Friday, January 31, 2014

JAI HO

















Pic. Madan Manik

Last evening, I met two lady-teachers. They were returning home after watching the Salman Khan movie – ‘Jai Ho’. I was a bit amused and asked them, “Did you like it?”

“Completely,” they both said in a chorus, “Paisa vasool!”

I was a stupid fellow to assume, that teachers like me alone carried ‘brains’ in their heads. I had forgotten, that a vast majority, out there, were very, very simple souls… They didn’t like to see life in complicated terms… They didn’t like to be too serious even when they went to watch a movie… That, they liked to sing along, laugh, whistle and come home a little happier and lighter… For them, it was a Rajnikant  or a Salman Khan movie that brought cheer in their hearts… For them, what mattered was: some pure entertainment, no matter how silly it sounded!

Ironically, in ‘Jai Ho’, the famous dialogue revolves around the same man – ‘the common man’ – who the typical Salman Khan movies cater to: “Aam aadmi sota hua sher hai…”

Perhaps, Arvind Kejriwal clicked in the Delhi elections for the same reason: he had echoed the feelings of the common man…

And, much before Arvind Kejriwal and Salman Khan toyed with the idea of the common man, it was the irreplaceable cartoonist, R.K.Laxman - who, each morning, for close to six long-decades,  had brought alive ‘the Common Man’, through his famous ‘You said it’ cartoon in TOI. For most of us, that ‘mute’ man in his checks jubba, doti and umbrella - who witnessed everything around him with bewilderment and wit, with hope and anguish – was the quintessential common man… the asli aam aadmi! Yes, for most of us, our day was incomplete and devoid of any sunshine without an early-morning glimpse of our fellow-man – the adorable Common Man!

Life of the common man – your life and my life – shall, always, remain a life of simple aspirations, hopes, dreams and frustrations… We shall, always, remain ‘paisa vasool’ fans in core of our hearts…

R.K. Laxman tells us that he started drawing cartoons at the age of five… Now, he is 92! For over sixty years, he brought smiles in our hearts through his Common Man…

Through his pot-boilers, Salman Khan has been doing the same for years, now...

Has our nation changed?

Has our life changed?

If a real smile in our hearts is all that, finally, matters… who cares?

“Jai Ho!” 






GERALD D’CUNHA
Video courtesy: YouTube

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH IS A SACRED PRIVILEGE"














Pic.: Madan Manik
Oprah Winfrey turned 60, yesterday (29th Jan). And, what a remarkable life it has been!

I have been a great admirer of Oprah ever since I first watched one of her talk shows, some twenty-odd years ago. My admiration for this woman has shot up thirty notches higher since I first had her glimpse on TV!

Some people have come on this planet to touch and make a difference in others’ lives. Oprah, I believe, is one of those people. Imagine, the kind of impact she has left with her simple talk shows… We watch them because of their genuine warmth and transforming power. Honestly, every time I watch one of her talk shows, I come out a little more transformed, a little more touched, healed!

When I look at Oprah’s phenomenal success, and her legend as a woman of substance, I can only conclude this: She discovered her heart’s calling, and just followed it with all that she possessed. If we read her famous quotes, it becomes abundantly clear to us that she went by her heart’s calling. In one of her quotes, she says:

“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.”

In another, she says: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you,”

The most important reason why I admire Oprah is that she has that innate ability to see good in other people. And, that one ability of hers brings out the best in every soul she talks to on her shows… Yes, from a simple soul to President Obama… She makes them all open up!

“I believe that every single event in life happens is an opportunity to choose love over fear,”  this is one of Oprah’s famous lines, and how true it is!  She has demonstrated by living her own life by choosing love over fear - living it with dignity, converting her tragedies into triumphs, distilling wisdom from pain… and, along that path, transforming lives of millions of people in this world!

From Oprah’s life, it becomes clear to us, that if we follow our dreams with all our focus, passion and dedication – and, above all, with all our sincerity – there is no reason why we can not see our dreams come true… Money, fame and power are nothing, as she rightly  reminds us,  unless we use them to achieve  ‘greater things’ in life…

Many of us may find ourselves doing, in life, what Oprah wants us to do: do our work with all the love and passion in the world… Yet, we might silently wonder why we don’t hit big time the way an Oprah does… Yes, in the end, we might console ourselves saying all of us can’t be Oprahs… We needn’t be!

I leave you with one of my favorite Oprah quotes:

“You know you are on the road to success

 if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.”

Are you smiling, like I am doing?

Maybe, the key to the treasure called ‘Success’ hides somewhere in between these lines…!

Happy b’day dear Oprah. May you live long and strong, always.



GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

IS MY SHIP TRULY NORTHBOUND?














 Pic.: Madan Manik
Whenever the thoughts of scarcity creep up in my mind and leave me anxious, I allow myself to experience the feeling of discomfort and fear fully. Pumping myself with bravado is a momentary relief… as it only serves as a band-aid treatment for my anxiety… So, the ideal treatment, which, I have found is: allow myself to experience the anxiety fully… It goes!

When my health is bad, when I run out of cash, when there is strain in my relationships… yes, whenever lack of any kind stares at me, scares me… I think, that’s the best time to slowdown in life… introspect… realign myself… make necessary amends and keep moving on! Just as a body ailment is a blessing in disguise - if I can see it as Nature’s plan to make me aware of our body’s well-being and act responsible towards it, take good care of it - Yes, just as a heartache, too, is a blessing in disguise - if I can see it as Nature’s plan to make me aware of my heart’s well-being and act responsible towards it, take good care of it - Yes, when there is a fear coming from an unknown and uncertain future, I just need to pause and look hard on what is necessary and what is not necessary in my life… whether my ship is truly Northbound or not…

There is enough, in this world, for everyone. Then, why should I be anxious, afraid of my tomorrows?

Now, if I am still anxious and afraid, it is, certainly, because I have deviated from my focus on what is necessary in my life and what is not… My ship has strayed away from her route to True North…

So, it is time to pause and bring back my focus on what is essential in my life… bring back my ship on the right path… It is time to reaffirm my trust in the benevolent Universe…

“Earth (Nature) provides enough to satisfy every-man’s need,” Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words remind me, “but not enough for any-man’s greed.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Monday, January 27, 2014

WE NEED TO LOOK BEYOND OUR OWN SUFFERINGS...













Pic.: Madan Manik
On many mornings, I meet an elderly lady, near my classes, with her 11-year-old granddaughter. She waits till the little-one’s autowalah comes and picks her up. “Bye beta,” the grandma is now on her way back home…


I am inspired by this elderly woman. I am told, that when she was still young and married, with her two daughters and a son, her husband had died in a road accident. So, the struggle for this woman began quite early in life. As years rolled by, one daughter completed her studies and got married to a man in London, and, soon, settled there. The other daughter, after her studies, got married to a businessman in India. But, marriage failed, and, eventfully, she came to live with her mother here. The only son of the woman, when he was young, got heavily into drugs and ruined his life. Under such a condition, he was married to an innocent village girl, and, understandably, the marriage ended up in a tragedy: the girl killed herself, soon, leaving behind a little baby – now, 11-year-old - to be raised by the grandma, here. No one knows about the son’s whereabouts…


Whenever I get to talk to this elderly woman, I never hear from her too many complaints. There is no bitterness, self-pity or anger. On the other hand, there is great amount of grace, courage and dignity… It is so clearly evident from the way she deals with her grown-up daughter and the little granddaughter…


Love is patient,
Love is kind and is not jealous…

It does not brag and is not arrogant,
Love does not act unbecomingly;
It does not seek its own, is not provoked.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things… endures all things.
Love never fails…”


Just yesterday, while blessing my niece, Sharon and her would-be-groom in their engagement, the priest had asked someone to read these famous words of St. Paul… “What an appropriate piece of advice!”… I had thought in my mind, as I was feeling glad and proud for my niece and her would-be life-partner… “May Love be really patient and kind… May it bear all things, believe all things, hope all things… endure all things. And, above all, may Love never fail,” I had prayed in my heart.


Right at that venue, I had met another relative of mine, who had come to attend the engagement ceremony with her working-daughter. This woman, too, had gone through – is still going through – her own problems. Things were going quite smooth for her family. The elder daughter had just joined engineering and the younger one had just finished ninth standard. The lady wasn’t working, and, all of a sudden, her young husband died of a massive heart attack. The world around the family suddenly crashed. The second daughter, who was very close to her dad, was soon diagnosed with cancer… and, the family began to run from pillar to post to cope with stress. The woman had taken up a job and kept things afloat…The girl’s condition had turned worse forcing her to discontinue her studies, forcing also the mother to leave her job!


“Pray for us,” this was the only request the lady made to us, when we met her, yesterday. There wasn’t any self-pity or anger written on her face…


For this lady and her family, too, Love had helped bear all things, believe all things, hope all things… endure all things. Yes, above all, Love had not failed!  


Yes, as fallible humans, we may fail… But, when our Love doesn’t, that’s when it is possible for us not to take into account ‘our wrongs suffered’…


We need to look beyond our own sufferings to grasp this truth!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, January 25, 2014

YES, OUR JUSTIFICATIONS DO NOT CHANGE OUR REALITIES...
















Pic.: Neerja Panchal

  
I think, one of the surest roadblocks on our way to peace is our incessant habit of justifying our actions. We know, very well, that our justifications do not change our realities. Still, we keep on justifying our actions… till the point our hearts are completely depleted of peace…


Our arguments stem from this… When consumed by the obsession to win an argument, at any cost, there is no way we can see the reality, that such winning, invariably, comes at the expense of our peace…


How can we win without defeating – or suppressing - the other person? Most of the time, we allow ourselves to falsely believe that we have won - scored a point - over another person… But, actually, we have only used our powers of position, our authority, just to shut the other person up… If shouting, screaming, bullying, threatening and blackmailing have brought in us the feeling of winning, then, it is time we did a quick reality check!


For, the reality hasn’t changed… The fact that I am still left with turmoil within is a clear indication of that!


Just a week ago, a working student had approached me to teach her the entire S.Y.B’Com syllabus (Correspondence) in the time now left. Because I knew this hard-working student, and because I had helped her to pass the F.Y. B’Com in even lesser time than this, I took up the assignment. The only difference is that when I taught her last year, she had taken a complete break from her work; this time around, she is still working and extremely busy. This means, she is unable to follow through at home the way I expect her to. So, the pressure is felt… 


This morning, my student told me that she was finding it fast and tough to cope up. I was not able to see her point of view… I was still telling her that she had to stretch a little more, stop pitying herself… follow-it-up at home… Yes, I was keeping my pressure on her. I was justifying my actions: why I had to keep up my pace, the pressure…


She began to cry… It was a deluge!


“Oh no!”… I wasn’t able to digest this: the guilt, I mean…


What was my student’s reality?


Her reality was, that she was finding it tough to cope with my speed and urging me to go a bit slow. She was telling me, that it was okay even if I wasn’t able to complete the portion…


What was my reality?


My reality was, that I wasn’t able to see my student’s reality!


So, if peace was important to me, I had to see her view point… and, I had to stop justifying my actions… As late Stephen Covey had said, “I had to first seek to understand her… then seek to be understood by her.”


Better late than never!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, January 24, 2014

THERE ARE SHARKS IN THE TANK...















Pic.: Bhusahn Thakkar 
Sometime back, my friend, Dr. Deepak, in his Blog Post, shared with us a wonderful story. It was about the fishermen in Japan, who went into deep seas to catch fish. It took for them days to return to the shore. So, in order to bring home fish alive and fresh, these fishermen would erect huge water-tanks on board. And, to doubly ensure that fish remained alive till they hit the shore, they would put a couple of big sharks into the water-tanks!


When I first read this story on Dr. Deepak’s Post, I remember how my heart had smiled!

“Hey, I know who the fishes here are,” I remember my heart saying, “I know who the fisherman is… and who the sharks are!”


Yesterday, my younger brother told me this: “If my daily challenges and problems were not present in my life, I don’t think, I would have got up early today, come to work and perform it the way I am doing now.” Then he added, “I don’t think I would even believe in God!”


I fully agree with my younger brother on this. When I look at my daily struggle, the endless challenges, the perennial anxiety, doubt and fear, I, too, wonder: “When is it all going to end?”


Then, invariably, the silence descends into my heart… and, my heart smiles… “Hey, that’s how it is supposed to be… There are sharks in the tank… Remain alert, agile and alive – fresh - till you ‘come home’!”


Perhaps, unlike the fishermen in the story, the real ‘Fisherman’ in my life wants to bring me home alive, fresh… for a different reason!


So, welcome aboard!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DROPS ALONE HAVE FORMED THE OCEAN... THEY ALONE WILL.














 Pic.: Anima D'Cunha


I am very fond of learning idioms and phrases in English. They really add spice and color to our language. Used at the right place, idioms can make one sit-up and listen as we speak!


The night before last, Arvind Kejriwal had attacked the media alleging that it was being highly biased and it acted as agents of other political parties… I heard a reporter using the idiom: ‘Shoot the messenger’.


Well, frankly, I did not know, till then, what the idiom meant. But, the moment I heard it, I knew what it did: In olden times, the arrogant kings used to do it… The poor messenger, who went to the King carrying the bad news, rarely returned! So, the reporter was telling us, that, the media - the peoples’ messenger - who persistently asked the AAP spokespersons some uncomfortable questions and cited to them what the ‘aam admi’ on the streets really felt about the high drama on the Delhi streets because of the  reckless  agitation – itself was being now attacked by AAP chief, Kejriwal…


Well, this Post is not about Kejriwal or his party… Nor is it about other parties or the media. I only wanted to say, how I came across the English idiom – ‘Shoot the Messenger’.


Do you know how exciting the habit of learning English idioms and phrases can be? Can you imagine the kind of language we all can build if we pick up, each day, one or two such colorful idioms?


I, always, tell whoever comes to me for advice on English improvement: Remain eternally thirsty for improvement… Be ever eager, childlike, excited about it… Remain forever alert - with your eyes, ears, heart, mouth and hands ready to learn them… from anywhere, anytime and anyone… Very importantly: keep doing it consistently all your life, just the way you look forward to play the daily crossword-puzzle… Have fun, loads of it.


In one Google click, that night – I learnt at least a dozen English idioms revolving around the single word – ‘Shoot’! Here they are:


Shoot the breeze…

Shoot the bull…

Shoot the cat…

Shoot in the feet…

Shoot from the hip…

Shoot down in flames…

Shoot mouth off…

Shoot for the sky…

Shoot cookies…

Shoot bolt…

Shoot a place up…

Shoot dagger at…

Shoot hoops…

Shoot dry matter…


There are many, many more… Yes, revolving around just one word – ‘Shoot’. Imagine, then, the treasure hidden!


And, amazingly, the same principle applies for every area where improvement is desired. If our desire and resolve are strong, if there is steadfast focus and if we consistently do a little at least, everyday, for a long, long time… yes, if we put, in this way, that proverbial one drop of water out  there…


Drops alone have formed the ocean. And, they alone will, till the end of Time comes.


GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

HOW TO CORRECT OUR 'HOUSETHATS'...
















Pic.: Bhushan Thakkar
How we first hear and how we first see something… normally, that’s how we believe it to be!


For example, as a kid, I grew up in a village in Mangalore, where I studied in a local, vernacular-medium school… And, while playing cricket in our dried-up paddy-fields, I first heard someone shouting – ‘HOUSETHAT’…That’s how I thought one should appeal to the umpire to call a batsman out! So, what I first heard in our paddy fields, remained with me for many, many years – even till I finished my college, in fact!


Yes, ‘How’s that?’, to me, was ‘HOUSETHAT?’!!!


But, what’s interesting is that, as far as I remember, for all those years, no one had to ‘correct’ me… no one had to tell me either kindly, rudely, sarcastically or mockingly, “Hello, it is not ‘HOUSETHAT?’… It is ‘How’s that?’”


The day I realized my mistake myself, I just corrected it. It was all over. I said, “Next”!


“Next”?


Yes sir, you won’t believe, how many are there to be corrected… How many ‘HOUSETHATS?’!!


Let me tell you, how, one more of it got corrected, last morning…

Mr. Rajendra Mehra, a Hindu Punjabi, is a very, very affectionate gentleman, who lives in our colony. He is one of our oldest residents, and, also, one of the most admired and respected souls. Though a senior citizen with snow-white hair and beard, he is full of youth and energy… can jell with any age, class and type. He is, also, a character actor in movies and TV shows, which keeps him even more sporting and playful at heart.


And, yesterday, when he posted on FB a picture of his with stunningly done-up sardarjee pagdi, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting. “Shashrekaal sirji”, I greeted in my comment.


Satsriakal, Jerry sir”, Mr. Mehra replied, instantly.


Before my eyes took the next blink, there, I edited my ‘dumbness’:


SAT-SRI-AKAL sirji”!


Mehra sir did not have to point out to me my dumbness - even though he must’ve realized it - to correct me. He was kind and gentle… In that kindness, I noted my own shortcoming and simply corrected it…


Thanks to my dumbness, I googled to know more about what the famous Punjabi-Sikh greeting meant. I was happy to know this:


'Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat-Sri-Akaal'… It, roughly, meant, "He/She Be Blessed Who says Truth is God".


“Thank-you sirji, thank-you Googleji.”


“Next”…


GERALD D’CUNHA

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

THE CURRY-LEAVES MENTALITY





  





Pic.: Madan Manik 
If we think, anything in life comes free to us, then, we are fools of the first order! Idiots!


In life, nothing comes free… Yes, everything comes with a price. If they say, it is ‘free’… Please, don’t believe them. They are fooling you… Or, you are fooling yourself!


When we go to a restaurant to eat, we see the menu… and, you know how carefully we study the price against each dish. Importantly, we check how much money we carry in our pockets or banks. But, at someone’s wedding reception, we hog as if we have been on a fast for months! Just imagine, how carelessly and how insensitively we waste food at such places!


Most of us eat there more than what is needed for our stomachs!


Hello, somebody pays by his nose for what we hog like gluttons and for what we waste like idiots!


They say, now a days, WhatsApp is free. That’s the reason why they want all of us to be on it. Then, they make groups… groups of all kinds. Why? Obviously, to ‘communicate’, to be in touch…


Let me tell you: it is such a royal waste of time, such a dumb ritual… that, I love to call it ‘the Curry-leaves mentality’.


Our kadipatta, that is…


So, what is special about these leaves?


For years, we have taken curry leaves for granted. You know, we have been getting them ‘free’ from the bhajiwala!


But, to get them free, you have to buy, at least, some quantity of green chilies or a piece of ginger… or, two-three neemboos, sir. Watch the bhajiwala’s face when you ask him for only the ‘free’ curry leaves!


Your bhajiwala doesn’t get those curry leaves free, you know that!


Everyday, hundreds of messages come to me - believe me, they come relentlessly – on WhatsApp. The first thing I hear in the morning is its buzz and the last thing I hear at night is also its buzz…


I just don’t read them… I can’t! And, they all go unread, unnoticed and uncared… yes, just like ships passing in the night!


Just because WhatsApp is free, you send all your crap, I send all my crap, we all send all our crap…


What has it added to the quality of our lives, sir?

How has it improved 
the quality of our communication?


Are we still kidding, fooling and operating from the ‘hog-at–someone’s-wedding-reception’ or the ‘curry-leaves’ mentality?

In life, we all value only what we pay for… what we earn… what we respect and deserve...


The rest all is sheer crap!


GERALD D’CUNHA


Monday, January 20, 2014

ONE STEP ENOUGH FOR ME...


 
















Pic: Bhusahn Thakkar


They say, “What you take to bed at night, you wake up with in the morning.”


Most of us watch TV programmes before we go to bed: the heated – call it hated if you like – debates on news channels, the melodramatic serials, the Travel shows, Fashion shows, Food shows, Reality shows – songs, dance, Big Boss… The Sports shows, the Laughter shows, and, yes, the Spiritual programmes…


Whenever I watch the heated arguments on the news channels before I sleep, I can make out why that’s not the nice thing to carry to my bed… I am left even more disturbed, biased, restless…


Well, I don’t watch serials or the Reality shows. So, I do not know its after effects…


As my family watches the Travel and Food shows, I, often, join them… Most of the times, they leave me with pleasant feelings when I go to bed…


Laughter channels… They are anytime good. It is best to die laughing in my sleep; rather than like a moron - a loser - grumbling and crying! Yes, I do like them…


Ditto for sports. I agree with the thought that those who know to play well - and play fair - out in the grounds, know how to play well - and fair - in life, too. Sportsmanship spirit is the spirit, I don’t mind taking to my bed… Because, I need it badly the next day. Yes, I want to wake up with it, sir!


That leaves me with the Spiritual programmes… I am told there are plenty on TV. Though I sound to others to be quite a ‘spiritual’ man, like any other mortal - any other ‘sinner’ around me -  I don’t like to be ‘preached’ too much… no matter how good it is for me. I think, the lesser the dose, the better! Thus, I rarely watch those programmes before I retire at night.


But, then, lately, I have chanced upon one, which, my wife and I, both, have begun to love immensely. It features Sister Shivani (from Brahmakumaris mission) discussing life-related issues mostly with Suresh Oberoi and, sometimes, with someone else. Both, my wife and I, consider Sr. Shivani’s discussion to be extremely relevant, simple and practical. What is amazing is the way she unfolds such complex wisdom with such simple clarity… clothed with such straight-from-the-earth examples and with such straight-from-the-heart honesty… That you really wonder as to how simple our problems in life are and how mountainous we have made them! There is no dogma in her teachings, no God or Master, no rituals or prayers… She simply leaves you taking home what you already have - and what you already know deep inside - but have just ignored all along...


To me, that’s something spirituality is all about… Hello, please don’t go to God in fear or guilt… Don’t beg before Him, don’t stoop… don’t complain. Please don’t overdo your rituals and pilgrimages… God doesn’t need to be praised and glorified… He doesn’t die for attention; nor is He insecure. Yes, like we are…


Last night, Sr. Shivani was light-heartedly pointing to our habit of going to the secluded places for retreats, workshops, discourses etc to refresh and distress ourselves… only to come back and live the rest of the year, once again, with the same old nature of ours: reacting, arguing, venting out our anger, and making mountains out of molehills…


The question she was addressing was roughly like this: “Why is that, when in the company of a peaceful and noble teacher, we are able to feel the calmness, peace and self-control… and, why not the moment we are out of that place?”


The answer Sr. Shivani gave was the answer my wife and I knew very, very well… Yes, we had chosen to ignore it like most of us do. She said, “Just try, consciously, to live well for one day, today… Then, when tomorrow comes, do the same… Each day, every day!”


Yes, I have put her message in my own words here…


Because, what is so out-of-the-world wisdom packed in her message? Is Sr. Shivani’s advice not the most sensible thing for us to do - and is it not the only way  - to over come our weaknesses… to become spiritual in life, if you wish to brand it so… and, yes, if we wish to please God and enter Heaven?


After the programme, last night, neither my wife nor I spoke a single word discussing on Sr. Shivani’s simple teachings… Perhaps, we had realized that she wasn’t telling us anything to change people around us… but, only to help us accommodate them beautifully within us…


As a Christian, I have sung in the church – and cried along it – the popular hymn, ‘One day at a time’…


I have, also, been left with goose-bumps every time I have read the famous Al-Anon poem, ‘Just for today’…


And, yes, I have been left humbled by Cardinal Newman’s famous prayer, too:


"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.



Is my day going well?


Yes sir, so far, so good… Really, tomorrow will be another day!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, January 18, 2014

HE WILL GIVE HIS ACCOUNT... YOU GIVE YOURS














Pic.: Bhushan Thakkar
Some twenty years ago, one morning, this line popped up in my heart, and, I, immediately, scribbled it down in my dairy:


“If God were to judge me by my sins,

I would have been condemned to hell-fire long, long ago.”


Today morning, I found, once again, the same line popping up in my heart… And, I felt very strongly that God didn’t judge His children the way the world did… That, it was nothing short of  plain mercy – His mercy – that has saved me from such a punishment!


I know what a sinner I am. Maybe, I have not murdered, looted or raped any one… Maybe, I have not cheated on my marriage, abused my children or caused agony to my parents… Still, if God, today, decides to list down my sins, they are grave enough to mete me out with punishment!


Mercifully, the God I believe in is a very, very kind, loving, and large-hearted God. He doesn’t judge me the way the world does… He provides me with many, many chances… and, even if I don’t live up to  His expectations and let Him down, so often, He still holds back His judgment… His condemnation. Yes, I am spared of the punishment!


By the way, why is this talk, today, of all the issues in the world?


Shashi Tharoor is our Union Minister. He is young, dashing, attractive… very vocal… and, his statements, personal and glamorous lifestyle has kept him in limelight and controversy. It looks as if he married glamorous Sunanda just the other day… It was the third marriage for both of them… And, suddenly, two days ago, the reports started coming out, from all over, that there was something seriously wrong in their marriage and trouble was in store… And, there it was, this morning! I learnt from the social media that Sunanda was found dead in her luxurious hotel-room… and, then… within hours, Tharoor was admitted to the ICU with severe chest pain!


I was more curious about the reaction of my own mind! I caught myself judging Tharoor, his deceased wife and their doomed marriage the way everyone else around me was busy doing… Let me tell you this: my judgment on the entire episode stemmed from my own bias:  How I had I viewed Tharoor, so far!


“A stupid herd mentality,” I was now passing a judgment on my own behavior, “Everybody is bashing Tharoor; so, I am, too!”


The next moment, I remembered how – back in our village - our mom would scream at us, her sons, whenever she saw us passing judgment on others (other sinners!) around us ... 

“Look son, you are no one to judge him,” our mom would fire us, point-blank, “He will give his account...  you give yours.”


Our loose mouths would shut up, right way!


“Sorry mom!”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE ART OF MANAGING DISAGREEMENTS

















Pic.: Bhushan Thakkar
One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt in my life – rather, I am still learning – is: the art of managing disagreements.


In fact, a genuine realization that another person around me can have – and, often, does have - another view point, itself, is a very fine lesson. From this very first realization stems the rest of my wisdom: 

That, the other person has the right to voice his view, his disagreement, and, I must be confident and graceful enough to respect his view… discuss it out… and, strive for a consensus;

That, when there is disagreement, it is only a disagreement… and, there is nothing personal about it;

That, it is an opportunity for me to be a strong, sensitive and accommodating person, and, thereby, to enhance my self-confidence and leadership skills;

That, if the other person is weak and takes things personally, I must learn not to get into the ‘trap’ and play the same game;

That, by learning to respect another person’s view, and by accommodating it, I bring about more harmony within my own heart;

That, there is no area in life where I can have ‘my own way’… The way that serves ‘the larger good’ is the best way.

So, it is sensible to go about life expecting people around me to be as fairly intelligent as I am. Yes, they may not hold the same view as I do… But, then, it is perfectly okay… as long as we all learn to work out a consensus…


Am I in favor of the path of consensus? Yes, I am.


What about the other person?


I believe, he, too, is.


Trust, patience and forbearance… If my heart doesn’t bear these virtues, it would be difficult for me to accept the reality that the other person has the right to own and express his view…

Our world will be a better place to inhabit for us… the early we all learn this lesson, in life…



GERALD D’CUNHA