Saturday, March 31, 2012

WHY, SOMETIMES, METEORS FALL...


 



 
I need not know, why there is such a deafening roar

Near the sea shore;

I need not know, why, sometimes, meteors fall;

I need not know, why my brother laughs when I brood,

Why the sun burns and I cry;

I need not know, why someone loves a sword

When I love a pen…

I need to know this:

Everything is important, everyone counts!





I had scribbled this Note – call ‘Poem’ if you wish - in my diary some fifteen years ago. Then, after five years or so, when I was putting together some of my Notes to publish, this Note, this poem, popped up like a Genie in the bottle… and stood before be! So, it became the title of the book: ‘Why The Sun Burns!”


I began my Introduction with this poem… 


It still haunts me!


Why some things, in Life, happen the way they do?
 
Why some people come in our lives the way they do?

Why sometimes dreams… and why sometimes nightmares?

Why this uproar in my soul, why this silence… sometimes?



The more I reflect on these questions, the more convinced I become: Some things are beautiful when they come clothed in mystery!


So, let the Sun Burn… Let the sea roar… Let my brother laugh while I cry… Let someone love a sword while I love a pen… but, I want the meteors to fall… I want my soul to wonder… struck with awe!


On 10th September, 1989, THE DAWN CLUB was born. I had taken the initiative to start this institution with the hope that, down the years, I along with my well-wishers, students and friends, would be able to help people – particularly the youth – in leading an inspired life. Frankly, like any other young kid, I too had started it with stars in my eyes, love in my heart and fire in my belly. There were hundreds of students in that auditorium… and, there were some fine speakers to bless us. But, I knew, it was for me to stand there and take a public oath and I had done that:

“As long as I live, I will see that this institution will not die… It will not die… It will not die…”


Fr. Bosco, who was there on the dais as one of the key speakers had noticed my passion and fire… He has cautioned in his speech that Institutions die when the ‘egos’ come to rule… and, I knew, he had meant well for me… He hoped, this institution would not be cursed with that fate.











Vimmi Batra, who now lives with her family in Delhi, had just completed her graduation when we started the Dawn Club. She was one of those vibrant young ones who had clustered around me as my cheer leaders and pumped me on to go ahead. That afternoon, Vimmi along with Sunita Pai (Now in Bangalore) had anchored the event. It was a dream start anyone can ever hope to get… 


I felt blessed. Special!


Life goes on… and, we all in life move on!





My students, hundreds of them, 


who had stood by me then, 


and who came after that, 


over all these years, to stand by me… 


all have moved on in life. 


I have not been able to keep in touch 


with all of them… 


Many of them have young kids 


and they have sent them to me with great pride:


 ‘He was MY teacher!”




Well, all these things happen in life… and, you feel a lot fulfilled and proud as well.


But, why did I start the Dawn Club is still a mystery to me! How could so many of my students come close to me to cheer up was still a mystery to me… How so many gifted trainers and professionals volunteered to lend their support, without any expectations, over all these years is still a mystery to me… Why I scribble my daily thoughts for years and years, is still a mystery to me… Why I took so much time to come on Blog… and, come on FB… why I am still shy to blow my trumpet, in any form or tune, is still a mystery to me…!


“Sir, is Dawn Club is still going?” It is not even a month since I came on FB. I had lost contact with Vimmi (like with so many others). So, understandably, when Vimmi came in contact with me through this medium, the first thing she asked me was: “Sir, is Dawn Cub still going?”


I wasn’t surprised. I reminded her about the public oath I had taken that afternoon in the auditorium, all overwhelmed by my emotions. “Yes sir, I still remember,” Vimmi replied. 


So, it meant, the oath is still not broken!


Then in August 2009, almost after twenty years, when we had a sort Dawn Club re-union, I tried to get in touch with as many as possible. But, in vain. That afternoon, in the magical auditorium of TISS, I found myself as emotional as I had been in Sep 1989. The stars were same in my eyes… the love was same in my heart… the fire was same in my belly! I was still overwhelmed; I was still taking oath, in public!


Why do I do it?


It is still a mystery to me!


On this re-union day, a mysterious thing had happened. Nitya Mohan, who was just given her tenth-standard exam, and Anupam Acharya, who had just given his twelfth, had come together on the stage to take a collective oath: ‘‘We shall take this torch forward!”


I was moved from by being!


Well, Life goes on… and, we all in life move on!


I lost contact with Nitya and Anupam. They had to go about their own lives… and, they have wonderfully. 


Now, all of a sudden, both Nitya and Anupam have come back in my life! And, I see myself saying “Yes!” more and more times!


When I opened my PC this morning, the first thing I saw was Nitya’s message to me. “Sir, I am bringing all the DAWNITES together… through the FB…”


I haven’t gotten back to Nitya, yet! I am writing this Post touched by what she is doing.


I saw Vimmi joining Nitya’s bandwagon… and, I have one more reason to believe in great mysteries in life.


Why some things, in Life, happen the way they do?

Why some people come in our lives, the way they do?

Why meteors fall and my soul dances?...


Some things are beautiful when they come clothed in such mystery…


Life is beautiful… Oh yes, it is!!!





GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: 1. Gloria Pinto
         2. Raj Dhage



Friday, March 30, 2012

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR...























Alexander-the-Great, after his fathers’ untimely assassination, was destined to become the Emperor of Macedonia. He was only twenty! And, before he died at the young age of thirty-three, he had almost conquered the whole world!


Alexander-the-Great did not die fighting in the fierce battle-field… He did not fall by the sword of another mighty emperor. The conqueror-of-the-whole-world died in his tent… He died of Malaria… Yes, a mosquito brought this invincible conqueror’s end, his relentless conquest!


The legend goes, before he breathed his last, Alexander-the-Great had called his General by his death-bed and expressed his final wish. “May my both hands dangle out my coffin as I am carried,” the Emperor had wished. And, the legend also goes, that the wish was carried out…!


“Let the whole world know, that the Great conqueror-of- the-entire-world, also, had to leave behind everything that he had conquered… and go back with his empty hands dangling out of his coffin!”… Yes, this was the final realization. It had come at a heavy cost… In great pain, sorrow and loneliness!


Alexander-the-Great died young. He was thirty-three!



























The pictures, which you see in this post (2,3) are of another fallen Macedonia. This was, once, the mighty kingdom of another great conqueror… who pursued his conquest with his neighboring kingdom for twenty-one long-years! 


This Emperor was really educated, elite and counted in our sleepy village of Mangalore. He had a massive house, a beautiful wife, two educated-sons who had migrated to the lucrative land of Bombay (the good-old-Bombay!)… And, the Society, the Priests and the government officials would take notice of this sophisticated king. 


Next to his kingdom, lived a typical village soul with his wife and little sons. This village soul and his wife had hardly been to school… and, their world centered around the sole concern: From where would the next meal come?


So, there were two kingdoms in our village. One belonged to this elite emperor who had education, money and status. The other belonged to my dad – who had no education, money and status. The elite king was our immediate neighbor… and, he fought with my dad claiming that three cents of his land was there inside our’s! It was a straight case of harassment and my dad knew it. He tried to involve anybody who was somebody in our village – to mediate and try to persuade the elite neighbor. But, no. This man was adamant. “I want my three cents land back to me… Nothing else!”


Then, this man filed a suit in the court. That was the last thing any hand-to-mouth village soul would like to have in his life. My dad dreaded the thought of running to the court, meeting a lawyer… He was poor, he was not educated… and, had no connections. Still, here he was – now cornered by his immediate neighbor!


We children were too small. We hardly understood what was going on… All that we were concerned were the  mangoes of this King’s tree! You can see the mangoe tree in the pictures (4&5). You can see the mangoes still fallen on the ground… We called these mangoes - ‘Bainganpalli’. I still do not know where in the world this name came from and what did it mean! Even the world-famous ‘Alphonso’ can’t beat this type! I am yet to come across a raw mango which is as nectar-sweet as this one!


This king’s tree gave such mangoes and we kids, after our school, would take all our friends near that tree to throw stones and get our fill. 


So, the king and his queen would storm out of their mansion, with a long stick, to chase us away… But then, back we all would be right after our school, the next day! 


“What is a court case?”… Who cared?


The case went on and on and on... 


But, when all this was happening, my mom and dad were the first to reach this king’s palace in any emergency… for any help!


One night, the king got a lethal stroke and was left paralyzed for ever! He, now, was unable to move an inch, say a word, and lift even a finger… He spent his rest of the years, sitting on a chair, in his sit-out… helped by his wife just like a little baby… And, all that he did was: look out of his house, try to shoo away the little children who hurled stones for the mangoes… But, he would not be able to move an inch… nor, utter a word! 


Still, the king would not drop the case against my poor dad!


One morning, the king died. My parents were the first to reach there… Yes, in the time of distress!


They hoped the queen would melt and she would drop the case. No, she didn’t. She too wanted the three cents land…  So, the case went on… !


When all this was happening, my parents were the only ones to reach out to the queen in her emergencies…



Soon, the queen became senile… started talking and behaving in strange manger…. She would call from her window my mom, “Celine, why are these dosas not coming out of the pan?”


My mom would go to find out. How would they? That’s, if you tried with ‘Vim’ powder instead of rice batter?!!


So, one early morning, the queen, too, died. 


Soon, the court case, as well...! 


Yes, it took solid twenty-one years for it to die!


The two sons – the princes – who were in Bombay were deeply into alcohol. They had already died. The tenants, for some years, blissfully enjoyed the deserted kingdom… Till one of the descendants came and vacated them. 


But then, the palace became a ghost house… the Mango tree looked haunted!


Last December, after a very long time, when I had been to my village, I was stunned to see the fallen empire of this merciless conqueror.


The Macedonia was in ruins… !


But, the mango tree, which was there much before we kids were born – was still there. It has never stopped giving those nectar-filled mangoes… never for even a year… 


The tree of life keeps giving… !









 







Incidentally, my dad’s name was Alexander!


Though he did not go on a world-conquest the way the other Alexanders did… this simple Alexander lived with a great gusto. Yes, he drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney… but, he loved his wife and kids like a real, real king… He loved them with his folk songs; he loved them with his zest… But, he did fear going to the court, did fear losing his battle!


One early Sunday, when they were ready to go for Mass, my dad told my mom to proceed and he wanted to stay back at home. He wouldn’t skip a single Mass… but, that Sunday, he had to. 


When my mom returned from the Mass, my dad was till sitting on the sofa… My mom took her hand to his forehead to check the fever. He had died by then!


My dad was fifty-six!


He too was an Alexander!


I am fifty-three!


And, I know – I am the son of an Alexander!!!




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.1 From Internet
        2,3,4 &5 Sherwin D’Cunha (My nephew)





Thursday, March 29, 2012

THE FIRST BOSS...








 
Some weeks ago, I happened to meet a close relative of mine in one of our family functions.



About twenty years ago, after completing his graduation in Mangalore, he had just landed in this big city, Mumbai, to find his own place. Like we all migrants had been and are – this relative of mine was very unpolished and naive. I had helped him to find his first job. It was a very small office where he had to work under the ‘lone’ staff who had been happy working alone for years! My relative wanted an entry, something to start with and get the hands-on experience. So, he joined this office. 
 
My relative could stick on to this office – rather his one-and-only Boss – barely for a month!

Why… What happened?

The one who owned this firm was too busy - rather, too helpless - to know what was happening in his small organization. The person employed by him had become an island and created a web-sort-of work-atmosphere around him. The owner would blindly trust this employee and the latter would exploit this weakness of his Master… So, understandably, the employee did not want anyone to come in between him and his Master… he did not want anyone to ‘unearth’ his misdeeds… He was too suspicious of anyone who would come close to his table. He trusted none. He lived in constant fear… of being caught, being fired.

So, against this backdrop, how do you expect my relative to learn anything worthwhile? Leave alone ‘learning’, how do you expect him to go home and sleep peacefully? It was an endless trauma for my relative… “This man doesn’t open-up, doesn’t teach me anything,” my relative would cry before me, “he doesn’t even allow me to come close to his table!”

I had immediately sensed what was happening. Whatever it was, I had consoled my relative saying, “Such people don’t grow… and, don’t allow others to grow, as well… They live in constant fear and distrust… They end-up in misery.” I would advice my young relative, “Now, this is your first ever work experience… You must have gained nothing as far as job-skills are concerned… But, to hell with such job-skills, you will get it anywhere else, anyway… But, what you are getting by working under this miserable ‘Uncle Scrooge’ – you will never, ever get till that Christmas when the Santa ‘really’ comes!” I would encourage this young man saying, “Having seen this type of men in this world, you decide, now – when you go about your life - whether to be like him or like how you want him to be!”

Twenty years later, when I had bumped into this relative of mine in our family function, I asked him whether he was in touch with his ‘first Boss’!

I was in touch with my relative. I had been closely watching his progress. Just a year or so was the only duration he had worked for anybody… After that, he started his own business, in a very small way. But, because he was exactly opposite of his first Boss, because he was an incorrigible optimist, because he trusted people and made the best use of their unique strengths and talents, because he was gentle, sincere and giving – he attracted goodwill and loyalty from his clients and staff… His clients grew as his business did… His staff stayed loyal to him for years and grew along, too… 

Whatever happened to the first Boss?






Charles Dickens’s immortal short story, ‘A Christmas Carol’ came to my mind. In this moving fable, Uncle Scrooge, the protagonist, lived miserably alone… never celebrated Christmas… and hated anyone else celebrating. He was mean and miser… had no faith in people… He suffered from lack. One Christmas, his little nephew, Fred, comes in Uncle Scrooge’s life to cause a come around, a snowfall…! It is a touching tale, on whose diet; we all had grown up…
 
Did this Uncle Scrooge come around? Did he celebrate Christmas?
 
No,  he did not. My relative told me that this Scrooge had a miserable end!

I, instantly, remembered another famous poem – ‘TWO SEAS’ by Gayle D. Erwin. It is so beautiful, so befitting… that I wish to present to  you, here  in my blog,  not only the poem, but also the short film based on that. 


 
TWO SEAS

by Gayle D. Erwin


There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people. 



The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there. 



The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children's laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink. 



What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the river Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie not the country about. 



This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure. 



The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.


The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.









My relative, today, has dozens of young men working under him… and, they have been there with him for years… all happy and growing!

His first Boss, the Scrooge, wanted no one… gave nothing, shared nothing… and got nothing. Lost everything!

It was a sad Christmas… Not for the ‘first employee’, but for his 'first Boss'!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Roopa Sushil



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

GRACE OF THE MOLEHILLS


























I was reading Amitabh Bachchan’s blog last afternoon. Like me, he too is an avid Blogger…


I must’ve committed a 'crime' by saying – “Like me!!!”


It is like comparing a mouse with a Dinosaur… or, a molehill with the Mount Everest. So, before, I become a laughing stock, let me place myself where I belong: I too blog, the way the mighty Bachchan sir does!


And, if I say Amitabh Bachchan is a busy man, I would be an even bigger laughing stock!


Still, he blogs every day, for years on… He writes in the middle of the night… In the early hours of the day… in the middle of his busy afternoon schedule… whenever, wherever… But, he blogs, everyday, without fail. 


In one of his latest posts, he – may be for the billionth time in his life – recites a poem of his dad, Shri. Harivanshrai Bachchan. Yes, from the classic – ‘Madushala’. 


Amitabh Bachchan keeps saying – and over and over again – that he can not be even a shadow of his great father’s persona… To Amitabh, his late poet-father shall always be the Dinosaur, the Mount Everest. He keeps telling us that he has not achieved even a small fraction of what his father had… He won’t be able to ever reach where the great poet had!


Well, that’s Amitabh Bachchan… the Grace and humility at its vintage best!


So, I ask now: Could Shri Harivanshrai Bachchan, the great poet-father of Amitabh Bachchan, do what his great actor-son has?… Could he act the way his son has?… Could he host the KBC the way his son has?… Could he set ablaze the screen the way his son has?… Could he become this popular through the length and breadth of the globe?





Yes, in another school-book poem,


 when the mighty mountain 


mocks at the little squirrel saying,


 “Hey, you tiny one, 


can you carry a forest on you back 


the way I do?” 


the squirrel nails down the arrogant mountain 


with this one:


“And, you giant, 


can you break a nut the way I do?”











Last morning, I received from one of my dearest students, who now lives abroad, a touching compliment. I had taught her about thirty years ago… and, now, this student of mine was telling me that she knew me as a fine teacher… but, she had never imagined that I was a fine writer as well! “I wish I had half the abilities to write as you do!”… This was what she wrote yesterday.


I was, humanly, touched! I quickly wrote back:

“And, dear, I wish I could say what you are saying to me now with half the grace and humility with which you do!”


I meant every bit of that line!


To say someone such things, with all your heart – with reverence, humility and grace – you needed to be an Amitabh Bachchan!


The Dinosaurs have gone extinct… and, the Mount Everest won’t grow any taller, as they always say…



But, a humble, graceful soul can always grow... by just being so!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Supriya Chavan


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IT DID NOT HAPPEN TO ME...
























This morning, I had left home at 7.45. As usual, like everyone else, I too was in a hurry. I got into the first waiting auto and off I was towards my workplace. Just some distance had gone by, there was a sudden commotion a few yards ahead… a motorcycle had fallen right in the middle of the busy street, its wheel still running in full speed, a few steps away lay, on the street, one of its occupants, maybe the one who was riding it, and next to him, in great pain, lay another young man, probably the one who was sitting behind. Their bags were tossed to the sides, the lunch boxes had spilled out their contents… There were a few currency notes scattered here and there... and their ID cards, as well. 


My auto was just some distance behind…


What was miraculous was: a BEST bus had come to a standstill just an inch away from the motorbike! The bus driver seemed to be in a daze… and, even from that distance, I could read what was going on in his mind… “What if the two young-men had come right under my tires?”


A crowd gathered… Some men immediately helped the youngmen-in-pain to the sides, some lifted the motor bike and cleared the road… and, the action, now, moved to the sides of the street… The traffic had come to a standstill… Everyone was in a hurry, including myself… So, the moment the road was cleared, everything became normal… everybody went about his way… including myself.


In my office, I described that incident to one of the visitors. “In this big city, such things are very common,” this man reacted casually, “As we speak here, someone somewhere has come under a speeding train or truck or bus… It is just common. We cannot live in this city being so sentimental about it.”


Well, he was right, probably. We can not live in this man-eat-man city wearing a thin skin. We had to be a little thick-skinned, bit tough, to survive here. 


I kept quiet!












Last morning, my wife had heard what Deepak Chopra had to say. “Every morning, when you wake up, remember five things to thank for,” he had said in that video. We had exchanged randomly five things… five things my wife had to thank for… and five things I had to thank for…


That was last morning!


This morning, when I saw that freak accident - in which not only the two young-men had survived, but also that elderly numbed-bus-driver – I had only one thing to thank for: “Thank God, it did not happen to me!”
 

But, it happened to someone, and it happened right in front of my eyes!


That visitor was telling me, “Learn to shut your eyes! You are safe, that’s enough for you to be happy!”


No, I wasn’t ready to accept this logic. 





My happiness hadn’t come 


from ‘shutting my eyes’… 


but, from ‘opening my eyes’… 


This morning, 


there was only one thing to thank for…


and, only one reason to be happy…




Even though all the ‘bad things’ had happened to someone else… and, somewhere else… In this big-bad world!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Monica Valdar






Monday, March 26, 2012

HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR BOOK?


 












During the last twenty years, I must have met this man – a very intelligent man – at least twenty-scores times… And, every time I meet him, I am bound to hear from him about one thing: his book!


“I am writing a book – an inspiring Novel… It is almost ready,” he had told me this when I had met him for the first time. Yes, that was twenty years ago. Today, just an hour ago, I met him, once again… and, this man told me exactly the same thing: “… My book is almost ready!”


This man, now 70, is still writing his inspiring Novel. It is almost ready!


I have told you, that this man is incredibly intelligent and capable. Writing a book, for this man, should not take such a long time. So, every time I hear this man’s famous confession – the latest up-date on his book – I smile in my heart. “Why is the Novel not coming out? Why, for twenty years, it is ‘almost ready’?” I ask myself.


Honestly, I wonder, if this man has ever written even a line… let alone ‘it is almost ready’!


“Want to eat an elephant?” I had this poster of an elephant in my class. My students would be excited by the funny question. Then, they would come close to the poster and read the fine line at the bottom:

“Eat one spoon at a time!”




“That’s how you will be able


 to eat your elephants, my young friends,” 


I would remind them. 


“You will be able to complete your course…


 do well – brilliantly… 


Yes, only by eating your elephant 


one spoon at a time.” 

  

“Don’t wait to start. Start. If you postpone, the elephant will scare you,” I would drill in their heads. “The most auspicious time is ‘now’… Even the Mount Everest is conquered only this way – climbing one step at a time.” I would use that over-used proverb:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, at a time.”


I would emphasize, “You couldn’t have walked the way you now do… with out those baby steps that your had taken once!”


So, my students dream to come out in flying colors at the end of the year. I hold a hammer and tell them, on the very first day, “Forget those flying colors at the end… forget that grand, glorious flight… take the first flutter… take the baby step… eat the first spoon… climb the first step to your Mount Everest..."


The ‘intelligent man’ lacks this wayside intelligence. He is waiting for the right stars to appear, he is waiting for the heavens to open… 


The book is almost ready!


You must’ve heard this beautiful story when you were small. I want you to forget it for a while and lend me your ears.











The Sun was burning… it was a hot afternoon. The sea looked tamed… it was a low tide. There were thousands of star-fish on the hot sea-bed… And, a man was busy bending down, picking up a little star-fish, taking a few steps towards the receded sea… and hurling the tiny creature back into the sea… Then, this man would come back to the endless expanse of the sea-bed, bend down to pick the next star-fish, take those steps unto the sea, and hurl he would the little creature of the sea – yes, back where it belonged… Then, once again, he would return to the burning beach, bend down, pick up one more star-fish, walk forward to the sleeping waves… and gently offer the innocent fish to her mother’s home… And, this stranger would come back, all over again, to the overwhelmingly mighty sea-bed, bend down…


When this was going on, another stranger was left puzzled. “My friend, what do you think you are doing?” he couldn’t stop himself from asking, “The beach is so vast, and there are millions of those star-fishes out here… What difference does it make if you go on like this?”


The man bent down, once more, picked the next waiting star-fish, went forward to the silent sea, and lovingly tossed the creature back where it belonged. “It does a difference to this one, my friend,” he declared with a smile.


Then, this man came back to the blazing beach, bent down to pick one more star-fish, moved towards the ocean… and said “Goodbye, my dear… I love you from my heart!”



When this story was first told, it was told to teach me – how, I, an ordinary individual, could solve the overwhelming problems of this world… How, a simple stranger like me could make a difference in this gigantic world!


Today, I thought I would recount this fable to teach some one – maybe my friend, may be you… maybe myself – how to complete the book… which is ‘almost complete’!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Gloria Pinto

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WHEREVER YOU GO...






















In my last post, I had used a very old statement:
“Wherever you go, you carry yourself.”



“What did you mean by that?” A friend of mine asked me, last night. 


For the last two weeks, this friend of mine, along with his wife, has been busy planning for the summer holidays. Just another week, the family will be off on a ten-day trip to Kashmir. A lot of preparation has been going on… right from surfing on the Net, calling tour agents, cross checking with friends and strangers who have already been to Kashmir... to arranging for funds, haggling on the package, the hotels and the food. Along the process, a lot of heat is generated at home – there are disagreements between husband and wife, the young daughter has different perspective altogether… there are loud arguments and sulking. 


The holiday is just about to take off. My friend is going to Kashmir… with his family… 


Last night, I asked him, “Why?”




He had asked me


what I meant by those words,


 “Wherever you go, you carry yourself!”





Like my friend, presently, every second person might be busy planning for his grand holiday somewhere in the serene hills of Kodaikanal or the exotic beaches of Thailand. Like my friend’s family, all these families might also be involved in heated arguments, anger and sulking. What is common and interesting in all these cases is: every one of them is expecting to be relaxed and happy when he reachs – ‘out there’… in Kashmir, in Kodaikanal, in Munnar, in Darjeeling, in Thailand, in Honolulu… or in the Andaman islands! They are all waiting to relax… waiting to be happy. They are all hoping to find that illusive something out there – when they land there… on their ‘Promised Land’!










In my last post, that 28-year-old young-man, who had come to me for counseling, was employed in a reputed blue-chip company. The pay was good, the timings were good, and colleagues and bosses were good… Still, he was unfulfilled, still anxious and unhappy. He was feeling that he had not done enough in his life… he wanted to be more successful! In the course of our discussion, I had driven home the point, that unless we find joy, happiness and feeling of being successful here in our present station, in is unlikely that we would find them in our next. “Wherever you go, you carry yourself, my friend!” I had told him. 


Now, this friend of mine wanted to know what did I mean by those words. Yes, on the eve of his long-awaited holidays in that Heaven-on-Earth… Kashmir!


Will my friend and his family be relaxed when they land on this Heaven?


Will they find there - their happiness?


Or, will they carry themselves, also, to their Heaven?


I do not know. Though I know, most of us, always, do!


After explaining what I had meant by those words, I had also given a big hug to my friend and wished:

“Have a good time… Enjoy!”




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Anand Pais






Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE EASE OF EXISTENCE

























 “Sir, Relax! Easy.” My dentist would tell me, invariably, always. “Loosen up, sir… You are too tensed… Relax… Easy!”


And, by the time I had loosened up, the drilling would be over! The pain just didn’t exist!


“Easy does it!” And, Easy does it, always!




Easy did it when I was a small baby… I just went about my world laughing, crying, messing and breaking… I went about singing and dancing… I went about falling and rising. I was loose as leaves and light as feathers… I spoke like Demosthenes… sang like Bryan Adams and danced like Michael Jackson! 


Who said I was afraid of stage? Who said I had self-doubts? Who?


Yes, when I was easy, I did it!


Easy did it when I was a little older… I played with my friends… and, I fought with them, too many times. Still, before the Sun went down by the same evening, I was back with my friends in the playground!


Who said we fought? Who said the world had enemies? Who?


Easy did it!


Even when I was young, I would mess up things… My parents would get angry and they would scold me… even whack me… I would feel hurt, sad, angry and lonely… But, before the Moon came on sky the next night, I would be back in my parents’ fold… Everything seemed fair in love and war! Yes, it did!


Who said my parents had an issue with me? Or, I had? Who said I was hurt and lonely? Who?


Easy did it!


Then I became ‘big’… and, it was no-more easier to be ‘Easy’! My messing was not just messing, and the scolding for my messing was no more just scolding. My mind attached a ‘special’ meaning to this… A fight with my friends had to be bitter… and an issue with my parents had to be grudged in my heart… The stage became an explosive field to walk on… I dreaded in my heart… Someone always laughed as I attempted to speak in public… sing or dance… It was not easy to go back and play with my friends, after a fight… nor was it easy to say, “I am sorry mom… It was my mistake.”


Who said, “Easy does it”? Who?


I am a MAN, now… and, all of a sudden, Life seems tough, and the world seems a dangerous place to live in! Everything does not seem fair in love and war… Whoever said it, he does seem wrong! Stupid!





Just last night, a young girl cried on the phone saying, “Sir, the paper was so tough… I don’t know what will happen?” Now, I had taught this girl, and taught her well… and she was a brilliant student, extremely committed and focused. I had wished her well before the exam. “Beti, my best wishes to you… Relax, the paper will go well!” I had prayed. And, now that the exam was over… and the paper was tough… My best wishes had no effect… The hard work and dedication did not seem to pay… The Life seemed, suddenly, tough… and the world a dangerous place to live in!


What would I tell this girl, who was now crying on the phone?


Beti, it is okay… Trust me, it is really okay!” Yes, I did say this. “You had given your best… and, that’s all you could do… Feel the fear… and, move on with the same zest and same fire!”


I hope, the young girl has…


And, just this morning, this young man, who works for a multinational, had come to see me. He is 28… married, and they are expecting their first child soon. He is good-looking, very articulate and has a house of his own. 


What is his problem? 


“I do not know, where to start… There are so many problems!” this young man told me. “I am confused… I feel I have done nothing in life… I want to achieve more. Succeed!”


“You won’t achieve more, my friend,” I said, “I don’t think you will ever succeed!”


That could be the cruelest statement one would expect to hear when been for counseling. Yet, here he was hearing from me. “No, if you do not feel successful here, now… you will not feel successful there, tomorrow!” 


I told the young man, “If a great organization, good package and fine working hours keep you unfulfilled, tensed and constantly worried, now… then, what is the guarantee that you will be fulfilled, relaxed and happy even if you own that company tomorrow?... Wherever you go, you carry yourself, my friend!”


I hope, the young man was able to grasp the meaning of my words. 











The situations in life do not define us! When they do, there is stress, there is sorrow!





To sail through Life’s situations, 


I need to flow like a river… 


I should be very, very fluid, pliable. 



It is only when I am 


able to flow like a river, 


that I am able to experience 


the ease of existence…  

 


Easy always does it. Oh, yes! It does. Always.




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Supriya Chavan