Monday, October 28, 2013

THE SEEDS



















Pic.: Neerja Panchal

I haven’t posted anything since I posted, four days ago, that video – ‘The Inspiring story of the birth of THE DAWN CLUB’. As I told you, the story of our institution is very close to my heart… and, yes, very close to all the well-wishers of our Club.

On 3rd Aug., 2008, we had held a function at the amazing TISS auditorium, Mumbai, to bring together as many people as possible who were instrumental in creating THE DAWN CLUB. I wasn’t on FB then, nor did I have contacts of so many of my students who had come around me and inspired me to found our Club in Sep.1989. Still, as we were about to enter the 20th year, we held this function and unveiled two books during the same. ‘Vaachas Chame’ chronicled our classroom action over the years. But, ‘The Echoes of the Dawn’ chronicled the story - how it all had started about two decades ago. In fact, those many years ago - at the sunset, while leaving the sands of Gorai Beach – when I had gifted to my dear students that small booklet - ‘THE DAWN’… I did not have even the faintest idea as to what the little book had in store for me…!

Yes, everything happened from that little book – ‘THE DAWN’.

We published it several times over, later as bookmarks or as ‘The Echoes of the Dawn’. And, on 3rd Aug., 2008, when we brought it out, once again, we told the story behind it…

‘THE SEEDS’, we called it…

Now, as I have told you in the introduction to the video on YouTube, we shall be completing 25 years on 10th Sep., 2014. There is a long-cherished dream of founding ‘THE DAWN CLUB CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE’…

The time has now come to set the process in motion…

In all our modesty, I wish to tell everyone, here, that THE DAWN CLUB has touched lives of thousands of young-ones. It has made a huge difference in their lives… and, yes, these young-ones are spread all over the world, and they hold good positions in life…

I wish to reproduce the introduction to ‘The Echoes…’ – ‘THE SEEDS’ – in today’s Post. It is for all those who were there during our early days to sow seeds… and, it is for all those who were there as the seeds sprouted into a tree… And, it is, yes… it is for all of you to help us take THE DAWN CLUB to a place it really deserves to reach…

So, with my deepest gratitude, humility and with a mighty heart filled with hope, belief and resolve, I wish to share with you, here, that honest confession… 




THE SEEDS

10th December, 1988. I had taken my students - about two hundred of them - to Gorai beach for the annual picnic of our Classes. I had struck an unusually beautiful bond with this batch of students, and we had come very close.


The picnic was a grand affair with great music, dance, games and food. Everything was organized by this bunch of youngsters. Of course, I, too, had put my heart and soul in it to make it memorable. I am an emotional creature, and so, at sun set, when they began to leave the vibrant spot, I gave them this surprise return gift: THE DAWN.

The week before our picnic, I had begun to feel a very compelling urge within me to pen for them some inspiring thoughts. So, I scribbled about twenty passages, and got them printed on a dot-matrix printer, and a small pocket-size book was born.



I baptized it as: THE DAWN.



Never in my wildest imagination, could I foresee the chain of events this little book would soon trigger off. It touched them so much, that they immediately began to galvanize each and every student, once again, to stage a grand event and pour their love and gratitude on me. For a full month, they mobilized their talents and resources, and, on 10th January, 1989 - yes, exactly after a month - they surprised me with a grand felicitation. Honestly, I did not have the faintest idea about all this. If I had, perhaps, this event wouldn't have unfolded.



Perhaps, THE DAWN CLUB, too!



Why do I think so?



Because, when I was ushered into the venue, what I saw on the stage backdrop shocked me: 


"GERRY FANS CLUB"!


I was just an ordinary, local teacher. And, I was only 29. Single. “What are my achievements?... What is my fame?... Have these college kids gone crazy, out of their head?”… I got scared at their 'bizarre plan'. “They are putting me on a pedestal, which I truly do not deserve… I must tell them… They must stop it, right now..." Like these, a hundred frightening thoughts made my mind go bonkers.



But, it was too late. I had to give in. At least for that evening.



I was humbled, and began to feel a sense of responsibility. That night, I couldn't sleep a wink. I was thinking: “What should I do now?... Should I just let this episode pass as 'kiddish' and slowly die its natural death?... Or, should I do something within my powers - to transform this 'fans club' into something meaningful… something that can help these - and other - youngsters to do well in life… to 'grow together, beautifully'?



After a few more sleepless nights, I received the answer. I, once again, huddled some of these youngsters into a couple of cars and went for a 'special' picnic to Mud Island. It was there, on that afternoon, I made them sit down around me and unveiled my vision: of transforming their 'GERRY FANS CLUB' into 'THE DAWN CLUB'… Into something meaningful. 



On 10th September, 1989, we - the 'ignorant' me and hundreds of 'innocent' students --founded our Club as a Public Trust. On that inauguration day, I was so emotional while speaking on the stage, that I don't remember what I said that day - except these words, which I do remember repeating, again and again: 
 

"I promise you, as long as I live, I will not allow this Club to die ...
Yes, it will not die.
It will not die."



Maybe, I meant it so much! And, maybe, because I made that commitment from such depths of my being, I have been able to withstand so many storms that came along. The experience in this 'desert', many times, has been lonely, very lonely. But, the caravan has come this long.



And, every step, every heartbreak or milestone along this journey, has been worth it. The path couldn't have been more beautiful! I couldn't have asked for a better experience of 'growing together, beautifully.'


THE DAWN CLUB has done a lot along this long odyssey. And, I am being modest when I say this. The seeds have sprouted, the tree has grown… and still growing stronger and stronger.


The young guns, too, have grown up and are busy raising their own little-ones. I have been able to keep in touch with many of them, but many of them, I haven't been. But, I believe, that none of us has forgotten those lovely moments, that 'unique' bond.



The next year, we shall be completing twenty years. And, we thought we should 'touch base', come together again, and tell this inspiring story to our little-ones. We have evolved a vision for the next line, and we want to infuse a fresh life into this vision.



And, I found no other way more befitting than telling the story through this 'little bomb' - THE DAWN - that had triggered off the explosion. Yes, it is for them - our little-ones... for them to 'grow together, beautifully'.



It is, also, for all those students of mine: to tell them, “Thank you… I love you.”



THE DAWN CLUB is yours. Please take it ahead, from here. Let the tree grow up into a mighty banyan!

And, let these echoes inspire, guide and heal generations to come.



GERALD D’CUNHA

3rs Aug., 2008.




P.S. Many have told me that the beauty and power of our little-book  'THE DAWN' - rebaptised as 'The Echoes of the Dawn' - are concealed in its brevity. All the passages are short, direct and simple... straight from the heart. They cut across the age-group, and, hence, anyone can grasp their meaning, their essence. Thus, for years, I chose to leave them alone... and speak for themselves.

Well, in my coming Posts, finally, I shall take the risk of expanding on those snippets...

Hope, my adventure will not ruin the beauty and power the little-booklet has been able to carry along... so long!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Inspiring story Gerry! Helen Britto

Pooja Sharma said...

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART!
- Pooja Sharma

Minal Shah said...

God bless! God bless! All my support.
------------------ Minal Shah

Tarun Rao said...

Moved to my bones! God bless you dear! God give you strength!!!!!
-- Tarun Rao

Anonymous said...

Wish you all the best Gerry. Stay committed and all will be well. Neena Khanna

Anonymous said...

Inspiring!!
-- Mahesh Narang