All posts by viewvin

About viewvin

Always looking ahead with hope! having learnt from the past, and living while learning in a faithfilled present.

Tale of two tails ( the two pigeons)

“Say Saffy  , why don’t  we play a game.”  Suggests Daffy as he  and Saffy perch on the nearby parapet.

“Are you ok ? To think of playing games when all these humans are so stressed about some virus.”  

“Any way tell me what do you have in mind” Saffy looks with enquiring eyes.

“ Well have you ever thought of  how tḥe wind blows?”

“Daffy , I don’t understand what game this is? Please be  simple and clear.”

“ See, Saffy , when we fly, which is easier ; with the wind or against it ? “

“Obviously with the wind is easier.”

“Ok then , lets fly around the world , and see whether we reach this place agaiṇ.”

“ We can both go together , with the wind. “

Thus started ān adventure by these two pigeons . What is in Daffy’s mind ?

They both realized that as they flew, there was a lot to observe. The entire environment had changed. The skies were clear. Forests  reappeared.  The rivers flowed with pure water.

“Have you any idea whether there is still a hole in the sky?” asked Saffy.

“ I don’t understand such things , Saffy, but I do know that flyiṇg in the sky is less stressful and a real pleasure.”

The two friends continued ,their journey. They saw new developments …. not  the Crane and  Construction  work. No in the various  trees, nest building began with great fervour.

“Daffy , when do you plan to settle down ? “

 “Hey Saffy , please don’t speak about settling down. Just see what the smart humans have done with their ‘settling’ and ‘developing’ “

“ I’m surprised that  these people can stay in one place and quieten down. Why could they not do this earlier? Their incessant desire to be on the move, certainly caused changes, harmful to us. “

Thus Daffy and Saffy flew along , chatting all the time.

As they flew together ,they encountered   many other birds. The various calls and flurry of feathers, seemed  to be a celebration of life. Clouds floated serenely against blue skies .

“  Hey Daffy, just look below. Is this the new earth? “

“ What do you mean ‘new’ earth; it was always meant to be like this, until all the new ideas of man changed everything for the  worse. “

“ And Daffy,these same  humans , want to spread their ‘wings’ to the moon and beyond.”

“ You better not talk too much , Saffy, nowadays , we are being watched closely.”

The two pigeons soon realized that their dream of flying around the world , would not materialize.

The direction of winds changed and  they thought it best to return to old nesting places.

There is a saying that birds of a feather flock together. Dear reader, when you see the two pigeons of  differing  color and breed, does it surprise you ?

They have  one  tale to share, inspite of differing tails. . Where are we with our differences. Do exteriors matter?

Do the hearts that beat in man , differ ? Can the same heart love and hate at the same time?

Tell me what gives life?  The choice remains….can I love or hate? 

Will my choice determine peace or strife?

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

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

Among them, Tom , Dick and Harry chased after daily necessities..food 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)

Justino & Crowie- How Hotel ‘Dona Eliza’ got its name

Justino Lobo

This is a true story about Justino an artist of great calibre whose multifaceted skills showed up in various ways.

I was privileged to meet with him and his wife Sonja , when Anjean and I were invited over to their home for dinner. Anjean is a school friend of Sonja That evening was eventful as I had a very interesting and intense conversation with Justino. He described his art and how he goes about it. I was amazed to know that he never planned his work on blank canvas.. He shared how he begins at one corner of the page and continued to draw or paint inspirationally throughout the page to cover it in entirety.

 I viewed some of his work and was stunned to see such drawings , with a finesse  unimaginable.  

I asked him “ Have you had any exhibitions of your work?” Justino replied “ I  am not interested in doing so. I just enjoy my work . I certainly do not like to put a tag to my paintings. I’d rather give it away,  than lose my peace of mind.  The only time I had been given an award nationally was many years ago. My   painting was sent for some exhibition in Delhi. I was surprised that they   recognised my work for a prize.

He was encouraged in art by his father Peter (PAN)Lobo, since the age of 4 years . He gave him a special room so he could scribble on the wall. Justino uses various mediums, like pallete knife, pen and ink and even pencil. When he gets into the mood, something happens and he begins sketching free hand , even from below at the bottom of the page upwards. He continues, to sketch where his dream takes him. He brings out the female figure without any vulgarity . His humility shows, when he acknowledges that there are so many artists better than him. Some lived , but some may have died in the womb. He appreciates life, and rejoices at the time given to him.

   Now we come to an interesting story. Every morning Justino spends time at his easel drawing or painting. ( he also does metal engraving art). One morning a crow came at his window and  cawed as if to say “ give me some food” while Justine had some breakfast by the side. So he kept some of it on the window sill. Crowie ( so Justino named her)  gobbled up the  feed, and waited for more. .Justino obliged.

Crowie
Perched on Justino’s easel

This practise continued the next day and even rest of  the days at meal times. She is now a regular visitor eversince.

Soon  Crowie got so familiar that she even perched at the top of Justino’s easel. You can imagine  Justino’s delight to have sucḥ an admirer of his work .

One of the important projects which Justino worked on, was an ‘apartment’ project at a family property in Calangute.  He was confident of his architectural talent ,  and with  his  artistic mindset, designed the entire project. His two sons , however had reservations about this project. They envisioned a hotel, rather than apartments for their future.

This did not deter Justino. With some deft strokes of his  innate talent, he converted the ‘apartment’ project  into a plan for a hotel within a short time.This project was accomplished in good time.

All that remained was to name the hotel. Thus started  the episode of writing names on paper and stacking them on the table. An assortment of names came up for consideration. The stack remained on this table. They were quite frustrated as they could not come to any conclusion. After all, a name carries a lot of weight and  gives the hotel a unique image.

One morning , Crowie flew into the dining room . She alighted on the table and began pecking and choosing the various pages on the table (with the shortlisted names for the hotel)

Finally after several pages being discarded on the side, Crowie pecked at one page, pulled it out of the stack and dropped it to the ground. Crowie then flew off.

Justino picked up that page ,  and looked at the written name…

It was ‘ Dona Eliza’, the name of his grandmother, and so this name remained for the hotel.

Justine’s sons Ashton and Ivan  , are proprietors of this hotel .

Justino and family

I wonder if Crowie, will get preferential treatment when she visits “Dona Eliza”.

I certainly am waiting to see this beautiful hotel at Calangute ,and wish that Hotel ‘Dona Eliza’ will flourish and be a ‘home away from home’ for many tourists who visit Goa.

Hotel Dona Eliza

Oh and here’s some news , on Crowie’s last visit, a baby crow came along. Justino has now  befriended Crowie’s growing family or is it Crowie’s way of introducing her family to Justino.

Crowie selecting the name
An invitation to lunch
Crowie enjoying her lunch

Why ? English Premier League & FPL

                    

Do you agree that football is one of the most popular games worldwide?

And which League is the best ?

My interest began about 8 years ago, when I was aquainted with youth who were great lovers of football. So I wisely began following some teams at the top of the English Premier League , i.e. Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal. Sometime later I was told by a young Man United fan, “seriously you should follow only 1 instead of 4 teams, its not fair to back so many teams .” ( As one of these could be serious contenders to Man United which was one of the best teams at that time). So that was the time I decided to follow Liverpool.

Their theme song ‘ You will never walk alone’ always inspired me .  However Liverpool did not fare very well , and most often was in the top 5 or at times even lower in position on the table.

Many of my acquaintances joked with me, “  your team will be walking alone”    at the bottom of the league.  I know and I’m sure most Liverpool fans will agree, that the resilience of the team and the perseverance  to ‘never give up’, has been a significant part of the character of the team members.

 Even though   Liverpool slowly   improved in their position since the past few years, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020, have been a revelation. They were remarkable in their victory at the UEFA Champions League in 2019 and that same year in the EPL ,  ManCity won with just 1 point away from runnersup Liverpool .

Liverpool also won the Nations Club World Cup in 2019 .  

This  year 2020 was    even better, when they ran away with a margin of 25 points from second placed ManCity.  To think that no team on the EPL can overtake them , is enough to consider them as Champions of the English Premier League. It will surely be cruel to see nobody being given the Cup, because of non-completion of the remaining  match fixtures. This is   a delicate matter, mainly due to the  last 3 teams who are fighting to avoid relegation.  I hope wisdom prevails to resolve this matter.

Now I will share a bit of my involvement with the FPL ( Fantasy Premier League). I had never understood how the points system worked with the selection of a team. Thanks to one of the young men Wendell, I learnt the ropes to form the team ‘Challengers’ this year. The previous years team was formed too late after the season had started so I was way down in the league table.

This year my team ‘Challengers’ did quite well to  lead in two  private leagues 1) GenSYS league table and 2) Londinium . In both tables my team’s  current   Postion is no. 1 . This came about with some constant watch and study of good players from the different teams. Many factors come into play, whether its a home match,   form of the players, formation whether defence or attack oriented,  and making transfers  to get the best team. This foray into the FPL led me to watch even more matches in the EPL , as   it gave me insights into the best football players from the other teams.

I am not surprised to see guys  , getting their teams ready before the Friday deadline for team selection.This can be to the annoyance of others who are not involved, ānd  find that enthusiasm difficult to digest.

In conclusion , I am overjoyed to see my team Liverpool on top of the English Premier League table and my team ‘Challengers’ also top the private leagues of the FPL that I have participated in.

I hope that the Corona virus pandemic will end in the coming months, and we will appreciate coming back to our normal lives. ….which will also include sports …and football….and the EPL.         

In the meantime, we

STAY SAFE, STAY HEALTHY AND BE POSITIVE.

WE CAN TRUST ALMIGHTY  GOD AT THIS TIME!

AT THE END OF THE ROAD IS A GOLDEN SKY

AND THE SWEET SILVER SONG OF THE LARK……..so walk on , walk on , with hope in your hearts.         

Tennis Courts and Dreams

My love for tennis, goes back to more than 25 years ago. I remember playing the game with my eldest brother Allwyn at the Catholic Gymkhana. We enjoyed a good set and developed reasonable skills to play in the member’s tournaments and even represent the Gymkhana at a local tournament.

However as  the years went by, and our tennis too ended. Among many reasons was the  closure of the courts at the Gymkhana

I remember purchasing a book on learning the nuances of tennis and had passed on some of these tips in coaching my son Ralph when he was 8years old. Many things were discarded during my house repairs some time ago. This book however remained with me purely out of a dream of playing tennis again.

The year 2019 was very eventful when I was diagnosed with cancer. I recovered with treatment and in August departed on a 3 month holiday with Anjean. This holiday was a gift from our 4 children and covered Dubai, London, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

My dream of playing tennis again began in Dubai,  with  the Saldanha brothers . Ian my son in law was very considerate in arranging  tennis sessions with his brother  Colin and his father in law Alex.

Our first session was at  Alex’s courts and the next at Colin’s courts. Ian and I played some good tennis , but with Colin  on the other side and his fast serves ….we  lost closely.

The second session was even better  . I was quite adept at placements ; we still lost…with a tough fight. Ian and I shared a ‘never give up attitude’ .We ended with some cold beers and relaxed time with Colin’s piano accompaniment to our spontaneous songs

My next visit to a tennis court  was at Glasgow. This just  happened when I casually mentioned to a friend John Jackson  over coffee, about my interest in tennis. He later spoke  to  John Coyle a lover of tennis himself, who  arranged for us to  play some good  tennis ‘doubles’ with regular members. I played fairly well, losing the first set , and then winning the next two sets, rotating our  partners.

The second session was  the following week and happened to be a tournament. This proved a challenge for me. The tournament was played on a  round robin basis of doubles . About 20 members many regular and established tennis players  teamed randomly and  points were awarded according to the games  a person won. Thankfully I was given a handicap with whoever teamed with me. My game improved a  bit and I was surprised that I could get some good volleys, cross court shots, and deft placements. To top it all, I got some good serves down the T . There was a winner and  runnersup, but for me , the best souvenir was the group picture at the end of the mini tournament.

My final encounter with tennis courts was at tḥe Bombay Gymkhana. Courtesy Kirk D’Cruz a good friend , with whom I reconnected. He was gracious to host me for a couple of sessions at the Gym. We got into the rythm quite fast and were soon stroking the ball well. I was surprised that we could actually play singles and enjoy it, The second time we went for a session, I struck the ball so hard that the strings of my aging racket snapped . This was adequately compensated when Ian , my son-in-law gifted me an excellent Wilson racket on his visit to Mumbai.

Ralph joined us at the most recent session of tennis at the Bombay Gym on his visit from UK. He too had not played the game since the age of 8 years . When he got on court , I was stunned to see him hit the ball so well with tḥe correct style . He enjoyed the session a lot . From the sidelines I just admired his game, as he practised with Kirk and both had some power packed ground strokes.

We never got a repeat of these sessions , as Ralph soon returned to UK.

 My fascination with tennis began in school, when I had not yet learnt to hold a racket. But I read every tennis article in the sports page from start to finish. One of my brothers even enquired , how and why I did that.  Famous names of those days were Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Margaret Smith, and later,Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Boris Becker.. and some more like Cliff Drysdale, Mats Wilander , Steffi Graff. We cannot forget Nadal and Djokovic !

 As I end this note on  tennis, I must also mention some books I’ve read on tennis players. Rod Laver’s ‘An Autobiography’…I always admired him the way he carried himself, with  a quiet dignity and confidence, but a rocket on court,  Andre Agassi’s , ’OPEN: An Autography ‘  he was very candid about his love and hate for tennis, Roger Federer’s ‘Biography’ by  Chris Bowers, ( wonder when he will write his autobiography) , and finally Arthur Ashe’s ‘Days of Grace’ . the last was the most inspiring for  the way he handled his  unfortunate Aids  infection through blood transfusion  at the time of his heart surgery .

I liked his famous quote …..If I were to say,” God, why me? About the bad things,” then I should have said ,”God, why me?” about the good things that happened in my life. …

This helps me to reflect on the numerous blessings God has blessed me with, since all these years, despite my recent challenges.

Thank you Lord , for all these , even, for the  dreams of tennis, being fulfilled.