Thursday, December 31, 2009

I JUST WANT TO SAY...

Last evening, Girish called me up and said, "Sir, tomorrow is 31st December. I want you to post something to motivate us."

Something to motivate others? Girish thinks my posts can motivate not only him but also others. Well, it feels good when I think about it. Someone looks up to me... Someone waits for my posts on the blog... The thought does boost my confidence; does motivate me to keep up to their expectations.

I want to write about this very issue: How does our confidence go up?

This morning, I taught Jinal, a new student for an hour. She was joining my class when others have almost done with their portion. I was apprehensive and had expressed my concern to her yesterday. Still, I took a chance and had called her today for a session. She was picking things fast and I felt a lot relieved and glad. While she was leaving, I sincerely complimented her. "Jinal," I said, "You pick things fast. I am very happy."

I saw Jinal's face all lit up on my comment. She left my place feeling like a winner! And what about me?

What most of us do not realise is that the whole humanity, out there, is dying to be appreciated, complimented... stroked. It costs us nothing; still most of us are stingy... We do not compliment enough, do not express, sincerely, our appreciation. It is because, we have never realised the fact that, when we appreciate and compliment others, first and foremost, it helps us. It enhances our self-esteem, make us pro-active individuals... It helps to implement in our lives the Law of Abundance: "What we give, we receive back in many fold." There is also that famous Law of Attraction: "What we sow, we reap... What we focus on, in life, expands."

When I complimented Jinal, I did it with no strings attached. I did it straight from my heart. That's why, I could not only feel the joy on her face, I could feel it on my own, as well. This is one of the simplest ways in which we can bring about empowerment... Yes, in others and in ourselves.

I want to tell Girish and all my readers, today - on the eve of the New Year: "Do not look for 'big ways' of making difference in this world; look for 'small ways', 'simple ways'". I want to tell all of them, "Give enough appreciation, enough compliments - the genuine ones... and give it without any expectations. I am absolutely sure, it will make your lives a lot richer, a lot happier."

Finally, I wish to tell everyone, that no matter how bleak things appear now, please do not lose faith in goodness of humanity, goodness of God, goodness of even our, so-called, 'enemies." May our cynicism burn into ashes along with the traditional 'old man'... May hope reign... May love reign... May good intentions be our eternal guiding lights.

A very Happy New Year to you Girish and all my friends, my readers.


GERALD D'CUNHA

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MITESH AND ROHIT

They are in 12th standard. They have been studying under me, in the same batch, for almost a year. I will rename them, for the purpose of this post - Mitesh and Rohit.

I had taught Mitesh's dad more than twenty years ago. Those days, I had been struggling, to rise from the ashes of my just collapsed venture. I had learnt from my mistakes and I was determined to make a come back. I had come from my village, and there was no one here, in Mumbai, to support me financially. It was tough; but, the desire and resolve to rise from the ashes was so strong that I had no room in my mind to think otherwise.

Mitesh's father, was studying under me, then, for his final year. They were three brothers. Their father had set up a textile business from the scratch, and over the years bought some properties. But, their bad phase was on when I was teaching Mitesh's dad. It took just a couple of years for them to fold up their business, sell their properties, one by one. In the years that followed, the three sons did attempt to start some venture on their own, but without success. Soon, each one of them took up some jobs... and, along the years, brought up their children as responsible kids.

Mitesh is really a responsible young man: hard-working, focused and simple. He wants to do CA. I have no doubt over his capacity to succeed. At his age, Mitesh's father and uncles, had an extremely comfortable life. But, the hard days that followed had helped them to raise their children with the right set of values and right frame of mind. Mitesh, who studies in HR college, manages his cell phone bill within a shoe-string budget of Rs.100 to Rs.200. For his daily travel, he has a train and bus pass. He rarely gets into an auto. He walks the distance, instead.

Rohit comes from an affluent family of builders. Their car drops and picks him wherever he has to go. His monthly cellphone bill is close to Rs.2,000. He bunks my classes, skips my homework with a hundred excuses. However, he listens to me with respect, gives me promises, apologises regularly... and, does come about as a young man eager to make amends, get himself organised.

Rohit says he wants to get into their family business. Touch wood, they do well. Rohit has not felt the need to 'toil', walk, sweat out... manage his cellphone within a tight budget. Life is all easy - chauffeur-driven - for him. His parents, like most of us, want their son not to go through hardship and struggle in life, which we had to go through in life. They want the best of comforts for their son. They want him to grow up, all prepared, to walk into their family business. They want him to succeed.

Am I confident about Rohit's success?

Today, I was talking to them about success. I felt both were eager, receptive. I knew, that they had no choice over the kind of family situation they were born into. But, I knew, that they certainly had a choice over the kind of situation they desired to get into. I knew, Mitesh had it in him what it took to become a CA. But, I wasn't confident about Rohit. He needed to toughen himself out; he needed some challenges. In my own way, without comparing them, without making them feel guilty or embarrassed, I conveyed my feelings and apprehensions. I told both of them that they could succeed... if they, truly, desired to.

As their common teacher, I wanted both of them to succeed. I also wanted them to work for it, deserve it. And, I conveyed my feelings with all my honesty.


GERALD D'CUNHA

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

THE BULL RUN

"Have you ever seen a bullock cart taking reverse?" Vikram asked me.

Well, I had grown up in a village in Mangalore where bullock carts were a common sight... We had them everywhere in our village. While returning from school, so often, we children would get a joy ride in Thaburanna's famous bullock cart. But, never did I bother to observe whether his bullock cart ever took a reverse!

Last night, when Vikram asked me that question, I began to think about it, for the first time.

"The bull doesn't look up; it takes the load, looks down... and moves. That is called the 'Bull Run'," Vikram continued. "Your neck may bleed, back may hurt... but you move, with your head down."

But, need I be docile, submissive? Need I be a bullock carrying others' load? Why should my neck bleed? Why should my back hurt? Why should I suffer?

"Because, the need to take load comes with your decision to take charge," Vikram added. "You have to accept the load... and move... gladly."

I couldn't fully agree. Who is in charge - the bullock or Thaburanna? I remember, the times, Thaburanna handed to us, the children, the whip and we would have great fun whipping the bullock. But, never, ever did we think of the pain, the suffering the bullock had to go through... never, ever did we think about its bruised neck, and the burdened back. All that we saw was the faithful bullock moving, taking all of us - and the heavy load of goods - never looking up, never complaining. It was pure fun... Then.

Last evening, my neck was bleeding, and the back was hurting... I was feeling the pain, the burden, the frustration. That was the time, Vikram was trying to pep me up with the bullock-cart analogy. That was the time - the first time - I realised the kind of pain we children used to inflict upon the hapless animal, all for our fun. That was, also, for the first time I had thought whether a bullock cart ever took reverse.

Thaburanna, we knew, took good care of his bullock. His love for the animal was a village folklore. Yet, he whipped the animal, caused bruises and pain. We never noticed - and could never understand - the contradiction, the paradox. Some years after I had moved to Mumbai, my mother wrote a letter to me informing me about Taburanna's death. He was old, and he had spent his entire life running his bullock cart. That fateful day, he was fast asleep as the bullock, so faithfully, without looking up, carried the heavy load and its master. A speeding truck had knocked off the cart, killing, on the spot, both - the faithful servant and the caring, old master. The task master.

The bull run had ended.


GERALD D'CUNHA

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A NEW RESOLVE

Yesterday, I received, by post, a beautiful table calender. For each month of 2010, a fresh painting... and each of them was a amazing work. And, each of them was by a 'foot and mouth artist'!

My immediate impulse was to take it home and place it prominently on our table. I wanted my young son to see it. He, too, is fond of drawing, sketching and painting. He too has plans to pursue an art-related field. I wanted him to see these paintings by those physically challenged artists. Not to have hands to draw and paint, still, they have created such brilliant work using their feet and mouth! It was remarkable, inspiring... humbling.

The artists are faceless. I do not know their background. But, I am very certain, that all those gifted men or women must be financially challenged, too. I wanted my son to contemplate on these realities, and feel inspired.

We want our son to realise his talents. We want him to put efforts, and we have promised him our full support. Our son has his hands to draw, resources to draw, talent to draw. He needs only that fire in his belly to shine, to realise his dreams.

Should I tell my son about all these feelings of mine?

Well, I have just placed the calendar on the dining table. I know my son would certainly see it, like it... and, even, feel inspired. My intention is not to manipulate my son; just provide one more resource. I am hopeful, he would get the message... and start creating his own work not by foot and mouth, but by 'hands and heart'.

Just a month to go, and we have a new year. And, a new resolve, perhaps.


GERALD D'CUNHA