Saturday, May 30, 2015

WHO KEEPS A VIGIL OVER THE SUN, THE WIND AND THE LAKES?






Pic.: Pushpa Mistry Kamath

I say this too often. And, yesterday, I heard it from a friend of mine, too: “We need to have trust when we step out into the world.”

Yes, this friend of mine, too, was asking, “What kind of life it would be, if we have no trust in each other?”

He pointed to me at the cars and the bikes parked inside our society complex and said, “Ours is a private society. We have this boundary wall and massive gates protecting us. There are these security guards keeping a vigil all through the day and the night… So, we think we are safe, our properties are safe. But, let’s just move out of our society complex and see how it is… There are these ultra-modern buildings with no place to park even their high-end cars… They leave them on the open road and go off to sleep. Lakhs and lakhs of taxis and auto rickshaws are left on the roadside by their owners when they go home at night… The lamps on the streets are not guarded… There are lakes giving us all the drinking water… They are so vast and so open… Every building has a water-tank… Who guards them twenty-four/seven? The Sun, the Moon, the Stars and the wind do their duty silently and we just trust them. The unknown people who cook and serve food for us in restaurants and everywhere else, the unknown people who drive us by their vehicles… The doctors, teachers, banks, the vendors and every kind of people around us… Oh yes, we do trust them when we step out of our houses. Else, how will the world run?”


This was what my friend telling me yesterday. Yes, it was about the trust which was so fundamental for our confident living. Imagine this mindset: Somebody is there out to grab me, loot me, cheat me… conspiring against me… If this is the mindset with which we step out of our houses, then, it is difficult to live life confidently…

We trust the Sun, the moon, the Stars and the wind who sustain our lives… We trust ‘the One’ Who guards our cars left on the streets… We trust the ‘One’ Who keeps a vigil over the lakes and the tanks which give us our drinking water…

Then, why is this fear, this suspicion… when I meet my fellow-being on the street?


GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, May 29, 2015

HERE IS A NEW DAY... WITH A NEW CHALLENGE










Pic.: Pushpa Mistry Kamath


“You can only lose what you cling to.”
— Buddha


L
ast week, I had invited a very dear friend of mine to spend an hour with our young PD-students. She did a wonderful job… helping young-ones to correct the most common mistakes they committed while communicating in English.

My friend is a very gentle and helpful soul. Now retired, she had been a very popular English teacher… and, like all teachers do, had impacted lives of thousands of students through her teaching career.

This morning, I saw a message from my friend… She wanted my e-mail id. Our students had loved her session and found it very useful.  Even though I had conveyed it to her and thanked her profusely, while sending to her my e-mail id, today, I, once again, conveyed to her my students’ and my own sincere feelings…

“Gerry, in fact, I needed the e-mail id for that reason,” my friend wrote to me,  “I realized that a lot of threads were hanging loose and hoped that if I explained it all in detail to you in the mail you would be able to explain it to them.”


“Ma’am, I really appreciate and value your concern,” I replied to my friend, “If you could do that, I would be grateful.”  Then, something inside me prompted me to add this: “Ma’am, but, it is okay… It is all about doing our ‘bit’… You did from your end, I do from mine… Beyond that, each one has to find it for him/herself, So, let’s do what is possible and let’s do it with all our heart and good intention. Take care.”


The day after my friends’ session here, I had been to Ahmedabad. One of my dear friends had invited me to conduct a motivational programme for the new staff of a leading bank. I did it with all my heart and good intention over two days for two different batches… Yes, I came back with the thought, that it was the ‘best’ of what I had offered so far in my life…


So, when my friend asked me, “How was your Ahmedabad trip?”, once again, something inside me prompted me to tell her this:


“It was great ma’am… It was for the new recruits of a leading bank… a part of induction training…I had it for two days for two different batches. As I said, I gave my best, which is my ‘bit’… I have left it behind in Ahmedabad… Here is a new day, a new challenge. Love.”



“Hmmm,” my friend commented, “like the old monk in the story, eh?”


“Yes ma’am, I really think, that we should learn to see all our efforts that way… Just don’t cling, don’t live in the ‘hang-over’… don’t die for others’ validation… least, don’t try to please them… The less we cling, the less we remain addicted… I am learning it the hard way… learning to approach life as though it is my first day here… Hope, it is not a sermon early in the morning. We’ll catch up soon, ma’am. Love.”

“Yes, of course,” my friend ended the conversation, “Have a great day.”


A friend had come ‘here’ to help me and my students… I had gone ‘there’ to help another friend and his students… We gave our best, lived our best… and, yes, like that old monk, who had dropped the young-and-beautiful woman long behind, we both are learning to drop our young-and-beautiful memories long behind…

Yes, it is new day here… a new challenge… We are embracing it with our new eyes and new hearts…

“Capre diem!”… “Seize the day!”



GERALD D’CUNHA



Thursday, May 28, 2015

FROM BEING 'SELF-CONSCIOUS' TO BEING 'CONSCIOUS'






Pic.:Shankar Ramachandran


A 14-year-old girl was on stage. “What makes me happy?” was the spontaneous topic we had chosen for the day. I had watched this girl on stage, during our sessions in the past years… She was a teenager now, and, I saw the self-consciousness telling it on her body… Her hands shivered, legs moved awkwardly, eyes blurred and voice cracked…  

“Don’t worry beta about what is happening to you,” I encouraged the young-one, “just feel your fear fully… It will die.”

I could see an immediate denial, “Sir I am not frightened.” She did not tell me that; but, from my own expereicne, I could read her heart…

Beta, when you used to go on stage a few years ago, you would do it so naturally, so fearlessly… and, now, when you are a teenager, you tend to become a lot ‘self-conscious’… That’s a natural growing-up process. Don’t worry.”

The girl seemed more relaxed now… “Thank God, I am normal!”

“I did not say, you become ‘conscious’… I said, you become ‘self-conscious’,” I told the class, “Do you know the difference?”

They did not…

“When you are self-conscious, you become judgmental, critical… self-critical,” I explained, “You make stories in your mind… most of them are ‘pure fiction’… You keep hammering yourself with self-criticism, comparison and pass through the mental torture.”

I could feel the realization on those tender faces…

“On the other hand, when you are ‘conscious’, you simply ‘see’ your condition – simply observe what is happening inside you and outside you…yes, without judging, without making any stories… You simply see, simply observe your condition… the reality that you are frightening… you see your shivering hands, your unsteady and awkward legs… your blurred vision, your cracking voice and pounding heart… Yes, you simply see, and, with that, simply smile… You feel light, relived, free and yes, peaceful.”

“So, beta, do not deny, do not hide what is ‘there’ inside you, before you,” I continued, “If you feel scared, see the truth that you are scared… If you feel angry, see the truth that you are angry… If you feel jealous, see the truth that you are feeling jealous… If you feel guilty, see the truth that you are feeling guilty… That’s all it takes to be free and peaceful… You do not have to do anything. Awareness is action… It is meditation. It is the best form of self-care… Start now, start living ‘consciously’… It will make you a strong person.”

Did this one – my morning sermon - flew ‘over’ our cuckoo’s head?

Hope, it flew ‘inside’!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SHOULD WE TRUST PEOPLE... EASILY?










Pic.: Uttam Ghosh



“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute,
still,  we go forward. Because we trust… Because we have Faith.” 

Whenever I ask our participants to write down some of their main strengths and weaknesses, I come across this one: “I trust people easily” or “I trust people too much.”

Should we trust people – easily?

I think, if we operate from our innate faith and strength, trusting others – even if it means easily and early – comes to us naturally, and, that’s how it should be. On the other hand, when we operate from our fear – insecurity, lack and skepticism – it doesn’t come to us naturally… It cannot.

Let’s imagine this scenario: I meet someone and approach him with lack of trust. And, he, too, approaches me in the same manner. Where is this interaction, this relationship going to take us?

One of the two parties has to operate with a strong, confident heart… a heart filled with trust… a heart which is driven by faith. When it goes that way, the other side, invariably, responds with confidence and trust…

“A thief sees only a thief in every one,” is an old saying. When I view another person with suspicion, all the time, I am a ‘thief’… and, I will end up seeing only thieves there, outside!


Two days ago, I had hired an Ola cab in Ahmadabad to go to the airport. A couple of people saw me off before I got into the cab. Barely a few feet the taxi had moved, the driver said, “Saab, aap ka nature bahut achcha hai.”

Now, we were total strangers and we have had hardly a glimpse of each other… What was the need for this taxi driver to say so?  But, he did. Immediately, it triggered off a goodness streak in my heart… and for the next half an hour, we both opened up… When we arrived at the airport, he pulled the bill, I paid it off… “Achcha laga aapse baat kar ke,” I complimented him.

Yes, every time I leave my home, every time I meet another soul there outside – known or unknown – I have the same two choices before me: meet him with my crossed fists or with my open arms… to view him as a thief or as a friend…

And, yes, I can choose or refuse to believe that everyone out there is a thief… Just as everyone else can choose to.


GERALD D’CUNHA


Saturday, May 23, 2015

THE CUSTOMER CARE
















“If we don't take care of our customers,

someone else will."

-          Unknown

I have come to Ahmadabad to conduct a two-day training-programme for the fresh employees of a leading bank. The gentleman in-charge of this programme, here, is Mr. Joshi. I hadn't met or talked to him before… We were total strangers. But, right since last afternoon, he had been constantly in touch with me… enquiring about my flight, transportation to my accommodation and the training facility etc. In the process, he freed me of the stress and made me feel at home.

I was up at 5 this morning. At 5.30, I received a warm good-morning message from Mr. Joshi. My flight was at 2.25 in the afternoon. But, he made me feel that I was not just ‘one- more-trainer’ in his long list of trainers… He made me feel -  that, I was special, I was important… that, he and the bank he represented really cared for me… Yes, my day started off on this inspiring note, today…

Just before the flight was to take off, Mr. Joshi sent me a message, saying, that, as he would be busy training, his colleague Mr. Thakkar , would be taking care of me. The moment my flight landed, I received a call from Mr. Thakkar enquiring about me and offering me assistance. Once here, I was, indeed, made to feel special!

Around 5.50 in the evening, after his training session was over, Mr. Joshi came to my room to meet me.  Trust me, he was with me, almost, till 8!

When Mr. Joshi left, he had made sure that his assistants, Himmat, would take good care of me… Himmat did an excellent job in that!


Now, you might ask me, “What big deal?”

One of the things I am expected to discuss with the participants for the next two days is: ‘Customer Care’…

I have already decided to talk to the new recruits of this bank how Mr. Joshi and his team took care of me… how they made me feel important, special...

And, yes, I am going to tell the young men and women, who are about to start their professional career, that, if a commitment is not ‘full commitment’, it is not a commitment at all!

Thank-you Joshi sir. You will be my ‘power-point presentation,’ tomorrow!


GERALD D’CUNHA


Thursday, May 21, 2015

THE LESS-CROWDED GROUP







Pic.: Suresh Nair

“There are two kinds of people:
those who do the work, and, those who take the credit.
Try to be in the first group… There is less competition there.”

Yesterday, someone was telling me how fierce the competition was in his field. This man worked extremely hard, and he worked with all his heart. Things had moved well for him all along. But, he seemed to be a lot anxious. “I sense I am losing the hold… There is fierce competition around me. There are plenty in the field out there doing what I have been doing… There is ample option for the customers, now… Moreover, I am not ‘that young’ anymore.”
“What did you say, last?” I probed the man.
“I said, I am not ‘that young’ anymore,” he repeated.
“Do you, also, sense that you are not ‘as enthusiastic and as passionate’ anymore?”
He took some time to tell this: “Well, I sense that my enthusiasm and passion are not the same as they used to be once, when I was younger,” he admitted, “But, then, I still work hard and long.”
“My friend, you needn't fear the person who has more number of customers than you have, who makes more money than you do, who has bought more properties than you have,” I consoled this man, “You really need to fear the person who works more that what he is paid for… Who goes the extra-mile… who doesn't care for the money that he makes or the long hours that the gives to his customers… who puts his heart and soul and burns with passion.”

I continued, “There are so many out there who work solely for money… So many who want it fast… So many who look at their watches constantly…  They make money fast and do make lots of properties… Yes, there are so many of them out there… so many. There is real rat race… real competition. But, go out and check if there are as many men and women out there who work more than what they are paid for… who go the extra-mile… who do not care for the money that comes or the time that is spent. Trust me, the space is less crowded there… Be there… Compete with these guys, if you really want to compete… if you really want to ‘sleep well’ in the night.”

Mrs. Indira Gandhi - who, they said, was the ‘only man’ in her cabinet – had said this:
“There are two kinds of people:
those who do the work, and, those who take the credit.
Try to be in the first group… There is less competition there.”

I just want to add one more group: those who go the extra-mile… who work more than they are paid for… who do not do the work for money alone, who do not look at their watches, constantly… and, yes, whose passion seldom dies down in their souls…
Yes, if we are in this group, we needn't fear the competition, in life…

GERALD D’CUNHA

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM, THE SUN IS STILL SHINING."














Pic.: Uttam Ghosh


“Even in the midst of the storm the sun is still shining.” 

It is not easy for us to admit our mistakes. If we are public figures, it is even more so… very, very tough. That’s why, of all the character strengths, I have, always, held that this strength – the ability to accept one’s mistakes and to be ready to do amends – as the greatest one.

Presently, a dear-old-friend of mine is going through a life-churning process. He is 50. When young, his sole aim had been to reach ‘the top’ in corporate world. So, consumed by this burning desire, he worked round the clock… ignoring what his young wife and little daughter really wanted from him. He worked hard, almost killing him… to give them the best material comforts - a great house, chauffeur-driven car, the best school for the daughter and goodies for his wife… Yes, he gave them everything except the emotional closeness when they badly needed it… And, in the meantime, he rose to the top of corporate ladder…

The top is, always, a lonely place to be!

Often, that’s where most of us realize how blind our chase had been… For, we see when we reach there – the top – that the ladder had been leaning against the wrong wall, all along our climb!

Often, when at top, we find how cruelly some of our associates try to pull us down!

Often, we find that the options at the top are a few!

Often, we fear the fall - the fall is the hardest… the most painful… and, we try to cling on!

Often, we tend to make more mistakes from the top!


My friend, whose daughter was in twelfth standard, now, realized this when he had reached the top of corporate ladder… The company politics shunted him to a remote place in India. He was not prepared for it – the shock, humiliation and torture. By now, the family – both wife and daughter – had emotionally distanced themselves from him. He longed to come closer to them; but they did not want him, now… almost with vengeance. Would my friend go to the remote place and live the rest of his life in total emotional disconnect? Or, would he stay back, admit his mistakes and try to win his family back?

My friend chose to stay back… even though it meant giving up a well-paying job!

It is close to eight months now. My friend is around his family, trying to put together the pieces… “We are okay without you, we can take care of ourselves,” he get to hear from them… “When we needed you, you weren't there… So, why now?”… Yes, this is hard to swallow, frustrating…

But, my friend is prepared to withstand it. He hopes that with patience, persistence and a sincere heart he will be able to gain back the lost closeness… “Even in the midst of the storm, the sun is still shining,” he quoted Dayna Lovely while talking to me, this morning. “Duniya mein sub kuch mila; sirf apni galti nahi mili,” he concluded with this old Hindi saying, “I am happy, I found my mistake, too… yes, along with ‘the other stuff!”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Uttam Ghosh

"EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM, THE SUN IS TILL SHINING."














Pic.: Uttam Ghosh



“Even in the midst of the storm the sun is still shining.” 


It is not easy for us to admit our mistakes. If we are public figures, it is even more so… very, very tough. That’s why, of all the character strengths, I have, always, held that this strength – the ability to accept one’s mistakes and to be ready to do amends – as the greatest one.

Presently, a dear-old-friend of mine is going through a life-churning process. He is 50. When young, his sole aim had been to reach ‘the top’ in corporate world. So, consumed by this burning desire, he worked round the clock… ignoring what his young wife and little daughter really wanted from him. He worked hard, almost killing him… to give them the best material comforts - a great house, chauffeur-driven car, the best school for the daughter and goodies for his wife… Yes, he gave them everything except the emotional closeness when they badly needed it… And, in the meantime, he rose to the top of corporate ladder…

The top is, always, a lonely place to be!

Often, that’s where most of us realize how blind our chase had been… For, we see when we reach there – the top – that the ladder had been leaning against the wrong wall, all along our climb!

Often, when at top, we find how cruelly some of our associates try to pull us down!

Often, we find that the options at the top are a few!

Often, we fear the fall - the fall is the hardest… the most painful… and, we try to cling on!

Often, we tend to make more mistakes from the top!


My friend, whose daughter was in twelfth standard, now, realized this when he had reached the top of corporate ladder… The company politics shunted him to a remote place in India. He was not prepared for it – the shock, humiliation and torture. By now, the family – both wife and daughter – had emotionally distanced themselves from him. He longed to come closer to them; but they did not want him, now… almost with vengeance. Would my friend go to the remote place and live the rest of his life in total emotional disconnect? Or, would he stay back, admit his mistakes and try to win his family back?

My friend chose to stay back… even though it meant giving up a well-paying job!

It is close to eight months now. My friend is around his family, trying to put together the pieces… “We are okay without you, we can take care of ourselves,” he get to hear from them… “When we needed you, you weren’t there… So, why now?”… Yes, this is hard to swallow, frustrating…

But, my friend is prepared to withstand it. He hopes that with patience, persistence and a sincere heart he will be able to gain back the lost closeness… “Even in the midst of the storm, the sun is still shining,” he quoted Dayna Lovely while talking to me, this morning. “Duniya mein sub kuch mila; sirf apni galti nahi mili,” he concluded with this old Hindi saying, “I am happy, I found my mistake, too… yes, along with ‘the other stuff!”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Monday, May 18, 2015

EVERY TIME SOMEONE THINKS WELL OR ILL OF ME






Pic.: Shankar Ramachandran




I think of so many people every day. Some of them dominate my consciousness, and those thoughts are either pleasant or unpleasant.

Yes, whenever the thoughts of some people come up in my mind, I feel happy for them… I deeply wish them well… I want them to be happy, successful, loved and respected in life… I want their families to be happy and successful… I may not go down on my knees and pray for these people and their families… I just wish – deeply and sincerely - in my heart, that they and their families should be happy and successful.

On the other hand, whenever the thoughts of some other people – very few – come up in my mind, I don’t feel happy for them… I feel the irritation, anger, hurt, and that doesn't allow me to think nicely about them or their families… The more I think about these people, the more unpleasant feelings dominate my consciousness… Again, I may not ask God to punish them; but, I deeply hold a lot of resentment… Yes, I do.

Now, what is all this?

Every time, I think well about someone, am I sending him my blessings? And, every time I think ill of him, am I sending him my curse?

Well, I choose to believe, that our thoughts have power. If more and more people think good about me, wish me and my family well, it is, indeed, a blessing. On the other hand, if more and more people think ill of me, it is not good for me and my family… It is, indeed, a curse.

Superstition?

I don’t think so.


In life, my endeavor should be to be a human with good intentions and deeds. I should consciously avoid causing harm to my fellow beings… Never try to trouble them, cause inconvenience and stress to them intentionally. The more I do that, the more I invoke their blessings…  Yes, I choose to believe in this simple philosophy of life…

Be good to people around you… Be helpful, be peaceful.

In today’s world, no one sends curses to us the way the sages did in our ancient stories. Today, I believe, that the more and more ‘ill-will thoughts’ we attract into our lives, the more and more ill-fated our lives become…

So, the way out is the way of our conscious good deeds… The more our good deeds, the more blessed our lives would be.



GERALD D’CUNHA