When was the last time you took a break and mulled over your actions, contemplated between right and wrong?
When was the last time you actually let yourself free and did something meaningful and worthwhile for others, absolutely selfless?
When I was ten, I was given this book ‘Each one Teach one’ back in 2002 under the same campaign at my school. I was ecstatic because I could be the teacher I always admired. But it wasn’t easy, not because I was terrible at teaching but because it was hard to find a student. Shocked? Why would it be difficult to find an uneducated child in India? Right? But it was, have you ever tried to teach reading, writing and doing simple calculations to an eight year old or ten year old. It is difficult, they would come, be very excited for few days but then it will gradually become boring, monotonous. Since they have always spent their time working or playing; sitting at one place, concentrating on one topic is utterly tedious. I wanted to teach a girl, since I was little and going out was not possible for me, I asked my domestic help to bring her daughter along and I started teaching her. I still remember the first spark of excitement in her eyes when she realized that she will be able to write her own name. After few weeks she told me ‘I don’t want to study.‘ That learning became studying gradually. I was really disheartened so I didn’t approach another kid and because of busy days I almost forgot about it.
After couple of years I shifted to other city and I wanted to teach the sixteen years old girl who used to work at our home. Her name was ‘Kanta’, she hated that name, she used to call herself ‘Kiran’. She was a fun loving girl, loved fashion and stuff. She was a true sixteen years old girl, she were to be married soon so I convinced her to learn the basics. I already had my previous ‘Each one Teach one’ book. With her there came another problem, she had the zeal but she wasn’t fast at learning and I had to be very patient and I am not known for my patience. I believed there was something wrong with me, I wanted to educate others but I wasn’t good at it. Many times my mother would help, things work great on those particular days but when she would leave me on my own and it wouldn’t work. So I stopped teaching her but my mother told me not to give up so I asked Kiran again and told her if she did well in chapter exercises, I will paint her nails as a reward and if she excels, I will give her a nail enamel bottle. She took a month to excel the whole book. ‘Each one Teach one’ book was of 100 something pages comprising of all the necessary basic chapters in Hindi, English and mathematics. After teaching Kiran, I gained confidence; all I did was en-kindle that spark of winning something just like we study hard to get the first position in our class.
Again I shifted to another city, Gwalior (my father is in transferable job) there I started teaching girls in my free time, now I was in 9th grade and getting free time was hard. I still had ‘Each one Teach one’ books because I was the one who distributed those books in my class long back, being a class Monitor I was given permission to keep the spare books and I was glad that I took them. Now I was teaching two girls, I didn’t need to tempt them this time because both were ecstatic to learn and I was more patient. One of my girls, Kusum, was excelling but one day I heard that she stole a gold chain from one of the houses she works at. I felt like I failed because I failed to teach her the most important lesson of life, to differentiate between right and wrong. I realized it doesn’t matter we get first position in our class if we fail as a human being. I called Kusum and asked her why would she steal, she told me that she liked that chain and her madam was rich, she could afford it but Kusum couldn’t. What I realized at that point of time was that education is not just about doing calculations and able to write or read. It is about making the right decisions, having some core believes, values in life and sticking to them because those values helps you to overcome that temptation. And I was imparting only half education. Now when think I think back, I am not hundred percent sure that tempting Kiran with those nail paints was right?
Many times we judge a person on their academic report-cards but what about the report-cards of their deeds. If one has passed from A++ University then he is a God, if you fail in your class then people will condemn you but do we look past the grades and actually take in a person’s actions? When a kid who failed in his 9th class helps an old lady cross a road, do we stop and tell him ‘I am proud of you kid’. Very few of us would do that.
Those who are truly educated are those who are working for the betterment of the society, they have overcome their temptation of being self-centered and now they are helping the needy persons. They didn’t sacrifice luxury but found the true source of happiness as well. No one can be Mother Teresa but if someone puts an effort to be at least 1% of her, if one could give just few minutes of a day to someone who needs it then it would suffice. That makes your education truly worthwhile.
Everyone lives for themselves, that’s living; living for others is being alive, and ‘Alive is awesome’ . It doesn’t matter how many memories you have of yourself at the end of the day, but how many memories others have of you and that’s all that really matters.
Diya felt a sharp spasm of pain
Seeing Bati enduring again and again.
He begged “When you know,
you will burn, then why you come
to succumb, parish from
soft creamy cotton into ashes,
Incur the wrath of inferno,
Why a flambeau!
Why do you set yourself on fire?
Over and over, everyday?
What do you attain?
After a long pause Bati replied,
“My dear fellow,
I enkindle to engulf gloom,
to ignite the darkest room,
kiss dismal eyes,
embrace sombre lost souls,
caress quivering hearts.
I blaze to illume the dark
paths of wandering man,
to warm the cold suffering nights.
If I didn’t glow, then who will
light the Stygian port,
to brighten the bleak lives.
This is the true art of devotion;
I attain peace of mind, satisfaction.
“You exalt me Bati,
This is message to the society,
Brightest day demands
struggling, suffering and sacrifice,
heroic labor would suffice.”
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