Sunday, August 30, 2015

"IF PROBLEMS ARE LONG-STANDING, TRY KNEELING"

















Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony



 “A Bible which falls apart belongs to one who isn’t.”

When Kannan recounted to me this, in our Tai Chi class today morning, I had to ask him to repeat it, slowly…

“Look, if you delve deeply into the Bible, and do it regularly, the Holy Book is bound to ‘fall apart’,” Kannan explained to me, “but, it will save your life from falling apart.”

Kannan has to pass by the OLPS church (Chembur) to reach our Tai Chi class. Every Sunday, the passerby’s  get to read a new passage displayed outside the church. Kannan is a regular follower of these inspiring messages… He had brought to us today’s Sunday Special…

“A Bible which falls apart belongs to one who isn’t.”

I was really impressed.

Kannan went about citing many more passages he had read outside the church. One of them made a great impact on me:

“If problems are long-standing, try kneeling.”

Kannan did not have to repeat it… nor had to put it slowly… The message was loud and clear!

                                                                                                                                                           
I am a Christian. Kannan is not… I attend mass, Kannan doesn’t. I read Bible, Kannan may not… I go inside the church to pray… Kannan just passes by… But, then, here is what God, probably, wants us to do… Understand the ‘essence’… ‘Feel’ His presence… the deep spiritual- connect…

So, I kept telling myself, as I was on my way home:

“A Gita, Quran or Gurugranth which falls apart belongs to one who isn’t.”

I, also, found telling myself:

“I need to kneel more, today.”



GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, August 29, 2015

YES, I AM PROUD, I DID IT ON MERIT... MY BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS






Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

I like to be dumb about some things in life… One of them is the ‘wisdom’ about ‘Reservation’… what it is, how it works, its good side and bad side and all that heavy ghyan

When I watch this 22-year-old Hardik Patel, who is leading the agitation demanding reservation for Patel community in Gujarat, I smile and tell myself: “Hey, at twenty-two, I had just landed in this great city of dreams… and was busy figuring out how I could make a place for myself, here, as a teacher… I did not know anything about the subject of Reservation, the Quotas and the Minority Community status and all that went along with that…

Yes, one thing I vividly remember. There was this boy in our neighborhood. He hailed from a high-caste and a high-class family… He was two years senior to me… My friends and I used to envy when we would see him constantly flirting with pretty girls in his car and motor bikes… Obviously, he wasn’t good at studies… But, when it came to his admission, this good-for-nothing fellow shocked all  of us by walking into a fine (Regional) engineering college….

“How did he get admission?” we raised our eye-brows!

Simple. We learnt from others, that the young-man had produced a bogus caste-certificate and got his engineering seat!

That’s was it… I don’t remember taking it so seriously… Because, it did not affect me at all, in any way…

Some years later, when I had been to my hometown, I remembered this young-man and enquired about him with one of my friends. “He has ruined his life,” my friend told me, “Turned a chronic alcoholic and is jobless at present.”

So much for the ‘Caste Certificate’… so much for the ‘Reservation’… So much for the ‘Quota’!

My struggle continued… I was blissfully unaware that, as a Christian, I belonged to a ‘Minority Community’ and I could ‘flaunt’ this card here and there, now and then, to make my way up or make my way in…

Then, one day, I had got into the BEST at Hutatma Chowk  to come to Chembur. It was the starting point of that bus. I got a nice widow seat and, soon, went off to sleep. Maybe a few stops the bust must have moved, I felt someone shaking me hard… I opened my eyes, “Uto!” a strong… thirty-something… woman yelled through her fierce eyes, “Padneko nahin atha hai kya? Ye ladies seat hai!”

By now, the bus was packed, I stood in the passage my crest fallen!

Some stops later, I saw some ladies seats getting vacant. But, I dared not to sit on them… Once bitten twice shy, you see.

But, I saw other ‘bold’ men venturing… But, as soon as they sighted a lady (mostly young and healthy ones) coming towards the ‘encroached’ seat, they would get off the seats and pre-empt a potential show-down!

“O bai, uto… ye ladies seat hai…  Dikta nahin hai kya? Padneko nahin atha  hai kya?’

That was the first time I got the taste of ‘Reservation’ – maybe a gender-related one and not related to any class, caste or creed…  But, the taste was quite bad, I can tell you!


Thank God, at 22, when new in this great city and struggling to get a foothold for myself, I  found on this city’s footpaths that used copy of the book- Napoleons Hill’s – ‘Think and Grow Rich’… Thank God, I did not find anyone to put into my head that ghyan about Resevation, the Quotas and the bliss of being born in a backward or scheduled class or tribe… or being born in a Minority Community… Thank God, I remained dumb and ignorant about this ‘wisdom’… Thank God I fought a ‘fair battle’ with all here… to acquire whatever little foothold I could make for myself…

Yes, I am proud, I did it on merit…

By my blood, sweat and tears…

Holding my head high!

GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, August 28, 2015

"DON'T SIT THERE RELYING ON GOD..."




Pic.: Chetna Shetty

Two days ago, one of my students’ (twelfth-standard, ISC) father had come to meet me. He was really concerned – rather disturbed - about his daughter’s unit-test marks. She had scored only twenty on hundred. Being a Chartered Accountant, and having gone the hard way up his ladder, and, above all, my student being his only child, the father was unable to comprehend how his daughter could score so low on marks… “Accountancy is not the subject to score so low unless one has no hold on the concepts at all, or unless one has not practiced,” the father looked at his daughter and said, “What is your case – are your concepts not clear or did you not practice?”

“I did not practice,” the daughter murmured meekly to her father who sounded overwhelming.

“I don’t think so,” the father reacted, “Had the concepts been clear, you would have managed to do something even with the help of those concepts.”

“I told you, that I have understood the concepts,” the girl shot back angrily, “It is ‘my’ fault… I did not practice.”

I was watching the drama. It was something I was so used to over my 35 years of teaching, that I knew where the problem lay and what I had to tell to, both, the student and the parent…


The kids – particularly the Commerce ones – do not start off their work with a clear goal in their mind. Most of them are so casual about their career, that it tells on the quality of their motivation… “Only clearly defined and highly resolved goals motivate us to work hard and work long,” I remind my students, parents and everyone alike, “You just have to be burning with the desire to achieve your goal, you need to be passionate.”

Now, some understand this, and some don’t. This parent, the other day, wasn’t taking what I wanted to tell him. His daughter was open to what I was saying… She knew, that she hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do after twelfth… why she wanted good marks… She knew, that unless she relied on her own inner resources – on her own dream and determination – no force on earth, be it her parents, teachers or even God, could do anything… She knew, that motivation came from within and not from outside… Thus, she was angry with her dad… “I told you I have understood the concepts. It is ‘my’ fault… I did not practice.”

Yes, how could my student practice hard without any clue as to why she had to score well in the Board exams?

“Sir, relax… They do well eventually,” I pacified the agitated father, “It is only the starting of the year… They aren’t serious at this stage… Let’s help them discover what they have to do in life…. Once that is done, they won’t need any of us to remind them and nag them all the time.”

I did not succeed in convincing the father. “I will not tolerate anything less than 95 in accounts,” he blasted at the hapless girl (And, I knew, the message was loud and clear for the teacher as well!)

“God save my student,” I prayed… “Have mercy on her!”


And, yesterday I had watched the Hindi movie, ‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’. I loved the movie, and was inspired by Manjhi’s 22-year-long madness… Call it goal, determination, hard work, focus, perseverance, self-belief, patience, will-power or whatever you like! Let me tell you, that this village illiterate – a social outcast – knew where one’s motivation in life came from!

It took Dasrath Manjhi, from this obscure village in Bihar, twenty-two years to break the rock-solid mountain… that’s to make a road through it which was about 360 feet in length, 30 feet in width and 20 feet in depth… Mind you, to do it alone… Mind you, to do it with just a hammer, chisel and crowbar in his hand! But, Manjhi did not want his village folk to die, like his young wife did, trying to negotiate through the rocky mountain. Just by carving this little stretch through the mountain, he had helped his village folk save a 70-mile round-about-journey which they took 2-3 days to complete!

“Break your head and find it for yourself,” I screamed at my students, yesterday, after watching this movie, “Like how Manjhi broke that mountain!”

My students had within them what Manjhi had within him… Only problem here was that my students – just as most others around them did – relied on others… They wanted someone else to decide for them, take risks for them and even work for them!

At the end of the movie, when a newspaper reporter asks Manjhi as to what message he has for others, the ‘Mountain Man’ chuckles:
“Bhagwaan ke bharose pe mat baithiye…
Kya patha, Bhagwaan hamare bharose pe baitha hai!”

“Don’t sit there  relying on God;
Who knows if God is sitting there relying on us?”


GERLALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

THERE HAD TO BE A KAMSA FOR KRISHNA'S STORY TO BE COMPLETE





Pic.: Chetna Shetty

“Everything happens for a reason… and ever person comes in our life for a reason… That, every problem, eventually, gets solved and every enemy, eventually, relents… That, there ‘is’ a way even though I cannot see it, now… That, there is a valuable lesson in every hardship I endure… That, tough times make me tough…”

Let me tell you this: Telling all this comes easily to me when it comes to telling others. “Don’t worry, be happy… everything will be alright.”

But, when it comes to telling it to myself, the same words do not come to me so easily!


Two days ago, I was with a small group of my friends. They have been harassed by another group of persons for a long period of time… Several efforts have been made by several people to prevail upon the harassing group… but, in vain. The harassment continues, and it seems as though there are no options left… there is no way ahead… it is a dead end!

So, two days ago, when I was telling this harassed group of friends, “Hang on, every enemy, eventually, relents,” did I really mean it?

Would I have said the same thing to myself, had I been in their place?

Do enemies really relent, eventually?

History says, “Yes, they do.”

It may sound so strange - even mystical – when I mention this here. After my meeting with this tortured group of my friends, when I came to my office and logged on to my computer, I saw in my inbox two simple lines from a popular hymn:

‘God makes a way,
even when it seems there is no way.’

I went silent for a moment…. How timely it had arrived… How badly I needed to hear it… How reassuring!

I, instantly, replied to my cousin, Mavis, and her husband, Calvin (who had never ever in-boxed me such a message before):

“Very, very reassuring dear Mavis and Calvin. Thanks a lot. Love.”


The more I penetrate on this, the more I become convinced… that, in life, patience and trust are our greatest shields… If we harness in our soul enough trust in the goodness of life and if we store in our souls loads of patience… I have no reason to go cynical about this world… or its people and problems…

All will be well and all will have to wait for its own time… the divine time, not my time…

Endurance is the weapon of the brave… I know this as clearly as I know my name!

No enemy, no tormentor, no despot has ever lived long enough to destroy the goodness of life…

Yes, there had to a Kamsa for Krishna’s story to be complete, and there had to be a Herod for Christ’s story to be complete…

Therefore, who am I to say ‘no’ to my own tormentor?

“Everything happens for a reason… and every person comes in my life for a reason,” yes, telling this is easy when it comes to telling it to others and not easy when it comes to telling it to myself… I know, I know…

But, I am telling it to myself, now!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Video: YouTube

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

MONKEY RETURNS






Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony

This is my childhood story. Every time I read it, it makes me peaceful… I have told this story many times before in my blog and in our PD sessions…  I wish to tell it, once again, today.

In a village, there lived this milkman. Every day, he walked near and far to sell milk in the village. With whatever money he earned, he was content and lived a simple yet happy life with his family. And, as years passed by, a thought began to trouble him: “I am getting older and tired… I won’t be able to go around the village like this for long… The family needs are increasing… my daughters have to be married… and, at this rate, it would be hard for me to face my future.”

Thus, with the hope that he could make some quick money and secure his future, the milkman started to add some quantity of water in the milk, which went unnoticed in the beginning. As  time went by, the water quantity in the milk began to increase, and, his customers began to complain. But, by now, the greed had taken strong roots in this milkman… He could not live with the thought of earning less. Insecurity had taken over him… and, he continued to live like that despite the bad name he had now earned for himself…

Then, one afternoon, while returning home, the tired milkman decided to take a short nap under a tree. He had placed next to him his money pouch. When he was fast asleep, a monkey picked the pouch, sat on the tree branch, and started doing something interesting: he dropped one coin on the ground and another into the deep well below. Monkey kept doing it till the pouch became almost empty… When the milkman woke up, he was shocked to see what the monkey was doing. But, by now, the monkey-job was already finished… Milkman’s half the booty had gone into the deep well… while the other half was lying there on the ground…

As he bent down, heart-broken, to collect whatever was lying before him, the milkman heard a voice inside his heart: “Become wise now… The money that you had earned by adding water in the milk, has gone where it belonged – into the well; the money that you deserve is lying before you…Gather it  and go home.”

It seems, the milkman paid heed to this voice… and he did not have to worry any more about his future… All was taken care of, including his old age and daughters’ marriage!


What has prompted me to tell this story, today?

It seems, there is a global crash in economy… In seconds, the investors’ wealth has been wiped out by over seven-lakh crores of rupees... and, worse is: that's just the beginning of an unfolding scary-story!

There is this milkman in all of us… who, constantly worries about his old age and his future uncertainties… Insecurity prompts all of us to do what this milkman had done… make some quick money with the hope that it would make our future secure…

As I conclude this piece, a wise line comes back before me:

“In life, true security does not come with our big bank balance;
it comes with the understanding,
that we can be secure even without our big bank balance!”


I love this monkey… I tell you, he keeps coming back to pick my pouch every time I worry about my future and try to secure it… by taking some shortcut to my secure future!


GERALD D’CUNHA



Saturday, August 22, 2015

DID I EMBRACE OR BLOCK THE PROSPERITY?





Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

A lady – who must be in her mid-thirties – was trying to meet me and discuss something, as she put it most convincingly: ‘SO, SO important to you sir’. She was referred to me by a person I knew very well. But, even before meeting this lady, I could sense, that the lady was trying to ‘sell’ to me something… and, she was doing it the way a hardcore sales guy did… Yes, she was trying to tell me how ‘important’ her product, her idea, to me was… how incomplete and unhappy my life would be, if I did not go for it…

I told the lady over the phone itself, “Ma’am, you are coming from so far… I do not wish to disappoint you… Why can’t you let me know what is that ‘so important’ to me?”

“No sir, that’s something we cannot discuss over the phone,” the lady said with all the charm in her possession, “We will discuss it over when we meet.”

And, I knew, that I would not allow this lady to make me feel how incomplete or unhappy my life was without the stuff she was coming with… I knew, how to say ‘no’ if I did not want it…

The lady came, last afternoon. After the initial warm-up, she began to tell me what was that ‘so, so important’ she had come to offer me… to make me feel happy and complete…

Now, this lady must be the umpteenth person to come and convince me to ‘partner with’… Each of them come with a different ‘business proposal’ and they talk about ‘revenue sharing’… Many of them present it so luringly, that you simply end up saying ‘yes’ to the ‘marriage’!

This lady’s proposal was a typical one for a person like me (who was in teaching ‘business’)… She tried to paint the lucrative picture before my mind… If I referred students for their courses, how much I would earn behind each student… How rich I could be – just sitting in my chair, doing nothing!

I told the lady, without any fuss, that I was not interested… that, I had never done it before and would never do it, now or ever.

“Why? What is wrong sir,” the lady pushed, “everybody does it… so and so have done it… this one and that one does it (She named some of them)… It is just practical and ethical, sir.”

“Good for them, ma’am,” I conveyed my stand assertively; “I am fine with the choices I am making in my life.”

“Sir, you are ‘blocking’ the money that is coming to your door,” this lady put it with, what sounded like, a spiritual law of prosperity… “You are resisting wealth… That’s not good for your future.”

I smiled, got up from my seat, picked three of my books, bent down and scribbled: “With best wishes and love”… and, as I handed over the three books to her, I wished deeply from my heart well for the lady… and, said to her, “Ma’am, here are three little books… They will tell you whether or  not my decision will be good or bad for my future.”

The lady did not even take a passing glance on the ‘gift’ I had just made to her… She just tucked them in her bag, as if it all meant nothing to her… She got up and said, “Okay, then.”

And, she left…

I stood on the door wondering, if I had ‘blocked’ wealth and prosperity from coming to my door… If my future would be bright or dark…

I smiled, as my head nodded!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, August 21, 2015

WHEN FEAR DISSOLVES, EVEN DEATH MELTS






Pic.: Chetna Shetty

My wife had watched, yesterday, an inspiring video shared by our friend Sudha. It was the compelling story of Anita Moorjani, who had been through a near-death experience (NDE)… When I was home, at night, my wife was so charged by Anita’s story, that she coaxed me to watch the video before I went off to sleep!

It had happened on 2nd February 2006, in an emergency ward of a hospital in Hong Kong. Anita had been suffering from cancer for four years before that. Her organs had shut down, lungs were filled with fluid, body had become a skeleton… and she had walked into a coma… The doctors had told her family, that those were Anita’s final hours…

But, Anita survived… Yes, to tell us her inspiring story…  She did it in 2013 through her best-selling book ‘Dying To Be Me’…

Read that again… ‘Dying To Be Me’!

And, that’s what drew me close to what Anita wanted to say…

I haven’t read Anita’s book - ‘Dying To Be Me’, yet. But, I can tell you what Anita wants to tell us: “Friend, live your life fearlessly… You do not have to fear anything or anyone… You do not have to please anyone.. You do not need anyone’s approval… You do not have to give up your dreams and aspirations… You do not have to live others’ life… Live your own life, live with passion, live with love… live with all that you have, live your authentic life… yes, yes, yes, die to be ‘you’!”

Today, Anita goes around the world spreading just that one message: “Stop living in fear… stop pleasing others… stop feeling guilty, regretful or angry… Start loving yourself… start living your dreams with all your passion…”

And, that will heal you… including your cancer…

Too simplistic?

Well, I know this: Living in constant fear, living with guilt, regrets and anger, living as a pleaser… living someone else’s life… yes, it can never bring us good physical or mental health… Such a state is the fertile ground for disease…

When love and compassion come, fear dissolves… Anita says, “even cancer melts”…

However simple it sounds, I choose to believe Anita….

I choose to believe, that when I am dying to be me, I live my authentic life!

Thank-you Anita for inspiring life back into me…









GERALD D’CUNHA

Videos: YouTube

Thursday, August 20, 2015

SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET... AND LEAVE HIS DOOR












Pic.: Sheela Mohan



“As you enter a house, wish it peace.  If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words,
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.”



When Jesus gave this advice to his disciples, He had made it very clear to them: “Look guys, you may have in your heart the best of the best intentions, you may be love and peace personified under the sky… your motive may be pure and selfless, you may have gone to their homes for their sake and not yours, yet, be prepared to be ‘rejected’.”

You may be good and selfless, and you may have the best intention and concern for others, but, how the other person perceives you - whether he welcomes you or shoos you off… is, certainly, not in your hand…

But, one thing, most certainly, is: If the other person rejects you, shoos you off, you do not have to sulk, scream and shout… You do not have to be sad, guilty or angry… Instead, you have the greatest choice with you… You can shake off the dust of his home, his town, before you leave…


You have gone there carrying peace… If they are worthy, they shall receive it from you… If not, carry it back with you… Let their rejection, their unworthiness, not disturb your own peace… Move to the next home, the next town… your next God-indented mission…

Yes, you may have gone to them with best of the best advice, and mind you, for their good and not yours… Still, they will judge you, misread your intention… reject you and even condemn you… But, if peace is what you have gone there with, may that be the case… Please do not waste your time arguing, justifying, defending, shouting and screaming… Leave their doors… shake off the dust from your sandals… Leave behind the negativity, the poison…

Yes, you do not have to carry the negativity and poison of another person home…

Shake the dust off your sandals, and leave his door…

Move to the next door… Your peace intact!



Read this Post all over again, and again and again… You will find how useful – and how timeless - the advice is…

Peace be with you.


GERALD D’CUNHA