This is what my friend Sunil Sardessai had to say to me when I visited him in Goa – “Whenever you send me chocolates, before I open the parcel, I reflect on how lovingly you must have visited the supermarket, looked through the shelves for the particular brand and type of chocolates I like, paid for them, brought them home, wrote a meaningful note, wrapped it up and requested someone to carry it to Goa . Then I thank God for our friendship and I take delight in the sweetness of the chocolates”.
What made him say that? Well, he was upset when another common friend took the liberty of just taking a chunk out of the chocolate bar and started munching on it without any thought of any of the above sensitivities!
I think of what he said to me quite often. When does a person begin to think like the way Sunil does?
I have known the Sardessai family for many years now. I’ve experienced the simple lifestyle that the late Mr. Manohar Rai Sardessai and his family led. Even with all the accolades (both locally and internationally) he received for his literary genius, he maintained a very humble countenance. He always had a kind word for everyone and respected persons and not titles; Humanity more than religious practices. Although he could have opted to stay back in Paris after his university days at the Sorbonne, he chose Goa to be his home. His poetry is simple yet thought provoking! It would be right to say that Sunil, the son of this great man (A chip off the old blockJ), thinks the way he thinks because of his upbringing.
I attended the Altar Boys Sodality Annual Celebrations with my son Leroy yesterday. What struck me most in all of the festivities was the prize distribution ceremony. There were about seven children who were being awarded for the most number of masses served. Each of them had served almost 365 masses in the last year! (… A mass every day of the year!). The parents were also invited onto the dais and were applauded for their commitment to bringing up their children in the faith in the right manner.
It is very easy to pass this off with, “Well, these are parents who have nothing else to do” or, “Maybe these children study in the school that is located in the church compound” etc. But being a father to two growing children, I know how difficult it is to ‘make our children understand’ the importance of the Eucharist. In this day and age, it is very easy for us parents to give our children gifts such as the XBOX and the PS3 to get them off our backs so that we can watch our own TV soaps in peace( or go shopping!). Enough time is not spent with our kids to ‘hand down’ the traditions that our elders left with us. Even in my teenage days, I remember all the things I learnt from my grandmothers and grandfather. I’m cashing in on the stories they told me and the medicinal knowledge they imparted, to this day!
After yesterday, I decided it was time (Better late than never!) to make some important changes at home – Not to wrench the PS3 away from the kids but to make some quality time to spend with them !
(Just a small verse that I remembered from the pen of Mr. Sardessai:
Jednam ami khandeavelo khuris golleant ghatlo, tednam ami Jezuk khoreaninch marlo! – translation? “When we transferred the cross from our shoulders to the necklace, then we really crucified Jesus!”)