Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I JUST CALLED TO SAY...





















Pic.: Alex D


“But smiles and tears are so alike with me,
neither of them confined to any particular feelings:
I, often, cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.”


― Anne Bronte

A couple of days ago, Mrs., Patel, sent me this message:
“Good morning sir. Shreeshay (son) had come 2nd in his college for drama monologue. And I give all the credit to you (The Dawn Club) as he got an opportunity to perform as a host and experience to organize such event. So, thank you for the grooming. I really appreciate your efforts .”

I quickly replied: 

“Hi ma'am, I am really glad and proud. Please convey my wishes to Shreeshay and would like to see him shine more. Love.”

The same evening, Jeet, who currently pursues his MBA, called me up. He said:

“Sir, I just felt strongly inside that I should thank you,”

‘Why, what happened, Jeet?” I enquired.  

“Sir, today, I had to lead the group presentation in our college,” Jeet beamed, “Our professor was highly impressed with my presentation, particularly my body language. I felt great and wanted to share my feelings with you, today.”

Well, I felt great too and said to Jeet, “Beta, I am glad. Keep it up and keep in touch.”

Such a small thing!

Exactly. A feeling like that comes in each one of us so many times along the day… and how many of us – including me - take a minute to express it before the other person?

I remember the times I have done that and how good I have felt after expressing my feelings to the other person. It could be a shirt, a tie or a cell-phone someone had gifted me days, months or years earlier. I have suddenly felt that surge of feeling within… a feeling of gratitude and fullness… of being worthy of wearing that shirt or using that cell-phone… and it has spurred me to convey my feelings to the other person.

The more I think about this ‘small thing’, the more I feel convinced that there is a direct link between this ‘small thing’ and our healthy self-esteem, our well-being.

This Post is just one more proof.


GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, August 20, 2016

BEYOND THE GOLD, SILVER AND BRONZE







Pic.: Vinod Vazirani


“It is your response to winning and losing
that makes you a winner or a loser.”
- Harry Sheehy

Carolina Marin of Spain definitely played better than Sindhu, yesterday. So, she deserved the Gold.

And, our Sindhu?

I, too, watched the badminton (singles) Olympics finals, last evening (on my cell-phone), along with my wife. And, I did that like all my fellow-Indians and like all others who rooted for Sindhu. I wanted her to win… and, when she did win the first game, I felt immensely happy. But, then, I knew, somewhere along, that it would be Carolina… and not Sindhu.

That’s sports. True sports. The winner takes it all…

Well, this Post is not about winning and losing in Olympics. This is about that amazing quality called sportsmanship… which, our Sindhu, delightfully displayed after she lost that all-important contest, watched by millions of people, all over the world. It is that little gesture which Sindhu exhibited by going across to the winner, Carolina, who still lay flat on the court, her face buried with overwhelming joy… Sindhu walks to her and offers her hand to lift her gracefully… She congratulates her vanquisher and, as Carolina takes a victory lap, Sindhu picks Carolina’s racquet lying on the court and places near the Gold medalist’s bag…

When I saw this, last evening, I said to my wife with a lump in my throat, “This girl is so graceful in her defeat… She is the real winner, to me!”


People talk about winning medals. To me, medals are metals… They melt, they wither away… and, mark this: somebody, some day, will surely take them away from you, the winner. So, I don’t really make a big deal out of this medal business… however huge this business seems to be.

I was a massive fan of Carl Lewis, once. Today, I am an even bigger fan of Usain Bolt… And, yes of Michael Phelps, as well. Need I tell you the number of Golds these two guys have won during their Olympics career alone?

But, the Sun ‘will’ set on their empire, too. Someone, soon, ‘will’ take the glory away from them… and, I will have new heroes to worship.

Let me come back to our Sindhu’s sportsmanship gesture. Did she learn it from Gopichand Academy?


For 21-year-old Sindhu, it must have taken loads and loads of sweat and tears to accomplish whatever she has. But, I repeat, it takes a Gladiator’s heart to behave like a true sports-girl, which she did, last evening...

With pride and respect!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, August 19, 2016

THE GOOSE THAT LAID GOLDEN EGG






Pic.: Chetna Shetty



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.

This popular Aesop’s fable was one of the earliest childhood stories I had heard. But, the temptation seems so familiar and lifelong!




THE GOOSE THAT LAID
GOLDEN EGG



PAST:


In a certain town, there lived a man and his wife. They owned a goose which was special. It laid a golden egg every morning. This made the couple reasonably rich and happy.

But, one morning, after the goose had laid the day’s egg, the wife said to her husband, “This goose just gives us only one golden egg a day. Just imagine how quickly we can become wealthy if we could have all the eggs in one go!”

“That sounds great,” agreed the husband, “We do not have to wait for long to become wealthy.”


Thus, the couple slit open the goose’s belly with the hope of getting all the golden eggs in one go.

A rude shock awaited the couple… The goose’s belly was empty!



PRESENT:


In a certain town, there live a man and his wife. They own a goose which is special. It lays a golden egg every morning. This makes the couple reasonably rich and happy.

But, one morning, after the goose has laid the day’s egg, the wife says to her husband, “This goose just gives us only one golden egg a day. Just imagine how quickly we can become wealthy if we can have all the eggs in one go!”

“That sounds great,” agrees the husband, “We do not have to wait for long to become wealthy.”


Thus, the couple slits open the goose’ belly with the hope of getting all the golden eggs in one go.

A rude shock awaits the couple… The goose’ belly is empty!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CROCODILE TEARS







Pic.: Avinash Mantri




Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.


The English phrase ‘Crocodile tears’ (false tears/ insincere display of emotion) derives from an ancient belief that crocodiles shed tears while consuming their prey. But, then, I would love to believe that our own popular Panchatantra-story has something to do with it…




CROCODILE TEARS


PAST:

On the banks of a river stood a huge mango tree. On the tree lived a monkey. A crocodile often came near the tree to eat the mangoes dropped by the monkey. The monkey and the crocodile became good friends.

One day, the crocodile took a mango home for his wife. “What a delicious fruit this is!” exclaimed the lady crocodile, “Who gave you this?”

“My friend, monkey, who lives atop the mango tree on the other side of the river.”

“If your friend eats these delicious fruits every day, his heart must be even more delicious,” said crocodile’s wife, “I want to eat his heart!”

“What?” reacted the husband, “Have you gone crazy? He is my friend.”

“If you love me, my darling, you must bring your friend’s heart to me,” concluded the wife shedding buckets of tears.

The crocodile tried to reason out before his wife… but in vain. Distressed, he could not sleep that night. The next day morning, he went near the tree looking worried.

“What is wrong with you, my dear friend?” the monkey enquired looking at the crocodile.

The crocodile couldn’t tell the truth. So, he lied, “My wife is badly ill, my friend. Can you please come home to cheer her up?”

“Why not?” replied the monkey, ‘A friend in need is a friend in deed… Let’s not waste any time… Lets’ go.”

Thus, the monkey sat on the crocodile’s back and they began to proceed to the other side of the river. When they reached the middle of the river, the crocodile couldn’t hold back the truth anymore. “Actually my friend, I have told you a lie,” he confessed, “I am taking you home because my wife wants to eat your delicious heart.”

The monkey was clever. “Why didn’t you tell that before, my friend?” he responded without showing any fear, “You know what… I have this habit of leaving my heart on the tree before I leave home. So, let’s go back… Hurry, hurry!”

The crocodile made a quick about turn.  The moment they reached the river bank, the monkey jumped off, climbed the top of the tree and, sitting there pretty, declared, “My friend, you are a fool to believe me. Now go back home and tell your darling wife not to shed those crocodile tears!”


PRESENT:


On the banks of a river stands a huge mango tree. On the tree lives a monkey. A crocodile often comes near the tree to eat the mangoes dropped by the monkey. The monkey and the crocodile become good friends.

One day, the crocodile takes a mango home for his wife. “What a delicious fruit this is!” exclaims the lady crocodile, “Who gave you this?”

“My friend, monkey, who lives atop the mango tree on the other side of the river,” tells the husband proudly to his wife.

“If your friend eats these delicious fruits every day, his heart must be even more delicious,” says crocodile’s wife, “I want to eat his heart!”

“What?” reacts the husband, “Have you gone crazy? He is my friend.”

“If you love me, my darling, you must bring your friend’s heart to me,” concludes the wife shedding buckets of tears.

The crocodile tries to reason out before his wife… but in vain. Distressed, he cannot sleep that night. The next day morning, he goes near the tree looking worried.

“What is wrong with you, my dear friend?” the monkey enquires looking at the crocodile.

The crocodile cannot tell the truth. So, he lies, “My wife is badly ill, my friend. Can you please come home to cheer her up?”

“Why not?” replies the monkey, ‘A friend in need is a friend in deed… Let’s not waste any time… Lets’ go.”

Thus, the monkey sits on the crocodile’s back and they begin to proceed to the other side of the river. When they reach the middle of the river, the crocodile cannot hold back the truth anymore. “Actually my friend, I have told you a lie,” he confesses, “I am taking you home because my wife wants to eat your delicious heart.”

The monkey is clever. “Why didn’t you tell that before, my friend?” he responds without showing any fear, “You know what… I have this habit of leaving my heart on the tree before I leave home. So, let’s go back… Hurry, hurry!”

The crocodile makes a quick about turn.  The moment they reach the river bank, the monkey jumps off, climbs the top of the tree and, sitting there pretty, declares, “My friend, you are a fool to believe me. Now go back home and tell your darling wife not to shed those crocodile tears!”


GERALD D’CUNHA


THE CROCODILE TEARS







Pic.: Avinash Mantri



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.


The English phrase ‘Crocodile tears’ (false tears/ insincere display of emotion) derives from an ancient belief that crocodiles shed tears while consuming their prey. But, then, I would love to believe that our own popular Panchatantra-story has something to do with it…




  CROCODILE TEARS


PAST:


On the banks of a river stood a huge mango tree. On the tree lived a monkey. A crocodile often came near the tree to eat the mangoes dropped by the monkey. The monkey and the crocodile became good friends.

One day, the crocodile took a mango home for his wife. “What a delicious fruit this is!” exclaimed the lady crocodile, “Who gave you this?”

“My friend, monkey, who lives atop the mango tree on the other side of the river.”

“If your friend eats these delicious fruits every day, his heart must be even more delicious,” said crocodile’s wife, “I want to eat his heart!”

“What?” reacted the husband, “Have you gone crazy? He is my friend.”

“If you love me, my darling, you must bring your friend’s heart to me,” concluded the wife shedding buckets of tears.

The crocodile tried to reason out before his wife… but in vain. Distressed, he could not sleep that night. The next day morning, he went near the tree looking worried.

“What is wrong with you, my dear friend?” the monkey enquired looking at the crocodile.

The crocodile couldn’t tell the truth. So, he lied, “My wife is badly ill, my friend. Can you please come home to cheer her up?”

“Why not?” replied the monkey, ‘A friend in need is a friend in deed… Let’s not waste any time… Lets’ go.”

Thus, the monkey sat on the crocodile’s back and they began to proceed to the other side of the river. When they reached the middle of the river, the crocodile couldn’t hold back the truth anymore. “Actually my friend, I have told you a lie,” he confessed, “I am taking you home because my wife wants to eat your delicious heart.”

The monkey was clever. “Why didn’t you tell that before, my friend?” he responded without showing any fear, “You know what… I have this habit of leaving my heart on the tree before I leave home. So, let’s go back… Hurry, hurry!”

The crocodile made a quick about turn.  The moment they reached the river bank, the monkey jumped off, climbed the top of the tree and, sitting there pretty, declared, “My friend, you are a fool to believe me. Now go back home and tell your darling wife not to shed those crocodile tears!”


PRESENT:


On the banks of a river stands a huge mango tree. On the tree lives a monkey. A crocodile often comes near the tree to eat the mangoes dropped by the monkey. The monkey and the crocodile become good friends.

One day, the crocodile takes a mango home for his wife. “What a delicious fruit this is!” exclaims the lady crocodile, “Who gave you this?”

“My friend, monkey, who lives atop the mango tree on the other side of the river,” tells the husband proudly to his wife.

“If your friend eats these delicious fruits every day, his heart must be even more delicious,” says crocodile’s wife, “I want to eat his heart!”

“What?” reacts the husband, “Have you gone crazy? He is my friend.”

“If you love me, my darling, you must bring your friend’s heart to me,” concludes the wife shedding buckets of tears.

The crocodile tries to reason out before his wife… but in vain. Distressed, he cannot sleep that night. The next day morning, he goes near the tree looking worried.

“What is wrong with you, my dear friend?” the monkey enquires looking at the crocodile.

The crocodile cannot tell the truth. So, he lies, “My wife is badly ill, my friend. Can you please come home to cheer her up?”

“Why not?” replies the monkey, ‘A friend in need is a friend in deed… Let’s not waste any time… Lets’ go.”

Thus, the monkey sits on the crocodile’s back and they begin to proceed to the other side of the river. When they reach the middle of the river, the crocodile cannot hold back the truth anymore. “Actually my friend, I have told you a lie,” he confesses, “I am taking you home because my wife wants to eat your delicious heart.”

The monkey is clever. “Why didn’t you tell that before, my friend?” he responds without showing any fear, “You know what… I have this habit of leaving my heart on the tree before I leave home. So, let’s go back… Hurry, hurry!”

The crocodile makes a quick about turn.  The moment they reach the river bank, the monkey jumps off, climbs the top of the tree and, sitting there pretty, declares, “My friend, you are a fool to believe me. Now go back home and tell your darling wife not to shed those crocodile tears!”



GERALD D’CUNHA

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THE LION’S SHARE







Pic.: Chetna Shetty



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.

Today, the English phrase ‘Lion’s Share’ means a ‘bigger share’ or ‘better share’. But, long time ago, it meant ‘everything’.



THE LION’S SHARE


PAST:


One day, Lion, the king of the jungle, went for hunting. He took along some of his friends for help. By the end of the day, they gathered a large pile of meat… It was time for sharing.

The lion made four equal parts.

Pointing at the first share, the lion roared, “I am the king of the jungle. So, this share belongs to me. Any problem… Any objection?”

“No sire,” the animals replied.

Pointing at the second share, the lion thundered, “This is for my wife, the lioness… Your queen. Any problem, any objection?”

“No sire,” the animals cried.

Pointing at the third share, the lion blasted, “This is for my son, the prince… your future king. Any problem, any objection?”

It was dark and the animals were tired and hungry. One share was still left… There was still hope. So, they meekly muttered, “No sire.”

Pointing at the last share, the lion gently declared, “This is for you, my dear, dear subjects.”

Immediately, the faces of the animals lit up with joy. But, just then, they heard their king’s roar again, “Wait, wait, wait… For that, you have to fight me!”

A sudden gloom fell upon the animals… and, they left the jungle, one by one, cursing their own fate.



PRESENT:


(One day,) lion, the king of the jungle, goes for hunting. He takes along some of his friends for help. By the end of the day, they gather a large pile of meat… It is time for sharing.

The lion makes four equal parts.

Pointing at the first share, the lion roars “I am the king of the jungle. So, this share belongs to me. Any problem… Any objection?”

“No sire,” the animals reply.

Pointing at the second share, the lion thunders, “This is for my wife, the lioness… Your queen. Any problem, any objection?”

“No sire,” the animals cry.

Pointing at the third share, the lion blasts, “This is for my son, the prince… your future king. Any problem, any objection?”

It is dark and the animals are tired and hungry. One share is still left… There is still hope. So, they meekly mutter, “No sire.”

Pointing at the last share, the lion gently declares, “This is for you, my dear, dear subjects.”

Immediately, the faces of the animals light up with joy. But, just then, they hear their king’s roar again, “Wait, wait, wait… For that, you have to fight me!”

A sudden gloom falls upon the animals… and, they leave the jungle, one by one, cursing their own fate.


GERALD D’CUNHA



Sunday, August 14, 2016

ACHILLES’ HEEL







Pic.: Chetna Shetty

Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.

I have narrated this story to young Achilles’ in  our P.D. sessions countless times. Yes, to convey to them as to what the English phrase, ‘Achilles’ Heel’, really means.

‘Achilles Heel’ is our weak spot … Our vulnerable area. But, then, it no longer refers to a physical weak spot. Today, it refers to a psychological and character-related weak spot.

Hope, the legend of Achilles doesn’t cease to inspire…



ACHILLES’ HEEL


PAST:


In Greek mythology, Achilles was a great warier. The legend has it, that when he was born, it was foretold, that he would die young. So, to prevent this fate from falling upon him, his mother, Thetis, carried her new-born to the River Styx, which was believed to offer powers of immortality. There, the mother dipped baby Achilles in the holy water holding him by his heel. This made Achilles an invulnerable and invincible war hero. But, his heel, which was not touched by the holy water, remained weak … vulnerable, all his life.

It is concurred that, at the end of the Trojan war, when Paris shot a poisonous arrow at Achilles’ weak heel, Achilles’ end came!


PRESENT:


In Greek mythology, Achilles is a great warier. The legend has it, that when he is born, it is foretold, that he will die young. So, to prevent this fate from falling upon him, his mother, Thetis, carries her new-born to the River Styx, which is believed to offer powers of immortality. There, the mother dips baby Achilles in the holy water holding him by his heel. This makes Achilles an invulnerable and invincible war hero. But, his heel, which is not touched by the holy water, remains weak … vulnerable, all his life.

It is concurred that, at the end of the Trojan war, when Paris shoots a poisonous arrow at Achilles’ weak heel, Achilles’ end comes!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, August 13, 2016

WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?











Pic.: Vincent D'Souza



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.

Well, don’t tell me “I know this story.”



WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?




PAST:


There was a grocer’s shop where a large number of mice resided. The mice feasted on fresh cheese, biscuits, wheat, rice and sugar and lived there happily. But, the grocer was a worried man… He worried about his losses and thought of putting an end to the mice menace. Thus, he brought a hefty cat and placed it in his shop. The cat began to catch and eat mice one by one… The mice were so terrorized that they dared not to come out of their holes.

Then, one day, when the cat was not around, the mice called for an emergency meeting to discuss how to deal with the cat. “The cat has made our life miserable,” they all voiced their concern, “We will perish if we don’t do anything about the cat.”

Finally, a young mouse came out with a grand idea. “We will tie a bell around the cat,” he said, “That way, we will come to know when cat comes to attack us.”

“Wow… What a great idea!” jumped all the mice. “Our problem is over… We all can live happily here, once again!”

The mice were dancing and celebrating and there was a great sense of victory and joy in the air.

Just then, an elderly and experienced mouse said loudly, “Stop this nonsense, you fools. Tell me this first: WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?”




PRESENT:




There is a grocer’s shop where a large number of mice reside. The mice feast on fresh cheese, biscuits, wheat, rice and sugar and live there happily. But, the grocer is a worried man… He worries about his losses and thinks of putting an end to the mice menace. Thus, he brings a hefty cat and places it in his shop. The cat begins to catch and eat mice one by one… The mice are so terrorized that they dare not to come out of their holes.

Then, one day, when the cat is not around, the mice call for an emergency meeting to discuss how to deal with the cat. “The cat has made our life miserable,” they all voice their concern, “We will perish if we don’t do anything about the cat.”

Finally, a young mouse comes out with a grand idea. “We will tie a bell around the cat,” he says, “That way, we will come to know when cat comes to attack us.”

“Wow… What a great idea!” jumps all the mice. “Our problem is over… We all can live happily here, once again!”

The mice are dancing and celebrating and there is a great sense of victory and joy in the air.

Just then, an elderly and experienced mouse says loudly, “Stop this nonsense, you fools. Tell me this first: WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, August 12, 2016

THE SILENCE OF FOUR DISCIPLES












Pic.: Avinash Mantri



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.

I like this story. Several years ago, my friend, Mr. Manjeet, had recounted it to our ‘young disciples’ during a P.D. session.

Silence is tough…Very tough. And, the mind can be so funny! After reading, writing teaching and preaching for decades, I am only able to see myself somewhere there among those four amazing disciples!




THE SILENCE OF
FOUR DISCIPLES


PAST:


One day, a Zen master wanted his four disciples to observe a day-and-night silence. He asked his servant to guide them to a nearby room. “Please light the lamp when darkness falls,” the Master instructed the servant.

For an entire day, the four disciples successfully observed the silence and they were all very happy about it. “Our Master will be very delighted,” they thought with pride.

Just then, one of the disciples said to the servant, “The darkness has fallen… Please light the lamp.”

“Hey you… You have broken your silence,” reacted the disciple who was sitting next to him.

“You both have opened your…” the third disciple was about to complete his sentence when he realized what he was doing. So, he tightly shut his mouth with his two palms… But, the mouth had been already opened and the silence had been already broken!

Now, when all this drama was unfolding before him, our fourth disciple was surging with pride, which he couldn’t contain any further. So, he declared, “You ignorant souls, listen to me: I am the only disciple in this room who has observed the complete silence… and, our Master will be surely proud of me!”


PRESENT:


(One day,) a Zen master wants his four disciples to observe a day-and-night silence. He asks his servant to guide them to a nearby room. “Please light the lamp when darkness falls,” the Master instructs the servant.

For an entire day, the four disciples successfully observe the silence and they are all very happy about it. “Our Master will be very delighted,” they think with pride.

Just then, one of the disciples says to the servant, “The darkness has fallen… Please light the lamp.”

“Hey you… You have broken your silence,” reacts the disciple who is sitting next to him.

“You both have opened your…” the third disciple is about to complete his sentence when he realizes what he is doing. So, he tightly shuts his mouth with his two palms… But, the mouth has been already opened and the silence has been already broken!

Now, when all this drama is unfolding before him, our fourth disciple is surging with pride, which he cannot contain any further. So, he declares, “You ignorant souls, listen to me: I am the only disciple in this room who has observed the complete silence… and, our Master will be surely proud of me!”


GERALD D’CUNHA