I wasnít a naughty boy but I was obsessed with football. If I was not at home or in school, I was inevitably playing football. Occasionally I also got into trouble. One morning, I didnít notice my grandma entering our house at Rio de Janeiro and so while watering the plants, I sprayed water over her. She got wet and was very angry as she had respiratory problems. She complained to my father and didnít visit us for about a month. My parents were upset, as they knew it was not intentional on my part. Then my mom took me to her and I apologised and things were normal again.
Ours was a close-knit family comprising five brothers and four sisters. Father was in the Army and was very strict but at the same time, he was very caring and friendly. He is my hero ó a strong man of 87 now. My mom was great, she never hit us or lost her cool. One day, I was playing on the beach with my youngest sister Lara, and two brothers. Suddenly, Lara was on the verge of drowning but somehow I saved her. We were scared because we thought mother would be furious. But when, in spite of our repeated requests not to tell mother anything, Lara narrated the incident, she just called all of us to her side and prayed to God, thanking him for saving our lives! She cared for everyone equally, which is why all of us are still so close-knit. And, on occasions like Christmas or New Year when we get together from different parts of the globe, we are 65 heads or even more!
I still remember one of my dogs named Champagne. He was naughty and funny. One morning he went missing and we were upset. After a few days, Champagne was found inside a car with some people. Along with other children, we dragged the Ďthievesí out of the car and started beating them mercilessly. While a confused Champagne rushed inside, we discovered that Champagne originally belonged to those people before he became part of our family. From then on, Champagne had two homes to call his own.
I went to a military school and wanted to be a pilot. But because of a problem in my eyes, my wish was never fulfiled. I remember my teachers and I am especially grateful to our English teacher Miss Anna. I was weak in English and as a punishment, I had to study even during the holidays. I was angry about it then but I am in India today because of her punishment. Knowledge of English opened a whole new world to me.
I want to tell you that you must study hard as well as play. Love one and all like my mother did. This is the need of the hour.