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One Life to Live...
by Dr. Lavina Noronha

May 2, 2010


We have one life to live and there is wisdom in living it well. They say curiosity, spontaneity and a spirit of adventure keeps you young at heart. I have discovered there is so much pleasure in doing something at the spur of the moment than planning and programming for months. I don’t usually like to sweat the small stuff but I am convinced when you do something, you’ve got to put your whole heart in it, no ifs no buts. 

Let me tell you what happened the other day. I was exiting the grocery store and was offered a ride by our family friends, a retired bank officer and his wife. As I graciously hopped in, I noticed that the seats were covered with plastic sheets and I inquired if it was a new car. “Oh, no,” replied my friends “it’s been a little more than 4 years since we bought this one.” I sheepishly said: “Gee, the plastic covers on the upholstery made me wonder.” “Oh,” said Mrs. G. That’s because our grand kids used to ride with us, you see, we used to pick them up from the nursery once in a while. You know how messy the kids are- the biscuit crumbs, the diaper leaks, and the throw-ups. Yikes!” She continued “It’s not their fault; they have no idea what we have paid for the car.” 

I just gaped at her with wonderment and I don’t know if she noticed the lump in my throat.  “Now, we miss our grand children a lot.” she whispered under her breath trying hard to fight back the tears. Three months ago their only son had moved to the U.K. with his family leaving just a trail of memories behind. 

What she told me was too hard for me to swallow. They have been riding the car with the original plastic sheets on for four years because they were afraid the grandkids would mess it up. ‘What is the use of buying an expensive car if you can’t enjoy the plush interior of your car against your skin?’ ‘They are your grandchildren, for heaven’s sake. Don’t you enjoy their company? I wonder if they regret not letting the children be children, the mess and all.’ My thoughts were going in all directions and I did not realize I had reached my home. Many of us make the same mistake. In anticipation of life tomorrow, we forget to live today. 

Last month I thought I’ll pay my neighbors a visit.  I was unable to make it to their housewarming couple of months ago.  Every time I bumped into the Brittos they would remind me that I owed them a visit. Children were playing in the front yard. I went up the stairs and rang the doorbell. The doorbell chimed Ludwig Von Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ and as I stood there enjoying the melody, Mrs. Britto greeted me jubilantly and said “Welcome, welcome. Do you mind coming through the rear door? Our maid just finished mopping the floor.” “No, not at all, I tried to be polite even though I was getting a bit irritated.” The children also came barging in through the back door. “Wait, get down on your fours” yelled Mrs. Britto. Both the children knelt on the floor and started walking on all fours. Now I got a bit worried, I hope she doesn’t expect me to walk on four legs” I thought to myself. Before she could say anything, I asked her “should I also........?.” “come on, Lavina, are you kidding? The kids have been playing in the yard all evening, and I don’t want them to drag all the dirt inside. So, I send them straight to the bathroom to wash up.” I heaved a sigh of relief. 

I left my footwear out and coyly entered the house, we walked past the kitchen and she brought me to the dining area. Please make yourself comfortable. I pulled out a chair and sat at the table. Beautiful crystal chandelier right above the dining table was too exquisite for words. She offered me a cool drink in a steel tumbler and said, “I hope you don’t mind, I have put away the crystal glasses in the cabinets.” “No, Mrs. Britto” I reassured her “that would be just fine.” ‘I care more about the contents, not the exterior’ I had to stop myself blurting it out. After all, it will not be politically correct. She gave me a tour of the house and all the furnishings and upholstery where it was made and how much they had spent on each piece. The Italian leather settees with plume fillings, teak wood dinette and the matching chairs, cane sit-out furniture, the eight foot tall grand father’s clock that came all the way from Japan, Jacuzzi in the bathroom, steam rooms and so on and so forth. I congratulated her and prepared to leave.

“Isn’t your mother-in-law home?” I inquired while leaving. Oh, we sent her to the home for the aged. She had been losing control of her bladder often and was having way too many accidents. In our old house we put up with the urine puddles and the stench. Besides, she is too old-fashioned for this modern house, you see” rattled Mrs. Britto in one breath. I didn’t know how to react. My heart must have missed a few beats.

On my way home I got to thinking.  Mrs. Britto represents most of us, doesn’t she?” We build huge mansions but we don’t have room in our homes (and hearts) for our aging parents.  While our expensive and exquisite silverware and crystals collect dust for years in our kitchen cabinets we prefer to use chipped, outdated chinaware. When our children are younger we don’t let them eat in the good plates for we are afraid they will drop them and when they are older they don’t bother to have dinner with us even if we take out the good crystals and silverware. How ironic! 

Now, do you believe in living for today? Go ahead, give your children a hug whenever they need one; don’t shush them away. A peck on your cheek is priceless even with lips laced with ketchup or curdled milk from your two-year-old child or grand child. Use the best crockery and cutlery today, don’t wait for tomorrow. Invite friends and family over for dinner even if your upholstery is faded and the house badly needs a coat of paint. Remember, opportunities knock only once, they don’t ever come back. There’s more joy in getting drenched in the rain than carrying an umbrella !  What are you waiting for ?

Dr Lavina Noronha - Archives :  

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Comments on this article
A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.Saturday, May 08, 2010
Mr. Peter, I do wholeheartedly
admit the fact that my comments
are directly or indirectly sounds
like another article. Do sincerely
appreciate your response, also
my apologies.

When I read some article of greater
interest like this article, I get
inspired to comment on the article,
and I feel an outflow to write.
Sometimes I feel guilty due to
my nature in writing elaborate
comment, but I write since
the article is highly interesting.
Comment on this message

Leslie Noronha, Kulshekar/MangaloreFriday, May 07, 2010
Dear Dr. Laveena, Very true but still people don't realise the facts, well done for bringing out the truths of the world, Keep it up regards leslie
Comment on this message

Peter, Mangalore/ MumbaiThursday, May 06, 2010
Look Mathew, Now your "comment" appears to be an article by itself! Thanks anyway for sharing your line of thought.
Comment on this message

Uday Kulal, MangaloreThursday, May 06, 2010
Always enjoy reading your articles which is always about "LIFE". Keep writing good luck :)
Comment on this message

A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.Tuesday, May 04, 2010
It is an interesting article, and
must be read a few times.

Our life on this earth is very fast
and short but many people have
no idea that they will have to face the
reality of death one day. They
add more heavy loads of life every
day...bigger than the biggest house
of the neighbour, more fancy cars
and brand-name personal items.
This show of " idol worship" is going on like a never
ending soap opera. Anything we
have created with our work and when we worship that object, then
it is an idol worship.

Last week when I met an old college
friend of mine, he was sick looking
at his fancy mansion. He has a
paid off mansion, but to maintain
it, he needs thousands of dollars
every year. Now, he has no income,
the value of real estate is
depreciated every day, and nobody
is interested to offer anything
for the big house. So, his
one time " idol of pride and
glory" now has became a heavy burden
upon him. Thousands of people are
in the same boat. Now, many are
indeed learning the real purpose and value of our life in this
short pilgrimage on earth.

What we do for others who are of
the household and the helpless
people to make them happy, that
life is a rewarding one, and God
will be pleased with it. Carry
less baggage of material things in
this life, our journey will be
pleasant and less cumbersome.

Comment on this message

A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.Tuesday, May 04, 2010
It is an interesting article, and
must be read a few times.

Our life on this earth is very fast
and short but many people have
no idea that they will have to face the
reality of death one day. They
add more heavy loads of life every
day...bigger than the biggest house
of the neighbour, more fancy cars
and brand-name personal items.
This show of " idol worship" is going on like a never
ending soap opera. Anything we
have created with our work and when we worship that object, then
it is an idol worship.

Last week when I met an old college
friend of mine, he was sick looking
at his fancy mansion. He has a
paid off mansion, but to maintain
it, he needs thousands of dollars
every year. Now, he has no income,
the value of real estate is
depreciated every day, and nobody
is interested to offer anything
for the big house. So, his
one time " idol of pride and
glory" now has became a heavy burden
upon him. Thousands of people are
in the same boat. Now, many are
indeed learning the real purpose and value of our life in this
short pilgrimage on earth.

What we do for others who are of
the household and the helpless
people to make them happy, that
life is a rewarding one, and God
will be pleased with it. Carry
less baggage of material things in
this life, our journey will be
pleasant and less cumbersome.

Comment on this message

NAVEEN, KSATuesday, May 04, 2010
Amazingly true. While reading i remembered many happenings in my life & with sorrounding.

In company accomodation every two year they are giving this blanket & bed sheet cover here in KSA. I found one person put his new bed on his old bed & so on ...he is having new blanket but using old blanket.....

Many small examples there..in life it really maters...

Thanks to the article..really nice
Comment on this message

Robert Fernandes, Udyavar / DubaiTuesday, May 04, 2010
Thanks for the nice article. Very thought provoking.
Comment on this message

Stephen Menezes, Shirthady/DubaiTuesday, May 04, 2010
Amazingly true and I fully support Lavina's thoughts, what's the use of good things if they are not used appropriately when they are supposed to be be used. If we don't take care of our elderly loved one's, we are doomed to tread the same path when we grow old, life is a cicle you see!!!
Comment on this message

Mamtha, Rosario / DubaiTuesday, May 04, 2010
Excellent article. I loved your previous articles A Death that wasn’t & Straight talk about death...


Comment on this message

patrick dsouza, mangaloreMonday, May 03, 2010
I like your Beautiful article Dr. Lavina
Comment on this message

Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney,AustraliaMonday, May 03, 2010
That`s more like it. Thanks Peter.
Comment on this message

Peter, Bijai/ MumbaiMonday, May 03, 2010
Dear Ajay, to put your Hindi adage in other words: "Earlier I had no money to buy that attractive ice cream and sweets and now I have enough & more money but being diabetic my Doc has forbidden to have any of it!" - Such is the paradox in life!!
Comment on this message

adshenoy, mangloorMonday, May 03, 2010

Live a normal life. When one lives abnormal then life begins to stressout looking for gadgets and flying life.

Be happy with what you have and never go after wordly things.

One life to live and make it free to live and teach your children same.
Simplicity is mother of virtues and complexity takes away all those virtues ending in miserable life.

Comment on this message

Dolphy d'souza, Pandeshwar., pandeshwar Mangalore.Monday, May 03, 2010
Congratulations to you for exposing other side of modern life.The last para of your article is nothing but my real life and happy about that.
Comment on this message

Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney,AustraliaMonday, May 03, 2010
Sorry, Ajay Fernandes, that old Hindi adage quoted by you is no longer valid, for, these days, thanks to the modern dental technology, with the help of a strong and beautiful tooth set, one can enjoy not only channas but even sugar cane, till the day one is ready to go to the grave.
Comment on this message

Ajay Fernandes, Mangalore / DubaiMonday, May 03, 2010
There is a adage in Hindi which goes "Channe khaane ke thein par paise nahin tha abhi paisa hain par daanth nahin hain....thats life.
Comment on this message

rohith martis, mani, m'lore-b'loreMonday, May 03, 2010
Dr.Lavina, nice article. I like the article.....
Comment on this message

Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney,AustraliaSunday, May 02, 2010

Human being are made up of different classes and species - like primitive thinking or modern, poor, middle class, rich and affluent, careful or careless, thrifty or spend-thrift etc. and their attitudes, outlook and approach to life depends largely upon their upbringing, cultural and economic background. So, it`s quite normal and natural that you come across such families like those cited as example by the writer in the subject article, who are extra careful to safeguard their prized assets like expensive cars and the interior of their homes, and one should accept them as they are, without being too critical.

At the earlier years of my life, when I was busy and struggling to raise my family with two young kids, with limited income at my disposal, I too tended to be frugal and careful, but not any more, when my kids have grown up and moved away and of their own, and my economic situation is fairly confortable. Anyway, some different topic to ponder and comment about.

Comment on this message

Mable Aranha, Bajpe / New-YorkSunday, May 02, 2010
Such a great article, perfect for this artificial world.
Comment on this message

Theo D'silva, Kardi/Mangalore/TorontoSunday, May 02, 2010
Hi Lavina, I disagree with your article and i fully agree with what they did. The honesty is important and they are honest to give their opinion.
Comment on this message

usha kiran, MangaloreSunday, May 02, 2010
Very thought provoking article ! Like they say " And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years"....
Comment on this message

Bulsam, MangaloreSunday, May 02, 2010
Most of the upper middle class in India do practice this kind of living. They make big mansions equip them with latest & costliest gadgets, purchase costliest leather upholsteries, leather-seated vehicles and what not. But unfortunately they live a miserable & stressful living to keep them at safe distance from utility either by not allowing them to be used or covering the expensive leathers with cheap cotton covers.
Comment on this message

Prabha, MangaloreSunday, May 02, 2010
Its true that tommorrow never comes.So live and enjoy for the present.
Comment on this message

Fredrick Castelino, UdyavaraSunday, May 02, 2010
Lovely article. If we read your article and follow your suggestions it will be paradise on the earth.
Comment on this message

Sandesh, Mangalore, OmanSunday, May 02, 2010
Beautiful article Dr. Lavina. Some of past real experience came to my mind. Hope to read more articles like this from you.
Comment on this message

Agnello, Mangalore/MuscatSunday, May 02, 2010
Very true Dr Lavina. In our high speed routine we sometimes forget about Living.
Last year when we were in Mangalore my kids got themselves dirty in the garden getting wet in the rain. When they came in I scoled them for getting dirty and wet .My wife reminded me that I always want my kids to get wet in rains and play in the garden, that which we miss out in Muscat.'Yes' I told her 'but I never said I wouldn't be scolding them too.' Then we proceeded to give them a warm water bath and tuck them in cozy towels.
Comment on this message

Agnello, Mangalore/MuscatSunday, May 02, 2010
Very true Dr Lavina. In our high speed routine we sometimes forget about Living.
Last year when we were in Mangalore my kids got themselves dirty in the garden getting wet in the rain. When they came in I scoled them for getting dirty and wet .My wife reminded me that I always want my kids to get wet in rains and play in the garden, that which we miss out in Muscat.'Yes' I told her 'but I never said I wouldn't be scolding them too.' Then we proceeded to give them a warm water bath and tuck them in cozy towels.
Comment on this message

joyce Dsouza, DubaiSunday, May 02, 2010
Very true...... very beautiful article .......I wish every single individual should read it
Comment on this message

Noreen D Mello, Mumbai / KuwaitSunday, May 02, 2010
Beautiful article,hope everybody reads and change...........
Comment on this message

clara helen, mangalore / muscatSunday, May 02, 2010
Wow! What a thought provoking article! God bless the writer!
Comment on this message

Joyce, Shirthady / KuwaitSunday, May 02, 2010
Very true facts Dr. Lavina, just loved it.
Comment on this message

Mohini, MangaloreSaturday, May 01, 2010
Wonderful article....
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