Thursday, February 08, 2007

Courage (A short story)

[The story is fictional and a new chapter to my collection of short stories.]

There are some unforgettable moments in everyone's lives; I have quite a few. These are usually moments of unexpected success, sad events or some amusing incidents in which you didn't play any part at all. One such amusing event will always remain close to my mind. In 5th grade we were asked to write essays in all the languages that were taught in school, i.e. English, Hindi and Marathi. Well, scoring highest grade in a language subject was different and writing an essay in that language was a different ballgame altogether. Best escape was to buy some cheap award-winning essay book and try to imitate their writing style in your essays. Well that used to work out great for me and I hope it still does for the current 5th graders.

The story is about a boy, Atul, who being a bright student, also had an unparalleled passion for languages. Teachers used to ask him to read his essays in front of the whole class. Not that his essays were great but they were original. His originality used to bowl me over. But on one such day, when we were supposed to write an essay for Marathi class, he was not prepared. The essay was about our local hero and king, Raja Shivaji. The class was scheduled after lunch break when he busily started writing his essay. There was a glitch in this essay-writing homework – an incomplete essay would affect the overall grade. After scribbling for a while he was able to finish about half the essay which was about 2 pages. After lunch-break the lecture began and unfortunately the teacher asked him again to read his essay in front of the class. The poor guy couldn't dare to admit that he couldn't finish his homework as it would affect his otherwise clean academic record. He took his book in his hands and stood in front of the class. Few of his friends, including me knew the actual facts but we didn't know how he was going to pull this off. Reading an essay that you have written and in a language that you are not quite familiar with, is a big task for an 11-year old guy. Atul started reading his essay explaining King's birth, childhood, schooling which exhausted his essay completely. Without looking at the class, staring at his notebook Atul continued his essay by elaborating about an event where King killed his arch-enemy Afzalkhan with his wits. I was amazed to see his cool, calm poise and confidence with which he was fooling the whole class but with a good intent. Well, teacher was impressed and awarded him good points for his essay. From then on he never missed his homework. The point that I realised was that a given task should first be completed in one's mind before its execution and there will be times where you will not be prepared for an event, but approaching it with a positive attitude will have higher chances of bearing success.