Sunday, April 23, 2017

THE AUSTIN COUTINHO STAND








My friend, Austin Coutinho, literally survives on the oxygen called ‘Cricket’. Is he a player? Yes, he was, once. Is he a coach? Yes, he was and he still is. Is he a mentor? He has always been, and will always be one. Is he a consultant? Yes, he is… and, too good in it. What else?

Here it is: He is a gifted cartoonist! And, rightly, has been spending hours and hours to give life to every cricket hero through his adorable caricatures… Every morning – perhaps when all of us are still asleep – he wakes up with a new idea in his mind… Sometimes, the subject of his creative work could be a Soccer star – a Messi or a Ronaldo… sometimes, it could be Usain Bolt or  Michael Jordan… or our own Sindhu, Sakshi or Dipa. Like me, there are several admirers of Austin… and we all look forward to see his fresh offering of the day… When we see it, our hearts smile!

“How does he do it?” I have wondered almost every day, “He is a genius!”

Once, earlier, when I had blogged about Austin, I had confessed. that making a commitment to create a cartoon or two everyday and spend your entire lifetime honoring that commitment to self… yes, without expecting any reward for it, takes tons of self-discipline. I keep telling our young-ones, who come to us to learn how to be self-confident: “Making a commitment and keeping it is the easiest and the best way.”

But, that’s also, ironically, the toughest way!

In life, we all are afraid to make commitments! And, there lies the root cause of our self-confidence problem!


Last summer, when we held our annual certification programme for our P.D. students, Austin was a guest of honour. We had released a book that day, titled ‘What Makes Me Confident’. The little-ones, young-ones and adults – yes, the book carried voices of all as to what made them confident. Austin was not only kind enough to do a write-up, but also was generous enough to do the beautiful cover… and, he did it with his unmistakable stamp: with caricatures of sports and other heroes!

Today, Austin had shared on his FB Page a picture featuring M.S. Dhoni with his tribute to the legend:
“What a genius! MSD with the RPS Book of caricatures. Honoured, Col. Shankar Vembu.”

I couldn’t resist replying:

“Austin, I keep telling our young-ones, that we all have to discover our respective 'stage' to perform... to display our genius.... and make a passionate commitment to it.... just as you have! So, to me, you are no less than a Dhoni or Tendulkar. For, they, sure, will look pygmies from that stage. Till our young-ones don't realize this, they will keep chasing an illusion. Keep displaying your genius, Austin… keep inspiring us to discover our own 'stage'... Loads of love.”


“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,”  did Thomas Edison say this?

I have one more thing to add: Genius is also about finding our vocation in life – ‘our stage’… For sure, Dhoni and Tendulkar are not as gifted as, my gifted cartoonist friend, Austin Coutinho, is when it comes to what Austin does best… On that pedestal, yes, Austin will stand tall!

What about us, the lesser mortals?

Are we lesser, by the way… on ‘our own stage’?


GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Austin Coutinho


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