Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE MEANING AND THE MESSAGE
















Pic: Aruna Anand



“Apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen today.”

-       Mark Twain


I agree with Mark Twain. Anything can happen today. Something that I want to happen… and something that I don’t want to happen… Yes, anything can happen, today.

What Mark Twain did not tell is: Nothing, in life, happens without a reason.

Or, did he say that when he said, “Apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen today.”?


“Meaning is different from message,” Kannan told me in our Tai Chi class, today. A few things were weighing me down while I was talking to him. I wished a couple of things hadn’t happened in my life. “How peaceful would have been my life had these things not happened!” I was trying to reason out, almost frustrated.

So, I asked Kannan to explain…

“I will explain,” Kannan said, “and you may get the meaning… but miss the message.”

I looked at Kannan even more confused…

“Friend, if you get the meaning, you are a scholar,” Kannan nailed it, “If you get the message, you are a master.”

Well, I got the message, right away!

 The meaning came from mind, the intellect… the message came from Universe… the ‘Higher Intelligence’…

And, no matter, how mystical or superstitious it may sound… and no matter how much I dislike a certain situation in my life… everything in my life – every event and every situation - happens with a reason…

Mind is incapable of comprehending this message. Scholarly reasoning cannot bring forth acceptance and silence in my heart… Meaning alone is not enough…

Acceptance and silence in my heart come from a deeper source… They come when mind is still and I travel beyond. Jane Green said:


“Nothing in this world happens without a reason.

That we are all exactly where we are supposed to be,

and that the pieces of the puzzle have a tendency to come together

when you least expect it.”



When mind is still, I expect least… Yes, pieces of the puzzle fall in place. I become a master!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, January 30, 2016

PHIR KYA HUA?













Pic.: Nicole Gubin
I am very cautious whenever I go on a vacation or a tour. I am comfortable only if I have bookings, travel and stay both... But, many of my friends are adventurous… They – even when they travel with their families – just pack the bags and go… “It is fun,” they claim, “a lot of excitement and thrill when you do not know what comes next.”

I love my friends’ attitude. “Wish I could do that,” I tell, often. But, then, I haven’t mustered enough bravado to follow their path… “A known devil is better than an unknown angel,” I comfort myself.

Ditto whenever I go for a movie, particularly the Hollywood ones. I need the broad story-line…. What is the movie all about? Yes, I, too, do not allow anyone to reveal to me the suspense before hand and spoil the fun. But, except for a couple of movies, where I landed inside the movie hall by default – yes, rest all the movies I have gone to watch only after getting the broad story line from some sources like reviews on newspapers or  internet or my friends.

Yes, in my case, it helps just the way the subtitles do… Some don’t like them, some do… I do.

Last night, my wife and I went to watch ‘Airlift’. As usual, I had done my research about what was the movie all about. My wife had no clue at all even though a hundred friends of her had told her it was an amazing movie. She wanted to watch it badly, but never bothered to find out what was it all about…
 So, when the movie started, she saw the first frame in which the Kuwait city was shown. “Why Kuwait?" She asked innocently (I won’t say ‘ignorantly’ or like a ‘dumb’ lady… I have to go home tonight!).

“Because the movie is about how this man (Akshay Kumar) helps evacuating and bringing home thousands of Indians when Kuwait was attacked by Iraq).
And, she got the rest from the movie.

Believe me, my wife enjoyed the movie so much, that she has already nominated it for the Oscars!

My wife is less cautious when it comes to travels and movies. Our son is absolutely chilled out. If, by default, my wife or I tried to tell something about the movie that he wants to watch – finished!

“Shut up!”

What comes next?

“Phir kya hua?”

I, too, like the fun, the thrill… the suspense. Maybe, as hero’s wife tells someone in the movie about her husband, it is a ‘manufacturing defect’ God has made me like this…

So, I comfort myself with this: “I am like this only!”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, January 29, 2016

IS IT FOG OR IS IT SMOG?





Pic.: Chetna Shetty
“Is it fog or is it smog?” a lady asked me yesterday, when I said to her 'fog', pointing at the smoky morning-atmosphere outside. That’s the time I realized that ‘fog’ was different from ‘smog’.

Well, I knew the difference; but, because we rarely saw this kind of morning atmosphere in the end of January, perhaps, I had forgotten about it…

That was, also, the time I realized, that there are words, in English dictionary, which belong to the same lineage… like mist, haze, vog etc.

I got curious to know the exact difference… And, you know how easy it is to find the difference, these days. .. It is all just a click away. And, yes, you can get it without moving from your seat!

So, because it is all there for you at your finger-tip, I am not going to tell you, in this Post, how fog, smog, mist, haze and vog are different…

Pease find out, if you wish to clear the fog!


“In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed is the kind.” Seriously, we all, here on this foggy or smoggy planet, are the one-eyed kings… We rule the  kingdoms of the blind!

My name is Gerald. Now, if you call me ‘Gerald’ (as in ‘Gas’) and not as ‘Jerald’, what difference does it make? You haven’t made a study on it, I bet… It is just that you, somehow, picked it up correctly or not correctly quite early when you had come across this name – ‘Gerald’… That’s all…

Don’t tell me, you are smarter than the guy who calls me ‘Gerald’ of ‘Gas’... or, dumber than the guy who calls me 'Jerald'!!

Then comes my funny surname – ‘D’Cunha’. This is Maharashtra, sir, and, this is our city – ‘amchi Mumbai. So, let me not make a big deal when the caller on the other end enquires, sweetly, “Am I speaking to Mister DeeeCHUNNNA’!

They really take that long to say that… ‘DeeeCHUNNNA’!

Don’t you say, like a smart fellow to that extra-smart, “Chuna mat lagao, mereko… Samje?”

Samje? Did you understand?

If I have to believe that ‘fog’ is natural, when the clouds comedown to touch you and me, and ‘smog’ is man-made, when the clouds from our chimneys, furnaces and motor gadies go up to kiss the skies… yes, if I have to believe in this theory of fog-and-smog, let me, also, believe in the theory, that, the lady who pointed out to me the difference between them is not smarter than I am… 
Or, the lady who calls me Mister DeeeCHUNNNA is not dumber than I am!

Fog cleared?

GERALD D’CUNHA

Thursday, January 28, 2016

HOW TO BURN YOUR TUMMY FAT... IN ONE BLINK FLAT











Pic.: Mavourneen Peters


“Gerry sir, our problem is not lack of knowledge…
our problem is lack of implementation.”

- Manjeet Singh Khalsa


Let me clarify it at the outset itself: Manjeet Singh Khalsa is not any old-age baba or any new-age guru.  He is just my friend and lives here, next-door… who loves to eat sensibly and live on his own terms… and, yes, yes… who, at 50-plus, has a belly of a baby!

I am intelligent enough to ‘know’ why Manjeet has a baby-belly and I have a pot-belly. I ‘know’ how the baby-belly goes and pot-belly comes… how fat forms and what fat does!

So, Manjeet Singh Khalsa, my friend, reminds me, again and again: “Gerry sir, our problem is not ‘lack of knowledge’… Our problem is ‘lack of implementation’!”

Full stop!!!!


I had got up early – very early – this morning. So, I happened to see an interesting post shared by my Tai-chi-class friend, Hazel. “EXCERCIES TO BURN ABDOMINAL FAT IN 14 DAYS FLAT!”

I had enough time in my hand, and the right mood, too, to read the ‘fat-burning’ post. The author had suggested some lovely exercises, which our Tai Chi sir, Rakesh Menon, makes it look so ‘do-able’ and ‘easily-available’ for all of us…

“Hell, I ‘know’ all of them, man!” I remembered Manjeet Singh, my friend, “Why am I not getting off my fat ass and ‘doing’ them?”

So, without waiting for the morning prayers to come from the nearby masjid (there are no roosters around, you see!), I wrote my long comment on Hazel’s timeline. Here it is:

Hi Hazel, I got up at 4 this morning and gulped some 30-50 ml of Patankar Khada syrup (Ayurvedic... available in any medical store at Rs.96 for a bottle of 450 ml). Trust me, my pot-belly will be flat in less than 3hrs! As a precaution, I have kept myself free for a few hours in the morning (to flush out the toxins)...

And, yes, if I don't like to see my pot-belly, I must intensely dislike the 'junk' that goes in to form the fat in my belly...

Last Sunday, at our Tai Chi class, I was asking our irrepressible Kannan: "Sir, how to stop snoring... I am not only worried, I am ashamed, too?"

"Simple,” said Kannan, "Tuck your tummy in!".

So, that explains why I got up at 4, today... and, this long comment.

(P.S. Pl read my blog post a few hours from now... I will update on my tummy position.).

Have a cheerful day. Love

It is obvious, that I was in a cheerful mood this morning!


“Tummy fat is dangerous,” my wife has been warning me, “reduce it.”

I know it ‘is’ dangerous…
I know a flat-belly will make me look young and smart…
I, also, know snoring – when I travel in a train or a bus, or when I go to stay over at someone’s place or at  our up-coming Tai Chi camp at Lonavala, for instance – is very embarrassing…

But, then, why am I not doing something about it?

“There are two types of hunger,” Kannan had told me last Sunday, “the hunger of our stomach and the hunger of our tongue… Don’t heed to the hunger of the tongue.”

“I know that, Kannan sir, I know!” I had replied…

Then, what is the problem?

“Gerry sir, our problem is not lack of knowledge,” I hear Manjeet Singh’s wise words, once again. “our problem is lack of implementation.”

And, hark! I hear my beloved wife’s, often-repeated words, too:
“Stop giving advice to the world… Advise yourself… Physician, heal thyself!” 

So, for a change, this Post is not for my readers… It is for me!


GERALD D’CUNHA

HOW TO BURN YOUR TUMMY FAT... IN BLINK FLAT











Pic.: Mavourneen Peters


“Gerry sir, our problem is not lack of knowledge…
our problem is lack of implementation.”

- Manjeet Singh Khalsa


Let me clarify it at the outset itself: Manjeet Singh Khalsa is not any old-age baba or any new-age guru.  He is just my friend and lives here, next-door… who loves to eat sensibly and live on his own terms… and, yes, yes… who, at 50-plus, has a belly of a baby!

I am intelligent enough to ‘know’ why Manjeet has a baby-belly and I have a pot-belly. I ‘know’ how the baby-belly goes and pot-belly comes… how fat forms and what fat does!

So, Manjeet Singh Khalsa, my friend, reminds me, again and again: “Gerry sir, our problem is not ‘lack of knowledge’… Our problem is ‘lack of implementation’!”

Full stop!!!!


I had got up early – very early – this morning. So, I happened to see an interesting post shared by my Tai-chi-class friend, Hazel. “EXCERCIES TO BURN ABDOMINAL FAT IN 14 DAYS FLAT!”

I had enough time in my hand, and the right mood, too, to read the ‘fat-burning’ post. The author had suggested some lovely exercises, which our Tai Chi sir, Rakesh Menon, makes it look so ‘do-able’ and ‘easily-available’ for all of us…

“Hell, I ‘know’ all of them, man!” I remembered Manjeet Singh, my friend, “Why am I not getting off my fat ass and ‘doing’ them?”

So, without waiting for the morning prayers to come from the nearby masjid (there are no roosters around, you see!), I wrote my long comment on Hazel’s timeline. Here it is:

Hi Hazel, I got up at 4 this morning and gulped some 30-50 ml of Patankar Khada syrup (Ayurvedic... available in any medical store at Rs.96 for a bottle of 450 ml). Trust me, my pot-belly is flat in less than 3hrs! As a precaution, I have kept myself free for a few hours in the morning (to flush out the toxins)...

And, yes, if I don't like to see my pot-belly, I must intensely dislike the 'junk' that goes in to form the fat in my belly...

Last Sunday, at our Tai Chi class, I was asking our irrepressible Kannan: "Sir, how to stop snoring... I am not only worried, I am ashamed, too?"

"Simple,” said Kannan, "Tuck your tummy in!".

So, that explains why I got up at 4, today... and, this long comment.

(P.S. Pl read my blog post a few hours from now... I will update on my tummy position.).

Have a cheerful day. Love

It is obvious, that I was in a cheerful mood this morning!


“Tummy fat is dangerous,” my wife has been warning me, “reduce it.”

I know it ‘is’ dangerous…
I know a flat-belly will make me look young and smart…
I, also, know snoring – when I travel in a train or a bus, or when I go to stay over at someone’s place or at  our up-coming Tai Chi camp at Lonavala, for instance – is very embarrassing…

But, then, why am I not doing something about it?

“There are two types of hunger,” Kannan had told me last Sunday, “the hunger of our stomach and the hunger of our tongue… Don’t heed to the hunger of the tongue.”

“I know that, Kannan sir, I know!” I had replied…

Then, what is the problem?

“Gerry sir, our problem is not lack of knowledge,” I hear Manjeet Singh’s wise words, once again. “our problem is lack of implementation.”

And, hark! I hear my beloved wife’s, often-repeated words, too:
“Stop giving advice to the world… Advise yourself… Physician, heal thyself!” 

So, for a change, this Post is not for my readers… It is for me!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

SILENCE IS THE LANGUAGE OF GOD
















Pic.: Kenrick D'Cunha

“Among my most prized possessions
are words that I have never spoken.” 

Often, I remind myself, that, what man – be it Buddha or Jesus, Rumi or Tagore – discovers ‘had been always there’. Man only wakes up to what he discovers… call it reality or truth, whatever.

And, the reason why - of the billions  who come and go on this planet - only a handful become a Buddha, Jesus, Rumi or Tagore is, that most of us have never learnt to delve into the  realm of silence…

Whoever has discovered whatever truth, he has done it only in the stillness of his mind. Rumi himself had said:

“Silence is the language of god, 
all else is poor translation.”


My 23-year-old son has just returned from a week-long trip to Jeeling (Nainital district). Of all the scenic pictures he has posted, I loved this simple one the most:




The quote was hung there, prominently, on the brick-wall of the farm house where my son and his friends had spent their holidays…

Many years ago, when I had first come across this quote, I was told that it was an Arabic quote. It read this way:

“Open your mouth only if what you are going to say
is more beautiful than silence.”

Why do we take a break from this maddening city life? Almost all of us have left our villages and come to these mega cities only because we wanted to be prosperous.  And, then, we go back to the remotest villages… lush mountainsides and dry deserts… to experience the silence and beauty of snow, forests and backwaters… Here, in our cities, we become desperate if there is no net-connection even for a second. The irony is: the very thing that we hope to connect us through – only disconnects us…  It adds more clutter to our lives, more noise…

This famous quote comes floating back to us, again and again, on social media:

“There is no wifi in the forest,
but you will find better connection.”

So, the thick forests and the lonely mountains, the quiet deserts and the winding rivers are the places we go to with the hope of finding answers for our questions…

All answers come from silence…

All solutions emerge from silence…

All truths are revealed in silence…

All connections and re-connections happen only in silence…

Orson Scott Card was right. For, among our most prized possessions are words that we have never spoken!


GERLD D’CUNHA

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

REMEMBERING THOSE LIGHTHOUSES











Pic.: Azriel D'Souza



“Inside my empty bottle, I was constructing a lighthouse
while all the others were making ships.”
-       Charles Simic


Today is our 67th Republic Day. Our housing society’s 20th. “Ours is a society of simple people… with simple aspirations,” I said, this morning, during the Fag-hoisting ceremony… “We are one big-family.” I said this as the head of this family… The Hon. Chairman.

What about our nation? If I were the head of this nation, I think, I would have said the same thing, too, about all of us in this vast, beautiful nation…

Are we not one big-family of simple people with simple aspirations?

After the Flag-hoisting ceremony, the Youth Association of our society had organized the Finals of cricket matches… first little children, then ladies and, finally, the rough and tough youth. Mrs. Gujar, a cheerful Rajasthani lady from the losing team, took all the ladies, including my wife, to her house – after losing the match – for some snacks and a cup of hot tea!

What was that?

I hadn’t held a bat in my hand for forty years now… But, the young kids made me feel I was one of them… Satkar, the otherwise fiery bowler, showed a lot of mercy while bowing to me!

What was that?

As a society, we don’t need much to live here happily. What destroys the fiber of a society – a nation – is the ‘greed’ in every form… The excess!

To live here happily, and to celebrate life, simple joy is enough!

I had been to our local Magistrate’s court yesterday on some society-related work. There, I bumped into Medha Patkarji and her associates. “Namaste ma’am,” I greeted her, and she responded to my greetings as if we were known to each other for ages!

What was that… That, straight-from-the-heart gesture?

We do not need much to feel happy and connected.

But, then, I kept thinking about people like Medha Patkarji. They are so simple, so simple… that you wonder, “Do we really need much to go about our lives fearlessly and peacefully.”

Vishwanath, a friend of mine, said to me, last night, “People like Medhaji are the light houses… They exist to give light and direction to people from far and wide… But, they cannot help the darkness right where they stand… Diya tale andhera… At the base of the lamp, there is, always, darkness!

“Let’s not forget the sacrifices made by our national heroes and martyrs.” Well, I have been getting this kind of messages since yesterday…

Does the lamp we light know that it is sacrificing for us?
Does the lighthouse know?
Does Medha Patkarji know?


We are simple people with simple aspirations.

Wish you all a happy Republic Day.


GERALD D’CUNHA