Years ago my wife Ann was a full-fledged schoolteacher, in one of the English medium schools of this city of Gujarat, India. With her gregarious and effusive nature, she developed very good chemistry with all staff members of the school notwithstanding the status of the person. Not only was she the darling of most teachers, she used to be friendly with the sweepers and gardeners too. She would always ask them about their well being, how they were managing the education of their children and other family particulars.
On one such occasion, she met a husband and wife toiling in the school garden in scorching heat, for a pittance. They could not afford a good education for their two daughters and one son. My wife thought that the girls would get married and go to their husbands' place and even with less education, they could make a good life. But the boy needed to be given strong moral and economic support so that he could be the family's anchor in the future.
The prevalent exorbitant school fee, the cost of the uniform and books - all these financial constraints were proving to be backbreaking for this family. My wife, with her munificence, liked to go out of the way to help such needy people. She used to say we should help the needy, not the greedy.
This family's son was called by the traditional name Ramji and my wife promptly recognized his intuitive talent. She felt with some support this boy could become intelligent. He was like an uncut diamond. We use to stress this to his family to ensure that the boy was sent to school regularly, at any cost.
Ramji was told to approach a certain bookshop in the city where we had made arrangements to give him a set of books and notebooks at the beginning of every academic year.
Our son was Ramji's age and had lot of clothes and tee shirts. Unhesitatingly, some spare clothes were passed on to Ramji so that he could move around in his circles a little better dressed.
When Ramji reached higher standards, he needed tutoring, as he was weak in science and math. Soon I approached my friend who was running a local charity trust because he had some friends running tutorial services, I requested of him to make some arrangement for free tutoring for Ramji. My friend spoke to his colleague, who was tutoring students on a payment basis, and he showed his willingness to allow Ramji to be tutored for free.
Ramji was told if he didn't bring good marks or if his performance was found to be shoddy, he wouldn't be allowed to continue the tutoring gratis. But Ramji promised us he wouldn't let us down. He studied nicely, sitting under the street light at night as they did not have electricity and finished his 12th with first-class.
On various visits to their place, we realized that this boy loved his parents and he never demanded any new clothes or any other amenities from the family. With his stoic silence, he seldom told us if he had any problem. We used to constantly advise him to keep up his educational momentum and not to allow any distractions.
Indeed he worked effectively with constrained resources. He pursued his college studies while tutoring some students, at a nominal rate, as he himself hailed from economically backward community.
By the time he did his B.Ed. , his mathematical skill won him a lot of demands and many tutors approached him to spare his time for their classes. He, with his Midas touch, brought out excellent passing results in all the students he tutored. He knew his worth and gradually he became a much sought after teacher. His wife too has completed PTC which is one step below B.Ed.
As per the custom, Ramji had to spend lot of money on his marriage. He also tutored students at his own house. The house needed some plastering, proper roof, benches etc., and through assiduous toil, he confidently took loans from friends and banks and with ease, cleared all his debts within two years.
We continue our visits to this family and we invite them to our house often. They enjoy visiting our place on Christmas occasion. Now Ramji is well dressed, his family too is a bit well off. His sisters are married off, thanks to the income of Ramji.
He has the panache and elan, vital to convert adversities into opportunities. Presently, he is earning better than his schoolmates. His impeccable manners won him several friends. Recently he was selected, in the state level selection, to be a government teacher in a nearby village.
We narrate Ramji's ascension from being low to the present status to all our friends. Our compassion for this family is immense.
Recently, my wife's friend phoned to say they wanted to get rid of their color TV and my wife had Ramji's family in mind, as they did not have a TV. She promptly told them she wanted to give it to one deserving family and the owner of the TV obliged. So Ramji's family is now enjoying good programs at their place on this TV.
We have to make each day a masterpiece by helping a needy person. A good friend sees the first tear, catches the second and stops the third. Similarly, we too did our duty to help a needy family.
Ramji now stands like a towering beacon and template for others to emulate.
Copyright © 2010 P. Balakrishnan
My wife took a lot of interest in helping this boy's family and now he's well settled. I thought of sharing this story with you and your readers because it is a real incident and I hope it will inspire many.
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