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Time to think

Let us wake in the morning filled with your love

and sing and be happy all our days. (Psalm 90:14)

How soon the day passes

and how short our time

let me wake up each day

to experience your love Oh Lord.

So filled with love

I sing and rejoice

you give life

and all that is good

We are here today

and gone tomorrow

So why fret when you keep us

tranquil and quiet

Your sweetness be upon us

As we live each day

following you closely

loving you dearly

Is there room for pride

anger and hate?

Your love and grace

brings us peace

To you we return

you showed the way

homeward bound

to see your glory

Have you seen the Cookie Jar ?

                         

We visited London on a few occasions . On one of these trips Anthony Bull hosted Anjean and myself. Our daughter Larissa was single and staying with the Bulls ōver the past two years.

Anthony ānd Julie have a loving family  . They are active in Community life . Their interests are varied . Anthony is a senior  professor in Imperial College. He is a sportsman at heart and  very fond of rugby. His keenness to keep fit results  in him riding to the college on his bycycle.

Julie is an engineering scholar. Students of maths have benefited from her proficiency in teaching this subject.  She  has a passion for pottery and  I was  impressed to see some of the crockery in use, which was her handiwork. They have 3 very accomplished children.

 Our stay was short and sweet. But some interesting memories still  linger.

On one of the days the assorted cookie jar was kept for evening tea . I think those cookies were one of the best I’ve had, of different flavours and most enrobed  with chocolate .

Now when the home members had left for work, next morning I began to feel the pangs of hunger by mid-morning. Visions of the delicious cookies came to mind. I searched for the jar and then helped myself to a few.

Later that evening , when all returned from work, Anthony  enquired  “ Lets have some of the cookies”

Wonder of wonders ….the level of the cookies in the jar had reduced considerably .

You can imagine how surprised we all were.

Where did the cōokies disappear… I looked āt Anthony, and saw a faint smile appear …..

“Can you guess who ate the cookies?”

Anthony shared some interesting aspects of his life. His interest in sports led him to work on the study of the cricket bat dimensions . His research on this, led to the standardisation of the bat, based on his inputs.   His efforts on standardisation of the tennis racket however did not progress as  those in authority  did not accept  his inputs. The result of this shows today , as  tennis players use rackets of  various dimensions and materials, which may not heip in keeping  a level playing field.

I was very impressed to hear Anthony’s story of how he met Roger Bannister the famous athlete who was the first to break the sub 4 minute barrier for the mile.

 Lastly I remember their pet cat , Tiger. He adopted them rather than the other way around. Tiger had occupied the premises before Anthony and family had moved in and begun the renovations . Tiger too became a friend and even posed for pictures.

We were grateful to Anthony and Julie for hosting us, but importantly that Larissa had a home to stay during  these few years.

It was lockdown time since April in London due to the Covid 19. Here again Anthony and Julie were a big support to Larissa on her wedding day 21st March 2020 .Larissa wedded Lloyd in a quiet ceremony with only a dozen  guests present in the church. We had already returned to India in November 2019. The plans for an India wedding did not materialize due to the corona virus pandemic.

Anthony has been very active in raising awareness of Mental Health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Through challenges on Facebook, with the pushups , it certainly gives hope at these times of the lockdown and social distancing. Thank you Anthony for this initiative with your brother Andrew, and getting so many involved.

We know that even though Larissa and Lloyd are now settled in their rental apartment, they do have a family who will always reach out to them.

Who  knows , on our next visit we may see some more cookie jars.

Lloyd, Larissa and Catherine with Tiger
Bon Appetit

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

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)