Monday, April 30, 2012

BEYOND A BUDDHIJEEVI









When I am attending a Mass inside a church, I can not behave the way I do while watching an IPL match in a stadium. Likewise, I cannot talk with my son’ college Dean as I do with my next-door neighbor… Nor, can I eat in a fine restaurant the way I do in my house. 


There is the social decorum… the convention... the unwritten code of conduct, which demands me to behave at a certain place in a certain manner.


So, these are  Manners and Etiquette. Maybe, plain common sense!



“May I come in sir?” 

“Excuse me.”

“Thank you.”

“I am sorry.”

“My pleasure.”

“It is alright.”


Well, why do we keep saying these phrases? When did we learn them? Who had taught them to us?

Why do we need to compliment others?

Why do we need to thank for every compliment that we receive?

Why should we be careful when we criticize others?

And, how should we deal with when we receive criticism?

Why should I keep pace with others while eating on a table in a restaurant? 

And how can I use the fork, spoon, knife and the napkin?

Why do we wear ‘special clothes’ for special occasions? Can I wear what I wear for my College social for  my Job interview? Or, my wedding dress for some one’s funeral?

Can kids go to school with their night pajamas? Or, can the Swamiji manage with Bermudas? And, yes, the traffic cop with a dhoti?

Well, too many questions to convey: “No, we can not ignore the basic manners and etiquette.”












So, yesterday, my friend, Sonia (Satinder) Oberoi, was conducting the Workshop for our youngsters on ‘Basic Manners and Etiquette’. 


“My dear young friends,” I had told our young students, “You have learnt all these basic things and you know them. Still, Ma’am is here to just ‘remind’ you about these ‘essentials’.” I had added, “In her next session, she would take you to the next level: Professional Etiquette, Body Language and building your image.”


I am 53. But, I still feel it is necessary in life that I should offer a seat to a lady or an elderly person. It is basic courtesy. I still feel it is necessary in life that I should not cut someone when he talks, should not  belittle him in front of others… That, I must hold the door till the one behind me comes in… That, I must quickly apologize when I hurt or offend some one… That, I must wear appropriate clothes for every occasion… and, have a colour sense for my attire.


Yes, when Sonia was conducting the Workshop, last evening, I was extremely eager and curios. The class was packed with young college kids. They were all glued to what Sonia had to convey. Incidentally, there were three little kids – eight-to-ten-year-old – who had sneaked in just on a special request. And, because the session was on ‘Basic Manners and Etiquette’, Sonia and I had decided to have these kids in the class.


Believe me, these three kids made the Workshop what it had to be – ‘a Workshop’! Their enthusiasm, energy, honesty, curiosity and, above all, fearlessness – just brought life in the class room. Every second, their hands would go up… They would raise their hands, and start thinking! Then, they would, suddenly, forget and sit down! But, again, the very next question, their hands would go up, again!


They brought entertainment to our Workshop, last evening!


“Can any of you tell me, what is appropriate dressing?”


Nine-year-old Paramveer’s hand went up, once again.


“No, Paramveer,” Sonia sweetly told the young Sardar, “Let someone else answer, this time.”


“Please Miss,” the little brat pleaded, “one last chance.”


“Okay, this is really the last chance,” Sonia firmly let the restless bug know, “tell me.”


“Miss, an appropriate dress means: we should wear a clean underwear and a vest, a matching pant and shirt and some good shoes with socks or sandals that don't stink… and, if you are a Sardar like me, you should wear this little pagdi properly!”


Sonia, who is a Sardarni, just collapsed on her seat… and, the class became a WWF stadium!


I immediately pulled Paramveer to me and said, “Honey, we love you… Look, every one is happy!”


The little fellow knew how good entertainer he was! “Thank you sir, thank you every one,” he started bowing his head. 


“But, tell me sweetheart,” I asked him, “Were you joking or were you serious when you gave Miss your answer?”


“Of course, I was serious, sir,” Paramveer sounded dead serious.


He had brought the house, once again, down!


“But, darling, what you have described are the basic things about dressing… our ‘essentials’,” I explained to Paramveer, gently. “All of us, here, should have them.” 


The little one nodded his head in agreement. “Now, any of you, here, without these essentials, please go home,” I turned to the audience and yelled, “Basics are must, here!”


“Look dear,” I caressed the little fellow’s head and said, “Miss is telling us something more than the ‘basics’, okay?”


The head nodded, once more… and, I sent back our little clown back to his seat.


Just then, the door opened. A middle-aged bearded-man had already come in!


I was sitting on the last bench, and hence, I gently took the man out to talk. “Sorry sir, the session is on,” I explained to the man who looked like a ‘Buddhijeevi’ – an intellectual! “Tell me sir, how can I help you?”


“What class is going on inside?” the Buddhijeevi enquired.


“Manners and Etiquette,” I replied.


“Who comes for that?” he sounded sarcastic.


“Well sir, you just saw who have come… Mostly youngsters and kids,” I still explained with ‘basic courtesy’.


“But, these things are essentials… taught to kids at home and school, early in life… Why a ‘special class for that?” the Buddijeevi persisted.





Now, I had left the session and come to handle this 


visitor. I was restless to go back to the class. 


Still, he was a visitor, a stranger… 


I had still not found out 


why he had come to see me. 


So, I swallowed his bitter pill and asked him


 politely, “Sir, please tell me how can I help you?”


 


“Actually, I had come for my son’s admission in twelfth standard,” the Buddijeevi informed, “What are your fees?… And, do you give any ‘guarantee’?… What is the ‘Highest Percentage’ in your class? Since how many years….”


“Sir, here is the form, my card, the fee-details… and, this little compliment, one of the books written by me.” I wanted to end the intellectual discussion on this subject. “You can call me after an hour for any further  information. Now, please excuse me sir; I have to go in.”


I was about to walk back into the packed class room, when I heard, “Okay tell me…”


“Sir, please…”


“Can my son sit for one lecture and see?” the Buddijeevi wanted to know from me as he pulled the sweaty T-shirt over his large belly and tucked my long envelop under his pant-belt!


“Oh no!” I just stormed into the class room and collapsed on the last bench!




The Workshop on ‘Basic Manners and Etiquette’ had come the full circle!




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: Raj Dhage Wai

Sunday, April 29, 2012

WHEN YOU STAND BY THE OCEAN...










Many a times I wonder: what makes Life worth living?


I met two senior citizens, this morning. I have always admired both of them. Every time I speak to them, I come out a lot charged… “Hey, Life is worth living, worth celebrating!”… This is exactly what I feel in my heart; yes, every time I interact with them. 


Mr. Harwadekar is in his eighties. “Coming Jan, I have planned to celebrate my twenty-fifth retirement-year!”… he announced, this morning, “I am excited about it!”


“Well, this is something ‘new’, something I don’t get to hear from anyone around!” I exclaimed in my mind. “There is life still left, even after twenty-five years of retirement!”


Mr. Rao is in his late sixties. “It takes good intentions, years of sincere effort, and loads of patience to build anything in life,” he was telling me, “But, to destroy, you don’t need any logic, patience or effort… It can go in one single sweep!”


Mr. Rao was telling me about two types of people in this world: Those who build, and those who bring down… How their minds operate… and, how their end, finally, comes. “I am a great advocate of any constructive work in life,” he told me, “It is worth working towards this cause.”


I am just fifty-three. “Will I be able to say what these senior citizens have just said?” I wondered, this morning, “What keeps them so alive?” 














“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder…”  I heard myself humming the lines from Lee Ann Womack’s famous song. The song kept coming to me all the while ever since I met the two amazing senior citizens, this morning. So, I thought I will play this song for my heroes… who reminded me of what this song does:










I hope you never lose your sense of wonder 

You get your fill to eat 

But always keep that hunger 

May you never take one single breath for granted 

God forbid love ever leave you empty handed 


I hope you still feel small

When you stand by the ocean 

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens 

Promise me you'll give fate a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance 

I hope you dance

I hope you dance


I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance 

Never settle for the path of least resistance

Living might mean taking chances 

But they're worth taking 

Lovin' might be a mistake 

But it's worth making 

Don't let some hell bent heart 

Leave you bitter 

When you come close to selling out 

Reconsider 

Give the heavens above 

More than just a passing glance


And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance 

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always) 

I hope you dance 

(Rolling us along) 

I hope you dance 

(Tell me who) 

I hope you dance 

(Wants to look back on their years and wonder) 

(Where those years have gone)




Yes, many a times, I do wonder: what makes Life worth living? And, many a times, I do find the answer!




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: Vinod Korgaonkar



Saturday, April 28, 2012

GO FOR THE BLACKBERRIES, MY SON...








When I saw my this month’s Internet-usage bill, I was rudely surprised. For years, I have been blogging and I do check my e-mails or send them. I have been managing with some basic schemes… Just need-based. 


Just some days ago, someone from the other end had ‘tempted’ me with a scheme that had made sense to me. I said, “Go ahead”.  So, I was expecting a hike of around hundred rupees this month. But, it is more than twice my old out-go!


“No way,” I reacted in my mind, “When did I use Internet like this?”


I called up the call-center. And, the lady on the other end patiently explained to me that it was just a one-time advance payment… and, that from the next month onward, it would be as promised. 


I dropped my resistance, immediately. “Why didn’t you tell me about this ‘one-time-something’ before?" I could have yelled. But, I decided to drop even that.


In stead, I decided to ‘drop’ the cheque, immediately… Yes, in the drop-box! 


A few hundred rupees jump had un-nerved me… I was fuming!


A slight increase in my internet speed had come with a price… and, I had to be prepared for it. 


Yes, the lady on the other end was politely telling me, “Sir, there is no Free Lunch in Life!”


I had dropped my resistance, the moment this truth dawned on me just some hours before.




My mind goes back to this morning’s PD session. My friend, Mr. Manjeet, had come to share a few things with the young ones. The point he wanted to stress on was ‘an attitude of gratitude’. 


“My dear young friends,” Mr. Manjeet said, “You are able to experience the comfort of this room, because, you have these air-conditioners, fans and lights.” He continued, “But, they come with a price… If you want comforts, you have to pay… No Free Lunch in Life!”


The young ones were glued. “Tell me, what if God had not given us the Sun… Or, imagine if He was to charge us for the usage of Light! Imagine, if He had not sent us rain… Or, imagine if He was to bill us for the water?”


“Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “I had never thought of that… Mine is an ‘unlimited-usage scheme!”


It was. It is. It will be!


God doesn’t charge me… So, I take the light, air and water for granted. Prayer comes when I am a bit scared… worried. When I am all provided, I blissfully forget there is Some one who cares, provides… Yes, Some one who provides me the unlimited-downloads in Life!


We were all glued to my friend, Mr. Manjeet’s gospel on gratitude. Then, he ended the way he always does. With a nice story.






 






One day, a young boy saw a huge tree with loads of blackberries. He was tempted to have the sweet berries and decided to climb the tree. Till the trunk of the tree, he could manage effortlessly. But, to reach for what he wanted – the sweet blackberries – he had to take some risk… He had to get on to the branches, which were not as strong as the trunk… So, he was filled with fear… “What if the branch comes off and I come down?” he worried. “But, I want the blackberries,” he yearned. “Oh God, please help me,” he cried, looking up to the skies, “I promise you to drop some of my bad habits… I will visit your temple once I come down from this tree… I will surely offer at your altar the best of the blackberries… But, dear God, please help me to get these sweet berries.”


The prayer had come spontaneously to the young boy… It had come to his lips when he needed the berries, badly.

“Go for the berries, my son,” the boy seemed to have heard a voice from the heavens. The next moment, he got on to a branch… and he began to pluck those sweet berries… He was so happy and so confident that he kept plucking more and more of them. 






Then, a thought came to his mind. 


“Actually, I was stupid to be so scared,” he argued,


 “I simply prayed to God for help… 


I simply made all those promises… 


I could have managed on my own!”




Before the next thought came into his mind, the branch of the tree, along with our young man, came crashing down… DHUD on the ground!!!


There, lying on his hurting back, he could now see the heavens quite clearly!


“Sorry Sir, I was simply joking!” the boy explained to God. Of course, in pain!




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: 1. Amit Bhoir
         2. Denzil Pais




Friday, April 27, 2012

BUT, I KNEW THIS STORY BEFORE...























One day, Lion, the king of the jungle, went for hunting. He took along some of his subjects – Fox, Jackal, Hyena and Panther – for help. By the end of the day, they had collected a large pile of meat. It was time for sharing.


The Lion made four equal parts.


Pointing at the first share, the Lion roared: “I am the King of this jungle. So, rightfully, the first share belongs to me, your King… Any problem? Any objection?”


“No Sire,” the Subjects cried, respectfully.


Pointing at the second share, the Lion thundered: “This share is for my wife, the Lioness, your Queen… Any problem? Any objection?”


“No Sire,” the animals replied, in a chorus.


It was dark. They were all tired and hungry. Two shares had already gone. But, two were still left… and, there was hope.


Pointing at the third share, the Lion blasted: “This share is for my son, the Prince, your future King… Any problem, any objection?”


“No Sire,” the response was milder, this time. 


Only one share was left before the tired and hungry Subjects. They still had hope… and, they were waiting.

 
Pointing at the last share, the Lion declared lovingly: “This share is for YOU, my dear, dear subjects!”


On hearing this, the faces of those tired and hungry animals lit up, all of a sudden. Alas! They heard their King’s thunder, once again: “But, but, but… For that, you have to FIGHT WITH ME!!!”


Suddenly, a sadness fell on the helpless animals’ faces… and their hearts sank. They had no strength left in them to say anything. One by one, they went back to their homes… cursing their own fates.

Ladies and Gentlemen, every time, you come across the English phrase, ‘Lion’s Share’, it means – ‘the bigger share’ or ‘the better share’. But, long, long ago, it meant – ‘Every thing’… ‘The whole thing’!






 























Well, now that I have told you this story. Hope, you liked it.


Two days ago, I had told this story in the PD sessions, with all my heart… I had dramatized it. There were two separate batches – the Pre-teens and the Youth. Both had heard it… and, I had now asked them to recall this story for a while… and, then write it down. I had encouraged them to be absolutely free… Simply get into the flow… never to worry about the grammar or the spellings… never to worry about the exact dialogues which I had used… I had asked them to give undivided attention to the story, trust their hearts and how they would re-tell it… use their wild imagination… and, above all, go by their innocent curiosity… just for the sheer joy of it. Yes, the joy of telling a good story.


The Pre-teens were fantastic… 


The youth couldn’t get into such flow so effortlessly…


There were a couple of middle-aged. They could hardly tell this story the way the little ones did!






“Please note down your homework,” 


I announced, “You will re-write this story at home


with your own magic… 


trusting yourself, using your wild imagination… 


and, going by your innocent curiosity.” 
 




All were not so enthusiastic… “But, what if…?”


“Yes, what if my grammar goes wrong?”


“What if my spellings go wrong?


“What if my dialogues go wrong?”


“What if my version is not as good as my friend’s?”


“I already knew this story?”


“Actually, yours is not the ‘correct’ story… The ‘correct one’ is…”


“What is this ‘kids-stuff? Give us something tough, something  challenging?”


“What is it going to serve us?”



I wasn’t surprised when I ‘checked’ the ‘homework’, the next day…


I had told them, that they had to just trust, go by their innocence… use their wild imagination… be fired by their curiosity. 


But, as one ‘grew-up’, it seemed, it was too tough a homework to do!




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: 1. Shalet Crasta
       
         2. Supriya Chavan





Wednesday, April 25, 2012

THE BROKEN PROMISE





















“I blog every day.”


I keep telling this to every one, every day.


And, because I have told it to every one, every day… I see myself ‘compelled’ by my own statement, my own proclamation. 


By now, it has become an ‘ego-issue’. Yes, I am driven by my own ego!


I did not blog yesterday. It took a break. 


Now, what sort of break was it? Was it a ‘conscious break’ or was it ‘forced upon me’, which I had to take because I was ‘helpless’?


Well, it wasn’t a ‘conscious’ break. My schedule was crazy the entire day… Every time I tried to type something, something else would come up… and, the whole day went in this manner. 


My blog did not happen.


I wanted to write, but I could not. I was not happy about that. I found myself resisting, arguing in my mind, even worrying about “What others would think”… “I have failed to keep my word”… “I have not lived up to my own expectations… the world’s expectations”… A hundred thoughts like these crisscrossed through my mind.


Finally, a silence fell. 





“It is okay, my friend,” I smiled, 


“Nobody’s heart stopped just because


 you did not publish your Post… 


The World did not end.”


 

The day had ended. It was pitch dark outside. It was a Tuesday, the day so many kept their fasts and prayed to Lord Ganesh. Incidentally, Darpan, a school teacher, had come to see me. “I am a lot upset today,” the young lady said sounding almost guilty, “I somehow could not keep my fast today!”


I smiled again. “Well ma’am,” I jumped in my heart, “I too could not keep my ‘fast’ today!”


“It is okay ma’am,” I consoled her,” “Ganeshji understands!”


Believe me, the madam really smiled!


As I was walking back home, I remembered a story, my friend, Manjeet, had once told in our Public Speaking class when he had found our students restless.











“Once, a Zen Master wanted his four disciples to observe a day-long silence. He asked his servant to take them to the nearby room and, the silence began.


For the entire day, the four disciples could manage to maintain the silence and they were quite pleased with their achievement. But, as the night began to fall, one of the disciples suddenly said to the Master’s servant, “It is getting darker; please light the lamp.”


“Hey, you spoke, you have opened your mouth,” the second disciple cried, instinctively!


“Both of you have opened your mouths,” the third disciple burst out, “Both of you…” he suddenly realized that he too had opened his mouth, he too had broken the silence, and he shut his mouth tightly with his two hands. But, alas! The mouth was already opened… and, the silence was already broken!


Any way, at least, he was ‘half-aware’!


When this drama was going on, our fourth disciple was feeling sorry for his colleagues. He was 'fully aware'! He was feeling proud that he had not opened his mouth and not broken the silence. So proud he was about his great achievement, that he couldn’t wait to declare his surging happiness: “I am the only one in this room, who has not opened his mouth… who has not broken his promise!” “The Master will be very pleased with me,” he concluded!


The story had ended. 


The day had ended.


I had broken a promise… Darpan, too,  had broken a promise… 


But, the World had not ended…


We both were smiling! 




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Ronald Fernandes










Monday, April 23, 2012

SHOW HER THE STAIRWAY...






 

“Help me believe in what I could be… and all that I am!”




This is a line from the popular Christian hymn – ‘One day at a time’.


I still remember that Sunday morning. During the Mass, a young girl had rendered this hymn so beautifully, amidst the inspiring silence of the church… that, tears were just rolling down my cheeks!



A young ‘girl’ was singing this hymn…



“I'm only human; I'm just a woman
Help me believe in what I could be and all that I am
Show me the stairway
I have to climb
Lord for my sake
Teach me to take
One day at a time”



Yes, the young ‘girl’ was praying:


“One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you
Give me the strength to do everything that I have to do
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Help me today
Show me the way
One day at a time.”



And, I was crying… a ‘man’ was crying!













My little niece, vivacious Danika, received her first Holy Communion on this Saturday; and last evening, her wonderful parents, Oscar and Mavis, had invited us for a memorable evening to celebrate the big day. 


Yes, it IS a ‘big day’ in the life of every young Christian boy or girl. By now – at the age of eight to ten – he or she is big enough to understand the prayers… to know who Jesus is… and is ‘ready to receive Him’.

 
So, our beautiful Danika ‘received’ Jesus for the first time, in the church, on Saturday. She was thrilled… as her parents and we all were…


As the little bride – yes, Danika was, last evening – went about asking blessings from all of us, posing for pictures, replying to the toast, dancing her heart out… I went back to my own ‘big day’. Ever since that day – about forty-five years ago – I have been receiving the Holy Communion – Jesus – during every Mass in the church. I found asking myself: “Why am I not so ‘excited’ as I was on my ‘big day’?”




Then, a few thoughts kept haunting me:


Does Jesus ‘come to me’ only on Sundays 


when I receive the Holy Communion? 


Or, does He come 


every time, every day, every where 


and in every manner?


And, when He comes, am I ready to 


recognize Him? To receive Him?





These questions did cross my mind as our lovely Danika enthralled with her scintillating key-board performance coupled with a soothing hymn.


For a while, I turned speechless!


Just the same morning, I had cried as I was listening to my favorite, ageless hymn – One day at a time – with an instrumental version. In the night, Danika was playing another one for us – her beholders… I felt like crying aloud:




“Lord, help this little soul believe in what she could be… and all that she is…
Show her the stairway… that she has to climb….
Yes Jesus, she is only  human… just a little woman…”



Last night, while bidding them good-bye, I had promised Mavis, little Danika’s adorable mom, that I would be dedicating today’s Post to her angel. 


This is for you, my little Danika darling…


I hope, you too will have tears rolling down your lovely cheeks as you grow up like me…


Please play the key board the way you do… Please sing the way you do… Please ‘receive Jesus’, all your life – the way you did on your ‘Big day’.


With all my love and blessings, here is my favorite hymn to you. ‘One day at a time.’
















May this be your prayer, my little darling... may this be your song... yes, One day at a time!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Roopa Sushil



Sunday, April 22, 2012

THE COBRA'S PROMISE







“Sir, can I drink water?” seven-year old Harsha asked me.


“Okay sweethearts, I will give you two minutes, all of you drink water from your bottles,” I declared.


“Sir, I have not brought water,” said little Shristi wearing a sad face.


“Sir, I also,” nine-year-old Ritesh’s hand went up.


“Well, my darlings, you were supposed to bring… Didn’t you know that? I asked lovingly.


“Sorry sir,” both, Shristi and Ritesh murmured tamely.


“Don’t worry, Bunty will share with you Ritesh,” I announced, “and, Sheeba will share with you Shristi.”


“Sir, see,”  Bunty began to complain, “Ritesh is finishing the entire bottle!”


“Ritesh beta, you can not do that… Bunty had helped you by sharing his water… and, how can you hurt him by finishing his entire bottle?” I reminded the little brat.


“Sir,” six-year-old Seema’s hand went up.


“Yes, dear,” I encouraged bubbly Seema to say what she wanted to.


“Sir, that is not good manners,” Seema declared.


“You are right Seema beta; that’s absolutely not good manners,” I agreed, “Bunty beta, don’t you agree?”


Bunty beta began to nod his sweet head.


“Sir, our Miss has told us that sharing is a good value,” eight-year-old Karishma stood up to tell, “But, she has also told us that we should thank those who help us.”


“Correct,” I supported Karishma, “Children, don’t you agree with Karishma?”


“YESSSS!!!!” the roof almost came down!


“But, sir, why did Bunty share with Ritesh?” ten-year-old Rajas asked, “He shouldn’t have.”


“NO!!!!” The class disagreed, “Sharing is a good value.”


“Sir, “eight-year-old Darshan came running to me.


“Yes dear, what you want to tell,” I made him face the class, “Now, ground well here, tell all of us what you want to tell… tell from your heart, darling.”


“One day, in school, I shared my Lays packet with my friend Jiten,” remembered Darshan, “But, he shamelessly started eating the full packet; then, I gave him one big jaapad … But, by then, the packet was khaali!”





The class had now turned into a comedy circus…


 A ‘hundred clowns’… all laughing, jumping, 


running here and there…


 they were telling each other their great 


‘sharing’ adventurers… and, how they had given 


some big jaapads





Hahahahahaha!!!!!


Now, I had a tough job in hand!


“Chalo, I will tell you a nice story, listen to me,” I announced. But, the circus was still in progress. "It is the story of a COBRA… HISSSSSS…. HISSSSSS,” I showed them the cobra’s angry head. By now, they were glued to my story.












Long time ago, there was a temple in a village. Every day, the people from the village would visit this temple. On the way to this temple, there lived a cobra, quietly under a huge Banyan tree. One day, when some village children were playing near the tree, a small child stamped on the sleeping cobra and he bit the child. The child died. Immediately, the news spread through the village and a sudden fear gripped all the villagers.


“There is a poisonous cobra on the way to the temple and he kills people,” the frightened villagers began to tell each other. So, they stopped venturing out of their houses. The little children stopped playing out… and, nobody dared to visit the temple.


When the temple was suddenly deserted, the Priest of the temple became worried. When he learnt what had happened, he went near the Banyan tree to talk to the snake.


“My friend, why did you kill that little child?” said the Priest, “Now, see! The whole village is gripped with fear… No one is coming to the temple. Please, promise me that you won’t bite, any one, any more!”


The cobra had great respect to the temple Priest. So, he gave a promise, “Yes sir, I will not bite, any one, any more… come what may!”


So, now, the news went around the village saying that the Priest had used his powers to make the cobra docile… That, the poison had gone out of the snake and no one needed to be scared.


From that day, people started coming out of their houses. When they saw the cobra, quietly coiled-up under the Banyan tree, some of them taunted him,” Look, how powerless he has now become… The Priest has taken away his poison!”


Some started hurling abuses on him… Some started spitting on him… Some bold children held the cobra by his tail and started dragging him all around… some began to swing him in the air… and, they all had great fun doing that.


But, the cobra did not do anything. He kept his promise to the Priest.


Some days later, the Priest was passing by the Banyan tree. When he saw the bleeding and battered cobra, he was shocked. “What have you done to yourself, my friend?” he cried out, “Look, at your condition… What has happened to you?”


The cobra had no strength left in him to talk. “Sir, you had asked me not to bite,” he managed to complain, “Now, see, what they have done to me!”


On hearing this, the Priest turned very angry. “You fool, Yes I did tell you ‘not to bite’…” he thundered, “But, did I ever tell you ‘not to HISSSS?”




The jumping, yelling and running had come to a standstill. It seemed, for a while, that this Priest had made the little snakes docile…


“So, sweethearts, did you like the story?” the Priest asked.


“YESSSSSS”


“What is the moral of the story?”


“We should not give ‘big jaapads’… Only do ‘HISSSSSS!!!!’…”





GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Roopa Sushil