Tuesday, September 7, 2010

REUNION

Two years ago, I had taken an initiative to organise a reunion of all those students and well-wishers who had helped me found, and then run, The Dawn Club. It was taking place after twenty-long years. I had tried to contact almost every one whose helping hand had brought me till here... but, it was not possible to get in touch with all of them. Still, I managed to get in touch with as many as I could.

 I wanted to thank them, re-live all those golden memories... I brought out two books to mark the occasion... captured the beautiful moments, our fond interactions, on live video beamed on a mega screen in the auditorium... and, finally, the event culminated with a sumptuous dinner. I felt a lot relieved, content and even proud. It was around 11 in the night, and I and my wife were about to get into the waiting car to leave the wonderful auditorium and the just-lived memories behind. My mobile phone rang. It was one of my students who had attended the function. I thought he was calling me to thank me, compliment me for the 'great show'. "I did not expect this from you," he came straight to the point. I was caught on the wrong foot, completely off-guard. "What,?" I managed to ask him. "Did you forget my contribution? You never bothered to mention my name even once on the stage, leave alone felicitate."

I freezed for a while. I was to return home with golden memories, and sleep well that night. This phone call ruined my night... and many more to come.

Even in my wildest imagination, I could not have deliberately done what this ex-student of mine claimed I had done: to 'ignore' him. I loved all of them, I remember all of them, I am grateful to all of them. Period. A reunion was not required to express my true feelings. Still, I thought that would help. Possibly, it had exactly the opposite effect. I do not know how many more must have been let down by me, that night. One had the honesty to express. He did not stay for the dinner... When I tried to explain my innocence and sincerity, he was not ready to accept it...  My later effort to reconcile went in vain. Then, I declared in my mind: "Some relationships have a very high maintenance cost."

I chose to drop this burden.

Now, just last month, some of my early students - in fact, my first batch of students from the College where I first started teaching - got in touch with me. They were organising a grand reunion after thirty long years. (The Tenth-standard batch). They had arranged to personally pick up all their school teachers, who were now retired, old and sick. (Well, I still have some teaching-years left, I hope!).  And many of the students -  who are now doctors, engineers, professors, advocates, CEO's of companies and even simple house wives - had come from all over India and abroad... specially to be there in this emotional event. I was picked by a group of my old students... and I was so happy to meet them, receive their memento. We all had changed so much... We couldn't have recognised without introducing ourselves. I had lost contact with almost all of them. So, I was particularly happy, and even grateful, to the young organisers for enabling me to 'touch base'.

I predominantly operate from my heart. I, instinctively, decided to express my gratitude and affection to all those students and teachers - whether I had taught them or not, and whether those teachers were my colleagues or not - by handing them over my own memento... a copy of "Vaachas Chame' to all of them... Over one hundred and twenty!

There was a Divine, in fact mysterious connection, here. 'Vaachas Chame' was released by me, exactly two years ago, in the reunion function I have described above. The cost of printing and publishing this book - huge one - was entirely met by many of my students. Incidentally, none of these students, whom I was now planning to gift away the copies. I had decided to give away the book, with no strings attached to it... just the way my well-wishers had helped me create it. "This book is not for sale"... I had announced on the back cover.

So, when my turn came to speak, that afternoon, a dozen students came to the podium to stand around me... I spoke very emotionally, as I always do... and thanked them. Told them, how they were my 'lauching pads'... and how I shall always cherish them in my mind. I told them about my heart-felt souvenir - 'Vaachas Chame' - which I would be leaving behind for them. I told them about my three phone numbers, my email-id and this Blog... through which we all could remain in touch. Saying so, I left. The reunion 'celebration', I was told, continued till the wee hours of next morning. "I just cannot get over the hang-over," one of my ex-students told me, some days later. "Did you handover the book to all?" I asked him. "Yes, to each and every one," he told me."Great," I exclaimed, "Let's remain in touch."  "Definitely, sir," the response was genuine.

It is almost a month now. I have been dying to receive a call from any of those one-hundred-twenty beneficiaries of my heart-felt souvenir. At least one. At least one comment on my blog... or a 'thank-you' for the book, or "Happy to see you after thirty long years" ... whatever.

No. Nothing.

Am I grumbling?

Well, we all are strangers who meet briefly during this travel called 'Life'. We are happy, and grateful,  that we had this privilege. Yes, the privilege of  meeting!

I love all of you.


GERALD D'CUNHA

5 comments:

Savita said...

Sir , I do cherish the moment I spent with all of u, was good to see ur family ,in your book launch function, reunion.I liked and loved to be there in Mumbai for meeting u and all my past friends.
Sir do come on Face Book , we all can keep contacts, and on FB the comments just flow.

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Hi Savita,felt good going thru your comment. You had come all the way to be with us. I was even more delighted to see your little ones.

Face Book? Savita, I pick up things a little slow... You may call me a 'Slow Learner'! I think, by the time I join FB, something new may come... and, I will be left alone in FB!

Keep in touch. Love to all at home.

GERRY

Girish said...

Hey Mr Gerald, Getting a call from you itself is a big honour. when u thanked all ur student during that reunion it was more then enough,this is what i feel. u have done a lot and hats off to you. Vachas Chame i.e boon to express is another name of Dawn Club as it teaches the art of expression.

ofcourse relationship at times have a high maintenance cost other wise Bhishma Pitamah in Mahabharata would not have to sleep on bed of arrows by Arjuna.

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there, and inviting me in reunion and lauch of Vachas chame rather enriching my reminiscence.

Thank you always.

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Girish Sheth,

Every time you send me a fed back, I have some thing to learn in it. This time, it is about that episode from the 'Mahabharata'.

Relationships make our lives worth living for. Minus them, we are islands. But, then, the same relationships when they become a millstone around our neck, it is time to say 'good bye' to them.

But, the main thing is not to keep the baggage of bitterness.

Love, GERRY

Savita said...

http://www.thedawnclub.org/Blog/

sir this pages do not open, some thing wrong with the site. Kindly check. Also when i send mails to ur emails they bounce back.
Kindly giuve ur email id.