A great lesson in life.
There are some incidents that remain etched in our memories for a long time. They may be either good or sometimes they are so bad that we don’t want to be reminded of them at all. To my mind comes across an incident which I remember very often.
I had just been married and had got a leave of ten days. We had planned to visit a few places;among them being a hill station, and a palace belonging to the medieval times.Once down the road we were enjoying our intimacy and the days were passing quickly. As the leave was coming to an end we were saddened a bit. But there was no other option. One day before we had to take our return flight I informed my wife ,“You would be amazed to know that the place where I have done part of my schooling is just two hours down the road.”
“We have seen so many of the tourist spots. Why don’t we visit the city if it’s just two hours away?”
“My dear” I replied “After it has become the information technology hub,lots of offices and building have come up.The place is full of skyscrapers and stained-glass buildings. It has become a concrete jungle. Not the place that might excite you.”
But she was persistent “I have heard so much about the city, why not visit it for a day when it is so near.”
Not wishing to disappoint and hurt her, I agreed to her suggestion.
Immediately we hired a cab and in two hours we were in the heart of the city. I began explaining the places we used to visit very often, when we were living in the city. Everything was just flashing across my mind as I was busy refreshing my memory.We visited the aquarium and the art gallery. After this we decided to go for a movie to the nearest multiplex.
There were ten people in the queue and one person nearest to the ticket window appeared to be quite familiar. He collected the ticket and went inside the hall. Lots of thoughts were crossing my mind,and I was engrossed in thinking as to where I has seen him. His appearance had changed a bit with him having put on weight and also become slightly bald. I wanted to talk to him but could not leave the queue.
We entered the hall and began watching the movie. My wife was completely engrossed in the scenes from the movie. But my thoughts were just moving quickly and I could not concentrate on the movie. The memories of my school days were flashing across my mind.
We had shifted to this city and Mr Ranganath was my mathematics teacher. A lot of adjustments had to be made and to top it all I was very weak in mathematics. This was my 10th standard and I had to perform very well in order to get into a good college.
In the first quarterly exams I had failed in math’s and my parents were very worried. They met Mr Ranganath who assured them of all the possible help. “Don’t worry; he can come to my house for tuition.”
“And what would be the tuition fees?” My worried parents inquired.
“There is no fee. In the evening I take tuition for students who are weak in mathematics. Teaching is my passion.”
My parents were pleasantly surprised. In the period when commercial institutes were mushrooming all around the city charging hefty fees for few hours of tuition, here was a man who was embedded to his principles. Once the final results were announced,we were overwhelmed with joy as I had cleared the exams with flying colors. My name was in the list of one of the prestigious colleges and my happy parents went to his house with a box of sweets. Accepting the box he remarked “You don’t know my weakness for sweets.This is the best gift I could have ever received.”
Taking a piece of sweet, he distributed the remaining sweets among the students present there.
The whole scene had flashed across my mind as I was watching the movie. After the movie was over I caught the hand of my wife and rushed towards the exit gate.
“Mr Ranganath” I shouted from behind.
The person was startled and turned around on hearing his name. I too had reached near him.
“Sir, do you remember me?”
After thinking for a while he looked across me carefully as if trying to recollect.
“Yes, I do remember. You are Deepak.” We shook hands, “What a pleasant surprise!I presume she is your wife.” He remarked looking at my wife.
“Yes, she is my wife.” I replied.
It was afternoon and he asked “Where are you headed for?”
“We are going for lunch now.”
Since we were in a mall,there were plenty of restaurants around. We entered one of the restaurants.All the time we were talking of the good old days. The memories were coming back to our mind one by one.
“What are you doing nowadays?” he asked me.
“I am working in a multinational company as a manager.”
“And what about you, Sir?”I wanted to know.
“I retired six months back. Now I have all the time in the world to enjoy my life.”
“You have stopped giving tuition too?”I asked.
“No! how can I ever do that? I still take tuition classes, one batch in the morning and one in the evening.”
Knowing Mr Ranganath, I was sure that he would not be taking any fees from the students. Such persons are rare to find in today’s commercialized world.
We had finished our lunch and the waiter came with the bill. Mr Ranganath immediately took the bill and kept the cash on the menu card. After lots of protests he remarked” You are my guest and we have met after a long time.I am very happy. You are a worthy student close to my heart. Don’t worry about the bill.”
I took leave of him with a heavy heart. The next day I took a return flight to my city. This was a chance meeting with one of my school heroes from whom I had learnt value and ethics in life.