Friday, December 30, 2016

THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERY FEAR IS FREEDOM





 “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  When Franklin D. Roosevelt made this famous remark in his inaugural address (1933), the times were really tough and the future looked really dark… The war, depression, unemployment, and uncertainly loomed so large that there was that dire need of a strong leader to inspire hope in the despaired hearts. So, FDR rose to the occasion and inspired the American people by calling upon them not to fear, not to panic over their future… “The only thing we have to fear,” he reminded them, “is fear itself.”

Ever since then – that is, for some eight decades – men and women have found solace in FDR’s clarion call… In life, there is nothing we should be frightened of… but the fear itself… For, as Mary Ferguson said, “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom!”

Fear is a great energy drainer. It can paralyze us… rob us of our zest for life.

As New Year is about to roll in tomorrow night, I have suddenly become conscious of the way I have been dealing with my own fears… the uncertainties and future I worry over. I ask: should I greet the New Year with hope or with despair? Should I embrace it with my open arms or should I approach it with my crossed fists?

I have lived fifty-eight New Years and I have survived greatly. Life is mightier than any fear my heart can ever harbor… And, in life, every fear dissolves… It dies out when ‘wisdom’ comes! ”Feed your faith,” remind the   wise-words, “and your fears will starve to death.”

War, depression, unemployment, drought, heartbreak… whatever that man was afraid of… yes, none of them has outlived Life… Life has outlived them all!

Therefore, let me infuse myself with with FDR’s wise words: “The only thing we should fear is fear itself.”

GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.:  Chetna Shetty

WALKING FREE FROM THE LONG SHADOWS CAST BY SMALL PEOPLE












“The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step,
while the dull win the race with eyes closed.”

When I realize that my leg has gangrene, what do I do? I cut off the infected part of my leg so that the rest of my body is saved. But, then, what do I do when I realize that my life is getting infected due to the presence of some negative people around me… Why do I dilly-dally from amputating the infected people from my life?

The people I choose to surround myself with can either boost my energy or they can drain it.
A dear friend of mine constantly advises me to be wise in choosing who I want to surround myself with…  “Negative people are leeches… they suck our energy,” he keeps reminding me, “When we recognize that… yes, that’s the time to cut off from the caustic people in our lives.”

Who are these caustic people? Are they significant people in our lives… our spouses, children, family members or friends? Or, are they people not so significant for us… our neighbors, office colleagues, community members or strangers? Caustic people can hail from both sides of the court…

Well, to cut off significant people from our lives, when they perennially suck our energy, is not that easy… but not impossible either. On the other hand, to cut off insignificant people, when they perennially deplete our energy, is not only easy, but it is, also, critical.

The New Year - 2017 - is approaching. Do I have some conscious choices to make?

Yes, I do have a couple of choices to make. On top of the list is this: to cut off myself from some energy suckers… I have already decided who they are!

It is not going to be a negative note to start on one’s New Year. On the contrary, it is a very positive note… It is a great service we can ever do to ourselves… A very kind, self-nurturing and self-empowering act.

Fennel Hudson had said, “Walk free from the long shadows cast by small people.”

That’s what I am going to do in 2017…

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Nicole Gubin O'Ryan

Thursday, December 29, 2016

WALKING FREE FROM THE LONG SHADOWS CAST BY SMALL POEPLE
















“The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step,
while the dull win the race with eyes closed.”

When I realize that my leg has gangrene, what do I do? I cut off the infected part of my leg so that the rest of my body is saved. But, then, what do I do when I realize that my life is getting infected due to the presence of some negative people around me… Why do I dilly-dally from amputating the infected people from my life?

The people I choose to surround myself with can either boost my energy or they can drain it.
A dear friend of mine constantly advises me to be wise in choosing who I want to surround myself with…  “Negative people are leeches… they suck our energy,” he keeps reminding me, “When we recognize that… yes, that’s the time to cut off from the caustic people in our lives.”

Who are these caustic people? Are they significant people in our lives… our spouses, children, family members or friends? Or, are they people not so significant for us… our neighbors, office colleagues, community members or strangers? Caustic people can hail from both sides of the court…

Well, to cut off significant people from our lives, when they perennially suck our energy, is not that easy… but not impossible either. On the other hand, to cut off insignificant people, when they perennially deplete our energy, is not only easy, but it is, also, critical.

The New Year - 2017 - is approaching. Do I have some conscious choices to make?

Yes, I do have a couple of choices to make. On top of the list is this: to cut off myself from some energy suckers… I have already decided who they are!

It is not going to be a negative note to start on one’s New Year. On the contrary, it is a very positive note… It is a great service we can ever do to ourselves… A very kind, self-nurturing and self-empowering act.

Fennel Hudson had said, “Walk free from the long shadows cast by small people.”

That’s what I am going to do in 2017…


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Nicole Gubin O'Ryan



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TAKE THE PASSENGERS' SEAT AND HELP YOUR CHILDREN NAVIGATE

           
              



 Parenting is a tough job… Just as letting go is!


       Letting go of our anxiety and fear about our children’s education, career, character and future…
       Letting go of our need to control them… their choices…
       Letting go of our need to constantly monitor their actions by hovering over their heads as helicopters…

       Involved parents! Oh yes, we parents need to be. But, more than being ‘involved parents’, I think, we need to be ‘evolved parents’. Our children need our love, guidance and support… But, certainly, they don’t need our obsessive control which stems from our deep-rooted insecurity and lack… Children can sense that quickly!

      My last Post - ‘OUR BROKEN DREAMS… AND OUR INNOCENT CHILDREN’ - was inspired by the movie, ‘Dangal’. I received a lot of feedback from many parents… most of it privately. Almost all parents  were uncomfortable with the idea of ‘letting their young-children be’… What if this happens… and what if that happens? When is the time to let our children take the drivers’ seat and let us take the passengers’ seats?

       Not easy, sir… Not easy… There is no easy answer to this…

       All that I can say is this: Have we all not been taken care of by the Universe?
       If we as parents are earnest – and if our children are reasonably responsible and clear in their heads - take it from me, the Universe will surely bless them… Just the way you and me have been!

       So, essence of parenting is all about letting go that need to be in the drivers’ seat all through our children’s journey… It is setting them free and letting them belong where their destiny wants them to be…

      Parenting is all about our own growth… our own evolution…
      It is about making peace with the inevitable circle of life!


       Stella*, a dear friend of mine who lives in the US with her husband and two boys (age 18 and 17), wrote to me after reading my last Post. It carries that universal anguish of a sincere parent…





Hi  Gerry, hope your Christmas was joyful. I read your post about the movie ‘Dhangal’ and thought I would share some of our (my husband and I) struggles and our journey in parenting specifically with the notion that we should allow our kids to drive their passion and choose their paths. Would love to hear your thoughts..

Our parenting style has been very conscious ways to ensure from a very young age that our two boys were never pressured to follow our aspirations for anything… whether to play sports, make top grades, friend and religion choice, hobbies etc. Until they were about 10 years old, we exposed them to many opportunities in the above mentioned areas and other areas; but, once they were 10 or 11 years old, they started showing strong independence in opinions, wanting to make decisions for themselves etc. Basically, it was clear to us, as the years went by, that they would be in the driver’s seat for most decisions which we felt confident we should let them make. We had to remind ourselves to be in the passengers’ seat though to help them navigate. They have mostly made great decisions so far…  some that we would not agree with, some that made us a bit uncomfortable , other decisions that led to some setbacks which they needed more support from us to navigate.

Our 18-year-old decided for himself that he wanted to pursue medical school and is now doing all the pre requisite classes for that. He talked about how he arrived at his decision with us. Our 17-year-old announced to us, 4 years ago, that he wanted to do a music major in college. This was when he was in 7 th grade. My husband struggled with accepting that. Being somewhat traditional, he felt that a music career was not going to be a sustainable source of living. He tried convincing our then 13-year-old and over time, accepted that we had to be supportive of his dreams. We have done everything as parents in supporting his interest in music and helping him move forward in working towards his goal. But, with this boy, despite our best efforts,  at this point of time, we are struggling with knowing if we did him a disservice by being too supportive or whether we should have not let him be such an independent opinionated decision-maker early on in life… Don't know if it was a choice at all. He will be in 12 th grade next year and will have to apply for colleges and if he applies for music, he will have to audition and such. We have been preparing and supporting him for this all these years... to fulfill his dreams to learn music. But, lately, our conversations with him make us feel like, he still wants to study music, but he is not sure he is ready to go to college after 12 th grade. He wants to take a ‘gap year’. Well now, it's becoming more common for kids to take a gap year to ‘figure out’ what they want to do in college or do some ‘volunteering’ before they start college. When asked what he wants to do in his gap year, he is not sure. We are not opposed to having this boy take a ‘gap year’, but here is what is keeping us sleepless at nights:
1. He knows he wants to do music; we support him 200%; he is more than capable of getting admission in at least one reputed school of his choice; so, why does he feel he is not ready ? (He will not talk much to us about this).
2. He has a couple of friends ( older) who took a gap year , never went to college after the year and are working odd jobs at fast-food places and do occasional music gigs at bars. We are worried that our son may choose that as a path for himself in that case, do we not intervene in some way? What is our responsibility as parents to support him? Is that just a lazier approach to handling growing up for him?
3. What house rules should we start planning for if he is not going to college? Some of our friends who have had a kid take a gap year or two have shared their experiences in what works and what does not for them. What we are not going to be ok with is for this boy to sleep all day, eat ,go meet random musician friends at random times and not be productively engaged in school or work or something else. How do we determine all the details?

Clearly, with 18-year-old... our parenting style seems like - can be called - a semi success … maybe! But, with our 17-year-old… it might take another 6-8years for us to know. I truly wish we had a crystal ball to know! In our case, molding them according to our aspirations was never a choice for us, nor does it fit with our values. But, how do we support and to what extent do we support their dreams for themselves is a journey that we are finding it very challenging to navigate through.

I am grateful that our both boys are mostly healthy, growing up well and, generally speaking,  good human beings. I hope my long description of our challenges did not make it seem like I am not grateful that we get to enjoy watching them grow... Just wanted your thoughts on how to navigate when the course direction changes in unknown ways and unexpected times.


Dear Stella, trust me, your 17-year-old will figure it out for himself… Be by his side as he navigates through  this maze called ‘LIFE’! That’s love… That’s peace!

*Name changed

GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

OUR BROKEN DREAMS... AND OUR INNOCENT CHILDREN





A couple of days ago, my friend, Ajit Nair, shared on FB his views after watching ‘Dangal’. Here it is…

Watched 'Dangal' last night. While the movie making is fairly engaging and surely worth a watch there are some things have lingered on, placing them here in no particular order.

The story challenges patriarchy, but it also reinforces it as the father Mahavir Singh forces his dream upon his girls. They do well too. But then what were their own dreams?

It cements this further when Geeta is shown as beating her own father at a bout but then goes on to lose many international ones in a row. Geeta's struggle could have been explored further, as she tries to balance her own rooted identity with the excitement of the world out there. 'Dangal' instead leaves the audience with the message that says "Father is always right". It also ends up quasi accusing Geeta of indulging herself in movies, shopping a bit of life which she is denied otherwise by her disciplinarian father.

The tendency to paint her national academy coach as villain again plays to the gallery a bit too much but then remains credible as we all are well aware of how our athletes get treated, especially women. I, also, disliked the dash of jingoism in the end but then these days that is what sells!

'Dangal' remains a story, worth a watch for sure. It will, also, make some young girls want to strive more at sport, work really hard etc. But, does it truly showcase a story of emancipation against all odds and the independent flowering of a woman? Not at all.  Instead, it is the story of one very stubborn man who hoped to achieved his dream through his boys, but when God gave him girls, he pushed them no end to enter a male arena and take on the brawn. What was the girls' story, we"ll never quite know…

 I am a huge fan of Amir Khan and all his movies. Though I hadn’t watched ‘Dangal’ till I read Ajit’s views, I could immediately relate to what he was saying… So, I sent my following  response…

Brilliantly captured by u dear Ajit. I could immediately relate to this… as we all carry that silent guilt in us. Some twenty-five years ago, I wrote this note in one of THE DAWN CLUB books – ‘THE LATE BLOOMER’. Ever since then, I have delightfully watched our young boys and girls using this note/poem in our Public Speaking sessions… Maybe, because it is the universal truth. Allow me to share it, please…

GREAT MAN
I tried to make my younger brother
a great man…
Day in and day out, I sat with him
 tried to motivate him, coax him,
train him, guide him, support him,
and kept reminding him:
“One day, you shall be great.”

Many years passed by,
nothing dramatic happened;
I began to get frustrated, mad…

Then, one day, he coolly told me:
“Brother, there are mountains,
there are plateaus, and there are plains;
Is it necessary for \
every soul on this earth
to be great like a mountain?”

I started thinking…
I started thinking.

‘Dangal’ is a ‘true story’. It is a familiar household story… What Mahavir Sigh did to his daughters… most of us have done it or are doing it…or will be doing it to our own children… We all have those ‘broken dreams’ in us… and we all want our children or siblings to fulfill them…   Yes, ‘for us’!

Do I hear ‘No, we don’t’!!!

So, as an Amir Khan movie, I had no complaint about the movie. As a ‘true story’, I had no issues about it… I watched the movie just like any movie and left it at that. But, to claim that the movie ‘inspired’ me is to reinforce in the sadistic theory of forcing our dreams and desires on our innocent children… to deprive them of the dreams they had to explore on their own… As an elder brother of my two siblings, once, I had done it in my ignorance… only to emerge wiser in life. But, today, as a father, I would not do that… Nor I would allow my elder brother or father to do it to me, if I were to live my life all over again…

For, that’s too harsh… too suffocating for one’s soul!

No one has expressed this profound truth of parents-children relationship better than Kahlil Gibran had done it in his book, “Prophet’…

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

So, are we helping our children to live their own dreams… or, are we trying to live our own broken dreams through them?

And, that haunting question: Is is necessary for every soul on this earth to be 'great' like a mountain? Is there no place for a plateau or plain in God’s scheme of things… Are they not beautiful as well?

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Chetna Shetty


Monday, December 26, 2016

ONE MORE CHRISTMAS TALE




For more than a week, the ladies and the kids of our housing colony were excited about the Christmas party they wanted to hold on 25th December, that was yesterday. It has been a tradition in our colony; so, every year, the mothers of little and young children take initiative to host this Christmas event in a grand way… The colony is lit up with lamps and stars… there is a beautiful crib and a Christmas tree decorated by kids… This time around, the kids had given the snowfall-effect to make us feel it was so cold out there!

Last evening, the party went on till 11.30 (I did not attend; my wife did)… with carols, games, Santa’s gifts, music and dance… and, of course, lovely snacks, too. I had gone off to sleep quite early as I had to be up at 4 for routine exercises and walk. Slightly before 12, our doorbell rang. “Who could be this?” was my reaction as I dragged the sleepy-me to the door. As I opened the door, about seven of those brats – both boys and girls – screamed, “Merry Christmas and thank-you Gerry uncle.” They had come with a large-sized gift, beautifully wrapped. “Why all this, darlings?” I shied. “Uncle, just to say thank-you,” they cried with joy. (You see, I am the Hon. Chairman, and was a support for this party all the way!)…  I enquired about the party… whether all had gone well… and they sounded terrific! “Chalo, so sweet of you to remember me… Go home and take some rest,” I said as I closed the door.

This morning, my wife and I got up at 4, completed our routine exercises by 5.25 and sharp at 5.30, we were down for our walk. What shocked me was the unpleasant sight: Paper plates, plastic glasses and gift wrappers and more such waste stuff were littered all around. I immediately realized, that someone had forgotten to place the dustbins (drums)… So, a small oversight had caused a rampage in the open space where the party was held. I immediately called our two young night-security men, Pandey and Das, and asked them, why they didn’t place the drums near the venue. “Sorry sir,” they seemed apologetic. Abhishek Patil and Shithij Golecha – aged between 11-13 and great cricket enthusiasts – were sitting near the littered site holding their bats. Obviously, it being a vacation, they had come to practice for their upcoming colony league-matches. But, how could they play? The open area was littered with mess. “You want to play sweethearts?” I asked. “Yes uncle,” they replied. “What is the problem?” I checked. “This… They showed me the mess.” “Did you both attend the party last night?” I enquired. “Yes uncle,” they admitted. “Did you both enjoy?” I probed. “Very much,” was the gleeful answer.
“Then, why all kids did this mess?” I asked them.

Well, it was not their fault… Somebody forgot to place the drums!

“Come, let’s clean it up,” I bent down to pick the paper plates, plastic glasses and gift wrappers. I asked the security to bring a trolley bin which was just twenty-foot away. The moment I bent down to collect the mess, the two kids and the security guards followed suit… It took just 10 minutes to clear up the mess and tuck it where it belonged… “Let’s go and wash our hands,” I said...
“Whose house is it?” I asked the kids.
“Ours, uncle,” they replied.
“Who should keep it clean?”
“We, uncle.”
“You both are such wonderful kids… Thank you sweethearts… Now, go and play,” I sent them off patting their backs.

As I was doing my ten rounds of walk, I could delightfully watch how much thrill both Abhishek and Shithij derived doing what they loved doing the most… Cricket!

Once I went back home, I made some nice hot tea, filled it in a flask, put a few slices of plum cake and Christmas sweets in a container and called the security on the intercom. “Das, can you please come up for a while?” I said.

Das was a bit apprehensive, fearing one more morning lecture… But, as he knocked the door, he was pleasantly surprised to find the flask with hot tea and sweet box. “Just wanted to say, you guys have been wonderful… Thank you.”

Except my wife and one of our senior-most members, Bhadekar aunty, no one else knows what happened after the Christmas party…

Today, I wanted to tell this enchanting Christmas tale… So, I did.


GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Anil Bedi

Friday, December 23, 2016

WHOSE BABY IS IT, ANYWAY?







“So, what’s the latest news?” I asked my twelfth-standard (ISC) students.
“Kareena got a baby,” beamed excitedly Simran.
“Baby’s name is Taimur,” added Aditi equally excited.
“Who cares?” declared Gagan.
“Girls will be girls and boys will be always boys,” I smiled in my mind. “Tell me, what is your opinion on the controversy over the name of Kareena and Saif’s baby?”
“Why should any of us be bothered about that?” the voice was unanimous from these young-ones, “Whose baby is it, anyway?”

I loved that… “Whose baby is it, anyway?”
Certainly not mine… and certainly not yours. So, let us mind our own business. Let’s not sit on the judgment seat and shout, “The baby is given the name of a despot king… a mass murderer… an invader. Taimur!"

Till this Pakistani man – whoever he is – Tarek Fateh tweeted and polluted the peaceful atmosphere here, I did not know who Taimur was, or what Taimur meant. And, the moment this man made this holier-than-though statement, joined all the gullible for the reasons best known to them…

It is national pastime. Want to get some attention? Bash a celebrity… Or, bash someone who you think is not patriotic!

But, who are you to do that? Who gave you that ‘moral policing’… that ‘national conscience- keeping’ exclusive right?

My dad was a poor villager. Still, when he named us – his five sons – Franklin, Gerald, Herald, Ronald and finally Vivek… even he, with no much schooling, had done some research on his baby’s names and hoped that when his sons grew up, they would live up to the legacies of those heroes after whom he had named them. I remember, in the midst of his frustration, he would yell out at us: “I shouldn’t have named you after American Presidents or Swami Vivekananda… I should have named you after some criminals and traitors!”

Yes, like Judas Iscariot, Adolf Hitler, Charles Sobhraj… or, Veerappan… Haji Mastan… and such!

As kids, back in our village, everyone around us was a Peter, Paul or John… Krishna, Gopala, Govinda, Ram, Laxman or Bharat… Mohammed, Abdul or Akbar… But, these kids were exactly like us… They did everything which we did… and they grew up exactly the way we grew up… making their own conscious choices… Well, none of these – who were named after great souls – turned out to be any saints, kings or Presidents…

Poor parents… Oh that hope!

In life, a new-born is the purest of all pure things… Look at Taimur… How, even before this baby’s eyes have opened, you and me are hell-bent in poisoning his mind!

To me, that’s being criminal!

So, let me rest my case: Let’s not behave like some jobless, useless fellows debating over the name of this innocent baby, Taimur…

Whose baby is it, anyway?

GERLD D’CUNHA


Pic.:  Anil Bedi

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

BEFORE YOU LODGE YOUR NEXT COMPLAINT...





The old advice goes: “When you are angry, count ten…. When you are very angry, count hundred.

Obviously, that little space of time – perhaps a few seconds – can make all the difference between war and peace. Just hold back… Just hang on… Just take a long, deep breath before you say or do or react in the fit of your anger. I speak from my own experience… I am a human, a mortal… I err, I lose my temper quite often… and, whenever I have reacted in anger, it has neither helped me nor the cause for which I had exploded. It has only complicated things for me… no matter how much ever I have tried to justify my action…

The reality is: giving in to anger and doing things impulsively is lack of self-control, lack of maturity. Period. On a scale of ten, I may score six or seven as far as this test goes. Not bad, I suppose… I console myself.

The same old advice goes to all of us who complain about things which are ‘wrong’ in our lives. “When you have a complaint, count ten… When you have a major complaint, count hundred.”

I hear some of you shouting, “It is a stupid advice.”

Again, I, too, am a human, a mortal. So, I, too, err… I, too, complain about things which are not okay in my life… But, mercifully, I am not a habitual or a chronic complainant… Yes, I do count ten, and many a time hundred – even thousand – before I complain about things which have come to me as a bad deal/ raw deal in my life. That breathing space before I complain and crib does a lot good to me. The very first benefit I get from it is: I get the inherent feeling that I am in control… that I have not allowed someone else to rule my peace of mind. The next benefit is: it helps me to empathize with the other person – put myself in his shoes, be compassionate… and, thereby, facilitate solution. Yes, I would rather become a part of the solution than a part of the problem. Finally, holding back my complaint helps me view my problems with a spiritual perspective… with an attitude of gratitude. Oh that age old saying: “I complained I had no shoes till I saw a man with no feet.”

Yes, we have problems… Yes, we need solutions… Yes, we need the authorities to be accountable… Yes, we can’t take raw deal in life. Agreed. No argument on that…

Raw deal? Why don’t we complain to God when he sends us earthquakes and tsunamis… Why don’t we complain to Him when we have three times food in our plates and someone out there has to eat dog’s food… My brother, Vivek, had shared this video today:




Hope, we all take a long, deep breath before we lodge our next complaint… and wonder as to how long we may have to ‘suffer’ in life!

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Anil Bedi

Monday, December 19, 2016

BEYOND OUR 'DUTY'







The first ones to greet me ‘Good Morning’ - I mean, in person – are our security guards and a couple of car-wash persons. The security guards do their twelve-hour night-duty – 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. I have no idea what they do once they end their duty in the morning… Obviously, they need a good sleep.  So, do they all go home and sleep or do they also do some other duty - maybe a few hours – to earn some extra income. Whenever we saw a guard doing in our colony back-to-back duty (day and night both), we had sternly told the security chief not to make any guard do such day-and-night duty. So, now, they all are found doing only 12-hour duty in our colony. But, I am sure, in order to earn some extra income, they must be doing, now and then, another 12-hour duty somewhere else. Or, at least some other duty involving a couple of hours.

This morning, when one of the car-wash persons (a lovable old hand) wished me ‘Good Morning, sir,” I asked him gently, “So, at what time do you start this duty?”
“At 4:30, sir,” the man replied.
“How many cars do you wash?” I asked.
“Fifteen, sir,” he replied.
“After that?” I wanted to know.
“I go to work in Bharat Petroleum,” he explained.
“You have a permanent job there?’ I was curious.
“No sir,” he clarified, “I work under a contractor.”
“What about your family… How many children do you have?” I further asked.
“Two sir, “he said, “my daughter is in twelfth standard, and my son is in tenth.”
“How many years you have been doing this car-washing work, here?” I asked my last question.
“Eighteen years, sir,” I got my last answer.

Eighteen years ago, this car-wash person must have just got married! What impressed me the most is his sense of ‘duty’… a commitment to his family… the dedication with which he has worked for so many years continuously.

I get my inspiration from guys like these car-wash persons and our security guards. Often, we shout at them for our slightest discomfort… We take them for granted, leave alone learning something from them… The security guards and car-wash persons are there right around me… But, outside, there are lakhs and lakhs of such men and women who quietly go about doing this extra-income work, every day, either before the sunrise or after the sunset… Imagine the inspiration outside our doorsteps!

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Anil Bedi

Sunday, December 18, 2016

TELL THE CROCODILE: HER BACK IS SO SMOOTH... SO NICE













“Crippled things are always more beautiful…
It's the flaw that brings out beauty.”


One of the biggest sources of stress for a householder woman is: Maid Management. Man, though takes this stress indirectly on his head, it is she who deals with this problem called – Maid Management – directly on a daily basis.

My wife and I are not spared from this problem and its consequence: stress. They don’t stick… They make fuss… They are unseasonable in their demands… They don’t turn up on the day we need them the most… They speak rudely… They get influenced by other maids… Their work is shoddy… They are ‘kaam-chors’… They are not dependable and trustworthy… They should know who is their ‘Boss’… and etc., etc…

“Don’t look for perfections,” advised Bhadekar madam, one of the elderly members in our society and one who has vast experience in this management stream: Maid Management. Every day on concluding our morning walk, my wife sits down to chat with Bhadekar madam and they chat on issues ranging from maid to saas-bahu from note-bandi to nuclear war… I feel very happy when my wife gets rejuvenated after her morning dose from Bhadekar madam every day. She was telling her this morning when my wife was trying to reduce her maid-related stress, “Look, ignore their flaws… Just adjust and get your work done… If you haven’t found a ‘perfect maid’ for twenty-five years since you married, believe me, you won’t find one for rest of your life.”

I loved two examples which Bhadekar madam gave to my wife. “When you buy a buffalo, if you want everything as you please – the perfect horns, the perfect black, the perfect amount of milk, even the perfect grunt… my dear girl, you will only get a perfect kick from the buffalo. Just caress her back and tell her, “You are the best buffalo I have ever had!”

And the second example was even more colorful: “Gently caress the crocodile’s back and sing… “So smooth… So nice!”

I don’t know about my wife… but, my stress dropped completely, even before the Sun came out in the East. Why maid, Colleen Hoover has advised us to say this to all in our life:
“This thing about you that you think is your flaw –
it's the reason I'm falling in love with you.” 

I only want to make one correction to Colleen’s statement: “That I think is your flaw…”

GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: The Flying Tortoise: Kintsugi (Internet source)