Friday, 20 February 2015

The Solitary Amender!

  Wandering along the street of the School where he spent most of his lifetime, Rohit Sharma couldn't control the pain of watching my son Rohan being scolded by me for faring poor in the tests after the parent teacher meet in a sunny afternoon. Mr. Sharma had always been known as a calm and comforting man but this time he couldn't resist. He went ahead to talk to me seeking for the reason behind his disappointment. The reason was pretty obvious. Rohan succumbed to the pressure of the fierce competition with his neighbours, cousins, siblings or literally everyone and couldn't perform according to the high aspirations. Mr. Sharma had lived his life with principles, discipline and quite high self-esteem. He felt dismay for what was happening with Rohan and thus decided to intervene in the matter.

After some quick answers he was seeking, he invited me and Rohan to his house and it was a big deal for the adjoining colony. No one knew much about Mr. Sharma but people had made up many things to equalize for the fact that he owned a Rolls Royce just being a primary School Teacher. Some said he came from a rich background and some had allegations of him having a strong underworld connection. But I was one of the lucky one to find out or even enter his royal home and we finally did.

Being from a small city in a poor state of India, one would not expect to see the amount of royalty put in that building and once we entered the building, the sonorous architecture left our eyes wide open. He invited us to his drawing room to talk more about the thing he saw on the street. As part of embracing our Indian culture, I insisted my son Rohan to touch his feet. The moment Rohan went ahead, Mr. Sharma receded his feet and that took me in despair.

“Why do you want to take my blessing?” his statement followed his actions. “Just because I am an adult doesn’t necessarily mean you bow in front of me, you could be greater.” I was awe-struck for another five minutes. “Who says that to a kid?” I whispered to myself. That the worst piece of advice anyone had given to a child, at least that’s what I thought that time.

 After two minutes of profound silence, I decided to ask him what he really inferred. “Do you really think you are right? That’s not the best piece of advice I have ever heard!” I asked him doubted. “What can be possibly wrong in showing respect to someone who is elder than you and definitely has a much richer experience and outlook to life” I uttered again.

“There is no right, there is no wrong. We are forced to believe what others want us to. We are all moulded according to the needs of the society and the people around us. So the important thing is always to make your own decisions in favour of the society, thinking about its consequences as well. The important part is thinking. Don’t do anything just for the sake of doing it. Think before you act. You will be amazed to see everything that follows.”

 “Well Of Course, if you want another generation of mediocre people, follow what everyone has to say. Hide what you really are. Have a sugar coating on yourself so that society gives you thumbs up and live your life killing your creativity.” He continued in despair

This topic definitely suited him and it felt as if he was waiting for this day to happen all his life. The excitement in his eyes was clearly visible. It was like a kid getting to play computer games for the first time. His mind was swirling was information and facts and he kept pushing it out just like a river breaking the dam barrier. Before I could notice, he started all over again.

 “The first step to success always starts with you identifying yourself. You must know who you are, what are your strength and weakness, what fascinates you and what doesn’t. Get your facts straight and your mind open. And that doesn’t come with fear. Tragically, we Indians have the habit of doing everything over fear. This certainly matches up with the thing you were doing on the street earlier this evening. You were not scolding him; you were stripping him of his confidence and his chance to survive without fear”

These things continue to sway over my head and left me puzzled. I asked him with amazed wariness “I get some part of it but certainly not agree with everything you have said so far. Can you shed some light on it?”

“Let me tell you the story of my life. The way my life changed and how I began to see my motive for which I was born.” he replied.

“Sure”, I said with utter excitement looking over the gigantic clocked on the wall which truly agreed with the Relativity Principle.

"I was born in a middle class family here in Patna. My father being a shopkeeper at a local vendor store always insisted me on getting a good education. His aspirations and dreams were being forced on me. I was just an above average student back then. So I definitely did not meet my parent’s expectations. The burden of it made it worse. I was not free. I succumbed to pressure and could never perform to my full potential. Things went on like that until I was on my own. My Parents died in a bus accident when I was 14 leaving me alone and handing me over all the responsibilities I had to take. I was in shock for few days until I saw the silver lining here. I was all alone and free of all the responsibilities. I had to take my own decisions and would have to stand by it if it failed.” he stopped to sip a cup of tea placed on the table nearby.

 Finally getting a grip to what he was talking about, I was amazed and excited to know about his roller coaster journey. The story of his life definitely seemed like he build it on his own with his own calibre. I had already thought of his name for the time I was about to recite his story to my friends.

Finishing his cup of tea he strived ahead to complete his story with more excitement sparking through his eyes.

“After that incident, I decided to pursue my engineering in Computer Science having my long standing interest in it. The Bank helped me in providing loan for my education. The logic application and clear view of the subject made me stand out from the crowd. I started to get noticed by everyone around, managed to pull off a decent intern-ship and Job at Microsoft India. But one thing always bugged me, the narrow mindedness of the people and their thinking depending on others. So I started preaching stuff to my closed ones. I needed a bigger audience. What could have been better than writing a book about it. So in my free time, I decided to write books preaching about the application of logic in real life. It mainly dealt with atheism and philosophy for a happier and successful life. Luckily, one of the books got viral and I could manage a great income from that. The job was paying me well too. I was earning lots and managed to marry a beautiful women, just like the way I wanted.” He continued.

"Still, there was something missing in my life. The job satisfaction was not much. Each time I went to interview for hiring students in different college, I felt dismay for our education system. We had been training robots all along. It was time to change everything. I felt as if there were problem with the way we were raising kids right from the childhood. So finally I decided to take a small step myself for improving that condition. I moved back here to my home town and joined this school as a primary teacher. It was a bit shocking for my colleagues and friends as I quit a high position job at Microsoft to join as a primary School teacher. But I was happy, my family was happy. That’s all I needed. And I had the satisfaction of daring to change what I wanted to see.”

 “When I saw you scolding your kid near the School, my mind automatically reminded me of the pressure I used to face and could totally relate to it. So, I decided to call you in and portray my story. I felt connected to Rohan and knew he has the calibre just like the lacs of kids in India who are unable to succeed just because of the pressure they are mounted upon. I think I did my job well to educate every person I can. Promise me this, you would give your kid the freedom to think, the freedom to open up and also stop others who are acting as a barrier to the country’s infinite breathing talent.” he completed profoundly boasting and taking a deep sense of respite doing this.

I had been mesmerised by his talk, by his story. I went ahead to promise him for that. The large clock on the wall had rung again. This time it was 6 P.M. We had been talking for 6 hours without any sense of exhaustion running through us. The name I thought for him earlier made more sense now. I told him of that, “The Solitary Amender”. He smiled at it and took a deep breath of relief on hearing the same. We finally went ahead on our journey to home with a much enlightened mind and such deep insight that took me for a roll.

I knew my life had changed. I had heard before that your life can change any moment by any person. I never believed in those. But today, having experienced that, I went in as a different person and came out as a much improved version. The smile on my face never retired as I took the oath of passing this on and on and giving the legacy a life.