Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MY DADDY GREATEST...



Dr. Wayne Dyer, in one of his inspirational books, shares with us his testimony as to how he dealt with the most difficult demon in his life. He was young and he had obtained his doctorate in psychology. He had started his practice in Counseling, Speaking and Writing; he was all geared up to achieve name and fame. Yes, he was aspiring to touch people’s lives… inspire them, motivate them… guide them to lead successful and fulfilling life. Yet, his own life was in a total mess… He was deeply into alcohol… and his mind was caught up in a hell he was unable to come to terms with: his father.

When Dr. Dyer was still a baby, his father had abandoned Dr. Dyer’s young mother and their little children… leaving them to fend for themselves. So, as a child, and later as a young adult, Dr. Dyer harbored this anger and hatred towards his father who had deserted them. He wanted to meet his father, one of those days, and take out the revenge… The thought had consumed his mind so much that Dr. Dyer was unable to sleep or concentrate on his work… All that he wanted to do was: to get even with his father. Their tormentor.

So, Dr. Dyer goes on a hunt… He travels thousands of miles, across the United States, meets hundreds of people trying to trace his father… and, finally, succeeds in meeting him - at the grave! Standing there before his father - their life-long tormentor – whose dead bones lay there buried deep down in that grave – Dr. Dyer’s entire being passes through a life-changing experience. The heavy rock of rage and revenge falls off to make way for lightness of compassion and peace… He weeps like a little child, standing there, all alone, for hours; and, finally, he leaves the graveyard completely liberated and healed by that experience.

The father did what he did in his prevailing wisdom. Dr. Dyer could do nothing about it… except what he did now standing before the tomb.


Hatred is fire...

It consumes us before it consumes those who we hate.

Forgiveness is possible only when we are able to see this truth,

Only when we are able to see the futility of our hatred.

The end of our anger is always the birth of our compassion.


In the movie, Nahin Milegi Zindagi Dobara, the three friends have three different ghosts – their own fears. Kabir (Abhay Deol) is afraid to walk into his marriage. The girl who he is engaged to is too insecure. Arjun (Hritik Roshan) is a workaholic and afraid of living even a minute without doing his work. Imran (Farhan Akthar) is haunted by his biological father who had deserted his mother. He wants to meet his father and relieve the burden of his heart. The movie brilliantly compares their fears to something they try to over come on their short trip to Spain. For Kabir, it is the charging bulls; for Arjun, it is diving into the deep ocean… and, for Imran, it was bungee jumping from a plane. In the end, all three of them succeed in overcoming their ghosts.

Imran meets his father. The father meets his son. There is no more baggage, no more haunting of the ghosts…



Most of us are lucky. Our fathers have not deserted us. But even then, some of us have a sweet-bitter relationship with our fathers. My father was very fond of me… though I was not fond of his drinking. As I became conscious of his drinking, I would feel very shy, and even ashamed. In my heart, I would dislike him for that… though I loved him. The experience is quite strong and, that is surely the reason why I do not drink. Well, two of my brothers had a tough time with our father. They would clash too often, and too badly. That was when they were teens. But, as the years passed by, things changed. Our dad died quite early, at 56… By then, the turn around had happened, for all of us, his sons!

“My dad Greatest!” I love this little boy who shouts that in the ad. Then, I smile in my heart and ask, “Greatest what, sweety?”

Ashish, my good friend, loves to tell us all - “My dad Greatest… Greatest what?”

From the age zero to five: My dad is THE WORLD! He is everything for me!

From the age five to ten: My dad is THE LAW! He can never be wrong!

From the age ten to fifteen: My dad is A DISTURBANCE. He meddles too much in my life!

From the age fifteen to twenty: My dad is my GREATEST ENEMY! I wish Life doesn’t give dads!

From the age twenty to twenty-five: Who is dad? I am too busy!

From the age twenty-five to thirty: It must’ve been difficult for dad… I can understand, because, I am a dad, now!

From the age thirty to thirty five: ‘Dad was so sweet… He must’ve gone through hell raising a worthless guy like me!’

From the age thirty-five to forty: Dad was the Greatest person on earth! Oh! I miss him so much!

Friends, by then, the dad must be too old to savor that compliment…

Or, he may be even not there around to receive it!

This post is about our dads. Our rich dads and our poor dads. Our good dads and our bad dads. About loving them… for whatever they have been! This post is to remind ourselves: Our dads did what they did in the wisdom bestowed upon them. They are our BEST DADS… THE GREATEST!

Today, my dad is no more around when I really, really feel like telling him that.

Son, I am still around!


GERALD D'CUNHA

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LIKE THOSE ANGELS...



Mountains fascinate me…

I find them stunningly beautiful, glorious!

They inspire awe in my soul… romance in my heart…

And cause goose bumps all over my body.


But, that is when I observe the mountains

Standing far, far away from them.

Yes, the mountains look majestic only from a distance!


People in my life are no different from the mountains.

No matter how significant they are in my life,

I need that distance

To see, value and appreciate their beauty, their glory.

I do not like to be intimidated by the mountains…

And, when I try to get too close to them,

I end up feeling intimidated… even threatened and hurt.


I do not like to be intimidated by people in my life, either…

Oh yes, they are so wonderful…

They are so precious in my life!

Still, still… I need that distance –

That space – to feel and value...

The warmth of their hearts…

I have to come out of their embrace

To realize how magical that moment was…


Yes, only the distance can do that!


Nobody likes to live on a snow-capped mountain…

It is too cold out there,

Too lonely!


There are meadows…

There are planes…

There are even deserts…


Beauty exists only in the realm of distance.

Like those stars.

Like those angels.

Like that God… who they say lives in Heaven!



GERALD D'CUNHA

Monday, November 28, 2011

HEY, THIS IS ME...



Many a times, I wonder: why didn’t I let go that strain, that weight , that argument, that grudge, that greed, that obsession, that blind pursuit… long before? Why did I have to go through such a grind? Such churning of soul? Endure such turmoil and pain?


Letting go of any pursuit… any thing, in fact, is tough.

The churning of our soul has to happen,

the heart has to bleed a little…

the mind has to see the futility.

We should become tired... Yes, tired of our blind pursuits!


I first read this lovely parable in Ramakrishna Paramahasa’s book. I have told this story to so many and each time, I tell it or read it, it invariably makes my heart smile. “Hey, this is me.”

One late afternoon, the fishermen had just returned after their daily catch and they were busy sorting out the fish in their boat. Suddenly, from nowhere, a Kite swooped down on the boat and picked a tiny fish by its beak, and it shot back into the sky. As soon as that happened, there appeared in the sky a hundred crows. They began to follow the Kite, screeching like mad. Whichever direction the Kite took, the crows followed it. It took left, the crows chased him there; the Kite took right, the crows followed him, too. The Kite shot up into heights, the crows did too… the Kite nose-dived into the sea, the crows plunged too. The chase went on and on… neither the Kite nor the crows willing to give up, let go.

Finally, the Kite felt tired. It decided to drop the fish down. So, it let the fish go off its beak. Immediately, the crows left the Kite alone and went after the falling fish… screeching and screaming with even more madness.

The Kite, left with no steam in its body, slowly settled on the branch of a nearby tree. Sitting there, relieved of the entire burden, it watched in delight the blind chase that was still on. “There goes with that wretched fish,” it reasoned, “all my woes.”



I like this parable so much. “Hey, this is me!” I keep telling myself every time I read or narrate it. Yes, this Kite is me. The ‘wretched’ fish is what I desperately try to hold on to – my blind pursuits. The hundred screeching crows are my miseries, my woes. The branch of the tree is where I am supposed to be!

So, every time I revisit this little fable, I find myself asking these questions, too:

“Why did the Kite pick the ‘wretched’ fish, in the first place?”

“Even if it did, why did it have to endure so long the struggle? Why didn’t it drop the fish the moment it sighted its tormentors?”

“Why in the world, the hundred crows had to go after this one little fish when there was a boat-full... More than their fill for each one of them?”

“Who were the crows after? The Kite or the fish?”

“Who was blind – the Kite or the crows?”

“Who was wise?”


“And yes, why didn’t the wisdom come before?”


GERALD D'CUNHA

AMAZING GRACE...



Yes, I woke up this morning…

This is the greatest miracle in my life.

Some how, I never think it is…

I think, that I am ‘entitled’ to wake up, each morning…

That, it is my ‘right’.


Last nigh, my heart was heavy…

I was angry and bitter with someone.

It was supposed to be the last thought

I would carry to my bed…

It was consuming me like hell-fire.

My mind was arguing with my heart - “You are right.”


Yes, I might have been ‘right’…

And the other person

Might have deserved all my rage and ranting.

But, that did not help me to go to bed like a little child;

My heart did not want a justification for my bitterness…

It wanted a healing kiss.


I went by my heart…

Without even blinking, I sent a message to the person:

‘I am sorry’…

With no strings attached.


I also sent a couple of loving messages

To those who I missed…


“Who knows,” my heart throbbed, “Tomorrow may not come.”


One more morning… One more miracle…


Amazing Grace! Amazing Grace!


GERALD D'CUNHA

Saturday, November 26, 2011

LIKE ROWING MY BOAT BACKWARD...



Regrets are worse than those blunders

For which I now regret…

Regrets are like the chains around my heart…

They keep me imprisoned.


If life is a constant onward movement,

Then, there is no point in rowing my boat backward.

There is no point in crying over the spilled milk.


Yes, the situations in my life could have been better;

The people who came in my life could have been more loving and faithful;

The time spent with my children and my parents could have been of a higher quality;

The prayers I said could have been more meaningful;

The friends I moved around with could have been not just the fair-weather kind;

The career I chose could have been the one my heart had thirsted for;

The person who I fell for could have been not just an ‘image’;

The business could have been better,

The house could have been bigger,

The degree could have been prettier,

The happiness could have been sweeter,

The pain... much, much lesser.


And, yes, God could have been kinder… more generous!


Regrets.

Living with them is like living in the past…

Like living dead!



GERALD D'CUNHA

Friday, November 25, 2011

WHO DRIVES ME?



“What I do not like, I always postpone.

What I like... for it, I always find time."

A middle-aged man offered me a lift, this morning, in his car. His wife was sitting next to him, and they were on their way to attend the morning Satsang, somewhere in Dadar. It was supposed to be from 8.30 to 10 every morning. For the last three years, I see this couple leaving their home by 7.30, without missing a single day. The man would proceed to his office at Fort after the Satsang and the wife would return home.

“How do you manage it, sir?” I asked this man.

“I don’t have to manage,” the man said. “It is ‘He’,” he pointed to the sky. Then, he added, “You too have left home for your work at 7.30, this morning. You do it every day, and for years on. How do you manage to do it?”

For a while, I became silent. Yes, he was right. For the past so many years, I have been leaving home this early. “How do I manage to do it?” I asked myself. “What is my motivation?”

“All that we need to do is: keep our priorities clear,” the man told me. “‘He’ shows the way; He gives the strength.”

Frankly, it did sound a lot like ‘Satsang’ stuff. But, it wasn’t actually. He was talking sense… something simple and practical.

Last night, I did have the option of watching some late night movies - couple of them, back-to-back, as some do. I had the option of getting up at 9 or 10 or even 12 this morning. But, I did not do that. I chose to retire quite early and rise at 6 this morning. Was I not clear about my priority? I was.

So many ladies and men – young and old – get up so early and do their rounds of walking. Some go to their gyms, and some for Yoga sessions… Some watch religious programmes on TV, and some attend daily morning Mass in their churches. And, so many are in the kitchen doing their daily rounds; so many are busy showering all their attention on their children and husbands, and even on their old and sick parents. And, some, like birds of the sky, do leave for their work or school along with the Sun.

And, yes, some are glued to their beds, even when the blazing Sun stands right over their heads.


What I like in my life, I always value.

Or, is it the other way around?

What I value in my life, I always like.

Whatever way I see it, it looks right.

And, what I like and what I value –

For it, I always find time.


‘He’ lives in my heart. No ‘Satsang’ is needed to preach this plain Gospel to me. Therefore, ‘He’ knows what my heart likes, what my heart values. So, it is ‘He’ who drives me, my priorities. The man, who drove the car, this morning, was right.

But then, ‘He’ lives also in the hearts of those who are still glued to their beds, even at this hour of the day!

Who sets their priorities?

Who drives them?

Their life?


GERALD D'CUNHA

Thursday, November 24, 2011

BUT, NOT INTO EACH OTHER'S KEEPING...



"If you can not love yourself,

You can not love another.”

I meet many young college students who are head-over-heals in relationship. They call it ‘Love’. One of the most difficult things to deal with in such relationship, for most of them, is: the desperate clinging of the other partner.

“Why didn’t you call? Why didn’t you meet? Where did you go? What did you do? Who was there with you? Why can’t we go out? Why did you wear this? Why did you go there? Why? What? When? Who? Where? Whose?... Yes, all the possible ‘W’s’ in the world. Yes, in the world of our ‘Love Birds’.

What starts as some romantic sweet-nothings, now is marred with endless probing, judging, accusing, blaming, sulking, fighting and pain. Most of them are unprepared to deal with this volatile shift… They end up hurting each other; more importantly, they end up hurting themselves.

They begin to wonder: Where has all the sweetness gone? Why am I feeling so lonely now? Why is this suffocation? This fear? This pain?

Love is the hunger of our hearts. I said ‘Love’. When we do not receive enough love, we starve. When we do not give enough love, we become like misers – self-centered and hard. But, in romantic love, we share love only with the one we romanticize. It is very private, exclusive. And, unlike other forms of love, romantic love has a physical dimension to it… Intimacy is intimacy because we share our love and affection physically. For most youngsters, therefore, this is the tight spot. They are not prepared – with their full heart – to express themselves their love with all its intimacy. There is that desperation and there is that killing fear and guilt. For most youngsters, who come from simple middle-class families – driven by their social and religious values - this shall always remain so.

I may sound, here, a lot old-fashioned. But, I tell all youngsters, including my own nineteen-year-old son, this: “Honey, do not destroy yourself in the name of so-called ‘Love’. If you really want to experience Love, learn to Love yourself. “

What is that? Learning to Love myself? You mean I should learn to be selfish?

Far from it. Learning to Love myself is the greatest thing I can do for myself, for my own growth. My life, as Stephen Covey says, has many squares in it. My personal growth. My family. My social life. My hobbies. My religion. My education. My profession and work. My friends. My love life. My alone time. And so on. In other words, my life is not ‘one big square’. It is made up of many small squares. My Love life is one of these squares. God forbid, tomorrow, something goes wrong there, I still have other squares to keep me going . On the other hand, when all my focus and energy is invested in one box – when my life is ‘one big square’ called ‘my Love life’ – when that goes for a toss, goes with it my life too. Blank.

I tell the youngsters, “Honey, you do come first. Sit down, and think hard. Draw your life’s squares… See what will make you really fulfilled minus your love life.” I tell them, “Can you handle your life, if your Love life goes for a toss? What if your partner is of ‘clinging’ nature, all the time trampling on your space, making you feel suffocated? What if he or she is unable to handle him/herself when you try to assert your needs? What if he or she is obsessed with only you and nothing else in life? Will you give in to his/her emotional blackmails?”

Many a times, my questions to these youngsters leave them a bit disturbed. But, that is natural. They have invested emotions in this relationship… Like or don’t like, they have made their ‘choices’. Now, to re-think, re-workout… and, to back off, if needed – seem quite scary to them. But, then, I tell them: “Honey, whose life is it anyway? If you do not do it, now, be prepared to get into a deep hole. If you don’t do it, no one else can do it for you. Some surgeries can’t be postponed. Do it before it destroys everything else in your life.”




Love is really beautiful. But, why do I feel this loneliness, this pain, and this suffocation?

Love is empowering. But, why do I feel weak and helpless, now? Why do I feel I have no control on my own life?

Love is supposed to make me complete. But, why is that I feel this emptiness… This deep regret?

Have I gotten in touch with what I really wanted from my own life? My deep needs? My deep aspirations? My core Values? Have I discovered enough of my own world? Am I enough working on nurturing my own self-esteem? Is it that if I suffer from a low self-esteem, I can not truly love another…? If I cannot take care of my own self, how will I care for another?

Yes, if I do not love myself, how will be able to love another?

These are not just questions. They are answers, as well.

Love is like sand of the sea. White, gentle and beautiful. But, now that I try to hold it in my hand… the tighter I try to hold it, the more it slips out of my hand.

Khalil Gibaran said it so brilliantly in his little book ‘The Prophet’:


“Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For, only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And, the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”


Love is beautiful, Honey. But, please remember, if it doesn’t make you grow as an ‘individual’… it will only destroy you as a couple.

Yes, I really love you.


GERLAD D'CUNHA

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SOME THINGS IN LIFE HAVE TO WAIT...



Y
es, some things in my life can always wait...
And some things can not.

My parents would, often, remind me of this...
But then, I always took what they said for granted...

I wanted some things NOW!


Yes, some things in my life had to happen when they had to...

Including some of my mistakes, and the hard blows from them.

"Sweet heart," my parents had told me,
"Wait for the drizzle till the Monsoon comes."

They had told me, "Wait for the dreams till the night comes."

I thought they did not want me to be happy Now...
I thought they did not understand my heart's needs...


So, I sought drizzle in a hot summer...

I longed to dream before the night would come.

I only came out bruised and bleeding...


But then, there was a drizzle of another kind -
Right in the midst of hot , hot summer...

I saw dreams of another kind -
Right with my eyes wide open!

I saw the skies and heard a 'voice',
Which, perhaps, I would never, ever have heard in my sleep.


A weight fell off my heart...

I felt light and liberated.
"If the choices were mine, the bruises belong to me," I reasoned.
But, by now, I knew that the bruises caused pain
Only when I blamed.

I had no one to blame... not even myself.

"I did the right thing... if the lessons I learnt are right," I declared.


My parents are happy because I am 'back' in their fold...

I would have never understood the voices of their hearts
Without the rebellion of my own.


It is all good, then...

Waiting is sublime...

The drizzle of a July month is like the 'Manna' from heaven...

The dreams I see in my sleep
Can not be replaced by my day dreams...
Never.


Yes, some things have to happen when they have to...
And, some things in my life have to wait.


I would have never known this
Without some bruises and pain.


Life is mine... It is glorious!


GERALD D'CUNHA

EVEN THE HARDEST HEART CAN MELT...



In my last post, I recounted a story narrated to us by one of our Sunday school teachers. The moral of this story was: God knows what we think… and He sees what we do. There is no place in this world, where we can hide from Him. I was very small when I heard this story… and, as I told you in my post, some things in life, always, stay in our minds. This story has.
Another story comes to my mind.
Mrs. Satyawati was a lean, fair and gentle soul. She was our teacher in first standard. Yes, about forty-seven years ago. I still remember this Panchatantra story she had narrated to us. In fact, it was in the form of a musical; she had so beautifully sung it and enacted to us, the little ones. I still remember how I had cried in the class… and, how I had come home and recounted the story to my parents… So passionate was my teacher’s presentation that it would not go even till I go.
One late evening, a cow was returning to her home through a jungle. A hungry tiger came to attack her. She was the ideal dinner for the hungry tiger. “Master,” the cow cried before the hungry and fierce tiger, “I know you are hungry and need me for your dinner.” She continued, “But, please be little kind. I have my little child at home, who is hungry and waiting for me to come and feed. Please allow me to do it… I promise to you that I will come back and offer myself for your dinner.”
Obviously, the tiger did not believe the cow. It said, “You think I should believe you? Remember, I am not a fool.”
“Trust me Master, I will not go back on my word.” The cow pleaded. “Have mercy on my little child… I will return to you after I feed and send my child to sleep.”
“It is hard for me to trust,” the tiger announced. “I will not let you go.”
“Please my Master… for my little one’s sake,” the cow kept pleading, “Trust me, I will come back to you. I will not break my promise.”
“Alright then,” the angry tiger roared, “remember, if you break my promise, I shall have your child too along with you for my dinner. Understand?”
The cow thanked the tiger and headed towards her home.
After feeding its child and sending it to sleep, the cow proceeded back to the tiger. By now, the tiger had already concluded in his mind that the cow would not return. So, when he saw the cow back before him, he was shocked! “It is unbelievable,” he exclaimed in his mind, “What a rare species is this!”
“Master, I have come… I have kept my promise,” the cow said gently. “Please take your dinner.”
The tiger’s heart melted at this. “No, I can not do that with you. You are too good, too honest to be harmed.”
“My Maser, it is late and you must be hungry,” the cow cried, “please take me for your dinner.”
“I am moved by your honesty, O the truthful one,” the tiger repeated, “Please go back to your little one.”
The cow, too, was touched by the tiger’s gesture. She thanked him profusely and returned to her home.



The tigers are ruthless. The cows are docile.
But, the docile cow in this story trusts in the goodness of the tiger…
and till the end, she sticks to her values.
She doesn’t go back on her words.
Even the hardest heart has some compassion in it… some goodness.

I like this little story immensely. It helps me remain aligned to some of the values I believe in. When every one around keeps telling me, certain people can not be trusted, when every one around me keeps telling me to make a ‘fast kill’… I remember this story… My sweet teacher’s story.
Incidentally, my teacher’s name was Mrs. Satyawati. The truthful one.

GERALD D'CUNHA

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE ME...



Once, a Sunday school teacher gave each of her little students a small object and asked them to hide it anywhere they liked. “Only thing you remember, my sweethearts,” the teacher told them, “that no one should see you as you hide it.”

The little ones were excited. They ran around to find the loneliest place – far from any one’s sight – and, one by one, they came back and stood before their teacher. But, even after twenty minutes, Eddie had not come back. Finally, when he appeared, his face was sunk. “Teacher, I could not find any such place to hide this thing,” he said stretching the object before his teacher.

“What happened my child?” the Sunday teacher asked Eddie, “Tell me, why didn’t you find a place to hide it?”

“But, teacher, there is no such place, any where around,” the little Eddie cried, “Wherever I went to hide it, I felt God was watching me.”

The teacher affectionately held innocent Eddie close to her. The earlier Sunday, she had taught her children in the class, “My little angels, God is every where… We can not hide from Him anything… He watches what we think and what we do… He comes to know our every wish, every secret, every joy and every sorrow. Every sin.”

I must have been a little child of age six, seven or eight – when my own Sunday teacher, in my village church, had narrated to us this story. But, some little things, in life, do not fade away from our memory. This story of my Sunday teacher is one of those things. Every time, I am happy or sad, every time I do something good or bad, every time my mind indulges in something inappropriate – this old story of my Sunday teacher pops up before my heart… and, I do smile at God. “You caught me, again,” I say to Him… fully knowing, He will give me another chance…and, yet, another!


God watches me. It is such a powerful thought…

If I long for my life to be in alignment with my core Values.


The question, here, is: What are my core Values?

The question, here, also is: Why do I need Values in my life?



“Is He there in this pillar?” Hiranyakashipu had asked angrily his little son Prahlada. “Yes, He is,” was the fearless response of the innocent one. The father had brought down the pillar, consumed with rage, only to be killed by Lord Vishnu – who came out from the pillar as Narasimha – half man and half lion.

Little Prahladas that we all are… Our God resides everywhere, even in the pillar… even in the debris of our sinful thoughts and acts.

The thought that He watches me keeps me in His fold, always. It is such a lovely thought…

It is such a lovely story!


GERALD D'CUNHA

Monday, November 21, 2011

WHAT SHOULD MOTIVATE ME?



Vibha* is preparing for her twelfth-standard Board Exams. She is an extremely intelligent and organized person, and, in general, doesn’t need to be coaxed about her studies. She is very clear about her goal: Chartered Accountancy. She has the right aptitude and the right attitude, both, for achieving her goal. I feel really glad and fulfilled when I teach her for these reasons. Yes, I like those who know where they are heading, and who are self-motivated. They inspire me; and, as a teacher, I get highly motivated to teach them with all my passion… I go the extra-mile to teach such students.

Today, I casually I asked Vibha this: “Vibha, what motivates you to work hard on your own… without being reminded of all the time?”

For a while, Vibha hesitated to answer my question. I thought she had not thought of this as it had been a kind of habit for her to work so… very natural. But then, there was something she wanted to tell which seemed to be the answer to my question. I encouraged her to open up… made her feel free by being non-judgmental about what she felt was her source of motivation.

“My elder brother, sir,” Vibha said.

“That’s great,” I exclaimed. “What is he doing? He must’ve been a very intelligent, organized and self-motivated person, all along? Wasn’t he, Vibha?” I asked.

Vibha’s eyes revealed a hidden sadness. I knew she had something to say. I allowed her to say it.

“Sir, my brother is doing his Engineering. He was, in indeed, a very intelligent and goal-oriented person. My parents were always proud of him,” Vibha told me. She continued, “I wasn’t as intelligent or organized as he was when I was in school. So, there was this constant comparison by my parents with my brother which I detested. I would angrily argue with my parents, and, for some time, it affected my performance, too. But, I adored my brother; hence, I did not allow myself to remain bitter and hurt. But, yes, I did want to prove my parents – and maybe myself – that I too was good.”

“So, this deep need in you to prove your parents – and, importantly yourself – that you are good is motivating you to give your best; isn’t it, Vibha?” I asked. “Your brother is your bench-mark… He is a positive force in your life,” I consoled Vibha.

“That’s true, sir,” said Vibha with her wet eyes, “But, I do not feel good when I think of being compared or criticized by those who love me the most.”

It took only a few moments for Vibha to regain her composure.

“I have a suggestion, Vibha,” I said. “Now that you are almost an adult… and you are conscious of what is happening inside you… I think, you can make a ‘shift’ in your attitude.”

“In what way, sir?” Vibha wanted to know, sincerely.

“Is Chartered Accountancy your chief goal?” I asked her.

“Yes, sir,” Vibha was emphatic.

“You are not ‘forced’ by any one to do that?” I asked.

“No, sir. Never,” was the emphatic reply, again.

“Great,” I exclaimed. “Now, can you really feel inside your heart that your have ‘consciously chosen’ this goal… and you have done it for your absolute fulfillment… for feeling great about your own self?”

“I think, I can… and I think that sounds very good to do,” Vibha agreed.

“Look Vibha,” I continued, “when we set our goals out of our ‘conscious choices’ – and not in order to prove anyone or anything… there is a different power in such choices, a different beauty. Our motivation should come from our own goals which we ‘chose consciously’. That should be the right source.”

Vibha was able to grasp the meaning.

I also wanted to tell Vibha this. “Vibha, if the shift can take place along with a profound sense of gratitude and respect - towards your parents and brother – there will be an even greater beauty… even greater strength.”

In the silence, I knew there was a shift in motion. It was only human to feel, at times, sad, hurt or even angry. Yes, it is only human. Vibha is an intelligent soul… and, she would love her brother and parents even more, now.

What should be the right motivation to love those who I love?

What should be the right reason?

* The name changed


GERALD D'CUNHA

THE FIRST BEAT OF MY SOUL



What did I first think of when I woke up this morning?

Did I think of something happy or something sad?

Did I think of someone dear to my heart or someone my mind feared?

Who was my morning angel?

What was this day’s my maiden prayer?

Who was the one I feared… and why?

Who was the one who brought me hope, strength and peace?

Who is the one who rules my heart even to this hour of the day?

Who is the one who rules my mind?

Why do I need good angels in my life?

Why do some constantly coup against me?

Why do I still bless them?

Why do I still believe that Heaven is here – right amidst my sorrows?

Why do I look for newness in the old?

Why do I see a King’s banquet in my daily bread?

Why does goodness be the only treasure I must seek?

Why should I not believe in dying with a bitter heart?

Why should gratitude be my only prayer?

Why should not I lose faith in my home… my simple home?

Why should not I search for God somewhere away from my own soul?


What did my heart first wish this morning?

Who was my first angel?

Who was my first friend?

My first hope… the first beat of my soul?


GERALD D'CUNHA

Saturday, November 19, 2011

THIS VERY LIFE...


Yes, I wish I had a life of no worries…

I wish I had rich parents, great mansions…

And a hundred servants to serve…

I wish I had half-a-dozen young and beautiful wives…

And scores of children from them…

I wish I remained forever young… forever lucky…

Forever on my golden throne,

Right under the canopy of an everlasting full moon…

I wish there was snow in the bright summer…

And drizzle in the cold winter…

I wish I had friends who never deserted,

Neighbors who never argued,

And children who never disobeyed…

I wish I had strength of an Achilles...

The looks of a Cleopatra …

And grace of an Eklavya…

I wish I were born in another planet…

Under another star…

For another purpose…

I wish I had wings of a Falcon…

The heart of an antelope…

And smile of a lovely Saturn.

My planet is this. Earth!

My star is this. Sun.

My life is this. Of joys and sorrows…Of flights and fears…

Of love and desertions… Of scorching heat and biting snow.

I have one wife. Enough!

One son. Enough!

One heart which knows how to love… and love truly. Enough!

I wish I didn’t know how to wish for

A life that was not supposed to be…

This very life, this very life…

Yes, this is enough!


GERALD D'CUNHA

Friday, November 18, 2011

GOD IS TAKING MY PICTURES



Last evening, I left for home quite early. I had a bad giddiness and really wanted to go home and rest. The moment I landed at my complex, I saw one of our senior-citizen members taking his walk alone. I was seeing him after almost two months; so, I instinctively greeted him, “Good evening sir. How are you…? A very long time.” My next line would have been this: “How is your health, sir? How is everybody at home?” But, before I could ask all that, the elderly man started grumbling, “You have spent so much money on making this beautiful garden. But, just go and see… So many plastic bottles and filth are thrown into it!”

My heart sank! The instant reaction of my mind was, “I should have left the ‘old man’ alone. Yes, I am the Hon. Chairman of this Society. But, hello, I am not keeping fine... I just want to go home and rest.” Yes, this was the first thought. Self-pity. Then, came the second thought. “Come on sir, you are taking this evening walk because you are old and sick; you are a widower… Why do you think of this ‘filth’, this ‘non sense’ while you are supposed to be calm and light?” The third thought was of anger: “Hey, old man. This is neither the time nor the place for complaining, okay? Don’t forget, I am doing an honorary service for this Society… So that you can take a peaceful walk in the evening. Be thankful, okay?”

All these thoughts crossed my mind within seconds after the elderly man complained. And, within seconds, they passed too. “I know sir; it is really bad,” I found myself telling the senior citizen, “Our members should have civic sense.”

“You should issue Circulars… You should keep a fine,” the elderly man told me, “They don’t change otherwise.”

“You are right sir; we should.” I agreed and moved towards home. The walk continued…

I am sure, the grumbling, too!

In the lift, I was empathizing with the senior citizen. “He is so old and sick. For the last ten years, he has been a widower… It is but natural for him to complain… Just give him a patient hearing, that’s all.”

Luckily, I did exactly the same. Had I shouted at him – and I had all the right to do that – it would have left a heaviness in my heart. Perhaps, my giddiness might have worsened. I felt good the way I went about my own behavior, last evening.

The old man must be just over 70.

As I told you, I had decided to be at home and take good rest. I generally do not watch much TV. But, last night, I did. The last episode of KBC. An almost 70-year-old senior citizen was hosting the show, and I have been a die-hard fan of this old man. Last evening, he was hosting the last episode, and he was so graceful, so eloquent… so larger-than-life, yet, so earthly… I can never have enough of this soul. Never would I stop adoring … Never would I stop praying for him… and praying for me - : "Lord, even if you give me a life one percent productive and contributing as this man… I shall consider myself a blessed soul.”

I was in my ninth standard when I first saw the picture and a small write-up about this rising star in my village school library. I had begun to love him since then. Yes, over forty years to survive in an industry where even the brightest stars fade as seasons change… To survive such nasty blows in life… almost go bankrupt and almost go to grave… No, this man’s story defies the normal logic. There must be something special about him… something not for the ordinary reach.

Last night, I was thinking: “I am 53. At, seventy, where will I be? Will I be able to do what I am doing now? Leave alone what this man is doing!”

I was so happy for my idol. I cried, as I saw the show… I tore my heart and prayed: “O Lord, may this man live another thirty years and perform another thirty miracles. May he live to give us hope... May he be there - just to help us from turning bitter in life… complain, grumble… and give up.”

I went to bed meeting two senior citizens, last evening.

A dear student of mine knew I had gone home early because my Blood Pressure had shot up and I had a nasty giddiness. Just before I retired, this lovely soul sent me a very caring message, “Sir, it is time you took some real good rest…”

I smiled as I slept and sent my reply. Just a smiley!

Just when I had caught sleep, my Girish sent his mid-night message.


One rainy day, a mother went to pick up her six-year-old son

From the school thinking that he might fear the lightening.

On the way, she found him smiling at the sky for every lightening.

She asked, “Son, why are you smiling?”

The little one said, “Mom, God is taking my pictures

And I need to look good.”

Life is so simple… It is we who make it complicated.


I had a real good rest, last night.


GERALD D'CUNHA