As part of the on-going Ganeshotsav in our housing complex, last night, the Youth had organized programs for the kids. We have seven-day activities in our complex. But, the day we have kids’ activities, the turnout is the maximum! 

It is a real treat to watch the excitement of those kids… Right from a small baby to twelve-year old, we have them all on stage! And, yes, to cheer them on, we have their lovely parents and grandparents… bothers and sisters, even aunts and uncles! Yes, just to see their little bundle of joy, all decked up like a Fairy or Princess, a Narad or a Michael Jackson… and just standing there on center-stage to move those tiny hips or mouth those three-or-four-words dialogues! The little one standing there and just jumping up and down… yes, it is enough to make the beholders happy. And, if the kid can dance or sing… believe me, it is a huge feeling for the entire family… A celebration!

Yes, it is. 

You are grown up, today. Do you sing on stage, today? Do you dance? Do you act? Do you speak? Do you host programs? 

If you do one or two of these, you are surely admired, adored, looked up to for inspiration… and, yes, even envied… by those around. 

Stage has always inspired either awe or fear in human heart… Yes, from Noah’s time, that is!

If you are not able to sing, dance, act, speak or host a program on stage, today, it means you are shy of stage… You fear stage. You will always, avoid it… run way from it!

Something abnormal?

Take heart, my friend. It is perfectly normal!

I can tell you this from my experience. Let’s us see, if I am ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’!

I grew up in my village in Mangalore… went to a local school till fifth standard… thereafter, joined a big-famous school, continued there with the college. I and four brothers lived with our parents and our dad’s parents. 

My grandma, a very good-looking and gracious lady, was an out-and-out extrovert. Singing came to her as swimming to a fish… and, she would get into it, anytime, anywhere… 

My grandpa was exactly opposite. He was dark and not good-looking… worked in the fields with his bare-minimum attire… and was as shy as a touch-me-not! When, grandma would get into her elements - I mean signing those folk songs in Konkani – our grandpa would hide into his room, close the door and would never come out!

Grandma loved to socialize, attend each and every function in the village or church… Our grandpa avoided them like plague… When Priest came to bless the house, the grandpa would disappear… He was a very God-fearing man… Yet, for his confessions, he would walk or travel all the way to some remote, unknown parish, where the priest or people would not recognize him… quietly confess and come home! So chronically shy he was!

Now comes my father. He was as fair and good-looking as my grandma… as outgoing, as gregarious… and, yes, he sang with equal passion all those folk-songs of Konkani. He was there, right at the heart of every local wedding or feast… regaling his beholders! 

And, there, on the other side of the world, stood my simple mom. She was too shy… Preferred to be behind the scene - in the kitchen or in the flower gardens! 

I remember my grandpa – even with his minimum schooling – contentiously immersed in  books such as ‘Imitation of Christ’ (translated into Konkani) and many other philosophical books. He would recite phrase before us – his grandchildren who would never understand them… and take him like some weird fellow – some of the finest quotes of wisdom (I resized much later, that those quotes were precious pearls and not some charcoals!)

Grandma was never interested in any philosophical things, leave alone reading!

My shy mom, again with her bare minimum schooling, preferred to read lots and lots of stuff… mostly the stories and news from Konkani or Kannada weeklies, monthlies or dailies. She would read after her daily chores, after everyone went off to sleep. She does that even now!

My dad had seven siblings. My mom had six siblings... I have four brothers.

I say this, here, just to convey to my readers that we may be born to the same parents… but, we need not be – and we are not – alike. Each one of us is created special… and, this beautiful truth, the early we grasp, the better for us…

Yes, today, I cannot sing. I cannot dance. 

I cannot do a hundred other things 

which others do, my brothers do, 

my wife does, my own son does…

And, I have neither the inclination nor the motivation do to most of the things these wonderful people do in their lives… even though I adore them for doing those things. But, frankly, I know, that I cannot do those things as brilliantly as they do… 

So, rather than trying desperately, and with futility, what others do in their life, I have chosen, early in life, to do what I love to do: teaching, writing, motivating, mentoring and such… And, you will have to believe this: I have been doing these things, for so long and with such passion and joy… only because, I am not good on stage! Rather, I am shy of stage… I fear stage. I avoid it… try to runaway from it! 

Yes, that’s why I have started ‘THE DAWN CLUB’… and, I have been spending years on helping and motivating others to be on stage…

I do not think, I would continue to do this, trust me I am sincere, if God frees me, today, of my shyness and stage-fear!

You may ask me as to what has prompted me to write on this subject, today.

Today is my younger brother Rony’s birthday. He lives in Kuwait with his wife and their lovely son. Rony has gone on our vivacious grandma and our buoyant dad. He is handsome, a thorough-breed extrovert… and, yes, he is a gifted and a very popular singer in Konkani.

Hello, he is my parents’ son…!

Still, I can’t do what he does – amazing singing!

And, believe me my friends, because I love others sing like they do, because silently I adore them... want to become like them – but, because I have realized that I am designed by the Creator not to do singing but something else in this world – yes, for these simple reasons, today, I have decided to write about it…

Perhaps, many may not be able to do what I do… 

It is okay… They need not…

Rony, my brother, will tell you, how desperately I wanted him to be a great singer. He has become one… Yes, the cheering of an elder brother, most certainly, must have mattered… the motivation and mentoring must have played a crucial role… But, he sings the way he does, because, that’s what he was created to do… and, he realized it early in his life.

Last night, when I saw all those parents and grandparents so excited about their little ones’ stage-performance, I remembered my own: I had never been on stage all my school and college life… I was, and still am, afraid of it!

Yes, I have gone on my grandpa… 

I read, I write, I quote…and, I hide!

And, I believe, that is something amazing about me…

As amazing as my adorable-brother Rony’s scintillating singing!

“A very, very happy b’day, dear Rony…

Proud to be your brother. Your dattu!”



Pics.: Nilesh


Heena Nagpal said…
I can't believe you are still afraid of stage! But, then, to hear it is like applying balm to our anxious hearts!!! Thank you!

Neena Manuja said…
Gerry, it is very inspiring. keep writing. Neena
Anonymous said…
Inspiring!!!!! Vikram
Reeba D'Souza said…
Great brothers... yes, special! God bless both... Wishes to Rony.

Reeba D'Souza
Anonymous said…
Happy b'day to Rony, and hats off to you Gerry for this amazing Post. Thanks a ton.
- Kiran

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