The Two trees

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”

–Ajay©

The real antidote..

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My eye lids are too heavy for me to open.Cries of my one year old son increased in intensity. He finally succeed in waking me up from sleep. I looked out of the window. The whole city is sleeping.Rays of the sun are struggling to find their way into the world that is still asleep.I wonder how my son is so punctual in waking me up at the same time every day.He slept soon after he drank  milk.

His little chest raising and falling during sleep.His wide eyes that twinkle whenever he sees his mother.His pale pink skin turning red when someone hold him for a moment. His contagious smile showing his little teeth.These are the best moments of my life as a father.


A messenger came with a letter from King.The letter told-“Commander, Lucifer has declared war against our kingdom.Come soon&prepare the army “with the king’s inscription at the end. I sent the messenger away. Spent that whole day with my son and wife.Woke up early the next day and prepared the chariot. I kissed my son and wife and rode towards the capital.

Our kingdom is located on the west banks of river Jordan under the reign of king David. A wise and God fearing king,wise and sincere ministers, valiant and loyal warriors, loving and faithful citizens:blessings  from God.

Lucifer is an embodiment of lust for power.He’s cruel,arrogant, shrewd and now powerful.He concurred almost all the southern kingdoms and made their kings as his slaves. His eye is now on our kingdom. The primary sin  is his only dream. His life is to live his dream-To rise himself above the Creator.

We’ve assembled in the temple of the Lord. “Shall we go against him?” Chief priest inquired the Lord.Yescame the response. “Will you give him into our hands?” King David inquired.”Yes I willanswered the Lord almighty. “Jonathan! Prepare the army” King ordered me.He expressed his desire to come to battle. We all requested him stay considering his age and health. He agreed after negotiating a whole day.


Battle began. For the first six days we lost more soldiers than our opponents.Most of our commanders are wounded seriously. We see no signs of victory. Slowly the faith in God is ebbing out of us.Chief priest sent a message to me.”Commander I had a vision last night. I see the vultures eating the corps of the Lucifer and his army. Commander take courage God is going to deliver them into your hands.”This letter brought back the faith.We went into the battle next day placing our faith in God. We killed more opponents this day than we killed in past six days. I drove my chariot near the Lucifer’s.He’s such a strong man that he did not get  tired of fighting for the whole day. It is only after the day he got a bit tired.I finally drew my sword and drove into his stomach and he fell to ground.

Dust rose from the ground by the thrust produced by his body. We won the battle. A poisoned arrow from nowhere hit my back. I fell to ground with my face making a hard impact with it. I could feel the life ebbing out of my body.I am unable to open my eyes. All I could hear is the sound of the swords. I just had one desire right now. To see the smile of my little son.

Doctors came. They tried to identify the poison to the give antidote. It took them a whole half day to give me an antidote. I was seriously injured. A squadron of soldiers stayed with me and I sent the rest to the kingdom to report the victory. I stayed in the bed for many days. I could hear the whispers of the soldiers sat by my side. “Can he live?”. I was surrounded by the fear when I heard such talks. I fear that I may die without seeing my son. The strong desire to see him cured me.I recovered in two months. But half cured and half patient-side effects of antidote. We started our journey back to the capital. Due to the winter we stayed for 6 months in a village nearby.


I presented myself before the king and took leave of him to meet my family. As I neared my house,I saw my wife holding my son to her bosom.The joy of seeing him lifted my spirits. My wife ran to meet me. My son jumped off her chest and cling to mine and called me “Father” showing his new teeth. I now feel the life being restored to me.Now I understood that this is the real antidote I need.

Remembering her..

education

We’re  in the coffee shop. “Zak,where is Aayesha?”I asked her best friend,Zakir. He phoned her. “The number you’re trying to reach has been switched off”came the response.So,he went out to find her.We’re savoring the hot coffee in the cold winter evening.

(After few moments)

  “Aayesha!!Aayesha!!”-cries of Zakir echoed the campus.

She jumped off the college building.Before we reached her,she breathed her last.We’re engulfed with fear,sadness and confusion.There laid the body of our beloved Aayesha,a brilliant student of our college.The police came.

“We’re investigating the case.Soon we’ll let you know the facts” –said the inspector addressing the local media.The news of her death barely made a scroll in their channels.The question lingering in our minds  is-“Why she did it?” ,amidst the heart throbbing demise of our closed one.


We went to her funeral. Rampur,a village with 800 families,one school,one medical store,one water tank and now one cry“Aayesha!!”.

She is the only one from their village who managed to study engineering. “She always dreamt of starting a school here” a villager said showing us the ruins of the school she studied.

Now it all beginning to make sense to me why she spent so much time in library.She is the only one in college other than librarian who knew the place of every book in library.But she never topped any exam in college.


We’re in the college auditorium attending the condolence meeting of Aayesha. MLA of Constituency attended.Candles were lit before her picture.What all we could see  is the light beams through the tear filled eyes.

She is a lone fighter in the war field.She lost to the modern academic curriculum. Modern engineering institution-a handsome business in disguise. Those who run the college never cared about what is being taught.What all they care is–(No.of students joining every year)x(RS.1,50,000).Parents never inquire how the lecturers teach.Marks of few students who mug up the subject content are enough for them to join their children.

She is probably the only one who got a seat with 75% concession for her meritorious performance in entrance test.But she is unable to live in a place where any merit of student is awarded with a single gift“MARKS” . If you did well in exam held once in a week –“MARKS”. You submitted an assignment every day-“MARKS” You attended the classes regularly –“MARKS”. Your marks are the yard stick to measure your talent .She never cared much about marks despite the lecturers remarks.Last month’s results told that she’s short of marks to get a degree.(This could probably be the best award given by modern academics to her intelligence).She worked hard to get those marks.The girl who stood unwithered against the violent winds of poverty and lack of chances was unable to withstand the raging floods of  ” modern” education.Knowing that her dream can not be realized in this world she bid adieu for all.

“We’ll take care that young lives will not be decimated by the stress in academics.We’ll appoint a commission which gives report about the changes to be made in academics” MLA concluded his eulogy.


“Sir,Mr.Thakur is waiting” said the secretary to MLA.

“Sir,Thakoor sab wants the land of old school in Rampur to be registered by his company’s name.In return aapko jo bhi chahiye..”industrialist’s assistant proposed the deal. With two mins of negotiation and few signals with fingers of MLA,soon there were smiles over their faces. The newspaper article featuring  Ayesha’s death stood there as a lifeless witness to their greed and politics.

 

 

Where could be …

Where could be “She”?

I was flooded with the memories of her. I began to question myself: Why did she leave me? Where could she go??

Standing amidst these unanswered questions I have been switching from one memory to another memory of her. Finally I reached the moment when I met her firstImage.

At the moment I born I saw her with all her splendor and beauty in the eyes of my mom. She became my acquaintance as I crawled on my legs n played in the dirt. I saw her again at the hand of my father while he was teaching me to walk. As I went to school she was there,in everyone of my friends. In my high school her appearances extended into the every change in nature. I could sense her in nature. She sat elegantly in the nature’s lap. As I grew up she has grown up-unlimited, abundant &immeasurable.

In the beginning of my teens I found that she took the shape of every unpleasant thing that an youngster could think of. I began to acquaint & enjoy the modified image of her. But it didn’t go that way too long. The way I’ve programmed as a human in the sight of my creator began to deny such kind of things. At that time my creator stretched out His hand of help. He took me off the wrong track n placed me in the right path. It’s the new dawn of understanding of her. Then I grasped the real gist of her.

As time goes on I moved to my college. She was with me for a while. I enjoyed her presence & fragrance. As my knowledge of feelings n emotions has expanded I began to experiment with her. I tried to have her presence in every thought of mine.

In this course of experimenting, a bizarre thing happened. In a usual fashion I stepped into my college gates with a hope that she would be with me. But she had already left me. My eyes searched her, she’s not there. I tried to sense her in the nature she is not there.I tried to enjoy her fragrance she is not there. Where is she?? Why did she leave me?? Where could she go??

Her name is “Happiness”. Have you seen her??

Later I searched for her at the places where we both walked alone. Upch! I could find no trace of her. She left me, that’s all. Chaos & disappointment became my friends. My heart broke as I lost her. I don’t know why I’m searching for her…

The one who created me shone His mercy over me. He taught me “Son! Happiness always depends on happenings. But the Joy I give,will springs out of your heart and lasts ever.”Image

As I walked through the path of my life I learned that: “When God is at the centre of your heart even the trace of darkness cannot touch you. It is the moment that you move Him to suburbs you become a prey for chaos n disappointment. ‘Cause He is the creator n everything will be in peace with Him”

It’s a story of my life. The story of the experiences in my life…

—Ajay