Tuesday, June 2, 2009
TaT Contest # 1: My Childhood Dream
A true story.
Five sons, two daughters, a tiny hut, some land, and a salary of Rs.48 per month. That’s all he had in life. He brooded day in and day out about where he went wrong, while his children were left to fend for themselves. His children were extraordinarily hard-working and slogged for many hours everyday ploughing the fields, selling vegetables, doing odd jobs for neighbors; somehow gathering two meals a day for the entire family. They were overworked, perpetually exhausted; but they never ceased to dream about a way out of the drudgery of their daily lives. They thrived on this single hope.
And one day, the elder two sons joined school on their father’s insistence. They braved the opposition from the rest of village about two boys from the “untouchable caste” mingling with the higher caste students. On the first day of school, they woke up at three in the morning and went about doing their routine chore of ploughing the field so that they can attend school on time. The school was at a distance of sixteen kilometers from their home, but they were too excited to notice the long way ahead of them. They took their slates and pencils for the first time in hand and nervously copied the letters the teacher penned on the blackboard. They learnt to count. And suddenly a new world of infinite possibilities opened before them. A world where nothing was impossible. Despite being the poorest of poor in a remote village, they can now dream of being high officials, lawyers, teachers and even Prime Minister of India! They realized for the first time their capacity to think, to mould their own futures. So, for the rest of the decade and half they diligently studied; and even enrolled the younger siblings in school. They worked day and night to earn money but somehow fitted few hours of school every day.
The eldest son was more academically inclined than the rest. So, the second son took over himself all the responsibility of running the household at the tender age of 15. He attended school and college about twice or thrice a week, and rest of the days he slogged to somehow make ends meet so that the rest of his siblings’ education doesn’t get hampered. Even though his own future seemed bleak, he still nursed his childhood dream of becoming a high official, earning a decent salary, buying a good house and a car. Simple dreams, but way out of his reach.
He was 28 years old by the time his siblings completed their education. He had a commerce degree at hand and no job. And still the responsibility of running the household, as his siblings went for higher studies or on job hunts. One day a girl he had met and befriended in college forced him to appear for a job interview. He refused as he had no time to waste job hunting as his daily income runs his family. But she was adamant, and he finally relented. He got a clerical job in an insurance company. And by dint of hard work over the years he not only overcame his poverty but rose to the position of a high-ranking official in the insurance company. He married the girl, who changed his entire life through a little coaxing. He built not one but two houses, and bought two cars. He surpassed what he dreamt of as a child during the daily sixteen kilometer walk to school. But his greatest satisfaction was that his siblings too had broken the chains of poverty and were all well-placed in life. There was a bank manager, an engineer, a high-ranking government official, and a professor. He had the satisfaction of knowing that his years of sacrifice for his siblings didn’t go to waste. And nothing could surpass the smiles he had put on his parents’ faces. Theirs were the first family from that remote village to have dreamt big, worked continually towards it, and finally achieving it. Others followed their example, having understood the value of education, sheer determination and hard work.
No childhood dream is unattainable. That’s what I had learnt from this story. That’s what I’d learnt from the story of my father’s life, the second son in the story. And he’s the biggest inspiration in my life. And I too am halfway through of attaining my childhood dream of becoming a doctor.
Once again, nothing is impossible! So, dream big!