Friday, October 5, 2012


There is no need to fear another human being.

But, we all do…

We fear our superiors, people in authority… we fear those who constantly try to intimidate us, criticize or condemn us… who keep drawing our attention to our flaws and ignore our fine traits… We fear those who manipulate, harass, or conspire against us.

So, to accept the statement, “There is no need to fear another human being,” is to accept a ‘lie’!

At least, that’s what it sounds like.

Karan* is a well-brought up young college kid. I have been teaching him for almost five months now. He comes from a fine family and goes to a very reputed college… has his big circle of friends, comes by his car or a motor bike… speaks fluent English and everything seems fine with this young man. But, I have been observing that his self-confidence level in the subject I have been teaching (and other subjects, too, I guess) is very low. He comes out with doubts, which makes you feel that he hasn't understood anything at all… But, not always. Ask him a question, he surprises you with his best answer… the next moment, ask him the same question, perhaps, in another context, he is either blank or ends up giving something stupid.

It leaves you irritated and annoyed. After five months, you expect him to show confidence… When he doesn’t, you lose your own!

You, now, give him a sermon…

It doesn't help. It only makes him more nervous, guilty… diffident.

This morning, I was going through all these… I knew, somewhere along, this young man had lost faith in his abilities… that, he could do a lot, lot more. That, he had to get hold of himself… not allow himself to be intimidated by anyone, including his teachers and parents… Yes, he had to take charge of himself and quick…

I started acting kindly towards him, 

make him feel relaxed. 

I wanted the fear to go… 

openness and ease to come.

“Karan, do you find what I teach difficult to understand?” I gently inquired.

“No sir, I very much follow what you teach,” Karan told me, “I only get scared whenever you ask me something!”

I turned cold, all of a sudden!

What was important? To teach him the subject (which he says he understands) or to teach him how to have self-belief, the faith in himself.

There were other students around him. I felt it was important to address this issue. I told them what I had heard from my friend, Mr. Manjeet, last morning. He had told me this to convey the same point: how, so often, we forget about our own powers!

There is an old way of catching a parrot or a pigeon. A string is tied loosely around the windows. It is a trap. The bird comes and sits on it, mechanically… and the lose string suddenly takes the bird down… the bird doesn't know what is happening, it panics and tries to get hold of the string desperately… In the process, it gets entangled, trapped!

In that moment of desperation and panic, the bird has forgotten that it possesses wings… that it can fly!

I lovingly narrated Karan and his friends this tragic story of a bird’s life…

“Karan, why should you be afraid of me, or any one?” I asked him, “Don’t you have powers, the wings?”

Nothing more was taught after that…

It was a very, very important lesson, not only for Karan and his friends… but, to me, as well.

* Name changed


Pic.: Ronald Fernandes


Lavina Prabhakar said...

Short and impactful. Lavina

aanchal budhrani said...

Nice one sir :)

Neena Shetty said...

Very touching. made me cry. thanks for this wonderful post. Neena

Anonymous said...

Honest! Pratam Singh