Thursday, May 26, 2016


This problem started pretty early in my life.  Yes a very real life problem. 

My name always had some issues.  Right from the way it was registered in my baptismal certificate  to the way it appears in my educational credentials, I had some issue or the other.  I have given a really long winding note about the bumpy ride my name has gone through  here

In the days of yore, when rail tickets were booked by actually filling forms and waiting in long winding queues especially during our summer holidays,   never  once was my name printed right on the reservation chart of the trains.  Most of the time the V and Y never changed, but any possible alphabet out of the 24 remaining alphabets would have found their place between them and I always had a fancy name, embarrassing me during my teen years, especially in front of my brother, who called me by that sound, all through the journey. By the time I reached my late teens, I started looking forward to the newest way railways would re-christen me. 

By the time I got married, most problems about my name came to an end, with my Alias in my name gone, and I had a much simpler name – Vincy Joseph.  What a breather it was.  In a decade from then online transactions came  and these days I do not face much issues with my name.  or So, I thought. 

Until this afternoon. 

We have a Learning Retreat coming up next week for a large gathering in an external resort, and I am facilitating some learning activities for the team.  In fact, our team is going crazy organising this as the participants are travelling from near and far to attend, and this is an in-house workshop.  For my activities, I have given my requirements to my organising team, which are a bit complex and needs to be created from scratch by some carpenters.  The carpenter had a meeting today with the organising team, in a different office, and the team in turn were confirming my requirements over  phone with the carpenter in tow.

Requirements clarified, dates of delivery clarified, I had to check the sample.  The carpenter seems to live closer to my residence and so I was checking with him if he can come over during the weekend to confirm the samples.  All done.  Just about the disconnect the call. 

I heard the carpenter ask “  Madam peru ??”  ( translation Madam’s name?) 

Our PMO head was saying why don’t you write it down?  Her name is Vincy.

Then some stifled laughter, some sounds that I was not able to gauge. 

I heard my self ask my PMO, all okay?.  Again stifled laughter, Vincy, we will get back to you in a minute, please hold on. 

This carpenter must have gone out and the whole team was laughing loudly.  I am on the other end of the call not getting the hang of it. 

Then came the reply from the PMO  there, Vincy that guy wrote your name in Tamil, and it was misspelt and read as  Whiskey J J J 

Rolling on the floor, Laughing.

Monday, May 02, 2016

The making of a man

Life is one of the greatest teachers (not always the gentlest) that any of us have witnessed.  We can  win, lose, stumble, fail, rejoice and life continues to give us the lessons that we need to take in and move forward.

Most often than not, we have read about great men and how their childhood or their circumstances shaped them to be what they are. And these real life stories are in hindsight or a perception after an incident / series of incidents.

Much to my surprise I was part of the unfolding of some events  which held the story of a boy becoming a man.

Kevin is my sons’ classmate.  A boy any parent would love to bring up – well behaved, most of the time seen around with parents, topper in class, respectful, articulate, calm and composed to cite a few qualities of the boy. ( and I am omitting a lot more that I know of, like he has such impeccable handwriting, his notes are so well maintained, attends mass along with his parents in the front pews of the church, he goes up to the altar to do readings during mass etc., etc.,)

I have known Kevin for probably the last 10 to 12 years especially when he was in the high school, I used to help him with Science and Mathematics, while I taught my own boy.

I did lose touch with Kevin for a couple of years when we shifted our boy to another school in the city, but quickly got back in touch with him as soon as we returned to the locality after my son's higher secondary education. In my conversations with Kevin, after our return, I was sad to learn Kevin’s grades were lesser than my sons’  and I kept repeating to Dennu that Kevin would have scored much better he had changed his school.  Kevin and my son go to the same college these days, though they are in different Engineering Streams.  

Anyway, Kevin’s father passed away due to some ailments on 25th of April 2016 and it was  a rude shock to all us.  Kevin is an only child and his mother a housewife and his father was young. Must be in his early 50’s. 

I had decided to spend time with their family, since I knew them well and also because they are our church members and I represented the youth leader of the church committee.  His mom was thoroughly distraught and was totally shaken. I was watching Kevin  as he was making decisions, making sure everything was taken care of, right from paying for the ambulance, getting the permission for cemetery space, informing the funeral timing to the priest to making all other necessary arrangements. 

What flabbergasted me was the lack of support Kevin received from his close relatives and the poor boy was running all errands, small and big, to get  things done. And none of his relatives seemed to care.   Even to a trip to the church, Kevin would come out of the house and look at his friends and I had to get a couple of friends, who had a vehicle to go with him to complete the tasks.  In some occasions I had to call J, who really likes Kevin a lot, to take him around.

The evening of 25th April, J and I were taking Kevin to the church so that the priest and the catechist are informed about the funeral timing.  Normally this is informed by the elders in the family, but in Kevin’s case, he was doing it.  While we were waiting for the priest, Kevin told me that he wants to sing during the funeral mass, a set of songs that his father likes and so after Kevin confirmed the timing of the funeral, I informed the catechist that Kevin would do the singing.  Peter, our catechist was more than happy to have an helping hand, as the funeral masses do not  have the presence of  altar boys or girls and he ends up doing all the work.

The next day after many confusions the funeral mass started with Kevin’s entrance hymn and the entire congregation had tears in their eyes hearing Kevin’s voice and the lyrics of the songs.  The entrance hymn lyrics translated to “ Give me your peace at my darkest hour”.  Kevin sang solo, all the rest of songs too, and he sang so well,  and continued to tug at the heartstrings of the people gathered for the funeral.  In between the mass, he also read the Gospel reading and while I was listening to his composed voice, with a steely grit, there was this thought that was running in my mind - this is the making of man. This boy is going to do extremely well in his life.

Kevin continued to stay strong until the end, supporting his mom and making sure every ceremony was going on right. 

My prayers were with the boy whom I had known all these years and I was certain that our good Lord will shower upon him all the blessings to do well in life. 

A humble request to anyone who reads this post – say a little prayer for Kevin.  Ask the almighty for strength and wisdom for this boy to do well, learn the ropes of life and excel in anything that he does for he has lost his biggest support in life, his father.