Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Birthday Bumps to Big Sister

When you come from a big family like mine, you have a birthday practically everyday. But then there are some birthdays more important than others. And this is one of those weeks. Just two days ago, I carried a post to my Aunt who completed the Enormous Eighty.

The birthday wish today goes out to someone much nearer and dearer. A person whom I’ve learnt such a lot from - a dear Big Sister. 

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Since they say“Don’t ever ask a woman her age”, I’m not going to do list of songs from the year of her birth. Being a music blog, it surely seems more appropriate to steer through the various songs she’s sung over the years. This was the family Anthem in 1985-86. We even sang it on stage at a couple of weddings...

Being a family of six children, we usually got grouped as the elder three and younger three. In days before satellite TV or even National TV, we spent a lot of time together as a family. I remember one particular Saturday morning or maybe a holiday when Mum was doing the chores, the elder three of us were seated on the sofa in the front room while Dad had his guitar in hand, as he taught us a song that his Pinto family did so very well. Greenfields.

Not to the Greenfields, but to the brown mountains of Khandala.... That's a trip a remember taking with Sarita, a few days before her engagement... For the first time ever, we headed out without pre-bookings or reservations... We just walked down to the nearest State Transport Bus Stop and hopped into the first bus that was headed up there. After a gruelling journey of four hours we reached our destination.... St. Mary's Villa at Khandala where we met the ever vibrant Rev Fr. Robin Selwyn... who graced the wedding a few months later with a beautiful song - True Love... 

While I remembered that trip fondly a couple of months ago, when along with the wife and kids, we made a getaway to St. Stanislaus Villa in Lonavla going up those very same hills. 

My big sister and I made one more bus journey through the Western Ghats soon after my SSC examinations, when just the two of us travelled for a month-long vacation to Mangalore. We spent the first week of that trip with my Mum's sister in the convent. 

On my previous visit to Mangalore, some seven years earlier as well, we (the entire family) had spent our first few days of vacation at the Bethany Convent in Kulshekar where my aunt - the same one - was posted. And that's where Dad taught the three of us this song... Green Green Grass of Home

My next visit to Mangalore after that memorable trip with my sister was a good twenty-six years later for a family wedding. My sister had made many many trips to our hometown in the interim, by virtue of having in-laws in that wonderful city.... 

She's in another wonderful city now... the city of Auckland... and she has a wonderful lawn around the house.... While she has the green grass around home, I'm get to enjoy the wonderful rains at home... right here in Mumbai.... and watch this island (Mumbai) turn into a stream. 

And the rainy days remind me of her 21st birthday, when we all had her friends who had recently graduated from St. Xavier College get together for a party at our house... only for a couple of them to be stranded at our place for a couple more days. 

The rains of Mumbai have a special calling. How happy we'd feel during the one odd day of the year while in Dubai, when the heavens opened up there... What's your favorite season... Here's some more nature to think of... 

All Kinds of Everything... this is one of the earliest songs I remember Sarita singing solo, as a seven- or eight-year old. Another song I fondly remember her singing as a young girl is Paper Roses.

Have you ever noticed that for every song about loving relationships there are two about broken ones. Sadly, that song was not the only one in the repertoire. Others that made it there included Killing Me Softly... 

and a few years later... Everybody's Somebody's Fool.

Growing up as the eldest of six, Sarita was extremely shy and soft spoken, a little nervous as well of taking on new things... But with every new stage in life, that fear diminished. From a shy school girl, to the average teenager she put in her heart and soul in everything she did... a perfect example for us two boys who were next in line at home to follow... Nominated the first ever Catholic Leader in her school was one point of recognition. Many years later she nearly single-handledly managed the Summer Camp at the parish including a host of events for a whole month. 

And life brought her a whole new string of opportunities right after she met this incredible man that was just made for her. Anil and Sarita have perfectly complemented each other over the past 26 years of marriage. 

When marriage took her to the foreign land to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, it was over to the two of them to set the foundations for their lives. They both excelled in everything they took up. In the first year of their marriage, the spent a lot of time making music together while performing in the band - Deja Vu, where she would have performed this song - Simply The Best.

The years have seen the both of them soar to great heights and excel in whatever they reached out to do. From being supportive and encouraging to all their siblings and families, achievement in their jobs and careers, and caring and nurturing two sons - Keith and Karl - to be the wonderful youngsters that they are... and talented as well. I'm quite sure when she looks back down the road of life, this song would definitely be a secret to success... I Have A Dream.

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. - Colin Powell

Looking back on the years of my big sister, that's what I see... The determination and hardwork that she's put in to be just PERFECT.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Around the World in 80 days

Around the World in 80 Days

Have you read the book? or possibly watched the movie? 

During our growing up years, we watched a tele-series about the journey of Phileas Fogg and Passepartout as they went around the world in only 80 days. This blog post is about another journey... one of 80 years and going strong....

What I'm going to post here is a tribute to another journey.... not of 80 days but of 80 years... if you're ready, let's Begin the Beguine.

It was the month of July 1938 when Howard Hughes did the world tour not in 80 days but in just 91 hours. A few days later, another flyer (Douglas Corrington) took off from NY to California but landed in Ireland.... Both these flyers became famous, thanks to their Pocketful of Dreams.

While US President F.W. Roosevelt was commemorating Peace at Gettysberg, things were very different in Europe... But who cared, it was the time to enjoy the Summertime. 

And on a sunny or maybe rainy Friday in July, there was a burst of life in the Pinto family. as they welcomed the newest addition to the family, their second daughter and thanked God by naming her Jeanette (meaning God is Gracious). And I'm sure she Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby.

Growing up, she nurtured her many talents, among them the fantastic sense of music and Fascinating Rhythm.

The clear voice of Ella Fitzgerald and jazz style had a clear influence on this family of music as they included this next song on their Family Anthem - A-Tisket-A-Tasket. I have wonderful memories of there 

Having grown into a lovely lady, she met her man who among things shared the same meaning in the name - John Fernandes. He was and still is her Bei Mir Bist Du Shein. And they further enjoy the love of their four wonderful daughters and their families, including five talented grand-children. 

Life was not just about singing and dancing, it had a lot to do with putting on hard work, at home and Punjab National Bank where she gave her many years... Nice Work If You Can Get It. If you like like that song, you should check out Fred Astaire's Drum Dance version of the song. 

Over the years, she's kept her love for music alive through her long association with the Holy Name Cathedral choir where she's been one of their main soloists. I remember attending one Maundy Thursday Mass at that church, due to proximity to work... where she sang the solo during the Washing of the Feet... and a little later during the same service was ordained as a Eucharistic Minister in the parish. 

In my own experience, I have been fortunate to have this wonderful aunt, who's forever concerned about everyone around her - near or far alike... and never hesitant to reach out a helping hand to anyone in need... no matter what.... 

Time to wish this wonderful aunt of mine.... a very happy 80.... And many many more....


Just for the record.... all the songs on this post are popular songs from 1938... that's just 80 years ago... a time of super jazz and classic big bands... 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Godfather Week

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The last week was a Godfather week for me. 

No... I did't spend the entire rainy week watching the collection of The Godfather movies (by Francis Ford Coppola) ... nor was I snuggled up reading the Mario Puza novel...

My week started last Sunday morning at Our Lady of Visitation Church in Nerul, Navi Mumbai where we celebrated the Eucharist followed by the Baptism ceremony of Abygail Sequeira - my newest godchild.

My wife, Kristel and I, stood along with the parents - Lavina and Abhilash - as we pledged our belief and faith on behalf of little Abygail. We Blessed her along with her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins present at the ceremony.


Abygail is indeed a blessing for her parents and elder brother, Keegan who was so thrilled at the entire festivities, and being there for his little sister at all times. Abygail means 'father's joy' and one could sense the tremendous joy of her father at his every move. An occasion like this, especially a new birth of a little girl, reminds me of the wonderful dedication by Stevie Wonder to his daughter, Aisha Morris - Isn't She Lovely.

As the week progressed, we happened to look back to some video recordings we had on our PC over the years. And we recalled and watched one from ten years ago, at another baptism ceremony of another godchild of ours - this one was in the Summer of 2008 in New Jersey, US. The boy - Joel - Kristel's sister's son, was christened during the trip we made to the US and Canada that year. He's growing up as a Beautiful Boy.

We are blessed with two wonderful boys, who are our pride and joy.... And talking of boys, this song often comes to mind about "Daddy's little boy... he's playing with his toys..."

Who are godparents anyway? Then general reference of a godfather is of someone who provides financial support or influence. But the real meaning of a godparent is one who witnessed the baptism and guides the spiritual formation of the godchild throughout their life. 

My godparents, Franklin and Nancy were close friends of my parents before they were married. Through me growing up years, they always showered me with the best of gifts - the tricycle at three, the cricket bat, the books - including the biggest joke book ever ( a favourite with my kids). My godfather even proposed the toast at my wedding. They are currently retired in the US, and I wish them the very best of health and well-being. 

9780706364309: 5001 Jokes for Kids

At the other end of the world, down under in NZ lives another godson of mine. Andre will be completing 21 this year and has grown up to be an intelligent and handsome young man as he towers over all of us. 

The week which started out with a special event and blessing to be a Godparent wound up with another special Godparent moment... as my eldest godchild celebrated her 25th birthday on Friday the 13th. A smart intelligent girl that she is, I wish her a fabulous future and success in all her endeavours and in life. 

As I thank the Lord for the tremendous blessings that He has showered on me and my family and all our near and dear ones, I'm happy to share a beautiful Lullabye that goes out to all the lovely and happy children that have brought and continue to bring joy to us all. 

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