HE WHO OPENS A SCHOOL DOOR, CLOSES A PRISON: VICTOR HUGO








“Nine tenths of education is encouragement,” said Anatole France.

Just read those words again!

We knew Lobo family for many years. They belonged to the same Parish (the local Catholic Church) as we did, and they hailed from the same native village as we did – Mangalore. There was one more common factor between Mr. Lobo and me: we both came here from utterly humble roots as migrants. Yes, Mr. Lobo, who expired a month ago, at the age of 71, served in Air Force and retired as a Director in BPCL… has left behind a much greater legacy of encouragement and mentor-ship than a person like me can ever think of… It was evident, today, when I was listening to several people who were fondly and gratefully remembering Mr. Lobo’s gentle and generous encouragement in their lives when they needed it the most…

Today* was the Month’s Mind Mass of Mr. Lobo, which my wife and I had attended. Lobos lived a full life, with no regrets or baggage whatsoever… Theirs was a ‘Go-for-it’ kind of youthful spirit… and they always charged all around them with the same…

I had the privilege of teaching their daughter, Tina, when she was doing her graduation. Today, I met her in the church, after more than two decades. She is blissfully married to her college-day love, a Sindhi.

People who hold our hands when we need the most… People who help us discover our true potential and find our path… People who accept us with all our flaws and keep reminding us that we have a place under the Sun… and, above all, people who inspire us just by being there as our true heroes… yes, I think, they are our true ‘educators’ in life. In that sense, I think, Mr. Lobo was a true educator!


During today’s memorial mass of Mr. Lobo, we met another lovely couple, who my wife and I had always admired for many reasons. It was Mr. Rubin and his wife, Mrs. Geeta. They both hailed from Tamil Nadu, where they grew up  in their large but humble households. Mr. Rubin was a Catholic and his wife, Mrs. Geeta, was an Iyer Brahmin… One of the many things we had always admired in Rubins was their broad accommodating outlook towards life. Unlike me and my wife, Rubins have been absolutely involved with Church activities. No one would ever have an inkling about Mrs. Rubin’s Brahmin background… Their grown-up children are abroad… The daughter is married to her college-day love, a Gujarati…

Like Lobos, Rubins, too, have been achievers in life, who made it there – the hard way. They have been an inspiration for many through their touch. Let me add one more thing: through their utter humility, too.

The Church was in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai. We had gone there by an OLA. While returning, Rubins offered us to drop. As their driver settled on his seat, Mr. Rubin, a tall and hefty  gentleman, maneuvered his way behind in their INNOVA allowing ladies to occupy the middle seat and me the comfortable seat in the front (You know, that’s the most favoured seat of all tall and hefty lot for its good leg-space!). I kept pleading Mr. Rubin to take that seat; but, he wanted the comfort for his guest…

I conceded saying, “That’s what is meant by the famous phrase: ‘Be my Guest’!”

Where does one get this kind of education? Mr. Rubin may not know how he taught me silently such a valuable lesson just through this random act!

On our way back, we were discussing about many things. Our early education and secular outlook towards life were two of the things that dominated most of our discussion. Mr. Rubin spoke about the speech given by our present Railway Minister, Mr. Piyush Goyal, in 2014 in one of the functions held at Don Bosco School (Matunga, Mumbai), his Alma mater for twelve years. I had not come across this speech before… And, given the political affiliation of Mr. Goyal, I grew curious and decided to watch it on YouTube once I reached home, which I did. But, I could never imagine the kind of spell it would have on me with its honesty. It left me stirred and humbled!






This speech taught me one more valuable lesson: It takes a lot more to be truly educated and truly secular in life…

The Lobos, the Rubins and the Goyals!

* I had written this Post yesterday

GERALD D’CUNHA


Pic.: Poornima Sathy

Video: Don Bosco School, Matunga, Mumbai/YouTube



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