Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A HUNDRED REASONS...


 

 
Thereare a hundred reasons
Why I feel so frightened and sad
When I look at the sky…
The darkness is one of them;
The deafening thunders
And blinding lightening
Are two more;
The fierce clouds
And the moonless night,
The burning Sun
And the angry wind,
The Stars that deceive,
The angels that fail,
The broken dreams,
The sorrow,
Pain.




And, there are another hundred reasons
Why I feel so happy and confident
When I look at the same sky…
God is one of them,
Hope is another,
Promise is yet another,
Trust is one more;
The billion stars
And the smiling Moon
Are two more,
The rain clouds
And the dancing breeze,
The guardian angel
And the waking dreams,
The tears of being forgiven, 
And warmth of being loved,
The thought of abundance,
The might of newness,
The peace of coming home,
The closeness,
Joy.




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Arathi Rouniyar.





DELETE AND MOVE













The last thing I did, last night, before I went to sleep was: delete all the messages from my cell-phone. From the in-box and the out-box, both. With this, I closed my eyes, thanked God for the wonderful day… and I went off to sleep. 


I opened my eyes straight at 6.15 this morning. What happened in between, I don’t remember. 


Nothing. 


Last when I had checked, there were about a dozen messages… some happy and some sad, some blunt and some kind… yes, some giving hope and some making me anxious. I had the choice to let them be… to hold on to them so that I could revisit them when I would rise this morning… And, I had this choice, too:  to let them go.


Even the so-called happy memories, when I try to cling on to, leave me only anxious and sad!





Happiness is not something 


I can refrigerate… 


for my tomorrows. 


Yes, as that old-time saying goes,


Happiness is also an ice-cream… 


We should enjoy it


 before it melts.





In clinging, there is anxiety… fear… and pain.


If the day was good, then good. Tomorrow will be a new day… I do not know what will be in store for me tomorrow.


If the day was bad, it was bad. Tomorrow will be a new day. I really do not know what will be in store for me tomorrow.


Now, here I am… with a new day in hand. What is in store for me?


“Good luck beta…
 All will be fine…
My blessings.
Love,
SIR.”


I just sent a couple of dozen messages to my dear students. In a few hours from now, they will be writing that paper which I had taught them all year through. 



“Thank you soooo much sir…
 Just needed it.” 


Some of them instantly had gotten back.




Will all be fine?


I really do not know. They do not know. 


But then, we all hope… We all trust.


And, we all do so... even if it is not not going to be as fine as we had expected, at the end of the day!

























Life is much, much beyond! Much beyond my happy and sad memories…




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pic. Vivek D’Cunha

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TO HAVE MY LAST WORD







At times,
The need in me to win an argument 
Is stronger than the need to win the person...
The charged emotions cloud this truth
And I I see myself  driven by
That lone obsession to make my point...
To have my last word...
To see the other person lose!


And, often, this happens with my nearest people...
Yes, surprisingly so...
Even though I know that they are my nearest people...
And, therefore, they should be my dearest!
Yes, even after knowing this basic truth,
I see myself involved in such silly mind-games!


Many a times,
With a slight awareness,
When I have chosen to be a little light-hearted,
Little patient,
I have beautifully smiled my way
Into the other person's heart...
Yes, I have lost an argument,
But, won a friend!


The best time to smile our way
Is before we walk into
The trap of arguments...
When we see the very first sign
Of the doom that is coming!


No one has ever 'won' an argument...
Without losing 'something'!




GERALD D'CUNHA

Pic.: Vivek D'Cunha

MY OWN MOMENTS


















Last night, I watched on T.V.  the Oscar-Awards ceremony, with my family. Some of my Hollywood favorites were present: Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Oprah, Meryl Streep, George Clooney... and, many more. And yes, there were our own A.R. Rehman and the rich-couple, Anil and Tina Ambani.


Meryl Streep got the Best-Actress Oscar, last night, for portraying the stupendous role as Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady. It was her third Oscar... and seventeenth nomination! When this otherwise tough-as-iron lady came on the glittery stage to receive her Golden Trophy, her heart had almost stopped! When she collected herself and spoke, there were tears in my eyes!


The French actor, Jean Dujardin, who bagged the Best-Actor Oscar for his leading role in 'The Artist', was hysterical as he stood there with a note in his hand... His heart pounded so much, that I could sense that, here,  in my drawing room! His eyes welled and his voice cracked... and, yes, his heart was not  normal, last night!


A lot of money, a lot of fame, a lot of power! Is that all what a huge celebrity like Brad Pitt or Spielberg dies for? 


Some days ago, I was watching our own Filmfare Awards. The gracious lady with her inimitable husky voice, Usha Uttup, was declared as the Best Play-back singer. I had always held Usha Uttup to be different from the rest... She had a confidence of her own, the style of her own and the grace of her own. When she sang on Mother Theresa's funeral, (Mother, who was very fond of Usha, lived all her life shying away from the limelight, glitter... interviews, biographies, awards or any sort of glorification... and ruthlessly chose to be focused on her work), my admiration for this vivacious crooner shot up by a hundred notches! It is only when, on that award night, she was called upon to receive her trophy, that  I realized that this tough-looking lady was not even tough as a snowflake!


"After forty-two years of singing... finally, I am able to collect this award... I feel overwhelmed  by the affection and recognition bestowed upon me tonight... Yes, the long waiting is all worth it..." Usha, the strong woman, cried the way no other woman could ever do, there on centre-stage, that night. Yes, in tears and emotions too, Usha was different... a class apart. My admiration jumped up by another dozen notches! Then, this darling sang that award-winning song from the film, 'Saat Koon Maaf'- "daaaRling', as the irrepressible Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor started dancing to this magnificent winner's tunes!


I was choked with emotions along with Usha Uttup. When the entire august audience rose spontaneously to salute this woman with a standing ovation, I too stood in my drawing room.


I had risen on my feet all moved by the power of plain, straight and honest emotions!


Why do we die for a honest recognition of our work, our talents, our skills?


Some claim they don't. 


I say, and with all my honesty and tears, I do.


Last evening, little Yash had directly come from his school - before he could go home - to show to me his Silver Medal in sports at school. This second-standard kid was so thrilled, so proud that he wanted to hear just one thing from this man, whose validation, probably, he values -  "Well done beta... Keep it up!"


Yes, it did matter to this seven-year old... It meant the world!


The Oscar meant the world for Meryl, last night.


The Filmfare award meant the world to our Usha, that night.


My pat on his back, was the world my little Yash had died for, last evening.







And, I have my own moments... 


my own longings for validations


 from those who I I look up to, 


love... 


and value in my life...



Not only do our talents die when we do not receive enough of this sunshine... our hearts, too, do!



GERALD D'CUNHA

Pic.: Vivek D'Cunha


Monday, February 27, 2012

WHEN I AM HAPPY






No one will come to know
When I feel happy, today…


The birds will be too busy
To stop and sing for me;
The breeze can’t be too friendly,
And, a Comet is a distant reality!


Still, when I am happy,
The birds sound sweet to me,
The breeze feels gentle…
And the Comets do hold hope!


It is very hot outside, now…
Breeze has come to a standstill,
The Sun is angry…
But then, I am happy
Despite the fact
That the breeze and Sun are not with me.


When I am happy,
The world is an amazing place to be!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Vivek D’Cunha










THE HAMMER AND THE ANVIL






















There is something called the inherent nature in a man and an animal. In birds and the fishes. In snakes and the flowers. But, all men are not alike as all animal too. All birds are not alike as all fishes too. The snakes and the flowers,  can’t be an exception, either. 


I have an inherent nature in me, which, sometimes, leaves me perplexed. I wonder: How has this nature come in me? I have tried to keep grudges, at times. But, I have failed. I have tried to hide my dark side… or the vulnerable side… abstain myself from revealing it to others easily… but, I find myself being very open and vulnerable, time and again.


Hurting someone or trying to get even with him, taking revenge or trying to destroy someone’s reputation  - all this doesn’t come easily to me… And, even if, rarely, I fall into its prey, I see myself restlessly trying to amend, make peace… re-align myself and move on in life.


Now, why do I, today, touch upon this subject?  Am I trying to blow my own trumpet? 


This morning, when I reached our gate, Varuna* was anxiously trying to get an auto. I was not so much in a hurry today. So, we both stood there for a while hoping that an autowala would stop. But, every auto that came along was already engaged… and, we had to wait, and try hard with lots of patience. Just then, a car came from inside our colony… I knew the man who was driving… an educated man, working for a good company… It was morning time, Varuna and myself were with our bags, and busy hunting for an auto. The man saw us, and just zoomed past.


I looked at Varuna and she shook her head. It meant this: “How insensitive our own neighbors can be!”


“Uncle, leave alone offering us this lift,” the young Varuna, who works as an engineer in a reputed company, said, “all that this man has done in our colony is cribbing, complaining and quarreling.”


I was surprised!


As  the Society Chairman, I did not want to form a judgment about one of our members… even though I knew this man’s nature. So, I wasn’t surprised when he did not stop his car and said, “May I help you.” I was not expecting such a gesture from this man. But, the young lady was vocal about voicing her feelings. 


Finally, an auto stopped and we both got in. 

 
It was one more day for both of us. Varuna went her way, I went mine… and, that car-owner had already gone his own!


I started thinking. Are all our members like this man? No, definitely not. Every other day, some one stops his or her car and calls, “Please come in.” Some horn and call you… Some turn their cars and come back to pick you up… and, some even phone you and tell, “I am here, waiting for you.”


“People are different… Some help, some don’t. Some crib, some praise… Some want friends and some want to be left alone. And yes, some build and some destroy.”





It is sad to see those little ants – 


thousands of them - 


working so hard, 


so patiently and for so long


to build their houses… 


and when they are ready, 


the poisonous snakes invade...


 to live in!



 

It is in ants’ nature to build houses. It is in snakes’ nature to invade in someone else’s houses!


I thought of telling one of my favorite stories to young Varuna. Here it is. 























Once, a monk was taking his bath in a river. As he was bathing, he saw a scorpion drowning in the water and, instinctively, the monk held his palm to save the downing creature. When the monk brought the hand out, the restless scorpion, wanting to free itself, started relentlessly stinging and, finally, fell into the water. The monk, once again, held his hand and lifted the creature up… and the scorpion continued to hurt, mercilessly, the holy man.


When this was happening, a man, who was bathing next to the monk, was left shocked with disbelief! “Sir, why are you doing this?” he asked the monk. “That thankless creature has left you wounded with blood… and, you still continue to save it?”


The monk held his hand for the drowning scorpion, all over again. Then, raising up the scorpion on his bleeding and bruised palm, he smiled at the concerned stranger. “Because, my dear brother,” the Wise-man replied, “that creature is doing its ‘karma’… and, I am doing my ‘dharma’!”















All men are not created alike. They are destined to do different things, in different ways… They are destined to walk the different paths… Live their different natures…


Someone had said: 

“All your life, be prepared...
If you are an anvil, bear; 
If you are a hammer, strike.”


Well, today, I can say the same thing in another way:

“If you are a scorpion, sting;
If you are a monk, bear.”



A monk is not a monk… without a scorpion!



*The name is changed




GERALD D’CUNHA
 

Pics.: Vivek D’Cunha





Sunday, February 26, 2012

I NEEDN'T WAIT...









Ifpeace is what I yearn for,
Peace should be my call!

Peace always involves another person...
And, I really wish,
He too yearns for it... the way I do!
I wish,
He understands me -
My hurt,
My anger,
My fear... 
And my pain.
Yes, I wish,
He will not repeat his acts - 
Deliberate or otherwise...
I just want him to drop the weapons...
Understand me,
Apologize to me,
Promise me...
Love me!

But then...
It is my wish!

Why do I yearn for peace?
For whose sake - his or mine?
What if he doesn't come around?
Doesn't understand me?
Doesn't apologize?
Doesn't promise?

When we drop our guns,
The world thinks the war has ended...
And peace has come.
But, we alone know what peace is...
And when does it come!

If peace is my heart's thirst,
Peace should be my call...
And, therefore, it goes:
Peace can come in my heart...
Even in the midst of war!

I needn't wait till he is ready...
For my heart to be peaceful!



GERALD D'CUNHA

Pic.: Vivek D'Cunha


THE SUNDAY MIRROR























 This morning, I woke up at 5... and I was fresh as a morning flower. It is a Sunday... and it is 7 now. Not only in our house, but all around, people wake up late on a Sunday... Yes, they need that extra rest... They need to let go the stress, take it easy.


What was my state of mind when I woke up early at 5, today? Was I up-beat or low in my spirits? Was I looking  forward with hope and excitement or was I looking back with regret and irritations? Was it just one more day or one more opportunity... to learn, grow, make friends, heal wounds, make peace, laugh, thank and LIVE?


As I said at the start, this early morning, when I rose, I was fresh as a morning flower. Yes, I was up-beat and looking forward with hope and excitement. Yes, the day that was coming did seem to me, today, as one more chance to learn, grow, thank, celebrate... and LIVE!


I remembered this sweet story told by a priest during a Sunday sermon.


There was this very elderly lady. One early morning, when she saw herself in the mirror, she noticed that she had only three hairs on her head. Being a grateful soul and an optimist, she smiled at her wrinkled face and said, "Wow honey! There are THREE of them today! I shall braid them to look lovely!"


And, she did braid her lovely three hairs... and, as always, she lived her day with gratitude and joy.


The next morning, the aged lady saw only two hairs. "Not bad, still TWO... Still there, great, Sweetheart!" She  smiled, again, at her face in the mirror and promised, "I shall part these two beautiful hairs... and, I would look stunning!"

And yes, she did look stunningly beautiful when she parted those two beautiful hairs on her head.


The day had a lot of happiness, lot of little surprises in store for this elderly soul.


When the next morning came, she smiled at the mirror, once more. "ONE is still standing, dear!" she jumped with excitement. "I would look like my little great-grandaughter with this pony-tail!"








No wonder,

the great grandma did look like

her pretty, little grand-daughter! 

And, needless to say, 

the great grandma

had an amazing day.







Finally, that wonderful day arrived! "NOTHING on my scalp, today!... So cute, so sexy,!" the young-girl threw up her hands in the air. "No more trouble to braid, part to make my pony-tail," she gently started caressing her bald and beautiful head!




















"Mirror on the wall, mirror on the wall, will it be my fairest day?" I ask this morning.


"Yes, my sweet heart," this young and sexy grandma jumps out of the mirror... to caress my hair!


Have a great day! Sorry, a sexy Sunday... in my grandma's lingo!!!






GERALD D'CUNHA


Pic.: Vivek D'Cunha

Saturday, February 25, 2012

WHO KNOWS MY STORY BEST?









I have just returned from my session with the BMS kids in the Mumbai College which I spoke about in my today’s morning post. 


Anupam had invited me to conduct it, and I had agreed, without even my second thought.


Anupam wanted me to make these kids ponder over the questions: How I chose what I did? Have I chosen BMS by a conscious choice or by default? Is BMS my choice or my parents’? Am I happy doing it… or, do I regret? Am I giving my best… Or, is my heart somewhere else? 


Anupam is a young, dymamic trainer. In fact, he is a fresh BMS kid himself. But, unlike any other BMS kid, in Anupam’s case, it was training and mentoring that was crystal as a summer-day sky… He would invest his energies to achieve this goal. His, uncle Uday, had sown the initial seeds in Anupam… His late grandpa had inspired him with his volcanic energy… His aunts and sister had propelled him to go the extra-mile… And, so, here was our Anupam, at a very young age, in the ‘business of moulding lives’. The young lives, to be precise.


In the morning post, I had written why I had agreed to join this kid’s bandwagon!


Now, just after returning from there, I truly feel that I did a great thing being there with those young kids.


As Anupam wanted, I asked these kids to share with me this: Why did you choose BMS? And, as I always do, I made them tear their hearts and tell…


The process of choosing our field is very fascinating. Hardly one of them, perhaps, was absolutely clear about BMS. The rest chose it through the process of usual churning… confusion, lack of information, poor marks or good marks, parental pressure, pier pressure, society pressure, the influence of our role models… or our own stupid stubbornness. Whatever it is, there IS a method to this madness called ‘choosing our fields’. 


I am, always, fascinated by this process, this method to madness!


How did I choose what I do today? Was I a bright kid? Did my parents know enough to guide me through? Did my role models in school or college come on the scene? 


I shared with them my story. Now, my story is best known to me… and who else can best tell it? 


I love what I do today… including this second blog of the day. I would love to do it even on my hungry stomach… with my empty pockets… and without caring for my next meal, too. They say what we do without being told… without being concerned about time, money or adulation… is your ‘Vocation’ in life.


If that is so, I am a blessed soul. 


A young girl said, she was very fat when she was in school. So, she took extra-ordinary interest in knowing how people remain lean and fit. She not only shed her weight, she wanted to be a Dietician. But then, now she is here. Any regrets? No. Can she see the dots getting connected? She does.


A young man wrote beautiful lyrics right from class 3. All his friends sent out their feelings in the air… I knew, from that, he wrote well. Does he still write? He does. Does he see the connection? He does.


Another good-looking girl said, it was modeling that she wanted to pursue. Parents put their feet down. Is she enjoying BMS? Oh yes, she is. Is she able to see the connection? She is. 


A Gujrati boy said, I was least interested in studies. My father wanted me to study…but not B’Com…. BMS was the best to develop my all-round personality… Hence, I went by my dad’s decision. Any regret? No. Does he see the connection? He does.


Another soft-spoken girl wanted to pursue fine arts. Her dad was a business man and told her this: “You create art that sells! Be practical in life.” This girl hopes to create art work and with the marketing skills she now hones now, she hopes to promote it, one day. “Any way, doing BMS requires a great deal of creativity,” she muses. 


Everyone had a story to share. Some interesting, some funny, some inspiring… and some heart-wrenching.

I shared mine. I was a Mr. Nobody from Nowhere. I had this ghost of inferiority complex thrusted in me due to my vernacular medium, my killing stage-fear… and financial constraints at home. I told them how that consumed my mind day in and day out, how it crippled me with fear and anxiety when I was young like them. But then, when my idol, Prof. Raman came to teach me, how I began to dream silently… and, how I decided to become a passionate teacher like him. How, I turned my three massive handicaps into my greatest blessings.


“Today, I write, speak, teach and train in English,” I told them. “I believe, I do a decent job in it.”


“I founded an institute to help guys like you to speak well, express their potential fully in life,” I told them, “How else could I have done it?”


“In the process, I have done decently well for myself, financially,” I told them, “What is enough for me… So much.”


I saw many could relate to what I was saying.


The under-dog story always inspires. You always connect to the guy who tears his heart and speaks. I could see many faces very pensive, and hearts stirred-up to bring about this mood.


A young girl, whose face wore such a pensive front, asked me:

“Sir, can you tell me how did you come out of your Inferiority Complex?” She was almost choked when she asked me this. “I have the same problem… I want to come out of it.”


Many had the same question to ask… The silent agreement did tell me that. 


I paused for a while… till that question sank well on the parching hearts. Then, in a gentle tone, I asked this earnest soul:

Beti, how do you know that I am ‘out’ of my Inferiority Complex’?”

For a while she and others were taken aback! 


“Which means, you are talking to us now, helping us now, inspiring us now… still being ‘inside’ your problem?”… Well that was the unasked question.


“Why do you desire, Beti, to come out of your problem… in order to feel good about yourself… to become confident… to feel happy?” I prodded gently. “Why can’t you focus on the process of dealing with your handicap… collect your courage and speak what you want to… trust your heart and do what you want to… believe in your soul and dream about your future… Why can’t you keep doing all this and leave the ‘Complex’ alone? Why can’t you focus on what you love and leave alone what you do not?”





Probably, 


they did not expect this from me. 


They must have expected


 me to give them 


 some easy ‘mantras’ 


to chase away their ugly ghosts. 


But, I am sure, 


when I tried to 


chase away this myth,


 they must have felt a lot relieved.






















On our way back, Anupam did tell me this: “Sir, I was shaken to my roots when you asked that girl: Why do you desire, Beti, do ‘come out’ of your Inferiority Complex?”


“I am a work-in progress, my dear young ones,” I had assured them, “I am authentic about what I am doing now because, I am still working on it… still putting all those bits and pieces together… I am still preparing, still planning, and still dreaming about life.” I had added, “Life is what you experience when you are busy preparing and planning for it… It is the process and not the end.”


“Sir I realized beautifully from your presentation this,” Anupam said, “We teach  best what we want to learn the most.”


“Oh yes, my boy… Who else knows what I wanted to learn the most? Who knows my story best? Who can tell it best?” I thought aloud.


These kids are vibrant, full of zest. I have full faith in the process of living with our open heart… Passion oozes out only when our hearts are open, thirsty… when they long, when they thank… when they wonder.

Life is in living itself. BMS is not the end… the process of learning with an open heart is. So, kids, don’t lose your sense of wonder… Write the lyrics that you always wanted to write… Draw those sketches, bake those cakes, walk those ramps, design those clothes, sing those songs, and walk those long, solitary miles… Be the child that you always wanted to be… and not the MAN… not the WOMAN. 


When you have been the child you always wanted to be, you have already become the MAN or WOMAN that the child in you always wanted to be!


In life, the best way to become confident is to befriend this child. The child in you and me!




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: Vivek D’Cunha





KID'S BANDWAGON




















Last afternoon, Anupam, a very dear ex-student of DAWN CLUB, called me. He wanted me to take the concluding session for the batch of young BMS-students at a Mumbai college.That is, today morning!


Even before I I could ask the other details such as the topic, the duration,, the venue etc., I had promised Anupam - 'I Do'.


Anupam is my good friend Uday's nephew. Way back in 1989, when I had just started THE DAWN CLUB, I had started it not because I knew how to carry out all those activities on personal growth, but because, my heart was propelling me to do so. I did not know how to go about it... Still, I had started it. Hundreds of students had come around me to cheer me up... and, that was my greatest strength. But then, that could have been my potential doom-device too! I could easily succumb to the pressure of expectations from all my well-wishers!


No, it was not supposed to be so. If your intentions are right, God shows the way. I knew, and I would tell it loudly to everyone around: "I am sure, God will send to me wonderful people to help me out."


And, God did. Within months, these wonderful people started coming into my life, all on their own... Believe me, without any effort from my end!

Shri Uday Acharya - just Uday, to me - was one of them!


Those days, like me, Uday too had just started his Vedanta classes in the city after completing his learning in his teacher's Ashram. He had heard about me from one of my students and, along with Shri. Ram Mohan, his batch mate and pal, come to see me.


When I look back on this, I, sometimes, wonder: "How innocent trust can be!"


I was just a 'kid' in these matters... and people like Uday, Ram Mohan sir and  many others just joined this 'kid's Bandwagon' called - THE DAWN CLUB!


Over the years, all these wonderful, talented souls stood by me and helped me carry out my vision. They did not bother about what they would get in return; they did not bother about anything else. Just one call: "We shall help Gerry!" That must be the reason for standing by me for over twenty-two long years!


We have nothing in writing... No obligation to each other, whatsoever. Still, we have this innate comfort-level of picking up the phone - even at 4 a.m. as they say - and say,  "Can you come when the Sun goes up, this morning?"





I learnt, early in life, 


to put loyalty 


to people and friends


 on the top of my Values-list.





Today, Anupam, who I call as a proud DAWN CLUB product - is exactly doing what I was doing in those stars-in-my-eyes days! And, he, I am more than sure, has the same trust in the Existence... that, he would find   wonderful souls to help him out!


"What goes around, comes around." Well, Anupam, your uncle, my friend, Uday,  has not taught this to the world - for all these twenty-two years - for nothing!


Good luck, my boy. I shall be there, this morning...   Yes, to join your Bandwagon.


The 'Kid's  Bandwagon'!



GERALD D'CUNHA


Pic.: Vivek D'Cunha