomas Cathedral in San Thome stands a chariot holding a statue of Mother Mary.
The chariot is taken out in a procession on days when the feast of Mylai Madha in recent times, the local avatar of Mary.
A few people who visit the cathedral stop at the shed to offer a prayer or a candle to Mary. Some even offer a sari, some cotton, some nylex, some a little richer. Volunteers at the church adorn the image of Mary, dressing her in the sari that is offered and this is done in turns as and when saris are offered.
The saris accumulate. At one point, there were close to 100.
The cathedral’s parish priest Fr. A. Arulraj decided to exhaust the stocks of saris earlier this year. “I didnt want the saris to be wasted nor could we just dump these some place,” he said.
So the priest began to gift a sari to each family member of this church parish, from early January. “It also made a nice New Year gift,” says the priest.