12 The Grain of 'RICE' that yielded a rich Harvest - Christopher Mendonca

posted Feb 28, 2019, 10:30 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 10:30 AM ]

A tribute and farewell to the Christian Brothers’ Community at Dadar

In an age where the speed of travel is measured in nano-seconds across the internet highway, one yearns for the relief that milestones provide, even if for a second. At a time when institutions tend to fossilize themselves into buildings that create a nostalgia for times gone by, Divine Providence sometimes steps in to create an oasis in the vast desert of technological progress which is slowly eroding our sense of the humane. In a subtle way, "The Golden Years" – a celebration of 50 years of the Christian Brothers in Dadar — proved to be a reminder that celebrations must always be about people who have touched your lives; that the worth of an institution is to be measured not so much by its architecture that speaks of an age gone by, but by the living stones that transform it into a Temple of Learning.

The choice dish on the menu for the Farewell Dinner was Steak. One was spoiled for choice, as it was served Rare, Medium and Well Done, all rolled into one. It is indeed Rare to eschew glamour, to stay away from trying to let the present bask in glory by photo-shopping its past image. It is a happy Medium that is able to balance the rubrics of the ritual and propriety, with the spontaneity and genuineness that comes straight from the heart. It is a job Well Done, when one is able to leave with one's heart touched to the core, a sense of belonging. One goes away with a feeling of satisfaction that amidst the changes that descend upon us, there is an enduring presence. We experience not discrete events, but rather perceive ourselves as part of an ongoing continuum shaped by the values that transcend time and place.

All this was effectively showcased, as the Christian Brothers who had, at some time or other, been part of the Salvation School Community, together with the teachers and ex-teachers, collectively wrestled with what their "leaving a familiar shore" might mean. The sharing of insights and experiences overflowed into a farewell celebration on Sunday, February 17. It was an evening of shared values. Very different from recalling rituals that often define an institution, this was a stepping back into the stream to let ourselves be refreshed. 1967/68 marked a defining moment in the history of the Christian Brothers in India. Beginning with Bombay on the West Coast of India, they would henceforth leave the security of their prestigious institutions, and choose to exercise their mission with the poorest of the poor. Salvation School would be the flagship of this enterprise. We were taken back in history to the raison d'ệtre of the Parish School, started by (then) Fr George Fernandes for the poor boys of the parish. This dream had begun to realise itself in a sort of marathon; 26 years had gone by and there were many false starts, ups and downs. Just when all seemed exhausted, ready only to prod along wearily, the Christian Brothers came in, and provided a much needed second wind. It was to change the face of Dadar irretrievably. Blessed Edmund Rice, their founder, would only smile in approval.