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The Train……of Thought

 

The quiet of day

And the distant hoot

Of a train hurrying

To its end;

Sets  my thoughts

Of past holidays

With family

 

The city disappears

In the dark of night

Save the twinkling of

Its  lights.

The thrill of brothers

Excited at the trip

Tease to irritate.

 

Dawn breaks next day

With the chug of the

Steam engine

Sleek in shape;

Smoke in your eyes

Tears streaming away

 

Cotton fields whiz past

But where are they now?

 

My  Train

Of thought streams

Into the present

Faster and longer

Running out of steam

Into the electric age

 

More cities

Less country

I see the signs  to

Save the environment

And then

back to the future

 

Are you with me

On this train

Of thought ?

Always Gentle,Always Calm, Allwyn

 

Allwyn is my eldest brother. He has always been a soft spoken person, who shows compassion, wisdom and understanding . Its no wonder that he still continues with his medical profession even at his age. Patients wait to consult and be treated by him . He has reduced his hours and often takes time off to visit his children who have settled in the USA.

He has been a role model to me. From early days, he was the responsible elder brother.

He studied well through School and College. It was rare for us in those days to  prefer Jai Hind College over St. Xavier’s College. But Allwyn proved a point, that with regular and steady performance, one can do well even otherwise.

He took part in extracurricular activities and yet did well in his academics. He played hockey and joined the National Cadet Corps. I thought he looked smart in that uniform. He went on to study medicine at the Grant Medical College. I remember him starring in some of the hockey matches for the team, and even getting on the goal scorers list. His ability to play the accordion, helped to form a college band for their social event. Yes I was present on stage with them, and importantly helped to steady the drums which tended to shake while the drummer got into the mood.

Another vivid  memory was at the GMC Christmas party, when my twin brother and I were asked to play a duet ( me on violin and he on accordion) and it set the whole group into a festive mood , when Jingle bells was played; everyone joined in the fun, with a march to this tune. As youngsters we were very amused to see some very beautiful friends of Allwyn , trying to make an impression on us, ( after all we were Allwyn’s brothers!)

Allwyn would spend regular hours in preparation for his medical exams. In summer , if we were away, and he stayed back to study,  his appetite for mangoes would wane. However this changed when we returned and he joined the gang for a share of this delicacy with gusto.

October was the season for kite flying. If and when Allwyn joined us on the terrace, it was a privilege and we enjoyed that evening even more.

His wedding to beautiful Pamela, was a happy time. They have 3 children and all successful in their careers and happily married too. One of the more important features, was that eventually I too settled to wed Pamela’s cousin , Anjean.

Allwyn is a brother, doctor and confidant to me. Often he reached out to me at my downtimes and I remember one of those moments, when he accompanied me to the Ferry Wharf, for some quiet moments. His ability to listen and advise was greatly appreciated.

We also enjoyed a good game of tennis. Age was no bar and Allwyn displayed some good stroke play and strategy. The rare times I won a set from him were few and far between.

I remember him outplaying the top seed in the Catholic Gymkhana Tournament. Suddenly during that match, his opponent fell and hurt himself. However when play resumed, Allwyn reduced his intensity (out of pity, mercy?) and surprisingly lost that match. His opponent went on to win the tournament.

Allwyn was talented in art and writing .  His ability to write poetry and essays, helped his daughter to win trophies with her elocution .

He treats his patients with great dedication. He is gentle and exercises judicious care when prescribing medicines ; of course his diagnosis is very accurate. Most of all is his care for the two assistants (compounders). Recently one of them was seriously sick, due to a serious upper neck (spinal ) problem. He went beyond the call of duty to  ensure he got all tests, surgery etc done for a full recovery and even expenses for hospitalization covered.

One cannot forget his humour and love of music. Christmas time with family meant a good time to celebrate the festive family lunch with song and some light hearted jokes. I think he is also a voracious reader ( I will need his review of this blog!)

As years went by , we did have some differences and viewpoints;  I still respect him as Allwyn never lost his patience. In this respect he reminds me of our father. Its no wonder that he handled all family related matters with wisdom.

I wish Allwyn showers of blessings, with memorable and relaxed times at this stage of his life, with family and friends.

I write this article to reiterate my earlier blog  “ Before ….or After”

So let’s break tradition.. we can affirm people NOW! Tell them what we appreciate about them when they are here in our presence and will be encouraged .  It will make a world of a difference.

Travel back -A Peek at the Past

 

As I view the drumstick tree basking in the morning sun with its green sticks at  different stages of growth, It brings back warm memories of my childhood.

We had a little garden around our city home and there was  a drumstick tree in the neighbouring plot.

Somehow just seeing its tiny leaves and white flowers made me happy. We also had numerous such trees at our holiday home in  Borivili  , where mango trees were in abundance along with Jambul, banana and tamarind trees.

I look back and treasure those memories with family.

The journey by car was considered quite long. So in our family of seven, two of my older brothers would travel by the suburban train and the rest of us by car. I thought that the train travelers were very adventurous and envied them.

The fresh air on arrival at this holiday home revived us, and also brought on a drowsy and relaxed atmosphere when we settled in.

The deep well with a pulley system attracted us  and we eagerly took turns to draw water from it   which was quite a novelty for us city folks. Oh yes, the water was so good that the tea prepared from it had a delectable taste.

Have you sat on the branches of a mango tree and ate some of them ….we had a way of eating those we called sucking mangoes, from the end where it had the stem attached. So when you finished getting out the juice, you threw the skin and the seed away…

Our quaint bungalow had a first story with a balcony facing a creek. Wow, that was an experience, just to sit out and stretch our little legs to touch the railings and enjoy the sea breeze. With a dell comic book in hand , we enjoyed reading about the Road runners, Donald Duck , Micky Mouse, Roy Rogers, Lone Ranger, Superman, Sad Sack etc.

Since I was about 8 years old, I was not allowed to read Archies comics, which was for my older siblings…so having  a peek at it gave me a thrill.

Then the May flower tree had its own charm. We would try to grab one of its long flat ‘chickchicks’ because of its sound and sing along with that accompaniment.

We had a hill at the boundary of this property. It gave us opportunities to trek and get the feel of climbing a mountain . A vivid memory comes back of a skit performed extempore on that slope. i.e Red Riding Hood with the wolf .  I remember the wolf had a rope as a tail…which made us laugh.

Water was always scarce in the summer, inspite of our own  well water . So we would eagerly wait for the bullock cart drawn  carrier, which provided water at a price.

In those days , construction of neighbouring buildings had started. We would hear the blast of rock to level certain areas of the hill, which caused us great distress. We trembled with fear in anticipation of the next blast.

I cherish those memories with my parents and brothers. Even my grand uncle accompanied us on  these trips.

Beer was for the grownups; but I remember Dad giving me a sip….it tasted so good, that when I sip a beer today, it does bring back some of those memories.

Dad would meet the villagers and be updated on the events going on.

Today the landscape at Borivili has changed completely .

However the former landscape lives on in memory; who can change that?

So if ever you look back, take the liberty of visiting those beautiful times once again ….who knows it may help you to live today with a more joyful attitude.  Besides you can travel to those times and places without any travel plans. May it bring back more cheer into your life.

An Illusion


Is it permanent,

that which I can hold

and cherish;

For a time and yet

not for long

that which I have

to let go.

And yet it seems

a challenge

to love and relinquish

to grow and go

to places that beckon;

I see only dimly

but cannot go

but only let go.

Each one on his way

a pilgrimage of life;

Perchance I meet some

on this way;

Let me cherish

these times

hold memories

one can return to,

when life seems

an Illusion.​

REMINDER (Do I need it?)

 

When the word reminder is  split into 3 parts it will look like re-mind-er

In other words , it is something which I have in mind, to remember and do. How will you respond to a reminder. Does it make you happy?

I can share some of my own experiences specially when it comes to being given reminders from my better half. It irritates me sometimes. Why? Well, I know that this involves something which needs to be done somehow, and immediately, or it may refer to events , meetings, or oft times forgotten moments.

I reflect on the reasons why I dislike reminders..Is it because I think I know it all, and do not need reminders. Or does  it pressurizes me , when I have a busy schedule.

There are times when reminders  come even through  scripture.

Today I read from 1 Peter 5: 1-10  which speaks about how a leader of people should be like a shepherd of a flock entrusted to him  ‘not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it. . This reminder brought me back to the time when I was installed as a Coordinator of a Community , and it was clear that this leadership meant to ‘ never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow.” (1Peter5:3)  Today this reminder can be so helpful to leaders in all walks of life.

Soon after this I read in the following verses of the same chapter ‘Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat, Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things.’ ( 1Peter 5: 8,9)  This reminded me of the time I was on tour with my wife and she was robbed of her bag, which contained cash and her passport. It was quite disturbing , and we felt stranded in a foreign country without any help. At that time , my daughter, spoke to me on the phone and told us to read this particular verse from the bible. It gave us such consolation and strength, and we were then prepared for the challenge ahead.

So reminders can be God sent messages to help us in life, to keep us on track.

In the corporate world, what would happen if the secretary to the boss, did not remind him of his flight date and timing for important meetings. Reminders will also help him to prepare for important discussions ahead.

In life’s road , reminders serve to guide us on the path to an eternal destination. These will come in many ways. Are we listening? Or will it be like the Tin man in the  ‘Wizard of Oz’; he certainly does not know his way, and causes others to lose their way too. Reminders are like the compass or Lighthouse, which guides ships out at sea or near the coast.

When I am alert, and heed these reminders, I can be sure,that

‘I am on the right path’………..So let us all welcome ‘reminders’ with a smile.

 

Cyril’s Surprises

IMG_0158When you meet Cyril

DSC_0008 (2)Alphonso, you will be surprised. He is more tech savvy  than an average youth, inspite of his age ( 82years). He started off as a radio operator, but also held many posts at different times, when sailing with Wallem’s shipping Company.

My earliest memories as a young boy, was to see him at his verandah, giving us a wave of his hand in greeting. One vivid moment was, when he caught a kite that drifted into his balcony; he called out to me and handed over that precious piece of flying paper, which gave me great joy.

He was at that time one of the few am radio operators in India. He still operates under the code name VU2AY. Before satellites existed, the am radio operation was a sure way of communication in times of disaster or wars. Even today, the am radio  community of operators exists, and are in touch with one another.

His knowledge has since increased to computer stuff, which consists of hardware and software.

He has been of great help to the nearby St. Isabel’s School, where he started the Computer department. Subsequently he provides assistance to any person in need of old computer equipment for which he is adept at upgrading or providing solutions.

The miracle of Cyril, is that he now lives a second life. He was seriously sick and hospitalized. We wondered how he would come through after major stomach operations. But he has rebounded back to normalcy with a bang. After spending a lot of time being bed-ridden, he now walks around the neighbourhood. His faith in God, has given him this new lease of life.

Cyril is gifted with a knowledge of multiple languages i.e  English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, and Gujarati, and has the desire to learn even more of the local languages in India.

He has a compilation of spiritual music, and teaching modules which he has saved over the years.

But today, he is keen on passing on this treasury of knowledge in diverse streams , to his family and friends, rather than seeing it all going to waste. I am one of his beneficiaries.

Cyril has updated knowledge of all matters of the village specially in regard to the leased land.  He has made it a point to study old documents which provides relevant information when needed.

I got to know Cyril better during my visits with Holy Communion to his home. But with improved mobility, he made it a point to attend the Eucharist daily, in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, at Matharpacady.

I was in the midst of this article , and had not completed it for some weeks. Suddenly one day I got to know that Cyril had a heart attack, and was admitted to hospital for immediate surgery.

I was away from home, during this time, on a retreat;  I prayed that I may see Cyril well again, on my return. And yes, this wish was granted.  I was overjoyed to see him back home. He is slowly recovering, and his family is around him to shower him with their love and care. Cyril’s wife Sydel is a devout lady, and they have been happily married. A few years ago they celebrated their golden wedding. They have two sons and a daughter, who have all started families of their own.

A walk with Cyril, would be a slow walk , but with a lot of talk!

We wish Cyril many more fruitful years in the quaint environment of Matharpacady.

Note: the pic shows Cyril with his grandson, at his balcony…

Remain in my love

 

 

The Glory of the morning was evident when the sun’s rays highlighted the beautiful flower we call the Morning Glory. It is a very commonly seen flower which grows profusely on fences and makes an excellent screen.

However I write to  share my thoughts on the way God’s love helps me to face difficult moments, which is reinforced  by  observing the beauty of the Morning Glory.

Inspite of all the rigors of nature , the sunshine brings out the best in this beautiful blue flower.

I reflect on this, and realize, that all problems are not that easy to solve on my own. Just taking time off , and being quiet in the Lord’s presence like the flower basking in the morning sun, is a good reminder that the Lord’s wisdom is sufficient, provided I am quiet and have an attitude of listening.

So every day, whenever I face tough decisions or problems, I remind myself : It is time to be quiet and cast my burden on the Lord. His grace and wisdom is sufficient. He brings out the best in me.

Thank you Morning Glory for being such a good example of being open to God’s Love.

Let not bitterness, hatred and strife, steal you from this love of God.

In John 15:9 Jesus says’ As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.

Remain in my love,’

The Sparkling Diamonds

 

At sunrise I glimpsed through the tall trees and saw the sun peep through the foliage of various trees. I stood admiring  its rays streaming through to me.

And behold, I saw the spider’s web. It  may sound so mundane, a web, which every household seeks to banish away for the clean look. However, this was extraordinary.

The sun’s rays shone through the web and it glistened like diamonds in the sun. The exquisite work and design of the spider struck me. Surely it was not waiting to be applauded for such beautiful work. Yet  this was a masterpiece.

I reflected about the gifts and talents that so many of us have and are still in the process of discovering. Do I wait for approval from others or  should I revel in them and bring out the best in what has been gifted to  me.

What matters most, is that I do my best, like the spider. At the end of  the day, my contribution is for a purpose, and once that is fulfilled , it really does not matter about the accolades or brickbats.

Any talent grows when it is used  for  the common good of those around us.

Let us not glorify ourselves , but be grateful and glorify the One who freely gives us these abilities, talents and skills .

There are many master pieces waiting to be discovered!

Come to a better place

DSC_0126 (2)

I walked slowly and kept looking at the different plants by the roadside.

I saw one plant, quite tall, but most of its leaves were wilting. I ask this plant , “why do you look dejected. “The response from the plant seemed like “ It is my age that is showing”

Then suddenly I noticed a few tiny leaves, and shoots from one of the old branches peeping up. This  surprised me, and even encouraged me.

Surely there is a future for the old plant. Even though the old leaves wilt and drop to the earth; they  do not fall in vain.

The earth receives them into her arms and then gives birth to newness in other new plants and even leaves and shoots in the old plant.

So this set me thinking. Did not God call Abraham to a better place; to leave his immediate land and go to a foreign place.  What was Abrahams’s response? He trusted God and knew that God always gave the best. Even though he could not see it happening , he believed, and surely all throughout his life ,  he  looked forward to that better place.

Am I ready to bloom where planted and also to be ready to move to a better place when the time comes.

What appears to be slowing down, and diminishing is also ,getting ready for a better place.

The struggles of life, prepare one for a better life.

To abide with the Lord forever!!!

 

‘To Be’

‘To Be’

The gift awaits
As the day draws near;
Who are you?
The giver or the gift?
He came : The true light
In Him was life.
The life that is the light of man.

Are you ready?
To receive Him
The priceless gift,
And best of all?
His light shines in the darkness
And even today darkness cannot overcome it.

Then be a child once more,
Be born again,
Be transformed
Into His likeness
Reconcile, Renew and
Be His gift,
To your brother and sister.

‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.'( John 1:4,5)

Wish you the love, joy and peace of Christmas!