Saturday, April 28, 2012

CROSS CONNECTIONS ‘an experience’

Jesus Fest youth volunteers Cynzya and Nikhil assist Oswald Cardinal Gracious drape the Cross with purple.
On his way back he is mobbed by a bunch of hoopsters eager to get on with their game, plauded by a motley group of friends and onlookers. The Angelus bells toll an end to their game. What now unfolds is unique … a once in a lifetime experience … Cross Connections.
The tableau opens with a plaint of high handed bureaucracy. Assorted points of view traverse the entire spectrum of why one should get involved in civic matters to whether one should waste precious time at various civic fora … moving on to the legalities of the issues at hand. Whether one is pitching in for political mileage or lending a shoulder to the downtrodden, it all harks back to the life and times of the Man who took a stand and made a difference … a couple of millennia ago.
Pilate’s wife ( Makushla ) now takes centre stage with her proclamation “I told Pilate that Jesus was a good man …” and goes on to proscribe her husband for his cowardice in the way he gives in to a band of rabble rousers of their time, missing the chance to prove to himself and history that he was a conscientious person. Even though God had let ‘His dream come to her’, a heathen, and that too a woman, in a time when women were mere vassals of their men ... she proves herself ‘a woman of substance.’ She vividly re-counts the harrowing experience of having to go through the condemnation, humiliation, torture and ultimately, the execution of the innocent but ‘lonely Man of power.’
Social issues then have their say … activists who’ve made a difference … door to door campaigns that create awareness of societal violence and injustice. Getting up and getting out to do something about a bad situation seems the only way to set things right.
The Carpenter from Jerusalem ( Siddesh ) is in a quandary now. Proudly meticulous in his trade, he has a battle on his mind. Making crosses to execute criminals at the behest of the authorities was arduous enough. Now he is saddled with the onerous task of making one for a fellow carpenter from Nazareth … another Jew … and no ordinary one that. This cross was for the ‘King’ of the Jews … whose only wrong was to do good.
The idyllic rocks off Band Stand are where we were transported to next. The discussion here dwells on whether love has an expiry date. How long does the romance in a relationship last? Do we hang on in marriages that exist on paper but not in our hearts? Love is not the failure … people are … having discarded the values of unconditional love … the love Jesus has for each one of us.
A seemingly insane Judas ( Daniel ) enters stage, attempting to justify his relationship with his ‘so-called friend and mentor’. Through his lies he exposes his own shallow nature, his unwillingness to sacrifice his all, his selfishness, his self-righteousness, his self-deceit, his greed and … his guilt ... at having betrayed the one Man who could have redeemed him. The chords of the purse he drew so tightly are similar to those drawing ‘so tight not so that not one wasted breath can escape’ him anymore.
We now enter the confines of the aged. Have we deserted them? No … they are always with us … even if we just look at them, not really bothering to see them … even if we hear them, not actually listening to what they trying to tell us ... even if we use them for whatever we can get from them.They are an expendable commodity … and we bide their time … even as we try to make ourselves as comfortable as possible around them. Antiques do have value … not if they are human though.
When Simon of Cyrene ( Keith ) was deemed to carry Jesus’ cross it was not of his choosing ... the ridicule, the scorn, the torment of the mob had him wary of being defiled. But his acceptance to do so gave him solace that overwhelmed his burden ... much like the satisfaction one would experience in defying propriety and political correctness for what is right … much like the joy one experiences in shouldering another’s burden. ‘Whatever you have forsaken in My name, you shall receive back a hundredfold, and you shall inherit everlasting life.’ With His arm around Simon, Jesus quietly encourages him to forgo a lot, but in its place He promises him ‘the peace that passeth understanding … an excellent bargain!’
Mary the Mother of Jesus ( Rebecca ) has ‘no words’ to recount the death of her child. She watches as His kind hands drag the heavy cross through the streets up to Calvary. She watches agonizingly as He hangs ‘between heaven and earth’ for three hours. The only words she finds are from ‘former days’ … the words of the angel Gabriel and the aged Simeon at the temple, they who had both foretold of dark times … and also of His kingdom that would have no end. Even as Jesus raises His voice with his last cry ‘It is finished’ ... the first words of her baby ring in her ears. But of the promise of ‘a kingdom with no end’ … she still believes.
The cry of the unborn child is seldom, if ever, heard. Outside the college gates we are witness to a group of teenagers talking about sex, pre and extra marital, protected sex and unwarranted teenage pregnancies. The issue revs up to cheap and freely available mtp’s or abortions. While for some, especially the ‘guys’, it’s a flippant issue, women rarely forgive themselves. How does one forgive oneself for murder? But God understands and forgives … and erases our sins.
A lurking Peter ( Rohan ) regrets having denied his Lord … the very same Person he had witnessed calming the storm, saving his life … the very same Man who had washed his feet the night before to cleanse his soul. That final morning the cock had not crowed a second time before he had denied Him thrice … just as His Master had prophesied. How he wished he could go back a day and have his Master ‘wash’ him clean again.
Thomas (Nestor) carries a lot of each one of us in him. How easy it is to partake of the feast on our own terms. But to have not seen and still believe, how difficult is that? How could ‘He, the the Son of man actually have stood in their presence … preposterous! Unless I can insert my fingers in the holes made by the nails …’ Jesus says to Thomas ‘You have seen and believed. Blessed are the ones who have not seen and still believe.’ He was speaking of each one of us … our faith can draw us near to Him and He will dwell in us forever. Thomas undrapes the cross of the purple cloth … and Mt Carmel Youth Movement's Nick and Keith drape the cross with a white shroud … ‘He is Risen!’
The curtain goes down with the Cardinal offering a prayer in thanksgiving.
Through the performance we have the choir; Antonette, Carlton, Keegan, Kimberley, Linford, Megan, Samantha, Sammy and Dominique (who also conducted the music) backed by Beven on keyboards, Ian on drums, Dominic on Bass and Callip on Lead Guitar; harmonising Christian Music standards; Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, Behold The Man, Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace, Via Dolorosa, If We Could See Through His Eyes, Make Me A Servant and If He Carried The Weight Of The World.
In the weeks of practice running up to the performance at Jesus Fest on April the 3rd, 2009, I was enamored by the musings of each of the cast; ‘heavy metal’ Abigail, ‘wasted’ Daniel, ‘ball chor auntys’ Darryl, ‘romantic’ Jill, ‘unconditional lover’ Keith, ‘eraser’ Kunaal, ‘ghanti bajao’ Lizann, ‘tun kittey zahno’ Malaika, ‘bmc official’ Nathaniel, ‘what a melon’ Nestor, ‘sala’ Nick, ‘gannawala’ Noletta, ‘woman of substance’ Makushla, ‘words, no words’ Rebecca, ‘bowl of waves’ Rohan, ‘medha patkar’ Rheazel and ‘proud carpenter’ Siddesh.
‘okaaay yaaah’ Asif beautifully wove the tapestry of the theme together with finesse. His brilliant preparatory games helped hone our stage co-ordination skills while the vocal exercises he taught us made us more intelligible.
Asif was ably assisted by ‘clap clap HO’ Gaurav … whose yogic aesthetics brought each one of us back to our center and helped keep us in shape. He even incorporated a testing of our vocal and physical calisthenics with the thoroughly enjoyable ‘gi ya ro la!’ ...
To ‘ready to replace anyone, anytime’ Warner should very undoubtedly go the ultimate credit for being audacious enough to take the plunge and produce his very own masterpiece of a script, and being so very malleable with the lines to suit the final outcome. But then, Warner would always credit his ‘boss’ Larry for letting him out on a limb. An aside was a scintillating take of ‘Via Dolorosa’ on the penultimate afternoon, Warner’s voice slicing through new territory … rendering a version that could feature on any alternative chart.
Symbolising Jesus was, for me, very definitely an honour. To share the stage with such a wonderful set of vivacious young and not so young people was, to say the least, a humbling experience.
Why Me, Lord?

[April 3, 2009]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why the empty show of our belief?

In the book of Exodus, Aaron and the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, waited for Moses to return from the mount. They had seen him go up there with their own eyes, yet in his absence they began to say to Aaron "Get up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him." Impatiently they requested an idol, the golden calf, to be made so that they could honour it for their journey out of Egypt. Now, you would wonder how could such a terrible thing be done by a people so close to the immediate workings and in the presence of God?
Earlier in the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were tempted by fruit that was "pleasant to the eyes"; and God needed to drive them out from the Garden of Eden.
Idol worship has always been popular. In the book of Kings, when Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, 450 of Baal’s prophets and 400 prophets of the groves which ate at Jezebel’s table were present. And they did not lack courage, boldness, or zeal. What was lacking? The power of God; Baal was no God.
King David, in the book of Samuel, brought the ark of God on a new cart; not on the shoulders of the priests as God had ordained. There were thousands watching, with much music, and zeal. But it lacked God’s favor and David’s purpose of bringing the ark was frustrated. Later, when he brought the ark in the prescribed humility, he received the approval of God.
Israel was always prone to follow the form of a sacrificial religion without the power of God. The Lord complains of Israel’s false, empty religion in the book of Isaiah saying, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? When you have required all this to come before me, to come to my Church? I am weary to bear them." They had grieved the Lord and He then scolded them, "Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean." God looks on the heart and despises all formal, empty customs.
Many churches in the late 1700’s were involved in using plays and various musical ideas as "means," as they called them, in their worship services. And no one dared oppose such mockery in the worship of Christ. Our fathers in the faith of that age condemned all such practices; as should we.
Man, through the ages, has sought to see, to hear, to feel and to "experience God". But when God withdraws Himself from that "experience" because of our sin and disbelief, then, although Christianity continues, it is lacking something.
Today, we are surrounded with this same type of empty profession of Christianity. Everything can be made "Christian" and everything in the Holy Scriptures may be represented and used at one’s whim in the effort to bring the message of Jesus to every creature. Nativity scenes, Passion Plays, reenactments of all parts of the Bible are commonplace. Is it any wonder that today we have gospel rock concerts, praise festivals, pageants, and all sorts of entertainment everywhere? The gospel of today is easy Christianity which preaches a Jesus of love and then encourages "what can I do for Jesus". All such religion is busy inventing all sorts of things to paint images; images of a Jesus and of a God that are not according to Scripture. Rather, they are false images formed in the minds of the young and old; tactics used by the devil to deceive many.
Many symbols of Christian celebration today also lack the presence and power of God. They are all an empty, flesh pleasing worship of God, created in the minds of people, but not according to His holy will.
God must be worshipped according to His own revealed will and way. What did God require of us in the second commandment? - That we in no wiseman intellect represent God by any other way than "He has commanded in His Word".
More recently a Chris Stephens had operated a transport service for disabled veterans for several years, but the business didn’t take off. "Like Moses coming out Egypt, I wandered around in the wilderness for a while until I found this." he said. His trips began to include gospel singing, stops at area restaurants and other amenities to provide comfort to veterans dealing with major physical and emotional challenges. Stephens said his business brought him in contact with veterans of a variety of religions, and they would often discuss each other’s traditions. "It’s not trying to press Christ upon anybody, but it’s about being led wherever you need to be." he conceded.
Our Parents and God-parents at our birth and baptism are prone to give far greater attention to the reception for the guests than to co-joining us in receiving the Sacrament. The preparation of their hearts with catering, decor, music, etc. seems to have a far greater share of their time than the preparation of their souls for occasion. This trend continues with us through the years with our Birthdays, Communions, Confirmations, Ordinations, Engagements and Weddings. Even a fair amount of Funerals, and the Month’s mind and Anniversary Masses that follow, meet the same fate. The Sacred aspect is either lost completely or conveniently left aside forgotten.
In our daily life we too seem to have wandered down this same gravy path. The Saturday night fever burns out our desire to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday, our day of obligation in the week. Resting after partying through the weekend is important to stay fresh and fit for another hard, grueling week of studies or work.
Carnivals leading up to Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season, Easter, Christmas and various religious feasts all have one vying to ensure that the Sorpotel and Sunnas and the sweet delicacies along with the elaborate celebrations that accompany them are far more prominent in our lives than the Church services, that, incidentally, we find ‘too long or boring’ for our warped sensibilities.
But, we are Catholics; we do join one or more of our Parish organisations, regularly attend Church meetings and are in time for Parish functions, write letters and blogs, send emails, etc. as seemingly devout Catholics fulfilling our obligations. The Church, its teachings and what God really requires of us as His flock remain on paper.
Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why we allow such a religion flourish in our lives? Why do we prefer such an outward, shallow and empty show of our belief in God?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

PIXIE [May 15, 1999 - August 1, 2008]

on a very everyday afternoon a tiny little discard stepped into our lives … her eyes still seemed to contain within a glitter of hope … her tongue seemed eager to lap up any iota of warmth ... her yelp would greet any tiny crumb of love

and then she secured herself a niche deep within each one us here ... playing with us ... partying with us ... picnicking with us ... holidaying with us ... comfortable with whatever

she was omnipresent in every single aspect of our lives ... our ups & downs and ins & outs

she accepted whatever ... whenever ... with uncompromising fidelity and unconditional love

and then she went away ... or did she?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Pedro REGO (REGO NAYAK family from Derebail, Mangalore)
Pedro was born about 1740 in Haloni, Goa.
His child Mattheus (M) was born about 1765.

Second Generation
Mattheus REGO
Mattheus married Esperanza RASQUINHA. Esperanza was born in 1775.
Children from this marriage were:
i. Lucas (M) was born about 1792.
ii. Salvador (M) was born in 1793.
iii. Pedro (M) was born about 1795 and died on Jul 12, 1856 about age 61.
iv. Bonaventure Manuel (M) was born about 1800 and died on May 8, 1860 about age 60.
v. Sebastian (M) was born about 1802.
vi. Jose (M) was born about 1804 and died on Mar 2, 1858 about age 54.
vii. Anna (F) was born about 1806 and died on Jan 8, 1888 about age 82. Anna married Jose CORDEIRO, son of Sebastian CORDEIRO and Pascoala SILVA.
viii. Lucia (F) was born about 1808. Lucia married Antony Joseph D'MELLO.
ix. Isabel (F) was born on Jul 4, 1813 and died on May 29, 1854 at age 40.
x. Romano (F) was born about 1815 and died on May 29, 1854, age 39. Romano married Salvador PINTO, son of Joseph PINTO and Magdalen D'CUNHA

Third Generation
Lucas REGO
Lucas married Francisca PINTO.
Children from this marriage were:
i. Lawrence (M) was born on Apr 30, 1817 and died on Sep 4, 1866 age 49.
ii. Francis Xavier (M) was born on Nov 28, 1821.
iii. Maria Conceicao (F) was born on Dec 5, 1824. Maria married Pedro PAIS, son of Francis PAIS and Simone BAPTIST.
iv. Regina (F) was born on Jul 24, 1827 and died on Sep 12, 1889 age 62. Regina married Antony PINTO.
v. Peter Joachim (M) was born on Feb 1, 1831

Fourth Generation
Peter Joachim REGO was one of the founders of the Urva Church in 1866.
Peter married Sabina D'SOUZA, daughter of Peter Cajetan D'SOUZA MUDARTH and Monica COELHO.
Children from this marriage were:
i. Sr Mary Agnes (F) born on Jan 18, 1860 and died in 1943 at age 83. Another name for Mary was Sr. Agnes Regina REGO.
ii. Sr Stephana Isabella Maria (F) was born on Aug 5, 1862.
iii. Pepin Francis Lucas (M) was born on Feb 21, 1865.
iv. Lawrence Philip (M) was born on Jul 10, 1868 and died in 1868.
v. Lawrence (M) was born on Jan 19, 1870.
vi. Victor Angelo (M) was born on Mar 10, 1871.
vii. Eustace Lawrence (M) was born on Sep 20, 1873.
viii. Joseph Pius (M) was born on May 14, 1877.
ix. Clement Marian Dominic (M) was born on Feb 8, 1881.
x. Bruno Canute (M) was born on Oct 16, 1882

Fifth Generation
Victor Angelo REGO was GURKAR of Derebail.
Victor married Martha Maria CORREA, daughter of Francis CORREA and Joanna ALVARES.
Children from this marriage were:
i. Joachim (M) was born in 1896 and died on Dec 24, 1915 age 19.
ii. Peter Paul (M) was born on Jun 13, 1900.
iii. Antonia Cecilia (F) was born on May 10, 1902.
iv. Leo Felix Bernard (M) was born on Jun 28, 1903 and died in 1921 age 18.
v. Stephanie Isabella Maria (F) was born on Sep 21, 1905.
vi. Alexander Theodore (M) was born on Nov 9, 1907.
vii. Robert Marcel Philip (M) was born on Jan 31, 1910 and died on May 19, 1978 age 68.
viii. Dionysius Camillo Damian (M) was born on Sep 27, 1911.
ix. Benedicta Domitilla (F) was born on May 7, 1913.
x. Lucia Carolina (F)
xi. Boniface Joachim (M) was born on May 14, 1918.

Sixth Generation
Robert Marcel Philip REGO moved to Bombay about 1930.
Robert married Celine Mary (Maria Magdalena Syria) CORREA [b:Aug 8, 1923; d:Apr 07, 1996] daughter of Salvador CORREA and Monti GOVEAS on Dec 29, 1957 & lived in Bandra.
The child from this marriage Denzil Victor Salvadore (M) was born on Oct 16, 1958

Seventh Generation
Denzil Victor Salvadore REGO
(Robert Marcel Philip/Victor Angelo/Peter Joachim/Lucas/Mattheus/Pedro)
Denzil married Charmaine Magdalene ATHAIDE [b:Oct 10, 1956] daughter of Dominic ATHAIDE and Martine PEREIRA on Dec 29, 1984
Children from this marriage are:
i. Cynzya Chloe Marcel (F) was born on Jun 14, 1987
ii. Krysyn Denzyl Shane (M) was born on Mar 22, 1990
iii. Shayne Robert Dominic (M) was born on Jul 16, 1991

Saturday, October 23, 2010

build ... with a child's heart

Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.

A little girl is on her knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then she upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.

All afternoon she will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.

Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.

A man is in his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made.

All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.

Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.

Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the girl sees the end while the man ignores it.

Watch the child as the dusk approaches.

As the waves near, the wise child jumps to her feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. She knew this would happen. She is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and her masterpiece is sucked into the sea, she smiles. Utterly delighted, she picks up her tools, takes her father's hand, and goes home.

The grownup, however, is not so wise.

As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide. "It's my castle," he defies. The ocean need not respond ... both know to whom the sand belongs.

I don't know much about sandcastles. ... but children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build ... but build with a child's heart.

When the sun sets and the tides take ... applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.

Monday, August 30, 2010


( Mumbai Chapter Launch Awareness Run – August 29, 2010)

When it rains, it pours ... Quite literally so it was at the CLEAN SPORTS INDIA "Awareness Rally" in Mumbai this morning in terms of sports glamour, participation as well as the heavens above.

As thespian Tom Alter introduced one participating star after another from our nation's sporting firmament, it was clear to the 350 odd participants who braved the inclement weather that CLEAN SPORTS INDIA's Mumbai Chapter meant serious business.

The grandstand included Chess GrandMaster Pravin Thipsay, Equestrian Champ BVP Rao, Athletes Vandana Rao, Reet Abraham and Savio D'souza, Marathoner Sathyabama, Swimmer Pallavi Shetty, Table Tennis virtuosos husband and wife duo Kamlesh Mehta and Mona Lisa, Badminton exponent Leroy D'Sa, revered Indian Hockey Captain MM Somaiya and his compatriot from the world of women's hockey Sybil Miranda and bollywood star Rajat Barmecha.

In his inaugural address, CLEAN SPORTS INDIA National Convener, BVP Rao came out strongly against the face of Indian Sport turned tyrant, Suresh Kalmadi and his coterie, whose negative doings in Indian Sport called for a total re-haul of the system, wherein Sportspersons of caliber needed to take charge, they being closer to the pulse of our budding young sportspeople. After very encouraging launches of the CLEAN SPORTS movement in Delhi and Bangalore, the response in Mumbai, he said was over-whelming.

The Awareness Rally witnessed representation from across Mumbai, allowing for participation from all age groups. Vandana Rao and Pravin Thipsay led the 350+ strong group across 4 kms to and fro NCPA, all enthusiastic in their bid to drive home a point for Sports cleansed of political manipulation and rid of performance enhancing substance abuse. The Mumbai Chapter team, Vandana Rao, Tom Alter, Pravin Thipsay, Sybil Miranda, Lenny Sampey and myself are glad that the first step towards this goal had been successfully taken and we are sure that the positive vibes we have received throughout the mega polis of Mumbai will not let things lie, but take them to their logical end. Thanks to all whose efforts encouraged us and especially to the YMCA International for all their unstinting support.


Friday, June 25, 2010

in the silence will come the echo ...

The baby is teething, the children are fighting, and you just have to get dinner ready. Okay. One of these days you'll shout, "Why don't you grow up amd act your age?" ... and they will

Or ... "You guys get outside and find yourself something to do and don't slam the door."
... and they won't

You'll straighten up their bedrooms all neat and tidy with thrash discarded, bed-spread tucked and smoothed, toys all displayed on the shelves, books in place, hangers in the closets, animals caged, and you'll say out loud, "Now I want you to stay this way!" ... they will

Then you'll prepare a perfect dinner with a proper wholesome side dish, salad that hasn't been picked to death, a cake with no finger traces through the frosting, and you'll say, "Now there's a meal for company."
... you'll eat it alone
And you'll say, ... "I want complete privacy on the phone! No dancing around, no pantomimes, no demolition crews! Silence! Do you hear me?" ... you'll have it

No more plastic tablecloths stained with curry, no more anxious nights tending to viral fevers, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, no more wet-knotted shoe strings, no more tight boots, or rubber bands on pony tails.

Now, imagine your lipstick with a point. No baby sitter on nights out. Washing clothes only once a week. No PTA meetings, no car pools, no blaring music and parties, having your own space, no more Christmas presents made out of bits of scrap and paste, no more wet kisses, no tooth fairy, no giggles in the dark, no knees to bandage.

Only a memory of a voice crying ... "Why don't you grow up?"
... and in the silence will come the echo ... "I did"