Saturday, 3 September 2011

An Introduction

Valerian Andrew Serrao, was born on the 18th of February, 1947 to Andrew Piadade and Marcelene Serrao. He was the second of 7 children. Born in Kinnigoli, Mangalore, he moved with the family to Mumbai at a young age and completed his schooling in St. John's High School, CST. The family home was an apartment room on the 4th floor of an Old Victorian building in Churchgate, Mumbai, about which he used to recount countless nostalgic and hilarious stories... like the time a big sack of coconuts just arrived from Mangalore was stolen when he was supposed to have been keeping watch over them, how the family had to pass the water up four flights of stairs - each of the kids standing on the rickety wooden platform of each floor, how his mother slaved over the hot stove cooking precious mutton curry and shelving equal portions to each of her 7 kids, as well as her husband, secretly sacrificing her share; how the milk always came in bottles not in plastic packs, and how the smell of books always hung in the air like magic dust.

He graduated with honours in Commerce, and also completed a degree in Arts through St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. He went on to do his GCD for which he stood 3rd in Maharashtra state. He also pursued his ICWA, but gave it up on receiving numerous job offers from different fields. Valerian Serrao worked as a teacher's assistant, a lecturer in the famous Bholas Coaching classes in Mumbai, an officer in what was then known as Hindustan Lever, and finally accepted a cost accountant's position with Petroleum Development Oman, and moved to Muscat, Oman.

He married Miss Rosy Hilda Soares on the 22nd of May 1977, well before the offer from PDO. She was then an officer with the Bank of India. Within a year of his moving to the Gulf, Valerian received news of his wife's pregnancy. It was after 7 years of marriage, that they brought a daughter, Benita Maria Serrao, into the world on the 4th of December, 1983.

Valerian soon arranged for the relocation of his wife and child to Muscat, and they lived in the Gulf for 9 years, before his contract expired and he had to decided on either renewing or relocating to his native India. With the onslaught of Omanization at the time, expatriots being sent back to their homelands in order to create more job opportunities for the local populace of Muscat, Valerian renewed his contract for another 6 months to put his affairs in order, and arranged for his family's relocation back home.

Six months later he joined them, at his home in Borivali, Mumbai, and entered the computer education field which had just begun booming at the time. However, with the advent of institutes like Aptech and NIIT, Genesis Computer Academy, which was a little known enterprise, mostly centered in Pune, soon had to fold up. Valerian Serrao then shifted his residence to the well-known community of I.C. Colony to be near friends and established himself there as an accountant handling co-operative society accounts, society management, and tax affairs.

It was at the end of 2006, at the age of 58, that he finally decided to retire and remove to a quieter, less hectic quarter of India, and moved with his family to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. His daughter, Benita was married on May 26th, 2007 to Shadrach K. Joseph, a family friend serving the Lord in Coimbatore.

His love for spiritual and faith related service, and dedication to the Lord's ministry in Coimbatore, soon found him ordained as an elder in Rhema Life Fellowship where his guidance and spiritual insight did not go unnoticed, and earned him the love and respect of the small congregation.

It was in the May of 2008, that Valerian was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. He faced the onset of the disease, the strains of his medical treatment, and the ensuing debilitation of his health with profound courage and grace. Valerian Serrao went to be with the Lord on the 26th of August, 2011, at the age of 63. And his memory lives on in the hearts and minds of all who knew and loved him.

We, who have believed in the saving grace of of our Lord Jesus Christ believe that we will see Him one day.

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4: 13-18)