Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THAT BURNING NEED FOR SELF-EXPRESSION





Pic.: Pradeep Nanda


That burning need to succeed, deep inside each one of us, is nothing but an incessant need for self-expression.!

As a little boy, I was desperately shy. When I became a teenager, the shyness stayed in me like a hard rock…. By now, I was so self-conscious that I stayed away from anything ‘public’… particularly the stage. I was so full of self-doubts that I looked down upon anything ‘good’ in me… I would constantly compare myself with others and suffer inside… It was chronic, killing And yes, it was so lonely!

Much of this changed when I got in me that burning desire to become a fine teacher like my idol, Prof. B.S. Raman. So strong was the desire that I was determined to overcome all my handicaps, including my poor English and stage fright… My handicaps became my greatest blessings in disguise… I started writing my simple notes in my diaries… I started reading books; I started listening to good speakers, seeking help from them… This habit stayed with me all my life… and, today, a day doesn’t go without writing my thoughts down… They call it ‘blogging’, or ‘writing and publishing books’… No sir, it did not start that way… It started from my deep, deep need to express myself… say what my heart wanted to say… find an audience… and, it had started as a young boy, way back in my village.

And, because I was freighted to go on stage, I founded THE DAWN CLUB to help others overcome that problem when they were little boys and girls… I did not know that the greatest beneficiary of this act would be I. As I, along with many of my great associates, went about helping thousands of teens and pre-teens overcome their inhibitions and express themselves, I found myself growing to my fullest potential!

Believe me, the most amazing part of this experience has been this: I am still shy and frightened… I still have so many self-doubts… I still keep my notes, still tremble when I am asked to come before an audience!

Last night, as our hosing society’s Hon. Chairman, I was giving away prizes to dozens of little children, who had taken part in various talent-based competitions during the on-going Ganesh Utsav. So-little babies, so many of them… and, so much was the parents’ support… so much was the excitement… so much was the energy, buzz, and yes, so much was the hope and expectation… As I was doing my bit, my eyes had welled-up… “So blessed are these kids,” I was thinking aloud, “Dhanya ho, Dhanya ho, Dhanya ho!”

I knew how much difference that support from parents and well-wishers made to a little one’s self-confidence in life… I knew how important that was!

So, I silently blessed all who mattered in the life of those little children!

Then, a beautiful thing happened: I saw myself collecting those prizes – a little toy or a Barbie – I saw the child who danced, sung, spoken, written or sketched was me… the child who had won was me… the parents who were cheering around were my own.  Soon, I found myself seeing it all from the other end: I saw they were my own children… I was the one who had groomed them, supported them, cheered them to the trophy!

Let me tell you, it was such a liberating experience… such a healing one!

God did the best thing to me: He made me what I am, today… A beautiful, shy, sensitive, yet,a strong soul…

Thank-you Lord… Lord Ganesh!


GERLD D’CUNHA

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