If I bump into some of my bright school-mates, today, and if I tell them that I teach, here in Mumbai, college students – I help them in Personality Development and blog every day… publish books and all that – I am sure, they will raise their eye-brows!

“You teach college students?”… They wouldn’t be able to believe it… for, they knew how mediocre I was as a student, particularly in school and junior college…

“You help them in Personality Development? You blog daily… publish books?”… They are justified in asking these questions… for, they knew how shy and timid I was when I was a young boy… how miserably I suffered from inferiority complex!

So, this 58-year-old man – who, as a boy, had everything going wrong for him – has no business to be in the business of helping weak students and students who suffer from low self-esteem?

Probably, if I was not handicapped with my own growth issues, I would have landed up somewhere else in life… I really do not know where. But, this much I know: I would not have been as productive and happy, and as proud of myself, as I am today!

Dilip Vasu was one of my T.Y. B.Com students some twenty-five years ago. He hailed from a hand-to-mouth family and, he resembled the boy I was at his age, back in my village. We had just started THE DAWN CLUB and we had a fantastic library. Dilip would spend hours and hours reading the books in our library… He would attend our Public Speaking sessions and various Workshops… He would, also, participate in our Poetry Circle sessions… And, thus, he was silently dreaming to become the person he wanted to be…

But, I did not know what Dilip’s dream was… For, I hadn’t asked him about it!

A year ago, one day, Dilip called me to tell that he was based in Indore and had been working  there as the Principal of the famed ‘Choithram International School’.

“Dilip, you… the Principal of Choithram?” Yes, this was the first question I silently asked as any mortal would…

A desperately shy, a very, very unassuming and simple young man that he was – could Dilip be what he is today?

I can only smile reflecting on the truth: Probably, had Dilip been a smart, confident, outgoing young man when he was in school and college, he wouldn’t have been where he is today...

Yes, just the way, I say that about myself!

Early this morning I happened to read a small write-up by Dilip on FB:

“On 30th Oct. 2008, I  joined Choithram International as Head School… I still feel it was just yesterday. Years have gone by. Looking ahead always with the thoughts of past. On this day I would like to thank everyone who stood by me. I would also like to thank people who have left me but they were also a big strength and support to me. It has been a wonderful journey. Lots of ups and downs, but time has always stood by me.
Remembering every student and teacher who had been a part of the school since 30th Oct 2008.

Today it's double celebration as it's also Diwali day. Wish all my friends a very happy Diwali and prosperous new year.”

I instantly wrote:
“More strength... More of good things to come.”

Dilips’ responses was even quicker:
“Thanks Sir, you made me learn for life. I still remember all the accounts classes which I had with you. Along with accounts, you made me and the whole class learn what empathy is. Thanks for those lessons. You will remain my favourite teacher forever. The best thing you gave me was the reading habit and making me speak in all the public speaking sessions in Dawn Club. Sir you made the difference for me.”

I wanted to conclude with this:
Hi Dilip, thanks for your kind words. We all owe tons and tons of debt to our teachers, well-wishes and mentors... I think, the only way, and the best way, of repaying this debt is by giving it back to others in greater measure. You are already doing that… and I am glad and proud of it. Looking forward to meet you one of these days. Love”

When I look back on what I have done with my own life, I can see the traces of this ‘giving back’… The reason why I and Dilip feel strong today is, because, we have gained that strength by empowering others… the little kids and young boys and girls who wanted a helping hand when they needed it the most.

Yes, Dilip… More strength to you and me… More of good things to come!


Pic.: Internet


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