Monthly Archives: April 2020

The Barbets

Why dost thou look at me ?

Will I steal from thy little nest,

so well prepared,

to allow only you and yours

to feed the little ones

Yes , you do not fail

In your search for food ;

a provider in earnest .

Where do you go

And how fast you return ?

They wait with outstretched beaks

To feed on the finest you bring ,

Surely that day will arrive,

When they too fly away.

So is the circle of life ,

They will find new trees

Build new nests

To bring in new lives

To begin a fresh verse

Malcolm Bids Adieu

Malcolm’s bravery showed as he  lived through the years, facing his challenges with acceptance.                             

He had a good track record having served in Gulf Air, Emirates, and Mahindras , where he served for 14years of which the last 4 years was with its Travel desk .

He was jovial, outgoing, fond of a good life, and  good food.

He had a wide circle of friends and at the end some very good friends ..Ratnakar Shetty, Winnie, Jason and myself.

His story is  a saga of living alone for about  20 years.  His friends  were very helpful to him. I began to understand Malcolm during this time.

His favourite game was  hockey . In fact it was through his links with Hillary Gomes, well known in hockey circles, that he began his final tenure at Mahindras. He accompanied the F United women’s hockey team to Dubai, Canada and New Zealand .   

He represented his school and college teams in hockey too.

One of his friends Cherian, recalls Malcolm’s conversations later dwelt on his passion for hockey, the airlines (his career) and a wish to visit places of pilgrimage . That wish was fulfilled when he made a trip to Holy Land with a group led by Cherian many years later.

He grew up in Bandra and I was surprised that one of my good friends Shailesh was a   friend of Malcolm too. I asked Shailesh to share some interesting incidents , when he knew Malcolm then,  but he was too embarrassed to share some crazy things they did when in college.

My earliest memories of Malcolm was when he was  at Gulf Air. He was a ḥandsome and popular young man  . At that time I was with the Air India Dining Facilitiies , and he often visited the snack bar outlet at the ground floor adjacent to the Gulf Air office. Of course with his wit and good nature , he was generally in very good and interesting company.

       His career graph improved when he joined Emirates and helped a host of people who needed international tickets to be confirmed. There was a time when  he  had two mobiles in his hand ,  speaking to different people , while solving their travel requirements. Malcolm also helped me at different times for my ticket confirmations or to get a good deal while booking with other airlines. Today times have changed ever since bookings can be  done online.

A  travel agent friend recalls when he approached Malcolm for a waiver on excess baggage for his passenger. Malcolm looked at him, stamped the voucher and left him with ‘choice words’ for his passenger. “Tell him to take it and ………..!”

During the last 4 years at the Travel Desk of Mahindras, Malcolm enjoyed his work. Captain Pandey HOD of the Aviation department of Mahindras greatly appreciated his work of coordinating the Pilot’s programme.

All Smiles

Malcolm lived  a lonely life at Mazagon. He once mentioned that it is not easy to come to an empty home. He had  good friends who were his anchor. They visited him and even had an occasional party .

His  career ended  when  his health began to gradually fail . The few friends kept in contact with him . Ratnakar Shetty his former boss, took on a role of a father figure to guide him in important matters . Winnie was a dear friend and former colleague, who checked on him and   visited occasionally with some favourite food items. He liked ‘Kane’ a Manglorean fish preparation. Any green curried preparation was always welcome.  Anjean and I too, knew Malcolm’s  favourites, Goa sausages ,  sorpotel,  pork vindaloo, veg au gratin and fried prawns . He loved to hear his piano being played on.  I occasionally obliged , with some simple tunes to keep the piano in tune. I visited him with Holy Communion , as a Eucharistic Minister, and even otherwise to chat for sometime.

His two good friends , Richard and Jimmy visited him often  to check on any requirements. His neighbours Sunny and Maxy , too were helpful, to him. He had  relatives Swithin and Blossom staying near him who were always willing to help when needed.

His final years were a struggle due to failing health. Visits to the hospital were frequent and the list of medicines quite long, He was very organized at home not only about these medicines, but also with the cleanliness of the home .

Jason recalls that Malcolm liked the NonVeg Club Sanwich , from the Bandra  Gym ,and waited for a visit from  Jason and his father. He relished it slice by slice. One cannot forget his interest in ‘ Housie’ at the Catholic Gym, which he enjoyed with his  friends on a Sunday.

Malcolm was financially stable and did not require any monetary assistance from anyone. He was generous. The elderly  maid  who  worked at his home finally became very sick and  went to her nephew’s home.  Malcolm ensured that she was given a monthly sum of money for her medical care, until she passed away.

Winnie and Shetty arranged for two ward boys to care for him towards the end, by day and night, and also a regular supply of meals. Shetty ensured that the wardboys were monitored , through phone calls and  guidelines for them.

My last visit to Malcolm was  sad. He had gone down in health and my brother Gerald  his doctor, recommended  hospitalisation. Its a pity  that   within 15 days he breathed his last , Those days were consistently in the ICCU. Two friends were constant visitors. Jason from Bandra and Winnie wḥo commuted from Santa Cruz.   Winnie was with him the last evening , and Malcolm had tears in his eyes, when he heard his name being called. He knew it was time to go. That night  my mobile rang at 2.30am .  Nitin his faithful wardboy , informed me that  Malcolm was no more.

I must mention that Malcolm made his peace with God . He left with a heart of forgiveness and reconciliation. He received the last sacraments and holy anointing  before he departed.

He is at peace. His sufferings ended. Sadly, due to the corona virus lockdown, only 5 persons were at his funeral.

 Many of us missed bidding him farewell. Shirley a relative, Jason,  Winnie and Fr Shavito were present with the undertaker Abbas who was very helpful .

In Cherian’s words “ His soul finally embarked upon a joyous journey of peace, happiness and eternity .

Adieu, Malcolm, auf wiedersehen! Our prayers are with you.“

Rest in peace dear Malcolm

Sully in solitary splendour


Sully the pristine parrot liked to view his flock of friends from a distance.

Among them, Tom , Dick and Harry chased after daily at the top of their list of needs

Tom asked Sully “ Don’t you feel hungry ?”

“ Why ? Being apart gives me time to think and observe.” replied Sully.

Dick asked “what do you observe?”

“Oh , the scramble for food and a lack of concern for the other”

Harry interjected “ So , you think we are selfish!”

“Oh no , I mean , there are ways of seeking food , without outdoing the others and competing with the crows and pigeons.”

“Besides ? I may find tasty morsels from my perch , with an eagles eye.” said Sully.

Suddenly an eagle swooped down and carried away a tiny sparrow .

“Did you see that ? And there are some delicious live insects and worms , much better than the feeder with boring grain.”

Leader Tom now quite irritated shrieked “ You think you know it all.”

Sully looked on “ Does it disturb you that I am on my perch , enjoying the cool breeze and observing your crazy scramble ?”

“ Will food run out ?”

So this was the reason for the scramble :

Will I take what I require for today, or grab and horde , for tomorrow?

Do I care for the needs of others .

I saw the coppersmith barbet carrying morsels of food for its young in the nest holed out in the bark of the May flower tree.

Coppersmith Barbet

Do not worry

‘Your Heavenly Father feeds them all.’ (Matthew 6:26b)

The Crow’s Nest (A ray of hope)

A couple of crows

Preparing their home

With bare necessities ,

Branches , and anything in sight

They fly to and fro

Up and down ,

Beaks holding

A stick or two for a nest.

I see a ray of Hope as these crows

Prepare for new lives

Despite the silence of

People in lockdown mode .

Is this not a sign from the Master,

Of new life ahead?

Just as the dove held an olive branch

At the end of the great flood ?

Thank you Lord

For your love and compassion

You care for us

And your mercies are endless .

We Stand Still

Sunshine of hope ,

Birds singing

Butterflies flitting

And all at peace

Can you imagine the entire world

today stands still ;

Pray where is the hustle and bustle

of Man who had

no time for anyone

least of all to

recognise our Creator .

Does the Lord have to do this,

To send a virus ?

To draw attention

to Himself ;

from creatures who forgot their Creator ?

On our knees we pray ,

Lord have mercy

Forgive us our trespasses ;

Send us your healing touch

And give us New Life

As we live again

To love and serve you

To meet and greet

To rejoice ,

To cherish another

Family , friend or foe,

Rich or poor,

To resolve our differences

And to live in peace , where

‘The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling together,

and a little child shall lead them.( Isaiah 11:6)

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.(Isaiah 11:9)