We know each other. May be directly or through someone. In your school, college, business or relationships –at some point of time we’ve met or at least exchanged looks. Or you might’ve envied my stay (though a temporary one) with someone. Or you might be the one obsessed with a desire to meet me, like the Vikram in this story. Some recognize my presence with laudation and applause. They are just my adornments but I’m not them. People have written thousands of volumes of books about me. Yet their genius minds haven’t noticed (or maybe they don’t want to notice) a fact- I’m neither a master nor a slave. I’m just a consequence. More precisely an outcome of a combination – of hard work and God’s favor. I’m called ‘Success’. I’m here to tell a story .Of course not mine but one of my favorites in the recent times.
“Place: A college auditorium
Date: Somewhere in the track of History
‘And the student of the year award goes to Vikram. Three times in a row. Never before and may be never again in our college history’ – announced the Vice-principal.
Vikram-Young, intelligent, handsome and successful. A delightful and often desirable yet a dangerous set of adjectives.
Vikram stepped onto stage to receive the award. Everyone stood up to applaud him. As usual there were whistles and merry from the last rows of seats.
Among that cacophony, two things caught his attention:
- The twinkling eye of his girl
- The clapping hands of a lecturer (who never smiles)with a smile on his face
Within few moments a thought flashed in his mind “I did it. This is my achievement.”(The words ‘I’ and ‘my’ are both capitalized and stressed in his heart).
I saw a plant sprouting in his heart. I know what it is. What I doesn’t know is- the havoc it brings. It’s called Pride. It can grow in any environment. In few months, the plant became tree. Its branches clouded his reasoning and its creepers blinded his inner eyes. Though it’s the initial stage, one with proper observation can notice its presence.
Primary symptom: His choice of words will change
Then I saw the flowers of carelessness blossomed. He lost all the college level competitions. Everyone thought that he was working for the University level project competition. But the fact is he didn’t care about it: neither the competition nor the result. In this perfect atmospheric conditions the tree bore its first fruit- Jealousy. He wouldn’t have cared if it were someone else who won the competitions but it’s his best friend. He moved away from his bestie (He couldn’t bear someone lauding his friend before him). He changed- from ‘I’ll correct myself’ to ‘How dare you question me’. People noticed it but they pretended as if they didn’t. ‘Coz Vikram is popular, popular for his success. Popularity covers the mistakes (of course only for a short time).
It’s time for the University level competition. Every one is expecting Vikram to win it. He too is confident of it (as you might be expecting his confidence is beyond permissible level). 30 more days for the competition. For 28 days he did nothing. Of course nothing includes – movies, games and killing time with friends. He prepared something in 2 days. Half completed and half left to luck and fate. He thought that no one would notice the glitches (This is euphemistic. Let me say what he actually thought – they should borrow Einstein’s brain to notice them). Competition started and results announced.
He’s not the topper,
Not in top 3
Not in top 5
Not in top ten.
His name is sedimented under top 25. Of course he’s eligible for consolation prize. His jealousy sandwiched between loss and loneliness drove deeper into his heart. Tears flowed down moving the creepers blinding his eyes aside for few moments. In those few moments light shone and he realized that something’s wrong.
It’s the time for year-end examinations. He worked hard sleeping only 4 hours a day. He thought- ‘I’d ace it. ’Coz I’ve worked hard’ (Again with a capitalized and much stressed ‘I’). Contrary to his expectation he failed in a subject. One who swam in the sea of success is now tasting the bitter fruits of failure. Hurt, distress, disappointment and tears surrounded him. He pondered. He travelled back in time to find out where he took the wrong step.
A phrase echoed in his heart:
‘Pride goes before destruction and haughty spirit before the fall’.
I saw another plant in his heart sprouting the leaves. I know who it is. It’ll choke and uproot the first tree. I also know that it’ll grow erect and high. It’ll make him reach higher heights. It’s called Humbleness-God’s favorite character”