They are in 12th standard. They have been studying under me, in the same batch, for almost a year. I will rename them, for the purpose of this post - Mitesh and Rohit.
I had taught Mitesh's dad more than twenty years ago. Those days, I had been struggling, to rise from the ashes of my just collapsed venture. I had learnt from my mistakes and I was determined to make a come back. I had come from my village, and there was no one here, in Mumbai, to support me financially. It was tough; but, the desire and resolve to rise from the ashes was so strong that I had no room in my mind to think otherwise.
Mitesh's father, was studying under me, then, for his final year. They were three brothers. Their father had set up a textile business from the scratch, and over the years bought some properties. But, their bad phase was on when I was teaching Mitesh's dad. It took just a couple of years for them to fold up their business, sell their properties, one by one. In the years that followed, the three sons did attempt to start some venture on their own, but without success. Soon, each one of them took up some jobs... and, along the years, brought up their children as responsible kids.
Mitesh is really a responsible young man: hard-working, focused and simple. He wants to do CA. I have no doubt over his capacity to succeed. At his age, Mitesh's father and uncles, had an extremely comfortable life. But, the hard days that followed had helped them to raise their children with the right set of values and right frame of mind. Mitesh, who studies in HR college, manages his cell phone bill within a shoe-string budget of Rs.100 to Rs.200. For his daily travel, he has a train and bus pass. He rarely gets into an auto. He walks the distance, instead.
Rohit comes from an affluent family of builders. Their car drops and picks him wherever he has to go. His monthly cellphone bill is close to Rs.2,000. He bunks my classes, skips my homework with a hundred excuses. However, he listens to me with respect, gives me promises, apologises regularly... and, does come about as a young man eager to make amends, get himself organised.
Rohit says he wants to get into their family business. Touch wood, they do well. Rohit has not felt the need to 'toil', walk, sweat out... manage his cellphone within a tight budget. Life is all easy - chauffeur-driven - for him. His parents, like most of us, want their son not to go through hardship and struggle in life, which we had to go through in life. They want the best of comforts for their son. They want him to grow up, all prepared, to walk into their family business. They want him to succeed.
Am I confident about Rohit's success?
Today, I was talking to them about success. I felt both were eager, receptive. I knew, that they had no choice over the kind of family situation they were born into. But, I knew, that they certainly had a choice over the kind of situation they desired to get into. I knew, Mitesh had it in him what it took to become a CA. But, I wasn't confident about Rohit. He needed to toughen himself out; he needed some challenges. In my own way, without comparing them, without making them feel guilty or embarrassed, I conveyed my feelings and apprehensions. I told both of them that they could succeed... if they, truly, desired to.
As their common teacher, I wanted both of them to succeed. I also wanted them to work for it, deserve it. And, I conveyed my feelings with all my honesty.