This year’s annual feast of St Sebastian at St Mary’s Forane Church at Athirampuzha in Kottayam turned into a sweet affair with a local baker fulfilling his years-long dream – offering a cake modelled after the renowned church.
The 80-kg cake was an offering made by K R Aneesh, a Hindu man, and was distributed among devotees who attended the ‘Athirampuzha kodiyettu’.
The cake, made in the shape of the Athirampuzha church, was cut by Mar Thomas Tharayil, auxiliary bishop of Syro-Malabar Archeparchy of Changanassery and vicar of the church Fr Dr Joseph Mundakathil.
A baker's dream
Aneesh, hailing from Aneesh Bhavan, Kadamboor at Mannar in Alappuzha district, arrived in Kottayam 18 years ago to earn a living. Initially, he worked as a helper in various bakeries. Later, he took an interest in cake-making and quickly learnt the craft. During those days, Aneesh’s earnings were meagre. He also prayed regularly at the Athirampuzha church, even though he wasn't a follower of Christianity.
In 2009, Aneesh made a wish to offer a cake in the shape of the church to the holy place. As such a cake would cost a large amount and his income was low, Aneesh shared his wish with others. However, nobody came to his help. Subsequently, Aneesh visited the church again and promised to offer a huge cake in its shape when he would be self-sufficient.
During the following years, Aneesh continued to work at many bakeries and later started his own venture. Some years later, he could even open a bakery – Cake World - in a building belonging to the Athirampuzha church. Now, he also owns two other shops elsewhere in Kottayam.
“Everything happened thanks to the Punyalan’s (St Sebastian) grace,” says Aneesh.
Aneesh prepared the huge cake in the shape of the church in a single night. “I approached the vicar Dr Joseph Mundakathil and told him about my promise made at the church several years ago. Not only did I receive the permission, but the vicar also provided a room on the church premises to bake the cake,” he said.
Being extremely familiar with Athirampuzha and surrounding areas, Aneesh prepared the cake without a picture or plan. The cake had the big church, small church, John Paul Nagar and the idols there, garden, flagpole, church grounds and car parking area.
“It is my good fortune to complete the work overnight and offer the cake on the opening day of the festival,” says Aneesh.
Aneesh currently lives in a rented house at Kattathi in Athirampuzha along with his wife Sree Parvathy. His next dream is to own a house in the Athirampuzha area. Offering a cake during every ‘kodiyettu’ is yet another desire. Aneesh firmly believes that Punyalan would help him realize those wishes.