Thursday, May 31, 2012

THE DESIRE TO BE CLEANSED






Will fear go from my life? Will anger go? Will jealousy go? Will insecurity and greed go? Will lust and guilt go?


Well, if these weren’t present in me, I wouldn’t have asked these questions, here…


And, if they hadn’t bogged me down, I wouldn’t have bothered about them…


Yes, because my life has all of them – fear, anger, greed, lust, jealousy and insecurity… because my well-being and confidence are hugely affected by them… I, frequently, ask the questions: “Will they go?”… “Will my life be free from all these ‘demons’?”…”Will I be confident, happy?”

In life, some things are certain: Every tunnel has to have an end… Every dark cloud has to have a silver lining. Yes, every thought of despair should promise me hope… Fear should promise me courage… Lust, greed, jealousy and insecurity should promise me freedom… Anger should bring the promise of compassion…


Death has to promise me Life…


Hell has to promise me Heaven…


Yes, these are some certainties of life.


Nothing escapes this…


To be clean… my soul has to be saddled with muck…


Only then, will come in me the desire to be cleansed… to rise above the muck…


Oh yes, yes! Like Lotus does. In muck it is born… the root, the stem… everything is nursed by muck, the ugliness… the undesired.


How can the Lotus be without muck, the ugliness? How can the beauty be? How can the glory be?


I doubt, God would make any sense in this world without the presence of Devil… Because Devil rules our lives, we yearn for God.


Because I am weak, I yearn to be strong…


It is the mess in my life – my inner conflicts and confusions, the susceptible and fallible mortal side of me – that ignites in me the flame of spirituality.











I was very angry – very, very angry – last evening. The effect lasted  long… And, now, here is the direct outcome of my anger: this Post!


So, will the ‘muck’ go away from my life? 


Should it?




GERALD D’CUNHA


Pics.: Prakash S. Nayak





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MY TWO BOYS...



















I will just call him – the Manipur Boy! That’s enough.


He hails from the troubled state of Manipur… and from a family which has tough times making the two ends meet. The newspapers say that, barely six months ago, he almost missed out filling the registration forms for his CBSE-Board class XII exams… because his family could not afford it. Yes, that was six months ago. On this Monday, when the results were out, this young boy stunned the nation: He scored 99 percent and became the first to do that – ever – in the CBSE history! He stood first in a nation crowded with rich, bright, elite and whatever! 


I do not know who this boy is. I haven’t even seen his picture… But, last night, when I read the report in the newspapers, my eyes welled… and goose bumps sprang up all over my body!


I felt a lot proud to be born in a nation where the guys like this one – with acute constraints – still could dream, and go about following them… and, yes, they could achieve them. I felt immensely inspired and – it may sound so weird – I felt he was my own son… my own student!


I really do not know why I felt so strong for this boy. But, I did!




Just two days ago, a pretty, sophisticated woman had brought to me her young son to enroll. The boy studies in one of Mumbai’s hep colleges. The mother wanted me to teach one subject privately to her son and was ready to pay me whatever I would demand. She had already enrolled him, for rest of the subjects, with other private tutors and paid to them whatever they had demanded. My brief interaction with this boy really made me annoyed. The boy had no initiative of his own… It was clear that he had been spoon-fed, this way – of course with parents’ golden spoons – all along the years. He was handsome, wore the most modern clothes and footwear, and carried the finest mobile… Yet, as a student, his attitude was stinking. 


Before I enrolled this young man, I asked him if he knew what it took to earn the kind of fees his parents were shelling out on each of the tutors. I showed him the middle-aged watchman who was on his twelve-hour duty at the Society gate. “He gets Rs. 3,000/- to take home every month,” I told the young boy, “he has two college-going daughters and his dream is to graduate them.”


The mother liked what I was ‘preaching’ her son… and, evidently, she must’ve told such things to her ‘mod’ son a hundred times over. I continued, “Beta, a year ago he had brought his elder daughter to study under me in TY B’Com. I had waived off the fees… because the girl deserved it. She was so dedicated, so focused that – in spite of the fact that she would visit a couple of houses in the nights to cook food and earn some extra income for the house – she scored about 80 percent in her TY.”


The boy did not want my sermon. He was restless. 


I too was.


He did not want to listen, perhaps…


I did not want him to be in – with a swollen head…


I added, “ Beta, their combined annual income is not even enough to fund your two tutors!”


The mother felt very good that I spoke such words… 


“Beta, I will take you here, only if you value the kind of privileges you are blessed with… and, don’t abuse them… Only if you are sensitive to such things, I believe I can contribute to your growth.”


The boy agreed.





He is in now. 


I am happy that he has all the privileges… 


That’s a boon… 


all that has to be done is to appreciate, 


value and be grateful for it… 


and, make the most of it. 



I hope, our Mumbai hep-boy, who now is my student, will make the most of the ‘excess’ he is born into…













Two days, later, the Manipur boy came into my life!


He was also born into a condition Destiny had in store for him: a poverty-stricken home! He lived thousands of miles from my own home. Though I had not taught this boy or raised him up… last night, while I was reading about him, my eyes turned wet and heart rejoiced… My soul was inspired! “Hey he is my student… He is my son!”… I found myself crying out in my heart! 


“May God bless you, my son!” I wished one. “May God bless you, too,” I wished another.


God, in deed, had ‘blessed’… both my boys!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Lionel Saldanha





Tuesday, May 29, 2012

THE SAME RAINBOW...


















I have taught for over thirty years. And, I believe, I have taught with all my love and passion. I, always, wanted to be a teacher… And, all these years, I have been only that: a teacher.


Yes, as a teacher, I have to teach all kinds: the best of the lot and the worst of the lot. Many of my students have topped in their exams… and many have tanked. So many have risen to great positions in life… and so many are still stuck somewhere, limping or wasted. Some, when they meet me after years and years, hug me and tell what a difference I have made in their lives… And, some, when we cross our way, don’t even remember that I was their teacher once! Some, even after studying here, under me, for five-long years, give me a feeling that what a drudgery the herd-mentality can  breed in life!... While, some, even though they were with me for a week or a month – make me feel how inspiring, how special some relationships can be!


Right from the day one of my teaching, one thing was clear to me: that I would not teach my students for their exams… I would not be obsessed with their marks… I wouldn’t even ask them about their marks. I would rather endeavor to ignite a thirst for learning in them, I would help them believe in themselves, their potentials… and, by that, help them to be self-starters… to be in charge of their own fate.


For all these years, I have done what I have believed in: Teaching and Learning for Life!


Marks have never been the primary objective. I have seen them as only the by-product of one’s dedicated work.


Do parents and students believe in this philosophy?


Yes, most of them do. Some don’t. Rather, they won’t!


When results are out, some call up, some come and see me. They are so excited about their best performance. “Sir, I got 100, 99, 98… 95!” I really feel happy for them… Proud for being their teacher. But, what leaves me perplexed is the thought of those who haven’t fared well in their exams… 70, 60, 50, 40… and, some, who even have failed! How do I feel about them?


I always ask this question: “Have I not taught all of them?... Yes, in the same class room, under the same lights, on the same benches, through the same board, and with the same love, commitment and passion?” I keep asking this to me: “If I have not been partial to any of them, then, how come some shine and some shrink?”


Often, it is tempting – and yes, very fashionable and ego-boosting – to trumpet before the world – “Hark! Hark! Hark! Five of my students are rankers… First in University, first in College… or first wherever!” It helps sell myself as a teacher. It gives a strange kick to my ego.


But, then, why don’t I talk about the ones who have just managed to pass, or those who have failed? Were they not my own students… Rather, was I not their teacher as well?


But, I don’t tell the world about that. I hide. 


That’s been the sad story – of teaching in this world where a teacher’s efficiency is often directly linked to his students’ marks. It takes unusual inner strength to keep teaching casting aside this buffoonery.


“It is you who make the difference… Not your teacher,” I keep reminding my students, “If you are ready – if your hearts are thirsty and minds are fertile – I will surely make a difference. Otherwise, I am sorry, my dear young ones.”


Is that not true?


How can any teacher make a difference, unless the student is ‘ready’? Yes, I constantly try to bring this readiness in him. But, then, that again, is not unless he gives his consent.


That’s why, it is often said: “A teacher appears… when student is ready!”






The same Sun shines on all of us…


The same Moon smiles for all of us…


The same Stars twinkle for all of us…


The same raindrops fall on all of us… 


Yes, the same Rainbow looms large with hope… 


Before all of us!


Then, why, in Life, some of us shine…


 and, some of us shrink?














There is a beautiful Parable of Jesus Christ. I wish to connect it to what I want to convey, today.



“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  

Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But, when the Sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
 
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.




Whether the ‘Seed’ in this Parable is ‘the wisdom of God’ or ‘the wisdom of a teacher’ – frankly, it should not make any difference. If God is everywhere, He is, most certainly, there in a teacher like me, too!


At the end of this inspiring Parable, Jesus tells:

“Whoever has ears, let them hear!”


May I end my Post, too, with these words?




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Raj Dhage Wai


Monday, May 28, 2012

THE REAL CHAMPIONS















Who won the IPL trophy, last night?


Who were the Champions?


Like millions over the world, I too was glued to TV, last night. And, like everyone else, I too enjoyed the contest… Yes, the clash of the Titans, the nail-biting thriller!


I was rooting for Chennai Super Kings. Even till the end, I wanted them to win… and, I hoped. Along with every twist and turn, my heart too experienced the heat and the chill. And, in the end, when they lost, my heart slipped into a gloom!


The other fans of CSK too experienced this… The gigantic Chennai stadium, which was packed to the brim till minutes ago, looked, literally, deserted at the time of Presentation ceremony! Their coaches, the players, and even the ground staff seemed tensed. Even the winning side KKR’s charismatic and otherwise a live-wire, Shah Rukh Khan, his little daughter Suhana, his beautiful wife Gauri… KKR’s die-hard fan, Usha Uthup, their brave Captain, Gambhir, almost all their players, their tough coaches, including Wasim Akram… Yes, they all panicked even till the end! 


The only persons who enjoyed every bit of the match, without getting swayed like me and others, seemed to be those fun-loving commentators – Harsha, Danny Morrison, Ravi Shastri and the rest…  the irrepressible Sidhu, Sameer, Gaurav and, of course, those lovely ladies with mikes. I don’t know about the cheer girls. I don’t know about the bookies. I don’t know about the officials…



I know of some, who, in my eyes, were the real winners, last night. Here are they... the Champions!


Captain Cool – Dhoni. It is a mystery as to how he can maintain his grace and composure even in such high-voltage situations. Yes, I just cannot understand this mystery called M.S. Dhoni! Each time I watch him handle such a situation,  I come out simply inspired! He, to me, shall always be the true Champion, whether in victory or in defeat!


SRK, did not sit for second, last night! He was constantly on the edge... was completely involved, passionate, tensed… At one stage, when his ship was going down, he pulled his scared daughter and kept her in his embrace… I choked! Then, after the victory, when he was talking to the media, surrounded by his family and close friends, he apologized for his misbehavior on MCA grounds a week ago. His human side was complete by now: that night, it was ugly, as any human’s could be… This night, it was grace personified. After the resounding victory, he chose to be repentant… He owned up his mistake. I have often, disliked his over-the-top style. But, last night, I just couldn’t control the lump in my throat! I admired him, immensely… It takes strength of your character to own up your mistakes and apologize… yes, to do that before your own little children… and yes, before the whole world!


On the other end of the spectrum, there was another Champion: the faceless owner* of CSK! I kept asking in my mind, “Who is he?”… “Where is he?”… “Why are the cameras not showing him… his moods?”


Every team had their rich and  flamboyant owners coming on before the world… I was unable to find the one who owned CSK!


Or, was I just blind!





I like the idea of ‘playing low-key’… 


Last night, I adored the owners 


of such a brilliant team for doing exactly that. 

 Yes, it takes your character strength to do that!





 

So, who were the real Champions, last night?


I am still asking!

 
* I have used singular, here.











GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Gloria Pinto






 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

TO BE SUCCESSFUL... OR, TO BE FAITHFUL?



 
 



















“God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”


What did Mother Theresa mean when she had said this?


Yesterday, I had shared in my Post what our PD students – kids, young ones and middle-aged – had to say on: ‘What Success means to me’.


This morning, after the Mass, there was a send-off for our assistant parish-priest, Fr. Simon. In his emotional speech, he quoted Mother Theresa: 

“God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” 


Fr. Simon knew that during his two-year tenure, whatever he had performed was done by him with full commitment and love… He had been faithful to the mission he was assigned to… That, he had the silent satisfaction and pride of not compromising on his commitment… That, he had been faithful. He said in his speech: “So, my dear parishioners, as Mother Theresa had said, I too consider that, two years ago, God had sent to me to this parish to be ‘faithful’ to the mission assigned upon me… Whether I am ‘successful’ or not – well, it is just an opinion of the world!”


My mind went back to the same question: “What Success means to me!”


Was Mother Theresa a ‘Successful’ nun?


Now, was Fr. Simon a ‘Successful’ priest?


Honestly, till I heard this line, during the send-off speech, this morning, I wasn’t thinking from this perspective.


I have been sent here by God, on this earth, with a mission… and He expects me to be ‘faithful’ to my mission. That’s all! My concern should be: “Have I been faithful to God?” If the answer is ‘Yes’, then, I am successful… Whether the world thinks so or not.


So, who are we to judge Mother Theresa – whether she was ‘successful’ or not? 


Fr. Simon was telling us the same thing: “If in God’s eyes, I have passed, I do not need the world’s certificate.”


Once I am faithful, I really do not need to worry about whether I am successful or not.  


In deed, I found a new meaning in this line. I felt a deep sense of relief: which meant, I had attached a great deal of importance to world’s opinion about my performance on this earth!


This morning, the load did fall off my heart. I felt a lot lighter!



After a couple of hours, I met Vijay, a friend of mine, who lives in my own colony. They are three brothers. The eldest brother, who is now over 40, had been mentally challenged and, ever since he was born, is dependent on his adorable mother. This young man cannot exist without the love, care and support of his mother. Wherever they go, they have to think about this son… The son needs mother: to feed him, bathe him, to help him with his toilet work. When I was talking to Vijay, this morning, my mind went back to the same question: “What Success means to me!”


Why was this woman - this adorable, incredibly patient, mother – sent by God on this earth? What is her mission? Has she been ‘faithful’ to the mission assigned to her by God? And, yes, is she a Successful woman? A Successful mother?...





These questions flashed through my mind 


in such rapidity… 


that, it had to empty my mind 


of all the junk I had stored, so far… 


yes, all in the name of ‘Success’!






 

















The day has ended… it is dark outside. The question still haunts me:

“What Success means to me!”


My heart is extremely peaceful… and, I know the reason: 

I, too, have been ‘faithful’ to the mission I have been sent for… 
 
Yes, by God!




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Vivek D'Cunha


Saturday, May 26, 2012

WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO ME



 




It is over twenty-two years since THE DAWN CLUB was founded. In every PD course we have conducted - yes, every year since then - we have asked our youngsters to reflect, write or speak on the topic: ‘What Success means to me.”


Also, in every book that we have published, over all these years, we have, directly or indirectly, touched upon this subject.


Two days ago, during our morning session, I, once again, asked the young ones to reflect on this subject. They were asked to share with us just one or two aspects. Yes, just one, two, or at the most three, ideas on: What Success, personally, meant to each one of them. “My young friends, please remember,” I said to them, “I want you to share with us, ‘Your’ ideas – what Success really, really means to ‘you’ – yes, at ‘this’ point of your life. Don’t bother about what it means to anyone else… Or, what will others think about what you think.”


I wasn’t surprised on hearing what I did! Each one of them had something to share… something pertinent, something very fundamentally universal… and, something so relateable and true.


In Life, there are only few words – you can count them on your fingers – which almost all of us understand and use… We all have some strong views on them; often, speak on them with authority… Yes, we all – kids, teenagers, middle-aged and aged. Imagine how we all use these words: ‘Life’, ‘Love’, ‘Happiness’, ‘God’… and, yes, ‘Success’!


So, when I asked our students – some kids, some middle-aged and mostly young ones – to reflect, write and speak on the word ‘Success’ – I wasn’t surprised at all. Each one of them spoke, almost, like an ‘expert’!


In this Post, I thought I would share the gist of what some of our students had to say. Yes on the topic: ‘What Success means to me’.










Seventeen-year-old Varun said, “Success, to me, is a ‘bare necessity’ like water, food, air, clothes and shelter. I can’t survive without it… I need to succeed if I have to live!”


For a while, I was startled. No one had given me such a perspective, all these years… and, here was a young man reminding all of us, “Friends, there is no option but to succeed… It is as needed as the air we breathe!” Then, he added this: “Friends, this need has to be met to fulfill our next, equally fundamental, need – ‘to be happy’ in life!”


“Wow!” I declared, “How effective, how beautiful our lives would be if we all treat ‘Success’ as a basic need, a bare necessity!”


Fifteen-year-old Yash emphasized on ‘Overcoming obstacles in life’. He spoke about the hero of Greek mythology - the Prince of Athens, Theseus, who took upon him the challenge of putting an end to the tyranny of King Minos. But, to achieve this goal, the young Prince had to overcome an incredible obstacle: he had to kill the deadly monster – part man, part bull – Minotaur! Yes, Prince Theseus did… and achieved his goal.. “So, my dear friends," said Yash, "if I have to pick one idea to convey what Success means to me, it would be: Overcoming obstacles in or lives.” He added, “Our goals are just our destinations… It is the process of achieving our goals... the ‘path’- the grit and grace with which we face our obstacles along - that makes us successful  persons.”


“To me, Success means ‘hard work’,” said seventeen-year old Aishwarya, “There is no compromise on that… We can not achieve anything without hard work.”


I did not want the young ones to undermine the importance of this age-old value – ‘hard work’. They were all bombarded with this, day-in-and day-out, by their parents, teachers and well-wishers. So, when Aishwarya emphasized on her idea of Success – hard work - no one could disagree. 


But, I wanted them to know one thing more about ‘hard work’. “As much as you believe in the importance of ‘hard work’ in life, you should also believe in this, my young friends,” I reminded them, almost teasing, “that, if hard work alone could bring Success, Donkey deserves to be the Champion...! Let your work be smart as well!”


Dev, 17, had to say this: “My parents want me to become a Chartered Accountant… which, I think, I will try to be as I too am interested.” He added, “But any one can become a CA… But, to become one, who would not ‘cheat’, is what Success all about to me!”


It immediately triggered off applause. I reminded the young ones as to how we all dream to be someone like a doctor, advocate, architect, chartered accountant, teacher, designer, actor, sportsman, businessman or even a preacher. “Becoming one of these with ‘good ethics’ is what our friend, Dev, is stressing upon… To him, that is Success.”


“Money is a big thing in life, but not everything,” declared sixteen-year-old Hitesh, “To me, to be Successful in life means working hard to earn money… But only so much which can keep me content and satisfied.”


I knew they were all still kids. Their financial needs were taken care of by their parents… “What money means to me” … would be a subject in itself… and, it was for another day! But, today, here was a young one telling us, “Please don’t put your cart before the horse!  Money is the cart… and, let it be behind… Let your horse – contentment of your heart, your simple satisfaction – be in the front!”


It was ‘Focus’ for twenty-year-old Jaideep. He too wanted to become a Chartered Accountant. “I believe, keeping the focus on what you want to achieve in life is Success.”


Oh yes, no doubt about that. Distractions destroy… they sabotage our plans. For most of us, lack of focus is a malady… We don’t reach our destinations, because, along our way, we lose our focus. Like the over-confident Hare in the ancient fable, we become casual, we go to sleep… while the sensible, humble Tortoise, by being consistently focused, makes it to the finishing line… and, not only wins the ‘cup’… but, every one’s heart, as well!


“What you focus on, expands in your life,” I told the youngsters. I also told them this: “To be focused means to be able to see the ‘eye of the bird’… and, not the ‘bird’. Arjuna’s example came handy to me, last morning.


Mehak is not even a teen. “I want to be a writer,” she said, “So, if I am able to become what I want to and thereby live happily, that’s Success to me.” Jaanvi, Mehak’s cousin sister of the same age, too, had her dreams. “Friends, to me, Success means striving for excellence in whatever I am doing,” this little one said.


I raised my eyebrows! 


“In Search of Excellence,”… “Pursuit of Excellence,”… these are not just some famous book-titles. ‘Excellence’, as little lady, Jaanvi, reminded us was the ‘essence of Success’!


Anupama, 17, had declared on her first day here, “I want to be the ‘best’ fashion designer in the world!”


“My God!” I had jumped, “What a way to motivate oneself!” I remembered telling the class, “Friends, it is not whether you will be able to become the ‘BEST’ in what you intend to do, it is about donning the ‘best’ mind-set!” I had added, “Hitch your wagons to the stars… Even if you fail, you will land up on the Moon!”


This morning, Anupama, once again, reminded us,” Friends, my dream is to become a great fashion designer. For that, I have to first do well in my twelfth-standard Board exams. Then, I must do well in the entrance exam to get into NIFT, one of the Premier institutes for fashion technology. So, doing well in these exams, and eventually fulfilling my dream of becoming a great fashion designer is what Success means to me.”


Sixteen-year-old Maitri too had dreams of becoming a writer… She, too, emphasized on being definite about our goals and able to deal with the obstacles along our way.


For young Arpita, the means were more important than the end. “Successful is what everybody wishes to be,” she said, “But, the path to success has to be chosen carefully.” Then, she added this: “The only difference between Obama an Osama is not ‘b’ and ‘s’. It is: while one man is working for the country, in the case of other, many countries are working against one man!”


I liked the analogy. Both, Obama and Osama had goals. The spine-chilling images of Twin-Towers on flame flooded  my mind!


When young Nikita had come to join, she was a bundle of fear… scared to even say ‘hello’ to another student. Now, she was there on stage with a clear notion about Success. “To me, Success means to be able to do what you like… and do with your full heart,” she announced.


But, when I saw Nikita still saying such a powerful thing with a sort of self-doubt, I rose up to tell her, “Beti, what you possess with you is a bomb… Believe me, it is an Atom Bomb!”


“How in the world can you think of achieving anything, becoming successful, unless you like what you do… and, unless you do it with all your heart?” I thundered. “It is, indeed, a bomb, dear… Only you need to treat it so,” I patted Nikita, “Look into their eyes and drop that bomb, once again.”


Nikita did.


“Yes, doing what we love… or, loving what we do,” I added, “Where else lies the key to our Passion?”


Thirty-five-year-old Nandkishore heads a sales team in his organization. “Obviously, to me, Success means achieving my targets, and keep doing that with satisfaction.” He added,  “Along this process, the joy that comes by empowering others and myself is true Success to me.”


“To me, Success is both internal and external. Material Success is external one… Though it is important, it is not as important as the internal success – the feeling of simple fulfillment in our hearts,” declared eighteen-year-old Abhishek.


Many had different perspectives: Passion, Commitment, Perseverance, Discovering our strengths and talents, Peace of Mind, Prosperity, Welfare of the Society… “Success is not a Station, it is a long journey,” some brought back to us this old saying. “The road to success is always under construction,” came from another corner. 





“Life is what you experience 


as you are busy preparing for it,” 


I remembered this line. 


I replaced the word ‘Life’ with ‘Success’…


and, the truth still remained undiluted!

 


Finally, forty-nine-year-old Ashok came on the stage to share his view. “Friends, to me, Success is like a ladder,” he said. “I should climb it to reach high in life… But, I have to examine, time to time, if my ladder is leaned against the ‘right wall’!”


I remembered Stephen Covey and his famous book: ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. I fully agreed with Ashok. Most of us are eternally busy ‘climbing the ladder’. But, often, we realize – and it is too late for many of us, by then – that we had leaned our ladders against ‘wrong walls’!




The session had assumed a very poignant dimension. Yes, the subject of Success is so universal, so relateable… that every one of us has something to say. And, yes, everyone of us thinks: “I know what Success is!” The difference was: I wanted them to reflect and speak on: “What Success 'means' to me!”


Yes, what it means to ‘me’!


Some were not able to speak due to shortage of time… and, some were absent. I wish, I could cover, here,  every one’s view…


For, every one DOES have a view…!


Doesn’t  he?


Don’t you?


Don't we all?




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.: Shaila D'Souza





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SONS OF GOD...









Some people, in this world, are born to make peace. Yes, the world calls them Peace-makers.


World needs them… 


Communities need them…


Families need them…


Social circles need them…


Jesus Christ, in His famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ had said:

“Blessed are the Peace-makers… For, they shall be called (Sons) children of God!”


Living with others means living with ‘differences’. It is not easy, always. Conflicts arise because of misunderstandings, intolerance, insensitivity and egos… and, of course, because of human greed, ambition and even vengeance. Wars erupt out of these conflicts… 


So, how can these conflicts be ended? Who can facilitate the reconciliation? Who can broker peace?


Yes, there are these ‘special’ people – sent by God into this world to perform the ‘special mission’: to make peace!”





There are these people…


 They help broker peace among the nations, 


among the communities, 


among the family members, 


among the members of social circles. 


There are.




Mr. Ashok, 49, is young Abhishek’s uncle. Presently, both of them have joined the on-going PD course. When our students had to speak on the topic – ‘My Hero’, Abhishek quickly chose his uncle. “We live in a joint family,” young Abhishek said, “Many a times, there are misunderstandings and tension and, my uncle is the one we all go to. He thinks level-headedly, takes everyone along, remains calm and composed and that’s how he defuses conflicts and keeps our family together… He is a great peace-maker, and I adore him for that.”


And, when students had to speak on their greatest strengths and talents, not surprisingly, Mr. Ashok chose to talk about his great gift as a peace-maker. “I am aware of this great strength of mine, “he said, “It not only helps the family to remain united and bonded… It helps me feel extremely good about myself, my contribution.”


One man – among so many of them – is required to keep all of them together. He is God’s chosen one for the most important mission on this planet: to bring peace.


Blessed are those… the peace-makers.


Yes, they shall be called (sons) children of God.


The world needs them…


We need them.



GERALD D’CUNHA  

Pic. Hemangi D'Cunha




Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THE UPSIDE-DOWN BOTTLE...






Sagar* sent a message, this morning: “Sir, I am at Siddhivinayak temple… So, can’t come for the PD class.”


I said in my mind, “May Lord Ganesh bless you.”


Actually, I meant: “Lord Ganesh alone can save you, dear!”


Yes, I am a mortal… I can’t!


I have tried… tried hard and long… I can’t.


Why? Why do I say, “I can’t?”


Well, Lord Ganesh knows it pretty well. I hoped, this morning, that He would send my student, Sagar, back putting some sense into his thick skull.


Two days back: “Sir, my best friend’s mom is in ICU… I have come to be with my friend. Sorry, I can’t attend today.”


A day before that: “Sir, I am out on some urgent ‘personal’ work… Don’t think I can make to the class. Sorry.”


Go another two days back: “Sir, I am really not well. Excuse me. I will attend regularly from next class.”


Like this, almost, ninety percent of the course has gone for a toss. Only ten percent is now left. Of this, I am sure, ninety percent will go for a toss, as well... Unless, the Lord of Siddhivinayak intervenes, and fast!


I hear the little mouse at Lord’s feet protesting: “Sorry, Lord helps only those who help themselves!”



Oh no!


How can I help Sagar? How can I motivate him?


Manjeet, my friend, had come to help me during the PD session, today. He was watching the proceedings. Another young man was on stage. After almost one-and-a-half months of marathon sessions, this young man – a graduate – still sounded lifeless. There was no involvement in what he was saying… No passion. He was asked to share: "At least two things I have learnt from this course." He opened, and before we could sit with our backs erect, his two things were over!


“Speak loudly, beta, speak clearly… and, speak from your heart.” I urged with all my passion.


No, his two things were in one place and he was in another!


“Dear, do you really think this course has helped you?” I asked.


“Yes,” he mumbled.


“Is it ‘yes’ or is it ‘YESSSS’?” I prodded.


“Yess,” it was slightly better, this time.


“Really?”


“YESSS sir,” he was quick.


The class applauded.


The world always applauds when you raise your fist and declare: “YESSS”!


The next few lines were how I wanted them to be: from the heart… with passion.


After that, the session took a new turn. I asked the question, a hundredth time, perhaps: 

“Friends, from where does motivation come?”


They all contributed to the discussion. 


Manjeet came to the stage to say something on the subject. He spoke about two kinds of motivation: the motivation that comes from ‘outside’… and, the motivation that comes from ‘inside’. “My young friends, this course is an ‘outside’ motivation... Your dad, mom, teachers, books, CD’s… even God are all ‘outside’ motivations,” he explained to our students, “But, they can help you only when you are ‘available’… Your switch has to be on… so that the power can reach the bulb… and it glows.” He asked, “How can the bulb glow if the switch is off?”


The young ones were glued. “Yes, how can the bulb glow… even with the high voltage power running through the cables unless your switch is kept on?”


Perhaps, some simple examples are missed all the time. I had missed this all through my years and years of teaching experience.


Then, Manjeet ended what he wanted to say with one more example: “You have come to the flowing river with a bottle in your hand… Yes, you want water from this rich river,” he reminded them, “But, my dear young friends, if you want to fill your bottle, please don’t place your bottle ‘upside down’!”


The class applauded, again.





Even to receive ‘Prasad’ 


at the revered Siddhivinayak temple, 


you need to stretch your open palms… 


You need to bow your head and ‘yearn’.




The river of Life fills every heart… The heart only needs to be ‘yearning’. That’s all!


Yes, that's all, Sagar!



 * The name is changed




GERALD D’CUNHA

Pics.:Sandeep Nair