Monday, June 30, 2014

OUR LEFT-HANDED COMPLIMENTS






Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee

A lady greeted me when I was in the bank, this morning. “How are you, ma’am,” I enquired, “How is teaching going on?”

“Teaching and me?” she reacted in surprise, “No, sir, that’s not my cup of tea! Anything in Finance, YESSS!”

Her face lit up when she declared ‘Finance’... and, yes, there was that extra-ordinary self-confidence evident in her “YESSS!”

Well, she wasn’t a teacher like me. Yes, I was wrong there. She was the Finance head in her company. “Sir, one needs loads of patience to be a teacher, which I don’t have,” the lady confessed. Then she added, with a twinkle in her eyes, “How do you continue to do it for decades?”

An hour before that, I had lost my head in the class. One of the SY B’Com girls was telling me: If you add 20,000 to 1,00,000, you get 12,000! I noticed the way she had placed the commas... I counted the zeroes... They were all haywire. It was the nth time I was pointing her mistakes to her... So, I was arguing in my mind that, I had the genuine reason to be angry and impatient. When my anger showed up, the girl became blank and began to make more mistakes... I heard myself giving her a long lecture: “You are a S.Y.B’Com girl... Need I teach you how to do 2 plus 10?”

It took a while for me to cool off. Then, I changed gears: I made the girl feel relaxed, normal... I made her feel – “It is okay, sometimes, to goof up like that.” I wrote in big, bold size 20,000 and 1,00,000... spaced out on a full white-sheet... I made her mind see those numbers, clearly, peacefully...

“How much?”

“One lakh twenty-thousand, sir!”

“Smart!”

“Smart?”  Was I giving her a left-handed compliment? Was I telling her, like a sniper, “You dumb idiot, did I have to use all the props – marbles, sticks, and seeds as my village teacher did when I was a baby – to teach you this? You, a nineteen-year-old Mumbai college girl?”

Honestly, I had lost patience and was not willing to empathize with her... go slow with her... allow her time, her space to pick up and settle down... Though I did not want to hurt her, insult her, by being impatient, I was doing exactly that... But, that was when I was yelling at her... Not when I took that blank white-sheet and wrote in big, bold figures... That was the time, I had cooled off and I was willing to admit the truth: “No one, in his or her senses, would make mistakes just to make a fool of oneself.” And, I was, also, willing the see the truth: “Some flowers, always, bloom late!”

The lady in the bank, the Finance head, claims that she is not a ‘teacher’. I disagree. All of us are teachers... as all of us have to teach something or the other to someone, all the time... Therefore, all of us are expected to possess in our hearts loads and loads of patience, which, is impossible to do, all the time and everywhere...

Yes, I do show most of the times, and in most places enough patience... But, at times – like this morning – I run out of it... And, then, like any other soul with a good conscience, I, too, make amends, quickly...

I take a blank, white-sheet and write on it, in big, bold size: 2 + 10 = 12...!

Dear, and I am not being a ‘sniper’ when I compliment you, for your right answer, saying, “Smart”... Trust me, it is not a Left-handed Compliment!

GERALD D’CUNHA

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WHEN I HAVE WATCHED MY FEARS STANDING ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN














Pic.: Aparna Khanolkar Sheth


“When you focus on being a blessing,
God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”


One of the worst things, sometimes, I do towards my own well-being is: I try to prove someone how much I have done to him or her. Let me tell you this: I have never ever succeeded in proving this to anyone... On the contrary, I have only come out badly bruised attempting to do it.

The urge to prove my contribution towards another stems from my own insecurity and fear. Had I contributed through my love, I wouldn’t have landed in a state like this... That is, with this need to prove.

So, now and then, when I indulge in it, I can sense, so clearly, how it feels and what it does to my well-being and self-confidence... It drains my energy, leaves me with a feeling of being a loser in life... Yes, it does.

Anger and arguments don’t change the reality even a bit. At best – rather, at worst – they only try to shut the other person’s voice...

What comes from true love comes just the way light comes from the Sun, and just the way Life comes from the air...

Yes, if God were to keep a count of what He had been doing to me!

The less I think about my contribution to others, the more I sense their love and respect towards me... The less I argue and try to prove, the more freedom and peace I feel in my heart... The less I try to squeeze, the more I would find within...

The times I have felt on top of the world, the times I have experienced in my soul that flight-of-an-eagle, the times I have felt really, really good about myself... are only those times when I have loved and let go... when I have given and let go... when I have never doubted in God’s kindness... His abundant supply of mercy and strength... when I have knelt down and thanked Him from the depths of my soul...

When I have trusted...

When I have refused to keep a count of what I have given to others...

When I have watched my fears standing on top of the mountain...

Yes, when I have chosen to love... and let the rest in my life ‘be’!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, June 28, 2014

IN THE FERTILE SOIL OF APPRECIATION...















Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee





“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”


For Sana, my eleventh-standard (CBSE) student, today was the first session in my class. When her mother came to pick her up after the class, I spontaneously said:

“Ma’am, Sana is really good... Very attentive, very enthusiastic and responsive... It was a real pleasure teaching her.”

The mother blushed... Without her saying much, I could hear what she was telling me:

“Thank you sir... You made my day!”

Last night, Arnab, a friend of mine, had invited me to his place for dinner. He and his wife, Reena, had really poured their hearts into everything that was there as part of last evening... music, food, drinks, snacks, desert, discussion and, above all, the warmth... Giving was full. It was visible, palpable... inviting. I felt so relaxed and re-charged that I did not realize the time I was leaving their place: 1.30!

Normally, I send a thank-you message from my cell-phone on my way home. But, last night, my phone battery let me down. So, the first thing I did, as I woke up today, was a warm thank-you to my friend and his wife:

“Gd mng Aranab and Reena. Sorry I couldn’t convey my happiness and gratitude last nt as my cell-phone fully went out on battery. It was a spl evng, very refreshing and inspiring... U both had put ur hearts into it. May it continue this way; may God bless u. Hv a great day.”

My friend was quick in responding:

“Gerry, thank you so much for lovely words! You know it is ALWAYS a pleasure to have you... Thanks for making the evng so lively and beautiful!!!


And, as I was still soaking in the warmth of  those words, I saw what one of my FB friends from America had just posted. She wrote:

“This letter made my day....it's from my friend’s son who took care of Bruno ( their dog) for ten days when we were on vacation. So sweet and thoughtful, isn't it!!”
Dear Mis. Anu,
 Thank you for letting me take
care of Bruno while you were on your trip to Alaska.. I really enjoyed
having him in our home. He was very energetic and fun to play with...
Thank you for paying me so generously. You really didn't
need to give me so much. I hope, you enjoyed your trip.
Thanks

Yes, I know that kids in America do take care of pets – and do such errands for others - and get paid for it. So, I was not touched by this little American boy’s pet-care act. What touched me was his letter to my FB friend. I sent my quick comment:


“It made my day, too, dear Anu. Bruno and this little-boy teach us: Love is innocence!”


I wonder, sometimes: Why are we so stingy in our appreciation of others? Why don’t we let others know how good they are... and their work, gesture and children are!

Really, expressing our sincere appreciation doesn't cost us anything... Probably, the more innocent we are, easier it is to open our hearts... and pour our feelings out!

Love, in deed, is innocence!

 * All names have been changed

GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, June 27, 2014

THERE GOES WITH THAT SILLY FISH, ALL MY MISERY!






Pic.: Malabika Ganguly

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
Once, the fishermen in a village had just returned after their daily catch. As they were busy sorting out the fishes, a Kite swooped down from the blue sky, caught a small fish by the beak, and shot up into the skies. Immediately, a hundred crows appeared from nowhere and began to chase the Kite, making a crazy commotion in the sky... To whichever direction the Kite flew, the crows followed it.... Kite flew West, crows did, too... Kite flew East, the crows did, too... Kite zoomed high up, the crows did, too... The Kite dived deep, the crows did, too...
Finally, the Kite, tired and frustrated, could fly no more... So, it decided to drop the fish...
The moment the fish was dropped, the crows left the Kite alone, and went after the falling fish!
The Kite quietly settled down on the branch of a nearby tree... From there, watching the insane spectacle, it concluded: “There goes with that silly fish, all my misery!”

I am very fond of this story. I have narrated it, countless times, during our PD sessions, and, I have seen everyone enjoying it...
There is nothing wrong in Kite picking up a fish and flying up into the skies. There is, also, nothing wrong in crows wanting that fish... But, the crows are stupid, crazy: they are not able to see the boat-load of fish near the seashore... They are after this one tiny-fish... Yes, they are after it like mad!
On the other hand, the Kite, who rightfully deserves the fish, tries to hold on to it as long and as tightly as possible... But, that simple wisdom easily doesn’t come its mind, too: that, holding on to that little fish - and the consequent tension and misery - are not worth it... It has to run out of all its strength, it has to feel the frustration... and, only through such pain and anguish, can it realize the importance of ‘dropping the fish’ – the letting go!
I do that, time and time again!
Because, as long as I live here, on this earth, I can not survive without ‘picking my daily fish’... I try my best to hold on to it as long and as best as possible. Then, only when I realize in my heart, that holding on to it is not worth it, I decide to ‘drop the fish’... Let go!
True: “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
GERALD D’CUNHA

Thursday, June 26, 2014

KEEPING OUR CREATIVITY ALIVE AND THRIVING






Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee

Presently, I am reading the book – ‘Pour Your Heart Into It’ – by Howard Schultz (Chairman and CEO of STARBUCKS).  ‘How STARBUCKS Built a Company One Cup at a Time’... the byline of the book reads.

Some two years ago, when STARBUCKS had just opened its first outlet in Mumbai, someone had given a copy of this book to me, and I had immensely loved it. Howard was not the founder of  STARBUCKS. He was the one who took it over and made it what it is today... In the book, he tells us as to how he – and his wonderful team – made it ‘one cup at a time’... Yes, pouring their hearts into it!

Incidentally, two days ago, I was having a discussion with a photographer-friend of mine. The discussion centered around the subject: how to keep our creativity alive in us.

Just the day before, my friend had accompanied a very well-known photographer, his idol, to a scenic setting in the outskirts of Mumbai... It was a spontaneous decision... There was a strong hunch... the place was calling... So, the said photographer picked my friend and drove over three hours and ended up clicking some amazing shots...

During our discussion, my friend told me that, in spite of the stature the said photographer held in the market, and in spite of the earnings he made, he still believed in taking one good shot a day... and taking it for himself. Mind you, not for clients, not for sale... but for his own joy and satisfaction... just the way he had started it all, decades ago!

When I heard this, I went into a silence!

Many years ago, when my son had joined an institute for preparing for design schools such as NID, the institute had called the students and parents for an orientation. The speaker was a young-man, and he spoke with loads of conviction. What I loved the most was the emphasis he laid on ‘making one sketch a day’ if you were an artist...

My son was an artist all through his school, and that had instilled loads of confidence in him to choose what he did. But, here was a wake-up call... The speaker was urging all the talented aspirants not to take their God-given gifts for granted... “The only way to remain creative and be good in it,” he was telling them, “is by creating one piece a day, pouring all your hearts into it.”

That was over five years ago. My son has, now, just come out of a design school and all set to take up his first job. It will be a creative world for him, all along his way. The only way to remain creative and be good in it for him, will be – by doing one sketch – or one whatever it is – a day... and do it for himself... yes, do it pouring all his heart into it!

And, that is the only way for my photographer-friend, too, to keep his craft alive and thriving...

Yes sir, that’s the only way for you and me, as well, to keep our respective crafts  alive and kicking... all the time.

GERALD D’CUNHA

Monday, June 23, 2014

OUR HOROSCOPE HOURS











Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee
  

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
Last evening, I was called by a parent of a young-boy to their house in order to help him decide what he had to choose now: B.Sc - IT or B.M.S? The boy had passed his twelfth-standard with 58%!

Two years ago, this boy had scored around 80% in SSC. The parents and the young-man, both, had decided that he should take Science and aim for Engineering. But, with 80% in SSC, which college would admit him into the Science stream?  The minority quota did it!

It did not take long for the boy the grasp the reality: “Dude, it is tough; you need to be damn focused, disciplined and hard-working.” Our young-man was not ready for it... His parents enrolled him in one of the top coaching-classes; but, the money and the expectations, both, went down the drain. The boy, by now, had decided not to pursue Engineering...

That’s okay... In life, one has the right, and the duty, to re-think about his goals. But, what the young-man needed was the clarity: If not Engineering, what then?

Yes, as the huge stone fell off his head, the young-man got relieved... free... and, got carried away by a goal-less mindset... “If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.”... This is an old statement. The funny part of this statement is: It leaves you guessing -‘There’ means ‘Where’?

Obviously, ‘Nowhere’!

Boy’s uncle was into computer business. So, somewhere towards the end of twelfth-standard, the boy thought he should get into B.Sc - IT. “But, I hate programming,” was what he was telling me last night, “I don’t think I will do it well.”

“So, what you think you will you will do well, beta?” I asked, last night.

“B.M.S.” the boy replied.

“How did you decide on that?” I asked him.

“Many of my friends are doing it,” I was told.

“So, what stops you from joining it?” I probed.

“My percentage.”

This Post is not about what I advised for the young-man: B.Sc – IT or B.M.S. It is about what I advised, he should do what ever he would take up in life, including grass-cutting or dish-washing... Yes, I meant it when I spent an hour with this young-man, last night...

I told the young-man that God has given only 24 hours in a day to each and every one of us on this planet... The king and the paupers, the wisest and the dumbest, the richest and the wretched – yes, all have been blessed with only 24 hours... and, “not a nano-second more” as I love to say it, often.

I told the young-man, that, out of these 24 hours, we spend 8 hours working and another 8 hours sleeping. What we do with those 8 hours, which are still left at our disposal, determines the kind of destiny we would carve for ourselves... I provoked the young-boy to reflect on how he had been using those 8 hours at his disposal...

Did he spend it hanging around with friends with no goals in life? He did.

Did he spend a large chunk of it on TV, laptop and cell-phone? He did.

Did he get dragged here and there, throwing his priorities into the wind, due to peer pressure? Yes, he did.

At night, did he sleep late spending too much time on TV and computer and spend his day without any agenda? Yes, he did.

Did he read something inspiring everyday? No

Did he have any role-models in life? No.

Did he learn any new skill like photography, dance, public-speaking, driving, sports whatever to boost his confidence? No.

Did he find out what are the various options available before him... What are the requirements to reach there etc? No.

Well, last night, essentially, I tried to sensitized the young-man on the importance of making the most of those 8 hours – which I, always, call ‘Our Horoscope Hours’ – and trying to help him see as to what would happen if he continued to squander them... Whether with B.Sc – IT or with B.M.S...

Yes, I told him, that he needed to mind his company, set his priorities, enhance his skills, be clear about his goals, feel inspired to achieve them... And, I told him, that, all this he could do only if he utilized those god-given 8-hours wisely...

Else, I cautioned him, that the old story would simply repeat... For, “Wherever you go, you carry yourself.”

Yes, yes, that, too, is an old statement. Isn’t it?

Hope, the young-man understood what I wanted to convey, and will re-write his horoscope, now!

GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, June 20, 2014

RUNNING FOR YOUR 'LUNCH'... AND RUNNING FOR YOUR 'LIFE'










Pic.: Chetna Shetty
The other story – yes, set in the jungle – is here...

“Once, in a jungle, a Cheetah was teaching his son the art of hunting. As the training session was on, they smelt a prey at some distance... It was a deer.

“Son, listen,” the Cheetah whispered to his cub, “a deer is on our way. Watch me how I hunt, okay?”

“Okay dad,” said the little-one, excited.

Then, the father and the son hid behind a large bush, where they waited holding their breath. And, as the deer was about to cross their way, the Cheetah, the seasoned hunter, leapt from behind the bush and tried to grab the delicate deer. But, the deer escaped... The chase began...

The faster the Cheetah ran, even faster the deer did... till the dear disappeared completely from the sight of Cheetah...

The Cheetah, finally, returned to his son and collapsed, completely exhausted...

Looking at his father’s plight, the little-one remarked, “Dad you lost and the deer won.”

The father pulled his innocent son close to his bosoms, and gently caressing the soft head, said, “yes my son, I lost and the deer won.”

Then, with a warmth-filled sparkle in his eyes,  the father asked his son, “Do you want to know why?”

“Yes dad,” the son replied, curiously...

“Son, I lost and the deer won,” the father explained to his young-cub, “because, I was running for my ‘lunch’... and the deer was running for its ‘life’...

And, as the little-son was still absorbing the essence of this priceless lesson, the caring father concluded, “And, son, that made all the difference between winning and losing!”

Every time I tell this story in my class, I dramatize it... I take them to the jungle... I bring alive, before their hearts, the Cheetah, the cub and the deer... the chase... the innocence... the profound lesson... “In life, if you want to win,” I do not have to tell the moral of the story to my young-cubs, “don’t just run for your ‘lunch’... run for your ‘life’!”

GERALD D’CUNHA

Thursday, June 19, 2014

IGNITE THAT FIRE AND HUNGER IN YOUR BELLY











Pic.: Nishtha Narryani

“A man needs to look, not down, but up to standards set so much above his ordinary self as to make him feel that he is himself spiritually the underdog.”

It is just the start of the academic year. Though I don’t believe in holding series of tests and judging my students by the marks they have scored, I relentlessly instill in them the value of being focused, determined and self-disciplined in life. “It starts from being clear about your goal... Fix it high, and fix it now,” I drill into their heads, “Once you have done it, and decided to have it badly, no one needs to remind you, coax you, least of all, force you to do your work.”

The message sinks in most of the time, and in most of the hearts. In some hears, it takes more time... but, it does sink in, for sure.

Why am I so confident that all my students take home my message?

Because, all of them want to succeed in life!

I had announced the first test – in just one chapter – for my twelfth-standard students about a week ago. Some of them came from very privileged families, could afford to pay much higher fees and learn from me in a ‘small and special’ batch. They did not want to be in a ‘big’ batch... and, yes, they couldn’t adjust to my evening general-batch timings. Well, so be it. Though I do not believe in offering any ‘special teaching’ to my high-paying students, I do accept a few students like these. “You are the privileged lot, my dear-ones,” I keep reminding them, “Be worthy of it.”

Like always, this time, too, I had a rude shock in store for me: the so-called privileged ones – many of them I had taught in eleventh-standard as well, yes, the so-called ‘special batch’ – had done far below what they ought to. On the other hand, many young-ones from the so-called ‘general batch, who had not been to any classes in the eleventh-standard, and who came from very deprived families – yes, I was so pleased to see their performance. What pleased me the most was that these kids were thinking and learning... they were doing things more on their own... they were creative, they took risk, they trusted their opinion... and, above all, their motivation did stem from their clearly defined goals...

There are those two popular stories, which I tell my so-called ‘privileged’ young-kids to explain to them as to why, in life, it is so important to possess the fire in their belly – that killer instinct... that never-say-die winning-spirit...

Arjuna was a privileged young-student of his great guru, Dhronacharya. Ekalavya, on the other hand, was not. He was born in a low-caste, tribal family... He was burning with the desire to learn the art of archery from the great guru. But, then, the great teacher refused to take him as his student... Hurt by this, the young kid, Ekalavya, went back to the jungle... made a statue of the great Dhronacharaya and got down to practice.... Yes, imagining his master, with all his determination, focus, commitment, and passion...

And, one day, while the teacher and his ‘privileged students’ were passing by the jungle, they heard a dog barking hysterically. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped. Perplexed, the guru and his students began to move towards the direction from where the cry of the dog had come. What they saw, on reaching there, stopped their hearts: the dog’s mouth was left wide open... and a dozen arrows had kept it so!

“Who could be such a fine archer?” When the guru met, finally, the young-kid from the jungle, the first question he asked was: “Who taught you this?”

“You, my guru,” the under-privileged boy answered pointing to the statue of great teacher, “I learnt it by worshipping you!”

The rest of the story is very disturbing. However, it needs to be recounted.

“If so, my dear young-student, you need to give a gurudaksina to your teacher,” the great teacher said to the wonder-kid.

“Whatever you ask, my master, I shall gladly and willingly offer to you.”

“Then, offer your thumb!”

“Here it is, my master,” Ekalavya chopped off his thumb for his revered master!

Was it right or wrong, that is not the point here. The point is: Arjuna, who was a privileged student of great guru Dhronacharya, could never reach the level of this underdog - this underprivileged tribal-kid - Ekalavya!

And, yes, there is that other popular story... and, strangely, it, too, hails from the folklore of jungle... And, I don’t fail to narrate it to my ‘privileged’ students... yes, ignite that fire and hunger in their belly...

What is this story?

Wait till tomorrow...

GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I HAVEN'T SEEN MY MARK-SHEET FOR DECADES, NOW...








Pic.: Chetna Shetty
I had scored very bad marks in tenth-standard and twelfth-standard board-exams. It was only F.Y.B’Com onwards – when Prof. Raman came to teach us, and I intensely desired to become a teacher like him – that my exams performance began to improve. Still, I would say, it was way below the accepted standards of the day. I was teaching plenty of students during my final-year B.Com. Many of my students scored much higher than I did!

But, then, I knew that I would do in life nothing else but teaching... whether with good marks or bad. Luckily, I do not remember anyone asking me, all through my three-decades-plus teaching career, “How much did you get?” Everyone has been interested in how good I am now: how well I taught, how good I am in my integrity, commitment and passion... how good I am as a motivator... as a friend, philosopher and guide to my students...

Yes, even though most of the parents want my students to score high marks in exams, neither they nor students ever ask me: “What about you? How much did you score?” If at all - and whenever - some do, I look into their eye-balls and tell, “Very less”...

And, trust me, that doesn't work against me at all. Because, they, too, know, deep down in their hearts, that, in the end what will really count is what you will do in life, and how well you will do it!

So, with due respect to all the top-scorers in exams - your top-score is only going to serve you as the ‘gate-pass’ for this magnificent opera called Life. You walk into the hall carrying the best pass in your hand and occupy the privileged front-seat out there... and someone walks in with a low-grade pass only to occupy the seat behind... But, when the show starts, what will really matter is not the kind of pass you have carried in your hand but the kind of heart you have... The heart that really knows to appreciate, value and enjoy the show... yes, fully!

Last noon, the SSC results were out. A doctor-friend of mine and his son walked into my office with a sweet-box. The young-man had scored 85%. He had two very close friends. One of them had scored 95% and the other 76%. I knew all three of them; because, all three of them had done our PD course a couple of years ago. Let me tell you this: I had loved, wished and blessed all three of them when they collected their certificates from us...

Now, what will be my stand?

What will be my faith in them as far as their future is concerned?

The boy with 95% will surely get the admission into whatever his eyes are on. The boy with 85%, who wants to pursue Science, may have to show more patience. The one with 76% wants to do Commerce, and he, too, may go into a Commerce college with relatively less struggle...

And, then?

Yes, and then... What will really count is how passionately they will participate in the show called Life...

At home, their nicely-filed mark-sheets will rest in peace somewhere in the cupboards!

I haven’t seen mine for decades, now...

But, I see, feel and celebrate this show called Life, yes, every moment of the day...

May the show go on...

“Yashashvi bava”... “Keertimaan bava”... “Ayushmaan bava”!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Monday, June 16, 2014

MY DAD BELIEVED IN ME






Pic.: Nishtha Narryani
My son, who has just finished his studies in Pune, returned home late last night. He will be here with us for a month or so before he starts working with his first company in Bangaluru. Last night, we spontaneously sat back to talk. At five in the morning, I realized that I had an early morning batch to teach... But, I wasn’t feeling sleepy at all. I wanted to be there, talking with my son, more!

I still remember that day when I left home (Mangalore) to find my place here in Mumbai. I was of my son’s age – just over 21 – then. My dad wasn't a qualified man, nor did he have decent means to provide us the kind of comforts which I, as a father, have been able to provide to my own son. But, then, that was the best my dad could do... and, yes, he was the best dad I could ever have in my life!

Best dad?

All dads become ‘the best’ and ‘the greatest’ only with passage of time.  When my dad was around, I did not realize how good or how great he was... It was only when I had to leave home – and particularly when he was no more – that I began to feel strongly for whatever he gave to me as a father...

I am sure, this is how most of us see our dads... This is how we learn to appreciate and value their contribution to us... Honestly, I do not remember saying ‘Dad, I love you’... or ‘Dad, thank you’ as much as I do that now when my dad is no more around! And, yes, I am sure, I am not alone in this...

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person,” Jim Valvano had said, “He believed in me.”

And, my dad?

Yes, he, did, too...

And, what about me?

Last Sunday was the certification day of our 2014 PD course. The students wanted to thank all their teachers with a simple, yet meaningful, gift. They did it through an amazing book – ‘Go Kiss the World’.

The author, Subroto Bagchi (Co-founder of MindTree), tells us, in the Prologue itself, how the title of the book was born. His ailing, blind mother was battling for life in the hospital... and he had come from the US to see her. But, she was not showing any improvement. As Mr. Bagchi, couldn't stay back any longer, he decided to go back to the US. On the way to the airport, he went to see his mother, one last time. There, in the hospital, he bent down to kiss her forehead.

“Why are you kissing me?” the mother asked the son.

“Why not?” the son asked, puzzled.

“Go kiss the world,” the mother sent her son with her last words!

The book, which was written many years after this incident, deals with the simple life-lessons the son was to learn as he went about, yes, ‘kissing the world’!

Whether it is a mother or a father, and whether it is a teacher, a mentor, a boss or a friend... whoever loves us deeply and means well for us, would, invariably, wish us with the same words as Mr. Bagchi’s mother did: “Go kiss the world”...

“Yashashvi bava”... “Keertimaan bava” and, yes, “Ayushmaan bava”...

I am my son’s greatest well-wisher... I want him to remember, too, that the greatest gift I have ever given him, and ever will be able to give is:  I believe in him!

Shakespeare tells it, beautifully:
“When a father gives to his son, both laugh;
when a son gives to his father, both cry.”
“Go, kiss the world, my son.” That’s the best gift I can think of giving you, today, on this ‘Father’s Day’...
Yes son, I believe in you!
GERALD D’CUNHA