Monday, December 14, 2015

OUR TALENTS AND THEIR PRICE-TAG





Pic.: Divesh Shah

An elderly, highly-educated gentleman, who is retired from service, has recently come to live in or housing complex. Last evening, he had invited some of us to his house for a simple tea-party just to introduce his family to us. During our conversation, the elderly gentleman expressed his desire to help our society in one or two areas ‘he knew’ he was good at. One of them was to carry out some activities for the senior citizens in our society. “I had been doing such activities in our earlier society in Delhi,” the gentleman said, “I will be more than happy to contribute my services in a purely honorary basis.”

The gentleman was making a commitment and he knew its consequences. He knew what he was good at… and, on his own, he was volunteering to help us… with no strings attached to his services. From my experience in the field of so-called ‘social work’, I have developed a knack of sensing who is a genuine when it comes to helping the society with his unique gifts and strengths…

I could instantly sense that this elderly gentleman was absolutely sincere. Hence, being the Hon. Chairman of our society, I expressed my delight over his offer, and I told him that we would soon meet and take it forward.

In life, our time and efforts are very, very valuable. But, as much as they are, every minute and every effort in our life are not ‘billable’… The moment we think that our every minute and every effort have a price-tag around them, we are dead as genuine souls on this earth…

Most of us are so afraid of committing our services for good causes, that we would rather waste our time and talents – let our talents die unused – rather than use them for some good causes, to reach out… to make a difference to people around us…

Most of us are scared to offer our talents and expertise and help people around us without any monetary return, simply because we have been conditioned to think that the world would exploit us, take undue advantage of us… cheat us, take us for granted.

So, that fear keeps us from expressing ourselves fully in life… through our gifts and talents.

It is impossible to live our lives authentically unless we learn to express ourselves fully through our gifts and talents and do it fearlessly, willingly… yes, with no strings attached to them. To me, that’s the most fundamental source of our happiness… We are at peace when we do that… For, if God has given us those talents, He must’ve had a reason to do so… And, I seriously think, that the reason is to make the world around us a better place to be…


Austin Coutinho is someone I have been admiring for a long, long time – for making use of his talents the way God had intended us to. Professionally, he has spent his entire life helping young-guns to blossom in the field of cricket. He breathes cricket, literally. Mentoring young-talents has been his special gift… and, he has been doing it for decades tirelessly. Apart from this, God has blessed Austin with another unique gift: Cartooning. His day begins with a new cartoon or a couple of them. But, they have to be related to cricket legends, living or dead… Occasionally, he will capture some not related to his game… like on Lalu Prasad or Jaya Lalita… But, they will make you smile invariably…

Austin’s cartoons are authentic; they come bearing his unique stamp… Just the way the legendary R.K. Laxman’s cartoons would come to us early, every morning. It is no surprise, therefore, Austin treats Laxman as his ‘hero’…

Austin’s cartoons have featured in several sports magazines, dailies and books. Honestly, I consider it to be a small achievement, when I compare it to what he does every day… yes through his cartoon FB Page… Imagine bringing out thousands of them… every day, every morning… without caring for the monetary rewards, without worrying about who would steal them, misuse them… exploit him, cheat him… and all that goes with a fearful mind…

Austin’s daily cartoons are a classic example of how a person can live his life authentically… by being true to his heart, by being placing all his faith in the Law of Abundance… Austin knows, that this well called ‘abundance’ can never, ever become dry… Yes, there cannot be a price-tag for every minute and every effort which come from the depth of one’s heart.

Today is Austin’s birthday…  I have been wanting to write a piece on him for long… Here it is, finally…

“No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bushel,” Jesus had said, referring to our talents. “A lamp is meant to be placed on a high stand, so that it can give light to the world.”

This morning, I had wished Austin, with these famous words of Jesus… “May the lamp continue to give light from that high stand.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

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