Monday, January 30, 2012

YES, I AM MY BEST FRIEND









Once again, I am writing on the same subject: “Fear, Anger, and Jealousy… Why is it so difficult to do away them from my life? How can I separate these feelings from my actions?


Kumar likes my articles. I haven’t met him, yet. But, I have a strong feeling: the reason why he likes my posts is that I sound to him very much like him… a real human… filled with the same raw emotions of love and hate, faith and fear, admiration and jealousy… I think, he likes the fact that I sincerely talk about my confusions, my struggles and my genuine yearnings to be good, compassionate and zestful…. Yes, despite all my insecurities, pain and self-doubts.


Yes, I think Kumar sees hope in my writings!


I find it extremely difficult to separate my emotions from my actions… even though anger, fear and envy are not the emotions to help me produce good actions. Or, is that – they ARE? Kumar could relate it – this dilemma, this drama – to  his life. 


In my next post, ‘Warmed By The Same Summer’, I had written this:



I do get angry.

I do get afraid.

I do get jealous.

And, I do want to know: 

“What is wrong with that?”


I had further said:

If something is wrong, then alright: Let me write about it… as it is… not hiding anything, not justifying, not blaming or accusing… not feeling guilty or victimized. Yes, let me write about it honestly, fully… beautifully.


And, there they go – my anger, my fear, my envy - like a ghost out of my body…
Leaving me feeling not just good, but Great. Yes, Great!


Came Kumar’s honest response, quickly:


Dear Gerry,
For you, your anger, your fear and your envy go out of your body – like a ghost, because you are able to write it down so beautifully. What about us?? How do we remove the ghost out of our body?”




 



A very dear student of mine, Natasha*, is presently in some personal pain. She always looked up to me, sought my help regularly and I was very happy doing what I was doing. She had sincerely expressed to me, time and again, that she was grateful to me for my help and it had helped her to grow as a strong, confident and zestful human being. And, now the final exams are round the corner… some personal problem – a painful misunderstanding with someone dear to her – has made her suddenly sulk. She doesn’t respond to anyone’s phone calls or messages… It is a sudden blackout. 


When two to three attempts to reach her through my texts failed, just last afternoon, I sent a very honest and direct message – very gentle and caring as well – to this dear soul who was in pain. “Natasha, I am concerned about you as there is no communication from your end,” I told her, “You are in pain and I understand your need to be alone… and I respect that. But, at the same time, it is important to communicate that need to others frankly, fearlessly and gently… It is crucial for our well-being… It makes us peaceful, light… and helps us walk with our head high…Our lack of communication is causing misunderstanding, hurt and pain… and slowly it can turn into poison. I really appreciate a word of communication so that my mind stops guessing and we stop hurting each other more…”


Within seconds, Natasha got back to me. She apologized for causing this misunderstanding and thereby the hurt and pain… She expressed her present need to be alone to figure out things on her own… and she hoped I would understand her.


I did. All that I needed to hear from Natasha, whose well-being I cared for as my own little daughter, was this simple, sincere and well-intended statement. I immediately expressed my delight in receiving this message and I told her that her honest gesture would help both of us to walk light in life… without any fear, guilt, blame or anger. I assured my helping hand whenever required and, above all, I told her that I would respect her need to be alone. 


I had a choice to put an end to all this by just ignoring it as ‘such a small stuff’ in life. Or, to keep pestering her to come around and be nice to me as she always had been… Or, to act like an Alexander-the-Great and tell her on her face, “To hell with you, ma’am!”


And, yes, I had this choice too: To trust in another soul’s goodness… be compassionate… be a little more large-hearted in my approach… and handle a relationship with sensitivity and care… God forbid, I did not want a fine relationship to come to an end on a poisonous note and add more stress in my life. There is already enough. 


So, it was all about a choice. I chose to trust… and I took a risk. Maybe, Natasha could have ignored my gesture… Luckily, she did not. Had she, yes, probably I would have sulked more… experience the whole gambit of human feelings – insecurity, loss of love, hurt and betrayal… blame and anger… and after that what?

 
Yes, after that what?


Was it Natasha’s life or was it my life I was so keen to put on track?


Natasha wants to be alone, precisely for this reason. She has realized that no one else can put her life on track… except she herself. So, she wants to be alone for some time, see things in proper perspective… and, that is the sanest thing she can do, at this stage. The worst thing would be: to allow the hurt and pain turn into poison in her soul. She realized it and that’s why she instantly, reconciled with me. 


I do the same, every morning. It is my life… and I do it alone… through my journal – my writings, my confessions. It helps me… heals my wounds, makes me feel liberated from the bondage of blame, guilt, victimization and hostility. It makes me feel confident happy and successful.  Moreover, it helps me grow in life as a very constructive and contributing kind of human being. And yes, very, very spiritual… very much connected to my dear, dear friend and well-wisher, my God!


And, yes Kumar, this is my way of chasing the Ghosts out of my body!


Incidentally, just before Christmas, I had gifted a beautiful New-year dairy to Natasha and encouraged her to write down her thoughts – as she felt them – so that she could grow stronger, finer and wiser in life. But, as Kumar admitted, everybody can not do that… 


Everybody can not send ghosts out of their body the way I do… by writing so beautifully about them!


“Kumar, my writings come from my good intentions. I mean well for me and everyone around. As you do… and as my dear and innocent student Natasha does. If not writing, you can always pick up the phone and say what you want to say… You can always open your heart before someone and say how scared you are… how confused, how guilty… and, how angry. If no one is there to tell to, you can tell it  to God… Trust me, He would surely listen.


“Good intentions pierce through even our deadliest enemy’s heart. Every move that you make should spring from your good intention… You mean well for others… and, that is the key for your own well-being. Learn to communicate even your worst thoughts in the most sincere and fearless manner… Keep no extra baggage, keep no wounds unattended… walk light, and walk with your head high. There is no peace in the world outside… the world is within you.”


 


On the 26th of this month, my wife’s colleague, Himali died of breast cancer. She was barely 31 and had left behind her young husband and their six-year-old son in great sorrow. Just a few months ago, Himali had been to Russia with all her colleagues, including my wife. My wife spoke fondly about those memories… Hemali, probably knew what was going to come… and she lived every moment in Russia to the fullest. There was no sign of self-pity, pain, fear or regret… and they had beautiful time being together. And, then, on 26th morning, some one called my wife to tell, “Himali is no more!”


Even in the most biting chill of Russia, my wife hadn’t frozen. On hearing this news, she did!





I am 53 and my wife is 44. 

Natasha is 17 and Kumar, I do not know. 

“But, let me tell you this, Kumar. 

Everything happens in the NOW – today. 

Yes, love, hate, faith, fear, 

appreciation, envy… 

 anger and reconciliation. 

NOW is really the time to heal

your own wounds 

and to heal someone’s too. 

If peace is your deep intention, 

do whatever it takes...”





I do not want to die a bitter soul… Nor do I wish to leave someone so when I die. I will do whatever it takes to do away the bitterness…


These ghosts return…


My good intention will take care of them!


Love you Kumar, love you Natasha… Love you LIFE!



* The name is changed


GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.







Saturday, January 28, 2012

GRIHA PRAVESH








There is a simple spiritual law. It goes like this:

 “When you leave a place – any place - you leave it in a better condition than you found it when you first came in.”


Well, it says, ‘Any place’!


Just a while from now, Mr. Kamal * and his family are all set to step into their new house. The auspicious moment is just round the corner… and, they have invited my family, too. I have asked the Florist to deliver a lovely bouquet at the stroke of the clock… “Wish you and your family all happiness, prosperity and peace, dear Kamal,” I have written on the note. 


What a happy moment for young Kamal and his family!


Incidentally, the man who sold that house to Kamal was not liked by anyone around. He had lived in that house for nearly five years… and, during all these five years, he had been a chronic complainant… mean and vengeful… short-sighted and selfish.


Well, it is not my perception… It is the general perception of everyone around here.


Five years ago, when this man had come to stay here, he must have come with big dreams… They say, he was not liked by the people there, too, and he was literally banished from that place. Now, here, in the company of similar men, he continued to live by his old ways… and, he carried himself when he landed here, five years ago.


People don’t change just because they have moved to a big house… Wherever they go, they carry themselves!


Two days back, when some of us were talking, this man happened to come. “Only two days for me here,” he said, maybe hoping to find some sympathy. 


None even raised an eyebrow!


“Good riddance… Why two days, get lost today itself!” This was how all of us had felt. Yes, he had polluted this place… He was leaving it in a condition worse than how it was when he came in.


And, today, young and friendly Kamal is moving into this house. He was on rent in this very complex for the last five years… and, even though he did not own any house, every one out here loves him and his family…

So, Kamal will carry himself to the new house!


Yes, he will carry the goodness, happiness, prosperity and, above all, peace.


He will leave, one day, leaving this place in a condition much, much better than how it is now. I have no doubts about it. 


Leave the place a little better than how you  found it when you first came in!












Does this spiritual law also apply to relationships?


I think, it does.




As a teacher, 

 
I will apply this law 


to send my students as much better 

a lot 


than how I found them 


when they first came to me. 




As a father… As a husband… As a business associate… As a friend… As a neighbor… As a Society member or as its Chairman… As a co-passenger… As a well-wisher… As  whatever…
Yes, the spiritual law is at play everywhere, every day…


I should not leave my place making it ‘dirty’…


I should not leave relationships making them ‘dirty’, either!




The time for ‘Griha Pravesh’ is here…
The time to make my home a better one…

I have come… in you, dear...
When I leave you, your heart will surely tell me –
That I have left you a lot happier, a lot richer
And yes, a lot more peaceful.



* The name is changed



GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.





DEAR, I CARE FOR YOU...






Mind is weak…
And, it loses faith in the goodness
Of other people,
And fast.


At one moment,
My mind makes me feel secure
Just by a passing thought of a loved one…
But, the next moment,
Just a skipped call
Could make my mind feel very lost and lonely…


Am I lost and lonely
Because I did not hear my loved-one’s voice?
Or, is it because I did not hear my own?


Every time I tell my loved-one,
“Dear, I care for you”,
I do get the reply,
“Yes dear, I care for you, too.”


Now, the deal is done…
I have promised to care for you,
And you have done the same to me…
Yes, it looks like the pact is sealed…
And we shall be forever floating
Among the lovely stars in the skies.


But then, we are on this trembling ground…
Still unable to comprehend
The depth of that promise
We just made to each other:
“Dear, I care for you”!
I keep asking you – “Do you still love me?”
And, you keep asking me – “What about you?”





Mind is weak… 

Love and care doesn’t look like 

A job of this mind…

No, it is incapable 

Of loving and caring.




I prayed to God, just this morning, once again:
“Lord, help me how to love another…
Even when I do not hear
That sublime voice from the other end,
For days and days together…
Help me hear my own:
That, I care and love myself enough…
Yes, enough to do the same for another.”


Mind broods…
Heart rejoices.
If I am not secure in my own heart,
I shall only be caged in another’s!




GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.



Friday, January 27, 2012

NO ONE HAS KEPT A GUN ON MY HEAD







When I first read the book ‘Loving What Is’, by Byron Katie, I had come to realize that stress in my life is the result of an ‘unexamined problem’. That, what happens in my life does not cause stress in my life, but the story that I weave around it , in my mind, does.

So, she urges us to write down, as clearly as possible, our ‘Problem’… what we think as the cause of our stress… and she leads us, through a very therapeutic inquiry, just through her four simple questions…

Mrs. Katie calls this inquiry - 'The Work'.

By the end of dealing with these four simple questions… yes, when we have answered sincerely these four questions, we will be left with nothing or no one to blame!

We realize that  it is our life, and, hence, it is our business…

Situation changes when its perception changes… Till then, we would only go crazy wanting to make a cat bark!

As Mrs. Katie, so beautifully, tells us that, at the end of all our frantic attempts to do that, the cat  will only look at our frantic face and sing -  ‘Meow’!




When we see the reality… 

as it is… 

the blame and pain, both, come to an end… 

We become stress-free… 

Light. Peaceful.



Mrs. Katie tells in this book, that, in life,  all of us mind only  three businesses:  our own, or someone-else's... or God’s.

She shows us, gently, that whenever we step into others’ or God’s business, we invite stress in our life. "So, step out of others’ business… and step out of God’s… " She reminds us. "When you focus on your own business, you become light, peaceful."


Today, at 6 in the morning, our door-bell rang. I was awake since 4 as I had to correct some Prilims papers. I had called my students to my class at 8 am today to collect the same. So, when I opened the door, I saw a middle-aged lady and her young son standing outside. They seemed a bit agitated. A tree had fallen on their car at 5 in the morning and damaged it badly. 

Now, I was the Hon. Chairman of our Society and I had to deal with the situation. My concerns: I still have so many papers to correct; I have to shave, take bath, organize my breakfast and lunch… So, the first reaction was ‘irritation’. They wanted me to come and have a look…

 “Why did the Society not cut that ‘dead’ tree before?” they asked me. 

Now, I gently asked the lady, “Ma’am if the tree was dead, why had you been parking your car right under it… Even not allowing anyone else to park his car there?” 

“No, no… Society should have done something,” she argued.

“Ma’am, it is an accident, beyond our control… Now, let’s see what we can do… Give me some minutes, I will  put somebody on the job… I have to leave in a short while,” I pacified.

My colleagues are level-headed. But, none was available to handle it. I left instructions with the Security chief, our garden in-charge and a very helpful and tactful senior member of our Society and I left for my work. 

But then, even after coming to my classes, I kept co-coordinating the ‘crisis management’ over my phone!

Well, I was quite successful. I did feel good about the way I  handled the crisis. But, I was feeling annoyed, stressed out, being encroached upon… and even angry and resentful.











Why did this lady park her car right under that 'dead' tree... even though she knew it could , any time, collapse on her car?”

“Even if it was not dead, who could stop that tree from falling, this morning? Who could stop God?”

“The car is insured… So, whose headache is it to compensate her?”

“Even if the Society has to compensate her, why am I – the Hon. Chairman – taking it ‘personally’ and worried?”

And yes, yes, “Who told me to become the Hon. Chairman, in the first place? Did anybody keep a gun on my head?”




Katie ma’am, you are right… Thank you.
All is well, by now…
The ‘Inquiry’ is over…
I can see the cat saying ‘Meow’… and, that’s perfectly okay…
Yes ma’am… I am loving it…

Loving ‘What Is’!


GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

WARMED BY THE SAME SUMMER











Two days ago, I had posted an article – ‘The Sky Is Falling’. I had narrated an incident, where I had led a delegation of about twenty respected-members of our Society to the local Police station. I was the Society Chairman, and, that night, I had passionately argued our case before that biased and unfair Police Officer. I had used my raw emotions - all charged-up – and, it had carried the desired effect. We had come back with justice done to us. 


But then, I had lost my sleep, that night. The emotional turmoil within had taken its toll. So, in that article, I had spoken about our senior-member Mr. Harwadekar’s concern about me; his loving advice – “Gerry, even if the sky falls on you, you should not panic… you should remain calm… You should not let emotions take the better off you.”


 I had humbly taken this advice. And yes, I had confessed it in that post, the next morning. 


No baggage left in my soul… I was healed, completely!



That very morning, I received a very honest comment from  Kumar, a regular reader of my Posts.  He had written: 


Dear Gerry,

How it is that every article you write has a relation in my own life some way or the other? One of my friends always tells me, “You create anger during an argument but don't get angry".  But, I find it extremely difficult to separate the two!

Thanks for the fantastic article.

God bless you.

N.Kumar


Delete
Blogger
I got back to Kumar, immediately:

 "Kumar, is there a  separation between you and me?...
We are connected in deed, Kumar.


Jesus Christ is an epitome of Love. But, The Bible gives enough instances of his anger, even of the God Almighty Himself. The Hindu scriptures tell us about God's anger...

You mean well for the other... Then, your emotions - whether anger, fear, or jealousy - they don't matter. Just mean well. That's holistic anger!

Let's be human, the real ones!

Love,

GERRY



I haven’t met Kumar in my life. Only my Blog has connected us. He thinks, my writings help him… He can relate each one of them to his own life… Which means: Like me, he loses his head many times a day… feels scared when his wife, Yashoda, still not home till mid-night…  sulks, like me, when someone decries him  for no reason… and yes, turns green, jealous, when his neighbor, Pillai, wins a five-crore jackpot!

Well, what I really want to say is: We all are humans. Have the same red blood… same pumping heart… and the same wet eyes. Shakespere so beautifully conveyed this message through his character, Shylock, in his immortal play – ‘Merchan Of Venice’.



Shylock:
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions;
fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that.



Why do I write, every day… and on matters which seem so mundane? 


Someone – a ‘Maharati’ – told me, last evening: “I don’t become angry.”


"What about fear?” I asked, “Don’t you feel afraid?”


“No, I don’t,” he replied.


“And jealousy?” I enquired.


“Why should I become jealous?” he quipped.

I felt like running away from this alien! Even Jesus Christ showed rage, felt frightened - even insecure - when he came down to live on this Earth. And, this man – the Superman -  was telling me that he did not get angry, afraid or jealous in his life!

Even if I say, “God bless you,” I know, God won’t!



I do get angry.

I do get afraid.

I do get jealous.

And, I do want to know: 

“What is wrong with that?”



If something is wrong, then alright: Let me write about it… as it is… not hiding anything, not justifying, not blaming or accusing… not feeling guilty or victimized. Yes, let me write about it honestly, fully… beautifully.


And, there they  go – my anger, my fear, my envy -  like a ghost out of my body…
Leaving me feeling not just good, but Great. Yes, Great!


Probably, that was what made Kumar ask me in his comment, “Dear Gerry, How it is that every article you write has a relation in my own life, in some way or the other?”


And, I also hope, that was what made me reply when I said, “ Kumar, is there is a 'separation' between you and me?... We are connected, in deed, Kumar!!”


Yes Sir, we are cooled by the same winter… and warmed by the same summer…
And, yes, yes… If they poison us, we do die!


I wouldn’t have written my Blog posts, if that was not so!



Delete
 
GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.


 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LEAVE ME ALONE






When I was in Second-year B’Com, I came across a man in my life. His name was  Norman. I was 19 and he must be 30. He had come up in life the hard way and was a compassionate soul. He showed a great deal of interest in me, in my progress… So, he kept directing me, motivating  me, even helping me financially. 


But then, as months passed by, I felt a lot suffocated by his approach… Norman was dreaming for me, planning for me and even funding for me. Initially, I felt very cared for and loved… I felt a lot grateful to this soul. But, as I felt the strain of being trampled upon my individuality and freedom, I began to feel the irritation and resistance in my heart. It was simmering within me for months. Then, one day, around ten of us had been for a picnic. There, some statement this man made towards me triggered off my rebellion. I voiced my discomfort, my loss of freedom – and I found myself bluntly telling Norman : “Don’t manipulate me… Leave me alone!”


I left that group, immediately… and cried like a baby. Till I felt good about myself.


For long,  we did not see each other. One evening, after some years, I received a phone call from him, here in Mumbai. I was so thrilled to hear his voice. We met. We spoke about the episode on that hill… and we both laughed it out over the dinner.


We both knew, what had gone wrong. He could not crush me in the name of care and love. I could not be an ungrateful soul even though I valued my freedom.


That was several  years ago.


Later, without realizing all this, I found myself playing the reverse role. I adored great singers and envied the tremendous adulation they got from the audience. Similarly, I loved  great sports-stars and simply got awed by the aura around them. And, here was me - the poor me - always down in the dumps… So bad in everything - studies, sports, singing or speaking… a chronic case of inferiority complex. So, I started dreaming for my two younger brothers. I wanted Rony to be a great singer, and, Viva a great Cricketer. They were very small and susceptible. For many years, I kept directing them, pumping them and  funding them. And, they did not let me down. Rony was becoming  a rising singing-star in Mangalore… and Viva was playing Cricket for the college and moving ahead. 


But then, when all this was happening, I never realized – even for a day – that I was playing a Norman in their life. That, they were individuals in their own right… and, I could – and I should – do only so much… and I should leave them alone, free. No, I was still dreaming for them, planning for them… and even breathing for them. I brought them to Mumbai – the ‘Dream City’ – and I was hoping to launch them in a big way. 


With in a short time, the obvious thing had to happen. First, Rony expressed his discomfort with all this. He wanted to go back to Mangalore, and he did. After some years, Viva too felt the breathlessness. He was so overawed by me that he could not tell me what he felt. One night, when I came home, there was a note waiting for me. “Dattu, I am so fortunate to have a big brother and a motivator like you. I can not forget what you have done to me in my life. But then dattu, it is time I became my own man. Sorry, I am moving out to stay in a hostel. I love you, dattu. Thanks for everything”


It was night. All that I did was brooding on it. I was hurt. I was angry. I was restless. I was unable to sleep… By the time my restlessness ended, I had realized my folly… I reaslised how the obsession with another person’s life – all in the name of love – was a blatant way of imposing on him the burden and pain of my own unfulfilled dreams. It was clear for me, by now, that I was manipulating my brothers, emotionally. And, I had to respect their verdict, now… however bitter it sounded. And, I had to be graceful in learning this valuable lesson.


I did;  and,  we all moved on with our lives.


Today, Rony is a very popular singer in the Konkani circle. Viva stopped playing cricket, but has become a fairly successful businessman. And, I have no qualms – and not an iota of arrogance – when I say: We are extremely good to each other… and proud about each other, too. My brothers have remained profoundly grateful to me… and I shall always remain grateful to them for helping me grow-up in my life.


Immediately after this episode, I had penned in my dairy this little poem:



GREAT MAN

I tried to make my younger brother
A Great Man.

Day in and day out, I sat with him,
Tired to motivate him, coax him,
Train him, guide him, support him…
And I kept reminding him:
“One day, you shall be Great!”

Many years passed by,
Nothing dramatic happened;
I began to get frustrated… mad!

Then, one day, he coolly told me:
“Brother, there are mountains,
There are plateaus
And,  there are plains.
Is it necessary for every soul on this earth
Tb be Great like a mountain?”


I started thinking,
I started thinking.





Later, I published this poem in the Dawn Club inspirational booklet – ‘THE LATE BLOOMER’. Every summer, when we have our Public-Speaking sessions, our students chose to read some inspiring passages in the class. This poem is one of their  favorites. 


Maybe, we all do it. Or, maybe, someone does it to us... always!


Just yesterday, this drama unfolded in my class.


Vijeta is a very bright and committed student. She is also is a level-headed and very socializing kind of person. I have been teaching her for the last four years and we have been having an excellent rapport. Never ever she has hurt me, in any way. 


However, some days back, when she had not done her homework, I expressed my annoyance, but not in any angry or offending manner. I did tell her, “Vijeta, you are planning to become a teacher… How will you deal with your students in a similar situation?”


Suddenly, I saw her face sinking. It seemed, what I had said was not liked by Vijeta… I do not know what made her sulk… But, after the class, she just left abruptly, evidently irritated and sad, and I was left even more upset. “What did I do to receive this treatment?” I was asking myself, “I am her teacher… She can’t do that to me!”


Then, yesterday, just fifteen minutes before the class, I got Vijeta’s call. “Sir, is it okay, if I don’t attend today’s lecture?” 


“Why, what happened Vijeta?” I immediately asked, “You know, I have just started an important chapter… You need to have good hold of the concepts.”


“Sir, today is Kiran’s (Her close friend and the daughter of one of my dear old students) birthday and she is taking us for lunch,” Vijeta said, probably, hoping that I would be convinced.


“Vijeta, my class will get over at 1.30. Why can’t you join your friends after that?” I countered.


“Sir, the party is in Vashi and we all have decided to meet in Chembur at 12,” she insisted.


“See Vijeta, I think you should not miss the class… You know, the concepts will help you not only in your exams but also for teaching,” I persisted.


“”But, sir, it is just one lecture!” Vijeta screamed.


“What? Come again?” I yelled.


“Sir, it is a question of just ONE lecture!” Vijeta was aggressive.


I hung the phone.


I could not swallow that argument. I immediately called-up Dheeraj, Kiran’s dad and narrated to him the incident. He was at home and he told me that he would talk to Kiran about it. “No, let Vijeta attend the class… She can join them a little late,” he agreed with me. I also wished Kiran and said, “Beti, I am not trying to spoil your party; hope you understand.”


“No sir, please don’t think so. I will ask Vijeta to attend the class,” Kiran assured me.


When I entered the class at 12.30 sharp, Vijeta was already there!


Other students were still coming. I did not immediately say anything to Vijeta. Nor, did she seem apologetic. Her face was grim and when I saw that, I had already said this:


“Vijeta, can I ask something to you?”


She looked grimly at me to mean, “Now what? I am already P….. off with you!”


“Tell me Vijeta, tomorrow when you become a teacher and stand here in my place, how would you deal with such a situation?” I asked.


Vijeta was waiting to explode. “Sir, I have been extremely regular… Mohit bunks so many classes, Veena does, Reema does, Anil does, Shree does… I don’t skip my homework, but everyone else does,” Vijeta had decided to confront me. 


“Yes, you know how I feel about them when they do that repeatedly, Vijeta. You want me to feel the same about you?” I put it emotionally charged.



“But sir, I am also a college kid like them… 
I love my friends, I love my share of fun…
and I think you are expecting too much from me… and I feel that’s  unfair… 
I can not handle it, sir.” 
Vijeta was on the verge of breaking.



I was stunned!


The other students were watching us. The atmosphere was all tensed. I knew I was doing more harm than good by throwing my weight as a teacher. 


“Vijeta is right,” I told the class, “Sometimes, we teachers don’t realize how much we pressurize our students. I am sorry Vijeta.”


“Sir, you don’t have to say sorry to me… But, I just felt like telling what I was feeling all along,” Vijeta tried to pacify me.


“Still, you have a point… and I must accept it, ” I said and  started the class.


Incidentally, it helped me to teach well… and I could see Vijeta a lot relieved after that showdown with me.


After the class was over, I came to my office. I wanted to be alone for a while. Just then, the door opened. “Sir I am really sorry for hurting you,” it was Vijeta.


“No Vijeta, I realized I was burdening you with my expectations… and, you were feeling a lot suffocated. I am sorry,” I said completely mellowed down.


“Sir, please, don’t say that. You were right… But, it was me unable to handle that weight,” Vijeta quickly said, “Today, I just wanted to make my friend happy by being there.”


I was silent for a while. Then, I managed a smile, which – I am honest when I say this – did come from my pain… I gently said, “Vijeta, in life, we try to make someone happy without realizing that how unhappy it can make someone else!”


“I am sorry sir,” Vijeta said, again.


“I am sorry Vijeta,” I repeated.


Norman was a good soul… He meant well for me. I know that even though I had screamed at him on that hill – “Leave me lone”.


I am a good soul, too. I meant well for my brothers and my student, Vijeta. They know that – I am sure – even though they have screamed at me – “Don’t manipulate me”.


What goes around… yes, does come around!



* Except in the case of my brothers, all other names have been changed in this post.

  


GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.






Tuesday, January 24, 2012

THE SKY IS FALLING!!!






Mr. Harwadekar is a very dear well-wisher of mine. He is about 85. The night before last, he had observed me talking to a Police Officer.


It was our Society matter and about 20 of us – including Mr. Harwadekar – had been to the Police station regarding some dispute. The particular Police officer was absolutely biased and was trying to intimidate us. Our twenty-member delegation consisted of all respected, well-educated and cultured members and I was there, that night, heading the delegation as the Society Chairman. We were right and had all the moral and legal authority to present our case. I began on a very courteous note – gently, yet assertively. But, when I saw the Officer still being biased, I used my emotions… got charged-up – not angry or agitated – passionately charged-up. And, I spoke very strongly with that officer. The good men around me gave me tremendous amount of inner strength and I did not feel the fear or anxiety even for a while.


In the end, the Officer came around… mellowed down… He changed his track.


We came out, a lot satisfied. Justice was done to us.


Last night, Mr. Harwadekar, who had witnessed my passionate presentation, told me,
“Gerry, I was worried about you, your health… You should not be so excited.”


“Yes sir, I should not; you are right,” I admitted before my concerned well-wisher. “I did not get sleep for long, last night.”


“Yes, that’s what was wrong,” Mr. Harwadekar said immediately, “You should not allow your emotions to control you; you should control your emotions.”


I remained silent.


“I know that sir… I know it very well,” I told my well-wisher in my mind, “But, I have been finding it very difficult to separate my emotions from my actions… at least, so far.”


“Gerry, even if the sky is falling on you,” Mr. Harwadekar advised me lovingly, “Slowly look up and say, Oh, sky… Sky is falling.”


“Yes, and don’t throw things and run in panic just when you hear someone screaming ‘Sky is falling’…!”  Anil, another young well-wisher of mine, who was sitting next to us, added.




I liked this imagery: The sky is falling. 
It will fall on my head if I stand still, right here... 
and,  it will fall on my head 
even if I run, to save myself, at 100-MPH speed! 
So, why drain your energy before you die.? 
Look up to the falling sky and say, 
“Wow! What a rare sight!”




We won the fight last night… But, I lost my sleep!


Many years ago, one afternoon, I had called up my residence number from my office. My son was six-year old then, and he picked up the phone. 


“Son, can you give the phone to mom?” I sweetly asked the little fellow. It was some urgent matter. 


“No dad,” my son hurriedly replied, “She can’t move!”


“Why? What happened to her, dear?” I panicked.


“I am drawing her sketch; she can’t move!” The young Picasso banged the phone down!


The sky did fall, that afternoon… and I was running. I was asking my little son, “What happened to mom?” And, he was telling me, “Just chill!”


My wife had laughed… 


My son drew a lovely sketch of his mother... and he called it, “Just Chill”!


I called it - ‘The Sky Is Falling’!



GERALD D’CUNHA

THANKS:
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.