‘“Mumma, please increase my pocket money; Rs. 500-a-month is not enough. Rahul gets a thousand.”
I always wanted to say it to my parents though I could never do it; probably because I knew it was all they afforded.
Barring a few, almost all parents teach their children, the lessons of sensible spending and money saving. I was no different. Though I was neither an extravagant nor a demanding child, I used to feel a twinge for not being able to match the spending speeds of my mates.
And then I learnt a lesson, from someone whom I had never expected to be of any help to me. What he taught me unknowingly and unintentionally; I could have never learnt and understood from any book or numerous preaching sessions from my parents.
“Deepak what were you doing with those laborers who work at the construction site of our new hostel building, during play period.” I asked Deepak who was studying on the bed adjacent to mine.
Let me introduce you to the background of the story first.
Deepak and I were the students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, a venture of the HRD Ministry, initiated by Late Sri. Rajeev Gandhi, intended to provide quality education to children who belong to village and other remote areas.
They provide education through 6th to 12th, completely free and the boarding & lodging is also free. Seats are limited and children are selected through an entrance test. I was the lucky one along with Deepak and another 78 kids to get selected for the 1995 batch.
Deepak was more of an introvert guy who didn’t like to mix up, probably because the classmates including me teased him for a pigsty tail that used to hang from the back of his head, down to the neck.
He used to be the scarcely-seen student and one would get to see him in a group only if his present was inevitable. We’d also tagged him a ‘miser’ as nobody had ever seen him having any eatable at babaji ka khokha, the snack parlor for the Navodians (the name which we fondly refer ourselves to).
“Do you know those laborers? I have also seen you with that couple before, who break those big stones with their hammer.” I pushed when he didn’t respond to my first question. “Oh…I got it now. You must be learning their skill. Good to know that you have chosen your career”. I laughed at my own cheap joke and some more morons joined in.
“They are my mom and dad.” He replied in calm but firm tone.
“I know they are poor. They are not able to provide me the pocket money that you get from your parents but they are doing more than what the best parents could do for their children and you know…I am proud of them. I couldn’t have the better parents. I feel very lucky”.
We were all shell-shocked. Suddenly his remoteness from the snack shops was evident to us. I couldn’t say anything. My head was bent low; I was ashamed for not just insulting a great human being but also for criticizing my parents for not fulfilling my unreasonable desires, developed out of comparisons and jealousy.
I’d realized my mistake. I immediately apologized to him in the presence of other guys as this was only thing ‘RIGHT’ for that moment.
I never made fun of his after that and started to love and respect my parents even more. I learnt my lesson and I learnt it for the lifetime.
There are so many children like me, who hate their parents, curse their parents; unaware of the sacrifices they would have made of them. Many a times, they would have suspended their pleasures; they would have suppressed their desires so that we can have our luxuries.
I’ve understood that drive towards desire is a lifelong journey and it transverses through the destinations where we should sit, relax and make the most of our momentary achievements. I have learnt to find solace, glee and satisfaction in small reasons of joy that life offers to us.
Deepak taught me to value what we have; even if it is only the love of our parents.
For all those who would be wondering if it is a true story and what happened to Deepak and where is he now.
Here is the answer!
He is now a CEO and Founder of an IT company in Chandigarh.
Yes, he is running a company of his own though a small one with a strength of 20–25 employees but he is well on his way to turn tides in his favor.
Isn’t it an achievement that only a handful manages to accomplish? I have got my answer. Did you?