Sunday, July 2, 2017

NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER







Long before I started blogging, I had been writing down my daily Notes in dairies… I used to write them down along with the date and I continued to do it for years and years. So, I have them written down in scores of dairies!

And, what did I write in them?

That’s interesting! My problems, my anxieties, my anger, my jealousy, my fears, my longings and frustrations, my hopes and despair, my resolves and my cowardice… Well, I learnt early not to disown anything in life… If they were my feelings, then, I had to capture them as they were – and as much as possible to be honest about them… That experience had been very therapeutic, very healing and empowering… Incidentally, whenever someone read them, they would exclaim, “So beautiful… So reassuring!”

Blogging happened some ten years ago… and, what I did in my dairies; I did, now, on my PC… But, Notes remained Notes… My feelings remained my feelings… My objective remained the same old one: to help me heal myself!

So, if anyone thinks, that I stand on a pedestal, every day, and preach, let me confess, most sincerely, “Sir, my feet are made of clay… I am a mortal!”

Small irritations, fears and anxieties… small victories and jubilations form my daily consciousness. For example, I wrote something last morning (Saturday) when I was annoyed and irritated, when I was tempted to judge someone and go ballistic… But, just before I could publish my Post, the power went off in my office and did not return till late last night…

Did it mean I needed to calm down more and see the episode in a more holistic perspective… Probably yes. A dear friend of mine, who herself was in the midst of acute anxiety and anger, consoled me, “Better not to judge them… Who knows what is the real issue.”

After more than twenty-four hours or so, I am sharing the Post I had writeen yesterday… Yes, with the hope that it can heal not only me but many of my friends, too…


9.30 to 11… What is that?

That’s the time slot I had given to an eleventh-standard student. The student belonged to Bombay Scottish School (ISC Board), and her mother had first called me two weeks ago about this girl’s admission in my class. Another parent, who was once my student and now a dear friend, had referred me to this parent. Since our first telephonic conversation, this parent and I had agreed to meet here, in my office, at least thrice… Today was the fourth time.

On the first meeting, the mother and the student did not turn up at the appointed time. So, when I called up, while waiting for them here, I was told, “Sorry, we could not make it today. We will let you know when we come next.”

The courtesy demanded not to express my ‘inconvenience’ straightaway… “It is okay ma’am,” I tried to put my gracious front forward.

“We will let you know,” is practically a ‘No’… This is what experience had taught me. So, I didn’t keep any hopes of ‘client’ coming back.

But then, the mother sent me messages twice after that, “Can we come now?” or “Can we come tomorrow?”… When I tried to negotiate about the time for our meeting, it didn’t take us anywhere at all. “We will let you know when we come,” was how it all ended.

“What is the problem, man?” this is how the human in me would react, “What else is left to be discussed or explained? What are they up to? Why does she call up in the first place? Why does she give me hope and then disappoints, annoys? Is it a personality disorder or lack of trust or procrastination or fear of committing or lack of simple ethics or some past bad experience (being cheated)… or any discord at home? What is that coming on the way?  I don’t know.

Why rationalize something that is not important to me… Let me move on. Yes, this is how I dealt with this commonplace episode… “It is okay.”

Then, yesterday evening, when I was at home, I once again received the call from this parent. Yes, the courtesy demanded me not to ‘yell’ at her… No old baggage, no judging… Forgive and forget… Loads of patience… Hoping against hope… All is well that ends well… Yes, for years, all these have been a part of my daily vocabulary, you see… Never say “It is unfair”… Say, “Everything is fair.”

Thus, last evening, the mother of my prospective student and I embarked upon a fresh round of talk… “Ma’am, ask me whatever you want to… Clear every doubt and keep total trust in me… It is important for the student-teacher relationship,” I said one last time.

Finally, the mother agreed to come slightly before 9.30 today and enroll her daughter. As I have already started off with other students, she requested me to teach the young one separately and we chose 9.30 to 11 slot this morning and 2.30 to 4 tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. “Is it confirmed ma’am,” I double-checked, “I am allotting this time slot specially in this case.”

“Yes, it is confirmed,” was the word.

At 9 this morning, I saw this message on my phone, “We are not coming toady. We will let you know sir. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

I took a long breath… “Should I reply or should I just let it go? I waited till 9.30 just to allow myself to calm down and then sent this reply:

“Ma’am, I could have given that time slot to someone who really deserved it. It is not my way of working. Sorry.”

“Extremely sorry sir,” this was the last piece of communication.

Well, all is well that ends well… Everything is fair in life… Don’t judge… Who knows what their problem is… After all, you haven’t even met them even once, right? Blog… Tell a nice story… Smile and make someone smile!!!!



GERALD D’CUNHA


Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

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