Saturday, April 29, 2017

TERA GADHA AAGE... MERA GHODA PEECHE







‘Sorry’ is a magic word.  We try to inculcate this value – this lesson – in the hearts of little children. What happens when these children grow up? Does ‘Sorry’ continue to be a magic word?

This morning, I had an ‘opportunity’ to deal with two giant egos. One of a man and another of a woman… both highly educated and in their mid-fifties. Amazing thing was: we have been having a wonderful, long relationship!

I was talking to them on different issues, this morning. Strangely, I got to observe how I was getting dragged into an ego-trip simply because both of them had taken a strong position. One option for me was: to acknowledge their position – the stand – and respect it, however different it was from mine… Even if it meant swallowing my pride… which, for a moment, also seemed like humiliation… The other option for me was to try my best to dislodge them from their positions… prove them wrong and prove me right… and, thereby, run the risk of ruining our long-standing relationship…

Frankly, it was not easy to concede. I did vehemently argue… first, assertively and then, angrily, even. But, when I realized that I was about to climb the tiger’s back… I calmed down… said, I concede…

Was it my helplessness or was it my choice? Did it make me weak or did it make me strong?


Every ego-trip is a path of self-destruction. I have been there, done that… some times. However, the frequency has drastically come down… I do get into heated arguments, at times… But, the moment I realize that it is getting stretched from my end, I give up the rubber-band!

I have no control on the other person’s behavior. I do not even know if he wants our relationship to grow or get destroyed. But, this much I know: If I don’t concede, both would get destroyed. If I do concede, the chances of I surviving are more!

This morning, when I said in the thick of the ‘tension’… “Okay, I concede,” what I actually said was “I not only value myself, I value our relationship more than my need to defeat you, dislodge you… destroy and humiliate you.” I am conscious,  that to concede in an ego-battle, one needs a healthy self-esteem… Gaur Gopal Das, the dynamic teacher of ISCON, puts it brilliantly in one of his talks on EGO:

“All that we need to say is: “Tera gadha aage, mera ghoda peeche.”

As simple as that.




GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Shraddha Sachdev
Video: YouTube


Friday, April 28, 2017

IF YOU LOVE A FLOWER, DON'T PICK IT UP



















“One is never afraid of the unknown…
 one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”

- Jiddu Krishnamurti



I was a school boy when I first saw Vinod Khanna in the movie ‘Mere Apne’. He never ceased to fascinate me – challenge, inspire and even confuse me – ever since!

Like most around me, whatever I know about Vinod Khanna has come only through whatever I have read in newspapers and magazines, or watching television and his movies … or through pure grapevine. This Post, therefore, is not about Vinod Khanna, the glamours Greek God, that he had been on the silver screen, but about the fallible and vulnerable human that he came about to me from my own perception…

I always admired Viond Khanna’s looks… He looked stunning, a Greek God! But, I was aware, that what I was admiring was just an outer body of a mortal… It would wrinkle with age, look frail with sickness and age… The other day, when that picture of Vinod Khanna in the hospital was getting circulated on social media, like so many around me, I, too, couldn’t believe my eyes!  For a few days, I was in a denial mode… till the truth dawned upon me: “Hey, that’s how we all are going to be… simply mortals!”

When, at the height of his stardom and popularity, Vinod Khanna left his wife and  boys and went in search of his personal peace… trying to seek answers to his inner quest… about insecurities and emptiness in life… about love, relationships, fear, and ego… yes, when he did that, I remembered the night prince Siddhartha leaving his kingly palace… seeing the sick, the flailed, the dead and the blissful... Vinod Khanna sought answers to his questions in OSHO’s ashram.

In Osho’s ashram, Vinod Khanna spent several years as a gardener and a dish-washer… Yes, I can only imagine, all that was to drop the weight around him caused by the illusion of success and fame… and, maybe, to find peace at the heart of turmoil called relationship and love…

I am just guessing!

Let me unfurl a few pearls from OSHO:

 “If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up, it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So, if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”

“Experience life in all possible ways, good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.”

“Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”


Vinod Khanna has been an enigma to me! From the epicenter of show-business to the oblivion called ashram… again to the show-business, then, to the hardcore politics for almost a quarter century… a divorce and estranged family… a new-found love and marriage, a new family… and, then, the cancer in his bladder comes to intimidate him and take away even the last flicker out of his belly… Yes, when he is barely 70…

The Greek God was laid to rest, yesterday!






OSHO was an outspoken and controversial spiritual guru. On the other side of the spectrum, there was Jiddu Krishnamurti, who stripped everyone of their gullibility for a spiritual guru. OSHO would be blunt about many spiritual teachers, but not about Jiddu Krishnamurti. Despite Krishnamurti teaching all to be free from clinging to any gurus and seek truth directly… yes, despite this, OSHO considered Krishnamurti to be a true teacher. It was on OSHO’s advice, that Vinod Khanna got interested in Krishnamurti’s talks and teachings…

Let me pay my last respect to Vinod Khanna, with these two quotes from Jiddu Krishnamurti:

“We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something,
we are no longer free.”


“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn,
the door is there and the key is in your hand.
Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: 1) Vinod Khanna in 'Mere Apne' (1971)  2) The last pic?
Courtesy: Internet

Thursday, April 27, 2017

FROM THE PIT OF MISERY TO THE PEAK OF THE EVEREST














“Gold medals aren't really made of gold.
They're made of sweat, determination,
and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”

- Dan Gable


I watched the Hindi movie ‘Poorna’ along with my wife on 24th of this month. It was my wife’s  50 th birthday. It was, also, one of her happiest! Both, my wife and I, loved the movie a lot… After coming home, my wife posted on her friends’ group:  “POORNA… A very inspiring movie!”

Just the way great Sachin Tendukar is… 24th April is his birthday, too! I remember an inspiring quote from the Legend:
“Don't stop chasing your dreams, because dreams do come true.”

Till my friend, Vivek, told me about this movie, ‘Poorna’ - just two days earlier that was - I hadn’t heard about it. How ironical, how sad! “Watch it; it is very motivating for multiple reasons,” my friend had told me. It was only after watching the movie that I gathered what the ‘multiple reasons’ were…

THE FIRST REASON: Obviously, Poorna. This 13-year-old girl from Telangana was one of the youngest girls in the world to scale the highest peak of the Mount Everest. Her story - from the pit of misery to the glory of the Everest - is no ordinary story… It is, truly, inspiring!

THE SECOND REASON: Dr. Praveen Kumar, the Secretary of the Government Social Welfare School, where Poorna studied. He was an IPS officer and wielded a lot of power in the inner circle of the Chief Minister. Yet, at the height of his professional success, he decided to switch his work area… the social welfare and education and well-being of the underprivileged. It was he who spotted the hidden potential of Poorna and an older Dalit boy, Anand Kumar… and it was he who went all the way, against all the odds, to help these two to brave the Mount Everest. Once, this goal was achieved, he went back to his police position. So, ‘Poorna’ is a story of this top-cop, too.

THE THIRD REASON: Rahul Bose. I was inspired when I learnt that Rahul Bose liked the story so much, that he involved in the project fully by producing, directing and acting  in it (the role of Dr. Praveen Kumar). One can easily make out that it was beyond a professional or commercial decision… It was a personal mission!

“Sometimes we make choices, and sometimes choices make us.” This was one of the dialogues in the movie which I liked the most. The other moment that touched me the most was when Dr. Praveen Kumar, the mentor, tells Poorna and her co-climber, Anand Kumar, that even though they would be trained for the Everest mission, the decision to allow or not allow them to climb would be taken only when they came out with their respective reasons to do so. “Only if I find your reason bigger than the Mount Everest, I will give my permission.”

Anand Kumar had the reason ready. But, little Poorna took some days to visit the most harrowing space within her soul and come out and tell her mentor, “Sir, I found my reason.”

My heart stopped when I heard these words!

Long years ago, another battered and wounded brave-heart had screamed standing at the foot of the Everest:
“Mount Everest, listen to me… I will come back and defeat you… for, you can’t grow any taller… my courage can!”

If you have not yet watched this Tax-free movie, ‘Poorna’, please do. Yes, take a few young-kids along, even if they aren’t your own!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Internet


Monday, April 24, 2017

THE TRAIN WAS NOT LATE... I WAS LATE
















“Excuses are merely nails used to build a house of failure.”

- American Proverb


“So, the train was late, today,” I playfully teased the young-man who was almost fifteen minutes late for the session.

“Train was not late, sir,” the tall young-man corrected me, “I was late!”

“Wow! That’s something I loved,” I explained to the class, “That’s exactly what I meant by ‘Owning up… taking responsibility for one’s actions… It is the first leg of the stool called ‘Self-confidence.”

The boy wasn’t giving me any justifications for his late-entry. He wasn’t feeling anxious, guilty or scared… For, he had owned up his action… He knew, that if he wanted to be in time, he would … Trains were running in time… The weather was absolutely normal - no thunderstorm or hailstorm… There weren’t any bandh or riots… At home, everything was normal… the milkman, delivered milk in time, the paperwala dropped paper in time… the maid came to make rotis in time… mom had set breakfast in time… and, the Central Railways operated all their Mumbai locals perfectely in time…

Then, why was our young-man late?

I was there in his college to help him and his fellow-students how to build up self-confidence and improve their communication skills in life… “Your self-confidence is like a stool with three legs,” I was explaining to them, “Take responsibility for your success… Feel worthwhile… Feel appreciated.” I had learnt this lesson, long ago, in a little book called, ‘Changes’. “Till you do not take charge of your own success… till you do not stop blaming, justifying and giving excuses, you will not harness enough self-confidence in you… The blamers are the losers. Those who take responsibility for their success are the winners.”

And, right in the midst of this explanation during the morning session, the young-man appeared – fifteen minutes late – to testify:

“Hello, the train was not late… I was. Yes, I woke up late… Because I went to bed late last night… I did not give utmost priority to be here in time… I took it a bit casually… I could have taken an earlier train… I could have come early and spend some time in the college library… If I wanted it, I would have had it.”

I took this episode and said to the class, “This young-man has taught us, that when we own up our mistakes, and flaws, we invariably overcome them… We change for the better… we become self-confident in life.”

Later, during the session, when the young-man was on stage to speak, I prodded him to tell us as to what made him say, “Sir, the train was not late, I was late.”

The young-man recounted the story… “One day, when I came late and started blaming the train for my late-coming, our ma’am opened my eyes: “Never, ever blame the train and the Central Railway for your flaws… If you wanted to be here in time, you could have done everything required to be done to achieve that objective… Say train was not late… I was late.”

When you own up, excuses go… When excuses go, self-confidence comes!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

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


Friday, April 21, 2017

THE DANCE OF THE RAINBOW









Are we all shy people?

Well, most of us are… if not all. Majority!

Early this morning, Rakesh Menon, the founder and teacher of our Tai Chi group, was on stage organized by Chembur Festival Committee (2017) to promote health and well-being. Today, from 8 am to 9 am, our sir, along with some of our students, demonstrated to the participants the benefits of Tai Chi…

Rakesh Menon, our teacher, was brilliant on stage! I watched him closely… getting transformed – rather transcended – from ordinary to extra-ordinary… from real to surreal. I had one more live testimony to prove: It is your core strength… your niche… your own cherished domain… yes, it is when you operate from this space, you come about special, mighty… authentic. It is when you sing from there, dance from there, write from there, speak from there, teach from there, heal from there, play from there, paint from there… do anything and everything from there… yes, it is only when you rise up from there, that you stand out like a precious diamond…

Every precious diamond is hidden inside the coal… Every precious pearl is clothed inside the shell called shyness. Put the coal and the shell on stage… before the camera, canvas, audience… beholders… put the coal and the shell where they really belong, and they unfurl, shine...

And, they become an Amitabh Bachchan… a Shah Rukh Khan… a Marlon Brando… an A.R. Rehman, a Michael Jackson and an entire galaxy of stars!







For years, I have been telling this - from every platform, and from the top of my voice. That, there is no point in worrying about our shyness… That, our shyness is something amazing about us… That, if we learn to channelize it well, we can emerge like diamonds emerging from coal and pearls emerging from shells… That, when we know who we are, we simply shine, simply present our authentic self…

So, why worry about what we can’t do in life? We can’t do so many things… so many things. But, can’t we do one or two things brilliantly, with all our heart and soul… like painting, singing, composing, playing, writing, acting, teaching, cooking, serving, baking, training, peace-making, volunteering, organizing, healing, designing, selling, fixing, counseling, mentoring and, if not any of these, just being an authentic audience, a spectator… a beholder?

Everybody can be a great performer when he goes up on ‘his own stage’… ‘his on sphere’!


 


Today, after the programme, when I was telling Rakesh sir as to how delightfully I beheld him transform on Tai Chi stage, he simply blushed. He wanted me to tell it to all. So, I huddled many of his well-wishers together and said, “Sir transformed on stage as Amitabh Bachchan did in front of the camera… I call it ‘The Dance of the Rainbow.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Joni/Chetna Shetty

Videos: YouTube

Thursday, April 20, 2017

THE LOUD-SPEAKERS












“People can become addicted to fame, money, and attention
as deeply as they become addicted to drugs.” 

In our college canteen, Mangalore, there was a rude waiter. He dealt with the students with his sarcastic comments and got away with it; but, not always. One day, he got the taste of his own medicine…

A student came to the counter and made a typical inquiry with the rude waiter. I reproduce, here, the exchange of their dialogues (with Hindi and English translation) in the local Tulu language as it carries its own flavor:

Student: “Bechha yenchina undu?”
“Garam kya hai”
“What is there hot (dish)?”

Waiter: “Bechcha? Dingeld genda undu.”
“Garam? Chule mein koyla hai”
“Hot? There is coal in the oven.”

Student: “Korle onji plate.”
“Ek plate de do.”
“Get me a plate of it.”

The waiter went inside the kitchen and returned with a plate of red-hot coal… and placed it on the counter with that arrogant look: “You think you are smart?”

The young-man did not blink… He pulled out  a cigarette, placed between his lips… bent down on the coal to light it up… and walked out of the canteen, like a Boss!

Yes, we, the spectators, applauded the ‘Boss’: “BRAVO… BRAVO!!!”

As college kids, we got our cheap thrills from roadside ‘shows’ like these… The above one actually happened in our college canteen when I was one of the spectators. Little did we know, then, that, four decades later, we would get to experience loads of similar thrills through social media and news channels, every passing minute!

Take twitting and trolling, for example…

We, the gullible spectators, are all waiting and watching: What next? Sonu Nigam has shaved his head knowing very well that  he did not do it for Mullah’s ten-lakh moolha… but, to get even with the him (Mullah)… Mullah has become even more adamant… Meanwhile, the twitter-followers, Facebook, WhatsApp, electronic and print media are having a field day!

The noise pollution created out of this is worse than that of the loudspeakers… It is toxic!

The Mullah says “Sonu does it for publicity, I don’t need it… I have more followers than him!”

So, it’s all about the number of followers; isn’t it?

Some days ago, in our P.D. session, I had given for Group Discussion this topic: ‘Have we all become addicts of social media?’

Without even a single exception, the teenagers confessed: “Yes, we have!”

And smile: “Not just we… Our parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, cousins and even grandparents… all have become addicts!”

“You need to get in touch with your thoughts… trust your thoughts… and express your thoughts,” I repeatedly tell our young-ones, just to remind them, that they all have ideas, views and opinions… and, unless they get in touch with them, trust in them, they will not be able to express with self-confidence…

We all have our opinions… and, we have the right to voice them in an appropriate manner from an  appropriate platform…

But, what happens when we are ‘opinionated’?

Where is it coming from?


GERLAD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Azriel D'Souza