Saturday, October 15, 2011

HIDING BEHIND THOSE MASKS


It is difficult – really difficult – to be ‘simple and uncomplicated’ in life. 


The place where I reside was once a very beautiful place. There were fields around, mountains nearby… and, we thought we had come to a silent and peaceful locality. Within years, this place has become unrecognizable. Our Society is surrounded by SRA buildings, all 360 degree. Suddenly, there is gloom in our hearts, we feel betrayed by the Builder, the Government and our Fate. The sheen is all gone, the roads are bad… and, even the autowalas refuse to come to this place.


Why am I telling all this?


Just yesterday, my wife told me that she met a lady who was shy to tell my wife that she lived in our vicinity. Incidentally, this lady did not know my wife too lived in the same area. When my wife told her that, the lady was very ‘relieved’

.
How proud I would have felt to tell some one that I lived in Peddar Road or Pali Hill! Yes, sometimes, I feel like ‘bluffing’.


A young friend of mine lived with his pretty wife and child happily with their white Maruti – 800 for many years. Life was smooth and uncomplicated. One day, they had to attend a wedding reception at J.W. Marriott. When they reached there, a sudden discomfort over took my friend’s heart. “We looked like paupers,” my friend told me. “We skipped the reception.”


I told him, “Then what about our plight? We have to land there on an auto.” Many a times, I do tell the autowala to stop away from such a sophisticated place. I walk that distance… My mind too walks along!


Someone’s dad is a doctor and someone’s a lawyer. My dad worked as a mechanic… and, yes, I did feel ‘conscious’ of that. I did feel like bluffing. But, my dad WAS a mechanic!


A family I know lives in a very plush locality and has maintained a very elite life-style. They try to move around in high-society circle and keep ordinary people at bay. They have a mentally challenged son at home. When it comes to that, they still live in denial. They don’t openly talk about him, they are unwilling to ‘accept’ him… and, they ‘lie’.


Many years ago, a classmate of mine called up from a hotel near the Mumbai airport. We were close and I knew his dad worked abroad since long. He had come to Mumbai from my home town to see off his dad at Mumbai airport. Those days, there were no inter-national flights from Mangalore. It was the departure night and I reached the hotel at 8 at night. When He opened the door, I saw his dad for the first time. The man was heavily drunk. My friend did not show any discomfort and that left me puzzled. I would not have invited my friend to the hotel, if it was my dad. That is truth. We spent about half an hour talking about our college life and, in between, his dad would ask me something and I would answer him - God alone knows, how and what. After a while, we all went to the restaurant on the roof-top. The man ordered for a couple of drinks. It was too much… I was feeling very uncomfortable. And, when the things were moving gently in that packed place, this man started behaving in a disgusting way. A little away from our table, a large family gathering was on. At least two dozen people – elderly, young and small – were having their family party. They were celebrating something. And, my friend’s dad, started pointing at a pretty young lady in that group and started yelling, “I want her, now.”


I died!


But, my friend did not. Before his dad’s voice could reach the concerned table, my friend quickly called two waiters. While there was quite a resistance from the man, the son handled his dad’s mouth and the two waiters started dragging him out of that otherwise romantic ambience. I dragged myself from behind, unable to understand the world of my friend.


I am still unable to understand how I would have behaved that night, if it was my dad!


I am not in touch with this friend, now. But, I am told that he is in the US and he doesn’t drink. He has a pretty wife and two pretty children. And, I can vouch: it is a very happy and proud family!


It took years – and some hard-knocks in life – for me to realize that none of us have a choice on the kind of parents we have. I had to be born to a mechanic and my friend to a chronic alcoholic. May I add here this: And, my Lord, Jesus Christ, had to be born to a village carpenter!

Yes, even God did not have a choice when it came to His parents!


To remain unaffected by the ‘lie’ of our existence… and to remain aligned to the ‘truth’… is ‘simplicity’ all about. I know it now. Still, I am a human… and, I do wear my masks, often, and go around… only to make my life heavy and complicated. But, I am happy, that is not too often!


My brother, Vivek, just sent this message:


“Two factors decide the success in our life;
The way we MANAGE
When we have nothing in our hands;
And the way we BEHAVE
 When we have everything in our hands.” 



Yes, it is difficult – really difficult – to be ‘simple and uncomplicated’ in life. 


GERALD D'CUNHA

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