Category Archives: Life and Education

My embarrassing moments

The WhatsApp message

My cousin had always hoped that I would accept his dinner invitation , which somehow did not seem to happen .

Finally , I messaged him that this time I was ready to accept it , on my trip to Goa.

I asked “ Will 27th May work for you ‘

He replied “ Yes Vincent, you and your wife are welcome to dinner ; you can come here and I’ll drop you’ll home .”

I typed out a reply on the WhatsApp accepting this invitation.

We travelled to his home . However we were in for a shock . His home was dimly lit . It looked as if there was no expectation for a dinner invite. I tried calling him but got no response. I thought that he may have gone to church, which is nearby.

We then rang his door bell . Roy (name has been changed ) just out of his shower opened the door and said quite seriously“ I called you for dinner.”

I replied “ Yes , we have come for dinner.”

“But you did not reply to my message; and we were wondering whether you were coming or not.” said a surprised Roy.

“I did reply”

“No you did not “ and out came his mobile and he showed me the messages . It was true that my message had not reached him.

I checked my phone and realized that even though I had typed the message , it was not ‘sent’. This left me very embarrassed.

The outcome of this episode was that Roy hosted a delectable dinner , ordered from restaurants nearby.

Roy’s wife Jane regretted that they could not give us a home cooked meal , though we had a good chat to catch up with times gone by .

A tale of two ‘Alloysious’

Sometime ago , I received a video call from a person I knew . He had a broad face and quite bald .

I gladly spoke “Hello Fr Alloysious , so kind of you to remember me after such a long time “ (Fr Alloysious is bald)

He responded “so how are you Vincent ?”

I then realized moments later that it was not Fr Allosious but Alloysious .

I was embarrassed at this gaffe.

However Alloysious carried on the conversation as if he did not notice .

Did he really ?

PS: names have been changed

Refuelling

….with another mistake

This incident occurred while we were on a short holiday in Goa .

Anjean and I drove to church for the early service at 7.30 am. I normally don’t carry my mobile phone to church .

After mass, we decided to refuel at a petrol pump nearby .

The attendant asked me “How many litres do you require ? “

“Full tank” I replied

When he finished refuelling for us , I told him

“I’ll pay by card “ as I was not carrying any cash .

I searched my pockets , and found nothing.

I realized my card was in the folder of my mobile which was left at home .

Thankfully my wife spoke in the local language , Konkani

“ Ami rokdo yetha “ ( we will return fast)

The man was gracious enough to allow us to go home and return to complete our payment .

People were surprised that the attendant allowed us to go inspite of our car having an out station registration, which the locals find difficult to trust .

Discovering Happiness

Two friends grew up together. Both had different approaches to life .

Errol was the serious one and devoted himself to studies in school . Merrill was fun loving and enjoyed games but also studied .

This approach was noticeable when they went to university.

“ Errol will you take part in the the football team selection ?”

“ No , Merrill , I am preparing my notes for history .Are you prepared ?”

“ I have made some points and will elaborate on them as I prepare for the exams, “ replied Merrill. “ However , I’m taking part in the team selection.”

Merrill went ahead and was selected for the college team .

During those days there was also a social . They went for it .

“ Merrill , guess what , I met Daisy , and she showed a lot of interest in me . She is also very studious“

“ Oh, that’s good news “

“ I met many of our friends, but will not get into any serious relationship so early.” said Merrill .

“ I have a tournament very soon , and will be involved with practices. “

Exams began in a few months .

Errol did very well , whereas Merrill had average marks .

Merrill did well in football . He devoted time to studying, and balanced his time , with sports .

Errol’s relationship, took a toll on his studies.

In the following year, his performance in the exams was just average. Merrill too did okay .

“Hey, Errol , why don’t you take time off from all this serious stuff and get into recreational activity .”

So Errol decided to play badminton .

That was the turning point for him. His grades improved .

They both finished their education . Merrill secured a good job , and so did Errol with his all round approach .

They married and settled in their new homes .

Errol worked hard and long hours . He had less family time . This affected his relationship with his wife . Very soon troubles started .

Merrill was happily married . He continued to have an all round approach to life and work . He enjoyed family time . He worked hard and never brought work home .

One day they met and shared their highs and lows .

“Errol , I am doing well in my job. However my relationship with Daisy is poor. What shall I do ? “

“ I believe you should balance work , recreation and family time . I make it a point to take Rose and the kids for outings, and help at home of course . “

“Do you pray , Errol ?”

“ I have no time for that .” replied Errol .

“ Try, doing what I just told you.”

In a few months, Errol experienced joy in his life . His relationship at home improved .

He also did well in his job . He made it a point to keep his off day to rest. recreate and help at home.. He kept time daily to pray .

“Thanks Errol for your help . I’m now much better . Happiness has returned to me .”

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord ; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near . There is no need to worry ; but if there is anything you need, pray for it , asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. ( Philippians 4: 4-7)

Seasons of Life

Why do we have seasons

of sunny weather and white winters

Autumn of hope

And the birth of Spring

Can we overlook autumn

Cos it causes Fall

Wait a while

Before the fall of leaves

There is the riot of colour

Green to red and rust

who could imagine that

Uniform green could change

To such diverse colours

Life changes with years

Newness of life to mellowness of age

Is it all about the bold and beautiful

And what about wisdom of the wise

Discovery of talents

coffee chats and creativity

Time for tennis and golf with friends

To follow football and cricket

and critical comments thereafter

Cherish quiet times with loved ones

Specially with the Master of all

Who we return to

at the end of all seasons

Squirrels ahoy ! ( Fluffy and Duffy )

“Hey Duffy , let’s visit the garden below .”

“What’s the hurry Fluffy ? “ responds Duffy .

“Do you realise winter is approaching? We need to stock up our food reserves .” says Fluffy.

“ I think we can manage for the week Fluffy .”

“ Just think. will that last for the long winter months ?” asks Fluffy

“You have a point there , but where will we store our reserves ? “ enquires Duffy .

“Simple ! ! We hide them at different locations in the garden and the bark of trees.” answers Fluffy .

“Another concern is the scarcity of our food type ; buds , fruit and nuts will not be easily seen in the winter days .” worries Duffy .

“Oh Duffy , do you see the bird feeder this human family keeps replenishing ? Let’s try getting some of that . “

“ Listen Fluffy, that feeder can be difficult to reach . It’s meant for birds only .”

“ That’s no problem .I’ll show you the way. You remain on the ground below the feeder .”

So Fluffy went to the top of the wooden frame and accessed the feeder by descending downwards . He began feeding on the bird food . Duffy waited below for any feed dropping on the floor.

“Listen Fluffy. I have an idea. Chew onto the string holding the feeder and let the feeder fall . Then we can have a feast .”

Fluffy chewed the string and down came the feeder. They both enjoyed the feed .

Now what happened next is interesting .

The family took time to restore the feeder to its original position and thus ended the squirrels adventure.

Fluffy and Duffy resumed their search for food in berries , flower buds , and nuts.

They both realised that it’s always good to

‘Save for the times when there may be scarcity .’ ( the saying commonly used – save for a rainy day or the wintry days ! )

The bird feeder provided food for that day , and depended on the compassion of the human family to restore and replenish it.

Autumn leaves and life

The trees beckon me as I walk pass them . I noticed one tree with leaves well marked and serrations at its edges . I picked one and walked further . How about the new leaves , I thought ,which looked appealing . I returned to pluck the little fresh leaves and walked home .

Aging of life struck me . Just as man ages so does all life . However the life lived is important. Have you noticed the old leaf has a few tears , may be due to the weather . It has good markings and well shaped . Of the Young leaves , one looks good while the other has tears.

Environment has an impact on the life of the tree and its leaves . How does the tree adjust to the strong winds , heat and even polluted atmosphere? There will be some wear and tear when it is exposed to such weather. Good rains and a good environment will help the growth of this tree .

In mankind, our lives get affected by our surroundings and our adaptation to them. Whether young or old , how one lives is important.

Do I live a life of moderation or one in the fast lane ? I am sure you will know the effect of either .

Wear and tear can occur at any time, irrespective of age . The day we are born , one begins to age ….however one can live a full life with grace from God. Facing the challenges of life become easier.

In autumn, leaves begin to change colour . There is beauty even when a leaf ages . It’s colour can be very attractive.

Inner beauty gets reflected on the outside in a person , no matter the age.

Jesus helps to live a full life .

He says ‘ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10)

Badey Bhai: Aroon

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 !

Aroon and Elaine
Grandchildren Nirvan and Araya
Grandchildren Christin and Matt
Vincent and Aroon

Tennis for a cause : service with smiles

The last six months were very eventful . I was given the latest treatment for cancer in UK which helped me to recover remarkably .

I’ve been suffering since the past two and half years , and this Car-T cell therapy was the last option .

The NHS specialised department , gave me the best care . I was also a recipient of care from the Beatson’s Center for Scanning .

Now I’ve been able to live a normal and full life . One of my dreams was to return to playing tennis . A good friend agreed to have a few sessions with me at the Giffnock Tennis club , of which I’ve become a member.

A recent event was organised by the club to raise funds for the Beatson’s Center . It was the Jean Invitation Tennis Tournament . This lady was herself a regular tennis playing member who has cancer .

I being a beneficiary of the good care received from NHS and the Beatson’s Center decided to also participate .

It was a great day . The tennis was more fun than competitive with two large teams being formed from about 40 gents and ladies . The points and games were a mix with a lot of innovations mainly doubles . Sponsors for beverages pitched in to quench one’s thirst between games .

I enjoyed myself , with tennis and meeting the various participants. Towards the end of the event Jean ( in whose name the event was organised) made an appearance and was given a grand ovation by all present .

The thought of fundraisers for cancer has struck a chord in my heart .

I’ve also heard of marathons and half marathons being run for this cause . Surely the generosity of people will help in alleviating a lot of distress when terminal illness strikes .

May such gestures multiply in the future .

Different Strokes: A Profile of Ganesh Tayde

It was a pleasure to meet Ganesh Tayde, at his exhibition .

The Strokes exhibition was unique. It thrilled me to see the various exhibits .

There were art works of fashionable models in elegant attire . Birds and animals seemed to present themselves in just a few strokes of a brush

Intrigued I asked Ganesh how does he conceptualise this work .

I was under the impression that with a few strokes he developed the drawing at that moment .

He shared his story that , he first looks at what is required of him by a client . He then works around the idea on paper , sometimes about 35 drafts for one product. He selects the most suitable one and then gives it a finish .

His work speaks for him . This latest venture into strokes is most creative . He also exhibited some excellent paintings with various themes .

Ganesh has been an Arts professor for years and many of his students are now renowned artists themselves

He specialises in graphic designing and paintings and has been in this line for the past 40years . We wish him many years of Creativity .

May he inspire all his students to become inspirational like him.

Ganesh’s contact details:

gmtayde20@gmail.com

http://www.ganeshtayde.com

A walk in the cold wintry air

My grandson does not believe in a walk . For him it’s more a frolic and a jump into any puddle.

“Daniel, you’ll get wet “ I tell him .

He smiles and looks for the next one .

“Grandpa, look, I’m only a little wet”

But when you see him, the wetness is more than you can imagine .

However Karen is patience personified. She happens to be my daughter and Daniel’s mother.

We walked for about 45 minutes As a senior citizen I tried a bit of slow running . The cold air of Clarkston was refreshing but biting through the 3 layers of coats.

Seeing Daniel tag along and jumping into the puddles left me wondering. From where did he get that energy and adaptation to the cold weather (3*)

Daniel’s fun ends with fatigue setting in after about 30 minutes, and he cries out “Mummy carry me.” I’m amazed at how Karen can carry him the rest of the walk as he is quite heavy.

We are in the midst of the pandemic.

But the walk with social distancing keeps us in good health.

For Daniel …..the puddles and frolic are the escapades from the routine at home.

This little blog was written during the winter in Scotland

An amazing recovery

Who can explain the miracle of healing ?

This has been a long journey of cancer since the past two and a half years .

I’ve been through 2 cycles of chemotherapy, one cycle of radiation and immunotherapy after which my doctor in Mumbai shared that he had done his best. Nothing more could be done in Mumbai and I was given just 3-6 months to live.

He recommended Car-T Cell therapy which is currently the newest treatment available in UK.

We were told this in November 2020.

Now here is where the hand of God intervened in my life. My son Ralph sent us his details from London , so we could apply for dependency visa. In a matter of a few weeks we were granted this visa and our flight was arranged by our children to fly into UK on the 3rd December.

This was a sudden departure and left us no time to even think of any concerns of leaving home .

Our time was just right to celebrate Christmas with our children in UK.

In Scotland, we were given a warm welcome by the leader of the Community of the Risen Lord. A few of our friends too reconnected with us and assured us of prayers.

In January I was given a call by NHS for consultation with the doctor . That was a scary meeting , when I was told the risks involved with the new treatment. However I chose to go ahead , as this was the final recourse .

In February my T- cells were taken for re-engineering and within two weeks I was admitted for 3 weeks at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital when my T-cells were re-administered into my blood stream .

Thanks to God , I did not suffer any major side effects except for a loss of appetite, for a short time. The care given by the team of doctors and nursing staff was outstanding . Even the food provided was good .

I must share , that throughout my two years of cancer treatment, I had lost count of the number of Covid tests and blood tests done . Also petscans , biopsy, the Hickman line and the PICC line , were things I just accepted.

After 3 months my petscan showed that most areas were clear of cancer except a few remained . Then by end May 2021 these also cleared up ; however a small area in the lower back still glowed in the petscan .

So a biopsy was done and on 17th June 2021 , I was finally given an all clear report .

There was a moment of concern when I caught a cough and cold virus from my grandchildren . This got aggravated and led to me being hospitalised . Antibiotic drips were administered and I’ve recovered .

Looking back , I’m amazed at the events which led to my cure from cancer .

This does not mean my life here on earth is endless, but to appreciate the new lease of life God has given me .

He is the living God who cares , loves and heals . He is my greatest treasure . I know that I can now suffer the loss of everything here, in the knowledge that God is always present to hold and care for me .

I’m extremely grateful to all my family , friends and community members, my priest friends and Brothers of the Servants of the Word who have been praying for me and reaching out to me in so many ways.

A special thanks to members from the Sword of the Spirit Communities worldwide , who have been praying for me . My batch mates from college too have been encouraging and offering their prayers .

I’m grateful to my children Karen, Annalize, Ralph and Larissa for all their help. My daughter Karen and her husband Tommy, have been hosting Anjean and I in Scotland . They have been with me through all the visits and checkups at the hospital . Anjean has been my rock , always praying for me .

What is my purpose in life ?

…..importantly to accept all that God sends into my life and sharing the suffering with Jesus who can continue his work of redemption as only he can , through each of us .

…… to give glory to God in all that I do , accepting his will at all times. May his name be praised for evermore.