Is there a difference between friendship and brotherhood ? Aroon is a friend but has been more than a brother to me . I could not resist in writing this blog.
Aroon shared stories of his younger days . He spent a part of his childhood until 4 years old, in Mangalore as a result of which his knowledge of English was limited.
When he was brought to Bombay ( now Mumbai) his schooling in English left him lagging behind others . A teacher Mrs.Betty Guerra included him in her class for slow learners . This brought about a sea change and Aroon began rising to the top 10 in the class .
At the high school level he proved to be an excellent sportsman . He won the Intermediate championship in Athletics, and was good at football, basketball and hockey.
He thought he had a calling to the priesthood and joined the Jesuits seminary soon after school. He spent 9 years when doubts crept in . After serious discernment he decided to take a break from the Jesuits after completing a Bachelor in Philosophy degree .
In a short time thereafter Cupid’s arrow struck . He was on the ship to Goa . A group of teachers were also on this voyage. That is when he met Elaine . As the ship sailed through choppy waters, Elaine was impressed with his calm faith in God .
Much later Elaine heard Aroon speak at a church event and the rest became his -her-story leading them both to the altar for a marriage made in heaven.
Aroon later did a diploma in HR with Xavier’s Institute of Management. He worked several places with Contour, Chaitra , Lintas, did Head Hunting and then Administrator with a Teacher Training Organisation.
The best still awaited . He left professional services to make himself available to the Community of Jesus: Light of the World, and went on to lead as Senior Coordinator. This is a community of committed Christians affiliated to the Catholic Church and the Sword of the Spirit Communities worldwide.
I remember writing a tribute in the Community newsletter ‘Maranatha’ , when he handed over the mantle of leadership to his successor Agnelo, that Aroon will never hang up his boots ; he will continue to serve in any way he is called .
He has proved to be a brother who always affirms and reaches out to others . He is creative and musically inclined . His writing skills were given as an example to others when studying at the seminary .
He has written and directed several plays for the J B Petit School where Elaine was a teacher .
Importantly Aroon is a great Family man …
He is father of 2, Sandeep and Sangeeta and grandfather of 4. He dotes over his grandchildren of whom he has written some humorous articles (always beginning with Papa:) in the Community newsletter .
Some years later , I requested him to join my team when I took on the mantle of Senior Coordinator in the Community of Jesus:Light of the World. He obliged and was a great support to me during my tenure. We consider each other as Badey Bhai and Chhote Bhai (Hindi for big brother and small brother) I have known him to speak up when it matters. We were so close that we fought the good fight in discussions when one did not agree with the other …. but always maintained our brotherhood .
In Aroon’s words :
“The years of being in the Leadership Team of CJLOW brought me into closer interaction with you (Vincent). We developed a closer relationship because of openness, transparency and (forthrightness??) Our candidness insaying what was on our mind, even heatedly at times helped to clear the air. Agreed to disagree, sometimes. But remained friends”
He visited me often during my cancer treatment. The chats with him were always encouraging . I know that Aroon has likewise reached out to many who may be sick and need assistance.
His interest in music and song is notable. Often he could put a choir together and either sing or contribute with the guitar. The occasions could be for church events, weddings and even funerals. He has written poems and adapted songs to suit the occasion . He has raised memorable toasts at weddings with his wit and command over the English language .
One attribute I admire most is Aroon’s ability to affirm others for their talent , or a job well done . The second is his sense of humour . Occasionally he sent me into splits of laughter when he recounted incidents and gave it a twist of wit.
So this my friends is all about brotherhood
A call to go beyond oneself to be of service to another .
Keep up the good work Badey Bhai !