Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Pic.: Usha Prasadh

Two people were to call me by 9 this morning. They both had agreed to do that.

The first one is a gardener, with bare-minimum education. The other one is a substantially big businessman, with good qualification, and, whose children are being educated in one of the ‘top’ schools around.

The fist one called me ten minutes before nine as he had promised. The second one did not. So, I started calling him on his mobile from five minutes before 9. It was switched off. It is 10 now, and all efforts to reach him have gone in vain.

Parents of two of my 12th Standard students were to pay me fees.

The first student, a girl, lived in one of the slum areas around; she had never been to any classes for the simple reason that her parents (father was a daily-wage worker and mother was a housewife) could not afford to pay her fees. But, this girl was such a committed and hardworking girl, that she always topped in her class. Being a Board exam, suddenly, there was a certain anxiety in her. So, with great apprehension, the parents brought her to me two months ago, when I had completed the entire portion. But, the moment I realized that this girl was a deserving student, I agreed to help her out. I wanted to be a part of this girl’s success story… It was an honor, to say the least… Yes, so saying to myself, I began to help her. “Don’t worry about the fees,” I told the parents. But, they said, “No sir, you have to take something.” They placed Rs.2,000 in my hand, right way,  and agreed to pay two more installments of Rs.2,000 on the 7th of next two month.

I said, “Relax”.

0n the 5th of last month, the girl handed me the second installment. And, today, she handed me her last.

I felt, that I had truly earned that income… though I felt a lot guilty for taking it from them.

The other student of mine lived in a posh bungalow and, naturally, belonged to a business family. He studied in one of the top schools around and seemed to possess every comfort a young man desired. His parents had given me three post-dated cheques, with a clear instruction that I could deposit them on their respective dates. When I did, two of them bounced. But, what surprised me was that the parents’ reaction to this was so casual… They did pay me cash after a couple of days in lieu of the bounces cheques. But, they left me wondering: “Why is this not affecting them?”

So, minutes before I was to deposit the last PDC, I called up the mother. She said, “Hold on… I will tell you when to deposit… Or, I will come and give you cash!”

So, I saved the last cheque from bouncing. But, I am left to wonder: "How insensitive one can be to little commitments in life!"

This Post is not about ‘money’… It is about that intangible thing called ‘Values’…

How do we imbibe in us ‘Values’? How do our children and students do? How do we learn that we have to keep our little promises to others… that, we should respect their time… that, it is important to earn trust from others… and so on?

Has it got anything to do with the school we study in or the homes that we are raised?

I  think, it has more to do with how we view ourselves. How we value ourselves.


Pic.: Usha Prasadh

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