Monday, December 12, 2011

THE SPANISH DANCE



I remember reading this little story, many years ago. It was in Shiv Khera’s famous book: ‘YOU CAN WIN’.

A man had a dog with an unusually special gift: he could run over water! Now, what a special gift that was, in deed! This man, obviously, felt proud about his gifted dog… and many, many people complimented him on it. He, undoubtedly, felt good about it.

Then, one day, this man happened to meet an old, dear friend. He wanted to show this friend the special talent of his dog and took him along for hunting. They went to the countryside. There, he proudly demonstrated to his friend the unique talent of his dog. Every time he shot down a bird from the sky, the gifted dog, like a missile, would speed over the water, and fetch back the bird to his master. It happened repeatedly.

“Did you see, my friend?” the man asked with immense pride.

“Yes, I did?” replied the friend.

“What did you see?” the man wanted to be reassured.

“That, your dog can not swim!”

Last night, I proudly showed a dear, dear friend one of my favorite posts: “Mountains Fascinate me…” Many had complimented me on it. Nanu, my dear student, went mad over it; Girish, my real good well-wisher, was fascinated by it. Pooja, who is a respected CA, author and Trainer… felt so good after reading it, that she earnestly requested me to permit her to use it as a Status on her Face book. So, I, obviously, felt proud of my ‘special dog’… my special post!

“Did you like it, my friend?” My heart couldn’t wait. “Tell me something nice… as others did.”

“Ha-ha! It is ‘intimidated’… and you have written ‘intimated’…” this person reacted quite bluntly. “A hundred people must’ve already noted this ‘silly blunder’… It reflects badly on you!”

I became numb!

The rest of the discussion was only for namesake. I felt very bad, very low, last night.

“Now, come on… Your are the one who keeps motivating us… Be a sport, buddy… Learn to take criticisms in your stride… After all, not many point to us our flaws… If you wish to grow, learn to handle brickbats… Filter them - accept the good, drop the bad…” Yes, I went through all these dialogues in my mind in a swift succession… and, I got over it.

Then, I asked in succession these too: Why do I write, every day? And, why have I been doing it for the last thirty-three years? Why on every bit of scrap that came my way? Why on every diary, every old envelope?… Why, now, on this blog? What is my motivation, my need, my intention…? Am I dying to win the ‘Sahitya Academy Award’? Or a ‘Booker’?

My mind went back to my days in Mangalore. My local school where we stood under the massive banyan tree and blissfully p..d! The trees were our toilets! That was till my 5th standard. Then, I moved to a big school and got lost there, all the while comparing myself with others… My medium was Kannada and my mother tongue was Konkani. English was a dreaded ghost… It began to haunt me as I became aware of my body and mind. By the time I was in College, I carried with me the heavy stone of Inferiority Complex. I began to skip social events, even the Mass on Sundays… and all those village weddings.

Any one knows this?


My mom and dad loved me.

But, they were unable to understand

this inner world of their son.

And, even if they could, perhaps,

I had no wisdom, then,

that I had to open up before someone…

and seek help.


I only suffered. Day in and day out. But, one thing marvelous happened: I resolved, then and there – even in the midst of my nagging low phase – that I would not allow this ‘handicap’ called ‘English’ to cripple me for life…

Today, when I look back at my life, I realize that - whatever I have done till today – and am still doing, even at this very moment – has come from this silent resolve. That, I wouldn’t allow my language to stop me from expressing who I am… That, I will turn my handicaps into my blessings. I teach. I write. I train. Yes, all in English… In ‘my’ English… and not the British… Not the Yankee… and, my friend… I do a lot of mistakes, some silly, some innocent… and some huge ones!

What the heck, my buddy! I still ask my students: “Tell me, How you spell this… How you pronounce this… What does this word mean?” And, let me tell you, with all my pride and pleasure this: They feel ‘thrilled’ to help me out… No, I can bet all my bucks on it: They would never feel: “What a dumb man our sir is!”

Thank you, all my young teachers!

My dear friend could not see all the sublime things in that Post which my other dear ones could. He could only see ‘intimated’… in the place of ‘intimidated’. He could only see my ‘blunder’. That, the special gift my dog was blessed with – it could run like a rocket over water – he was blind to it. It could not swim… was what his heart could see. He was also blind to one more thing: how I felt when he said what he did!



Saturday night was special. My cousin’s son Ranjeet got married to beautiful Lisa; the wedding reception filled me with tremendous amount of joy. The couple danced to the first song. It was the old country number of John Denver - ‘Annie’s Song’:


You fill up my senses
Like a night in the forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

Come let me love you
Let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter
Let me die in your arms
Let me lay down beside you
Let me always be with you
Come let me love you
Come love me again

Let me give my life to you
Come let me love you
Come love me again


I learnt that it was Ranjeet’s choice. He would love to hear that it would have been my choice too… It is so sublime… so full of love. Liza was singing along as the shy Ranjeet held her and danced, his eyes soaked into her.

Then, the DJ played this last Spanish song. My cousin, Arthur’s gorgeous daughter Sydel danced with the brilliant Master of Ceremony. And, this young girl stole our hearts! Those were not easy steps… They needed perfection, a lot of practice and passion… And when Sydel danced, I watched her with sheer delight. It was a treat for all of us, that late evening, who stood there, beheld, around the dance floor… with our eyes and hearts all glued.

When the song ended, Sandra, Sydel’s lovely mom, jumped into the middle and embraced her young blood with a cry that went straight into the night’s silent sky: “Baby, I love you!”

My heart stopped!



“Who helped whom that night?” I asked in my heart as the dance kept coming back to me that night. Was it Sandra, the mother, that helped Sydel? Or, “Was it Sydel, the daughter?”

After many, many years of this roller-coaster ride called - ‘My journey towards a healthy self-esteem’, I can tell this with some kind of authority:

When snow falls, it doesn’t hurt even a fragile leaf;

But, when thunder strikes, even a vulture flees.


There was snow-fall on Saturday night; there was thunder on the one gone by.


GERALD D’CUNHA


P.S. Dear, you may come across many ‘intimates’ in this Post. But, please love me. It helps!

,

35 comments:

Priya Malani said...

What is this sir? Self-esteem can be built through our tears too!

I cried a bucket of tears as I read this snow-filled piece!

Thank u! Thank u! Thank U!

Pl don't stop writing, sir. Pl.

- Priya

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Ya Priya... Happy tears are good, they help... to build ur self-esteem!

Now, dance like Sydel!

Thanks,

Love, Sir

VIMLA said...

Speechless!

Thank you.

--- Vimla

AANCHAL BUDHRANI said...

ya that was so true when u said....u still keep asking your students, english spellings....... and ya we love helping you with it.... and we sure DO NOT think... that sir is so dumb!!...infact we love helping you out :) nice write up sir !!

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Thank u Aanchal... That's was so kind of u to say so.

U all sure help this 'dumbo'!

Love, Sir

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Still speechless, Vimla?

I know, that is 'snow-fall' of 'self-esteem'!

I am glad!

Thanks,

Love, Sir

suman dhing said...

it is simply 'AMAZING'!!!
i truly loved it:)



love,
suman:)

ashish said...

Dear Gerald D'Cunha

After reading this blog I find nothing surprising in what you have been doing ever since I 've know you for over two decades.
You have articulated the same intense, honest, inspirational, self-less contribution to the community who have been touched by your gestures over the years that I've known you.

You continue to humbly provide deep insights to your students, friends, family and acquaintances all these years by your motivational attitude .

It does not surprise me that the transition from your exhaustive editorials for BLOOM to interactive Blogs this intense, was inevitable.

Im honoured Gerald D'Cunha to been sent the link to this beautiful literary treatise by a mentor, friend, philospher and guide.

Thank you Sir !

Girish Dhameja said...

Critics are best teachers. It depends upon how we use there comment and how we react. I like your approach that his word "Intimidate" made you to write this article and again we have this wonderful piece to learn to experience and to comment. Today in your english you use classic words. Even my grammar for this language is not good but we all are here to learn and we will learn for sure. Some few years before i had visited Moscow and my english was not having any use as the people with whom we were interacting were speaking in russian language on those flowery language was nothing for them.

I would say the daugther's dance made her mom dance in joy.
Keep writing always. Do right for people who luv it, who want to comment it and who want to criticize it. Even when a person has to criticize someone he has to hear the other person.

Harish said...

The thoughts / facts expressed in the write up is so very serene. It touches the readers soul. For me it was like bringing back my good old days wherein I used to shy away from speaking in English because of the lack of confidence in myself - CA Harish Hegde

bhavika chhabria said...

sir, its an amazznn post!
its true, only dear, dear friends can help you correct your wch r very important as dey give you a scope to improve! :-)

Yash Sharma said...

Sir i Dint knoe that english was one of ur fears but all i know is that u hav conquered your fear big time......that makes me real PROUD....

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Thanx Suman.

Keep reading, keep commenting.

Love, Sir

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Hi Avi (Ashish)... what a lovely compliment u have given me... I felt elated!

Avi, u too have contributed to my growth... and of the DC as well...
Ur own growth is the subject of another inspiring story! I wd love to cover it some day!

I am glad that this Blog has brought us together...

Pl keep reading and commenting.

Thank u, once again

Love, GERRY

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Thanks Girish... as always, u add new sides to my sandwich!

One day, u should write about ur 'adventures'in Moscow, Germany, China, Dubai... and, of course, in our Chembur Camp! I wo be happy to edit it!

So, keep pushing me, as usual.

Love, Sir

Anonymous said...

I could feel the the 'first dance'... I could feel the 'last dance'... I could feel the 'snow fall'... I could feel the 'thunder'!

Thank you.

Gerald D'Cunha said...

And, my friend... I could feel what u are saying!

Thanks u so much.

Love, GERRY

NANU said...

Brilliant Sir!!! One of the most amazing pieces u have written till now! Wish,u cud read it out to me!

--- NANU

P.S.: Thank u for mentioning me!

NANU said...

By the way sir, I read today the other Posts too... and, yes, the 'Mountain' one,too. CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH OF THAT!!!

U r an amazing writer, sir!

Thank u.

-- NANU

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Hi Harish, I am glad u liked my Post.

Yes, we r the 'underdogs'... We have that fire in our bellies which has and is still keeps us going... bouncing back, over and over again.

I wanted to tell the kids of today... " u guys need to know what it takes to for an underdog to express himself."

Thanks for sharing. U did CA, despite the constrains, in one flat go. Kids, today, need to know what it takes to do that...

I have seen u going about establishing ur set up, brick by brick over all these years... Kids, today, need to know what it takes to do that...

I pray, our kids would not lose this fire... the fire in their bellies!

Thanks, again.

Love, GERRY

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Thanks Bhavika... U are very sensitive, very open to learning. It will help u always.

Love, Sir

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Thank u Yash...

yes, English was a nightmare!!

Yes, it helped... to give my best in life.

Love, Sir

Gerald D'Cunha said...

"Can't have enough of it?"

Nanu, then, read again...and again... and again!

And, yes, more than writing, I love the reading sessions!

Wl read for u, sure.

Thanks a lot,

Love, Sir

Mustafa said...

Sir.I read ur Blog. Extremely nice story. So practical. V tend to forget what is good and beautiful around us spend more time in negative aspects of life. i wl try to follow ur Blogs. keep writing. May God Bless.

Regards,

.Mush

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Thanks Mush for ur response...

Yes, we do tend to ignore the sublime things which are in plenty all around us...

We see the negative, the blunders.

I am glad u liked the Post.

Keep reading,

Love, SIR

sonal said...

"To Err is to Human"...
Life is all about learning and experiencing....its a long journey... It is up to us to make this journey exciting and loving like the Spanish dance..Yes we all have our insecurities and it can be very dangerous to stay with it....we don't need to allow them to make a nest in our mind....we need to shed them...a very positive way is by reading ur blogs....As a parent it has made me realize that my child may have needed me and called me up teem number of times when i was busy making their life comfortable materialistically... did I shower them with my attention or busted out with anger. I need to check my mistakes.....

Gerald D'Cunha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VIVEK D'CUNHA said...

Dear Dattu, my eyes were filled with tears when I was reading your Blog!I was crying like a lost sheep!

You have written the 'truth'!

I wanted to talk to you about my this particular handicap, which has been troubling me since my childhood.

I still remember how you used t motivate me when I first came to Mumbai; you were giving me to write something in English.. learn to speak. Those were the days at The Dawn Club... I found the real meaning of the word 'Motivation'... that really helped me... and is still helping me in my day-to-day life. I learnt from you how to motivate and help others...

Dattu, you are my 'Good Shepard'!and I am that 'lost sheep'!

I am touched by your simple and honest words...Hats off to you, my real Hero!

I am blessed to have you as my elder brother. As my dear 'dattu'!

Thank you.

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Hi Sonal, it feels really nice to hear it from a mom... of such wonderful young kids!

Yes, we all feel 'guilty' so very often.

When self-esteem is built, no sound is heard... it is gentle as snow.
But, when it is broken, it comes as cruelly as thunder!

Yes, let's help... and get helped, as well.

Thanks,

Love, SIR

Gerald D'Cunha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerald D'Cunha said...

Yes Viva, those were the 'glorious days'!

You have expressed your feelings so honestly, so fresh and direct they are... I loved the way you have poured yourself in them.

In my blog, I do the same...

Love is such...

Be grateful for whatever good that has come your way, and be graceful for those dismal moments...

Life is beautiful...

Let's us do our bit to others as well... We all can!

Thanks for being kind... and wish u and ur family the very best.

Love, Dattu

SYDEL REBELLO said...

feels nice to be a part of this masterpiece uncle ! ...truly delighted :D

arthur rebello said...

gerrry great writing,most beautiful way of expressing your feelings and thoughts and bringing them into words,great ,u touched my internal nerves.

Gerald D'Cunha said...

O Sydel, finally!

Let me tell u, u are not just a 'part' of this 'masterpiece', dear, u are the 'protagonist'... the main character in it!

So, if u don't say a word on it, why should anyone else?

I told mom, till Sydel doesn't do it, I wd not feel good about myself...

Sydel dear... Pl understand this piece is not about a 'Spanish Dance'... it is about 'Self-esteem'... it is about helping each other to build it!

Thank u so much for ur feedback. Pl keep up ur special talent... and do well in studies too...U and Amanda are two lovely souls of mom and dad...

My best wishes to u, both, always.

Do keep reading my blog, tell about it to your friends... all of u co comment...

We help each other!

Thanks,

Love, Gerry Uncle

Gerald D'Cunha said...

Arthur, I am glad u liked my post.

Anima and myself were hugely impressed by Sydel's spontaneous performance... and, felt good for all of u...

Arthur, u and Sandra have brought them up well...

Keep encouraging them... that's the best thing we the parents can do to our children.

Thanks,

Love, GERRY