Try a little kindness

What does a young man do at times when the pandemic is prevalent.

Sam looked out of his window facing the road at Bandra. He is tall , very observant and a computer wizard . At heart he is compassionate.

He saw a very dejected looking man plodding past his home, at the end of the day . He seemed tired. Eyes were intense and lips red from chewing Paan . He was a bit grey, heavy set, with a drooping moustache.

Sam guessed the man needed help.

He hurried out to meet this man

“Where are you going ? Can I help you?

asked Sam

“Oh , I don’t know where ; I’ve lost hope “replied the man

“What is your name? Why are you not wearing your mask,” ( for protection during the Covid pandemic)

He quickly pulled out his mask and then replied :

“ My name is Mohan. I worked as a manual labourer at a godown, in Sion. Now there is no work , what can I do.”

Sam asked him a few questions about his work in the current pandemic . This triggered a flood of responses .

“Due to the restrictions most constructions have stopped. So how will there be any work? “

“Will you return to your village? “ enquired Sam

“I am worried as there are limited trains and many people like me ( migrant workers) are returning to their homes in the villages . “ said Mohan

“Do you have a place to stay? “

“Only for one week more , as I don’t have money to pay rent for the next month.”

“How about your food?”

“I cook just Dal /Rotis and veg , what is available, just one meal a day

It then struck Sam to direct Mohan to food counters set up outside the church nearby.

“Mohan, please go to St. Peter’s Church and you will meet some people who will help you.”

“Also Mohan , I will help you in booking a ticket to go home at your village. But please take care and wear your mask ok?”

Mohan’s entire demeanour changed . Hope returned , with a simple gesture of compassion from Sam .

Conclusion :

How can I help others during these times of trial ?

If you see your brother standing by the road

With a heavy load …..

Try a little kindness ( song by Glen Campbell)

Yes at St Peter’s Church , like many others , volunteers are doing yeoman service in providing food packets to many who are in need .

( Paan : is chewed after a meal or even at anytime . It is made of betel nut , chuna : slaked lime and red katha paste : from acacia tree and wrapped in betel leaf )

Back in time – to Goa

At a ferry crossing

In recent times Goa has been a popular tourist destination

About 60 years ago before Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule , it was a quiet place . Fields , rivers and its beaches were serene and beautiful. Goans were at peace and mingled easily with the Portuguese .

My journey commenced when I was aged 9 years . As a family we sailed from Bombay (now Mumbai) by one of the steamers namely Sabarmati which operated between Bombay and Karachi. We stopped at several ports until reaching Karwar . Due to the size of the ship, we disembarked into a smaller boat to take us ashore . The highlight of the voyage was the service of meals in the cabin . It was a typically Goan meal with fish , curry and rice or an option for a Continental meal . But the dessert was a grand finale as the waiter announced ‘ Caa.ra..mel , in a long drawl , making it sound the most delicious sweet . Yes the Caramel dessert lived up to its name.

In the evening an announcement was made for housie (tambola) and passengers flocked to the upper deck .

This voyage lasted for about 20-22 hours

We spent a day and night at Karwar in a quaint hotel with just the basics . The proprietor told us about a beach nearby . This was a disappointment, as it was only a stretch of sand near the sea.

Next morning we got ready after an early breakfast to cross by ferry to Sadashivgad .

At the jetty a poor blind beggar sat at the road side, singing a song ‘ Bombai cho Babu Goiem voita ani Goencho Babu Bombai voita’ with small hand cymbals to resonate.( a song for the travellers passing him to and fro). I vividly remember him with sadness.

From there , we travelled a 7km journey by bus to the southern border of Goa.

The next stage was to cross over ‘No Man‘s Land ‘, so called as this was a stretch between the border of India and Goa . We walked for about 5 minutes and reached Polem the border town of Goa

I don’t remember whether passports or visas were required , possibly a permit. The Portuguese soldiers manning the Goan side were quite impressive. They had smart uniforms ,with shorts , and revolvers at their side.

I recall a few interesting memories , at the border. It was a hot summer , and soft drink and soda bottles were being sold . While opening these bottles a loud wheezing sound would emit . Something like jaa-een -ka . It really amused me . The bottle had a marble at the top, which prevented the aeration to escape until the marble was pressed down by a special opener like a cap

Soda bottle

My grandfather from Goa, waited patiently to receive us in Polem. That moment was an emotional one for us specially for my mother who was seeing her father after some years .

Another thrill awaited us as my grandfather had engaged a private taxi to drive us all the way to Bardez, in North Goa. The taxi was of brand Peugeot , which thrilled us.

We hardly saw any foreign cars in Bombay at that time, except the Fiat , Standard or a Morris Minor. Our family car was a hump backed Dodge. I was surprised to see so many foreign cars and buses in Goa

Our taxi driver was well attired like a royal chauffeur , and a hat to top it all .

Goa was so beautiful as we passed forests , fields , homes and many , many churches and chapels . I still remember our chauffeur doffing his hat as we passed every church or chapel .

In those days , we grew up making the sign of the cross as we passed the church. I was quite scrupulous in doing this and would remind my brothers to do the same .

Crossing the river by ferry became a moment of curiosity and tension .

After a long drive , about 3-4 hours we reached our home in Goa . A warm welcome from my grandmother awaited us . She cried tears of joy to see us . So started my first holiday in Goa.

I dream of those days , going river fishing with my grandpa, and playing hockey in the fields with the local boys . We returned home to drink those fizzy beverages made by dropping a tablet in a glass of water. The evenings ended with stories of Africa by my grandpa .

He had a wealth of stories for us , about his time in Kenya, East Africa while serving with the District Administration.

I will leave that for another time to relate these to you dear reader.

Are you interested in …..listening ?

So what I say , should be for the good of listeners.

Do I speak to build up or destroy ?

Can I be an instrument to build unity ? Which is better? To spew venom or speak words of wisdom .

How will I be aware of my words? A good way will be to reflect either at the end of the first half of day or at the day’s end.

Surely I will know I have spoken well, and can note that as the highlight of the day.

Recalling poor words , will help me to avoid that in the future .

How do I speak with wisdom .

Listening will help a lot. One gets a good understanding of the context of things said or unsaid. An analysis of the conversation in progress , helps to give a good response .

Spending time in quiet meditation and prayer goes a long way. Wisdom comes from above. It’s a gift of God .

Am I boring? Do I talk too much ? I think many including me will not realise this .

A better way is to take interest in others ; in their successes , struggles , worries and their joys too. Giving the other person a chance to speak helps to generate a good exchange of speaking and listening .

When I write , Is it the same ? Here lies the difference. Unless I get feedback on what I write , there will be no exchange of thoughts from my dear reader .

The beauty of writing , though , is that it’s an invitation to come on to my plain of thought.

I end with the quote ,

The tongue of wise men distils knowledge ,

the mouth of fools spews folly. ( Proverbs 15:2)

NB: Picture and Gif, courtesy free photo library

Do you Perceive

It’s in details that a lot is discovered .

How does one understand this ?

It takes a lot of patience and minute perception to see and then take it forward .

I was not too interested in details : It’s only when doing sugar craft flowers that this aspect became important .

Each flower has so much to see and carve. Just imagine how God has created so much beauty and variety . Just visit the hills in summer and see the wild flowers . I won’t even know the various names , to the extent of the range of diversity .

Artists are good at perception . They look at details around them in nature and human beings too . They can bring out the character of a person so well . Every detail of expression of the face is brought out in the drawing or painting .

Authors do this in words which give a picture in the mind of the reader, when more details are described.

The more gifted the author , the more is the ability to capture a person’s characteristics in words . The reader can visualise and imagine the person being described. This can even permeate into the dialogue and various ways of the person’s speech.

Finally a word of how the eyes and face reveal a lot in real life … what is innermost in a person . The good within exudes a beauty of the individual which one sees . The opposite too happens when a person carries hatred and revenge.

‘ More than all else, keep watch over your heart, since here are the wellsprings of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

Glad heart means happy face (Proverbs 15:13b)

Shooting The Robins

The Pair of Robins

At first I saw only Mr Robin . He was quick as if on a mission . He proudly displayed his red chest. With short flights he flew first to the fence ; looked around and then descended onto the lawn .

“ Wait a while my dear , I will get a few leaves for our nest. “

“Yes ” replied Mrs Robin “ Yes indeed , with the winter gone , we need to hurry. “As she sat on the opposite fence below a bush all puffed up . They were soon to start their little family .

That’s the time a shot rang out . Mr Robin disappeared to safety .

There was silence for sometime. Mrs Robin seemed unconcerned on her perch amidst the bush over the fence .

Again Mr Robin flew down into the grass caught a another leaf in its beak , just in time as the second shot sounded .

This time his partner too flew off and he followed .

What were these shots …. would anyone try shooting robins ?

…….after all even the click of a camera will be loud enough for robins to fly away . Do you think they will return tomorrow ?

Turn off the Shower

Running shower head

So it’s Day 3,of my stay at the hospital.

The care has been excellent. I’m in line for the CAR-T Cell Therapy at Glasgow. In view of this latest treatment for cancer, hygiene is given utmost importance. My room is self contained with the bath attached.

This morning I arose a little late as I was in pain .

As a result, my morning routine changed . I had breakfast and then proceeded for a shower. I was surprised when the nurse called out a little later,

“Turn off the shower.”

“I’m ok “ I replied , thinking that she came to help me .

Again she called out with urgency.

So I hurriedly wrapped the towel around me with some soap still on myself.

As I opened the bathroom door I saw a pool of water in the room. Water had also flowed out into the corridor .

Most embarrassing: three nurses were helping to swab the floor.

I asked them apologetically , “ How do I continue to shower?”

“ Turn the shower towards the wall.” was the response . ( apparently this had happened before)

So the next time I will have to go into the wall !….I chuckled to myself.

Solution : a mason or plumber required to channel the flow of water into the drain .

Some think , the nurses may have to wait for a good length of time before that happens.

In the mean time here’s advice to all including me “turn off the shower’ and save water !”

Tennis Laff

That’s me Vincy

Have you ever laughed at yourself?

Try it ….and enjoy it .

I’ve always been an avid tennis lover – Playing the game and following it too.

We have seen some great tennis players over the years. Among them I had favorites like

Roger Federer, Rod Laver , Boris Becker , Bjorn Borg , Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi

The intensity of Rafael Nadal surprised me as I thought he would fade away as a result of the way he played. Kudos for his disciplined approach to fitness which stood him well.

The biggest draw at the peak of his career was John McEnroe. The red band and the fiery temper had been a unique pattern of tennis on court .

This caricature by Ian my son in law, surprised me as it linked the famous McEnroe to me . My tennis cannot be compared to him though at some time in my younger days I could compete for being very short tempered .

Those days we played with normal racket heads whereas times have changed . Today the large head is an advantage not to forget a head that is tough and talented .

So cheers to Ian for helping me reminisce the past, when great tennis rivalries continued over the years.

I eagerly wait to get back on court and enjoy a good game.

The Artist

I am free

Lord , you set me free
When you showed me
the cross
to be a victory
and not a loss

I see with new sight
Your creation
with it’s touch of the beauty
of a flower in bloom
and a bird in flight .

Birds and flowers
pass away
From where do they come
And where do they go
I know

To you ,the One
Who gives us life
Forgives and redeems
Who cares and loves
you and me

So ,I give you thanks
I give you praise,
You give me peace
When you hold me
I am free

The Shepherd( Adapted from Psalm 23)

Have you met the shepherd

Pray what does he do

when caring for sheep

With staff in hand

he guards and guides

At night or day

to green pastures

and fresh river waters .

He carries the sick

Binds their wounds

Looks for the stray

to return to the fold

By night to watch

the sheep in the pen

with staff to guard

from lurking danger

Pray , who is the Shepherd

who cares so well

not only sheep

but you and me

He is the Eternal One

who is the sheep gate

he guards my going out

and coming in

Have you listened

when He calls

Do you know his voice

You can trust in him

His love is eternal

Timeline

Into the sunset or SONRISE

The suddenness of knowing

time is limited

yes doctors have their say

to share the reality of it all

How am I able to accept it ?

Is it something that only I see;

and you, do you know

you have a timeline

In preparing for the final outcome

Will I despair or be despondent

Or will I begin to trust my Lord

and live one day at a time

To live in the present

and do the things that need to be done

Not forgetting to include those things

that bring me joy

Therefore , I cherish the good

and the loved ones with me,

as I strive towards

the high calling of Jesus Christ

to see my Lord face to face.