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Short Story of Enlightenment

Anupam, an English teacher, is extremely sensitive & expresses her emotions in poems. She is pursuing Masters in Psychology at present.


Teenagers Today

Being a teacher I have seen various kind of students in my teaching experience. They depict a sort of mini world to me. A few are compassionate, empathic, helpful, understanding while the others are rude, selfish and so irritable that they don't want to see anything in order.

Most of the students lost their ways in the school only as they don't find someone to show them the bright light. This is the story that I read in Hindi somewhere and tried to translate it.

The Story of Enlightenment

"Please have something today, you didn't eat anything for the last two days," the poor mother pleaded.

"Listen, I'm not going to eat a single grain of this house until I get the bike what father had promised. I have been begging for this second-hand bike for so long and waited for my twelfth examination. The father had promised that I would get it after my twelfth examination. Today is my last paper and I want that bike today itself or else I won't step in your house. Ask your daughter to reach at my exam centre with the cash. My friend will come along with his bike there. I'll pay him and get the bike from him," said Mohan, the youngest of the family.

He has got a lot of love and affection in his family. All his wishes were fulfilled since his childhood. Whichever toy he had asked, the dress he wanted or sweets he asked for, his parents and his elder sister gave him all. But this bike was too expensive for the poor family at the moment.

The mother was helpless still she tried her best to appease her son, "Dear son, the father could have given you the bike if he had not met with an accident recently. The accident...."Before the mother completed her words, Mohan uttered, "I don't know about those excuses. I just want you all to keep your promise. I NEED MY BIKE TODAY. "

After saying this Mohan left his speechless mother and reached for the last paper of his examination. The school principal, Bhagwat sir used to take a special examination after the board examinations were over. He was the most respectable man in the education world, not for his knowledge, wisdom and experience but for the practical teaching he used to offer. He gave a lot of importance to value education and to instigate those values in his students he used to take specific tests on values of life apart from the school's syllabus.

Mohan sat for this special test. He was still thinking about the bike and was determined that he won't go to his parents' place if he didn't get the bike. He got the question paper at the top of which it was written "My Role in my family". There was a total of ten questions in that paper. They got one hour to answer the questions. The students had to answer the questions to get the character certificate from the school signed by the principal.

Mohan read the first question.

1. How long do your parents and other members of your family work? How long do you work?

He started to write the answer, "The father leaves at 6:00 am with the auto-rickshaw that he runs throughout the day to earn for the family. He returns home by 9 pm. So that's almost 15 hours of work. But sometimes he has to work more if he has to work in the night shift as well. The mother wakes up at 5 am to cook for their father. She packs his lunchbox and then gets busy in the other household chores of cleaning, cooking and arranging things. At noon she works as a seamstress to earn a few from her stitching skills. For her, it can be 16 hours a day.

The elder sister leaves for the university at 7 am and after her classes, she goes for a part-time job of four hours from 4 pm to 8 pm. After coming home she also helps the mother in the kitchen for dinner."

While Mohan was writing answers to these questions, he was almost in tears. How much his family toil throughout the day and that too for his better education. He studied in a private school though all his other friends were in a government school. His parents tried their best to give him the best education. With tears in his eyes, he wrote how much time he really worked in a day which was nothing as compared to his parents and his sister. "I wake up at 6 am and then leave for school. I return by noon and take a good nap after lunch. In the evening I go for a walk with my friends and move around until dinner time. I come back home to have my dinner after which I study for a few hours."

He got his real worthwhile writing the answer of the first question.
Then he read the second question

2. What is the monthly income of your family? How much can you save from that? Mohan thought for a while and then started writing the answer, "Father earns almost fifteen thousand from his autorickshaw. The part-time job of the elder sister and mother's stitching work get another ten thousand in a month. Out of the twenty-five thousand, ten thousand is paid for the rent and electricity, five thousand for petrol, five thousand for my school and then the expenditure on food and clothing."

While Mohan was writing this answer, he was deep into thoughts. Is any scope of saving any amount from this income? Even being aware of all this, he has always expected his family to fulfil all his demands.
3. Tell about a few famous mobile apps available, top three web series, and most entertaining place in your city. Mohan was very excited to write the answer to these questions and for a few moments, he felt proud of answering these questions aptly. But when he read the next question all his pride was shattered. He read that again and again but couldn't get the answer to that.
4. What is the cost of the vegetables that are cooked in your kitchen? Tell the rate of wheat flour, rice, oil and any two other grocery items. What is the monthly expenditure of grocery in your family?

Mohan didn't have any idea of this. A few days ago when his mother asked him to get some vegetables from the hawker outside he shouted at her how she could ask him to do any other thing while he was preparing for his board examination. He remembered one incident when his father tried to show him his monthly expenditure while he denied seeing that stating it was not his job to think about those things. This question made him realize that getting the knowledge of mobile apps or other such thing is not as important as knowing about the things of the daily requirement. He felt so proud when his friends used to address him as a mobile master, he knew about each and everything about mobiles and computers. Ask him about the configuration of any mobile and he had the answer.

He moved to the next question.

5. Do you argue for any food at the dinner or lunch table? Do you ever compliment the food that is served to you?

Showing his modesty and honesty he answered, "Yes, I argue a lot. I have never complimented for any of the sweets or delicacies that my mother cooks specially for me but I get agitated to find a few of the vegetables in my bowl that I don't want to have. When any such vegetable is cooked that I don't like, I create a lot of mess in the kitchen and then my mother has to cook something of my interest for me."

He remembers a day when he found his mother having bread with water at dinner. He asked her why she was not having the vegetables. She said that she was not well for many days and couldn't digest the oily food. Later he came to know from his sister that they couldn't get so many vegetables in such a limited amount of income. He felt very sorry for all his deeds to date. How much he has troubled his mother. He neither helped her in any of her chores nor asked about her well being. She had become too week serving the father with the broken leg still she was working round the clock without any complaints.
He read the next question.

6. Write about the last insistence of yours.

Now he could remember the recalcitration for the bike. The father was never ready for his bike but he couldn't utter a word against the threats of his son. He had a lot of expectations from his son. He wanted him to do better in his life but lost his hope after the accident. There was no income for about a month and he was insisting to have a bike. Mohan was filled with shame and remorse.

He wrote the answer."Till morning I was instigating my parents to have a bike for me. I had already discussed it with one of my friends who was ready to sell his bike to me in negligible amount. I said it in the family that I'll not return home if I don't get a bike ignoring the financial condition of my family. What I was considering negligible meant a lot for my family. I promise myself that I won't recalcitrate for anything in future. I will earn myself to think about the luxuries of life."
Till now Mohan has understood that this test was an eye-opening test for the boys like him who become so selfish that they can't even think about the problems of their loved ones.

He moved to the next question filled with a lot of hope and positivity within him.

7. How much pocket money do you or your siblings get? How do you spend that?

Mohan was prepared for an answer for this question and he answered honestly, "Father gives me a thousand rupees every month for my daily expenses while my sister has never taken any money from my father. She started to take tutions since she was in high school and right now she is contributing to the family rather than expecting anything for herself. I have seen the girls of her age getting various colourful dresses, jewellery and wandering here and there. She doesn't show interest in such things, though she gets some gifts for me on various occasions. She doesn't even care for her marriage while the parents seem to be worried about that too. She is so busy throughout the day in her college and job that she doesn't get time to even think for such things. I spend the whole amount I get in just enjoying some fun time with my friends. Sometimes I have to even lend from my friends."

He read the next question.

8. Do you know your responsibilities in the family?

This question was too complicated to answer for Mohan. Till now he has never understood his responsibility and presented himself with different demands and expectations in front of his parents.

He started to answer, "Yes. For sure yes, as I am also the part of the family, not just to eat the fruits from the hard work of the other members but to plant the seeds of my own deeds. I am sorry as I ignored my responsibilities as a son and as a brother till now being so selfish, but these questions have helped me to introspect myself and look into what I was doing. I had become a pest and was pestering my loved ones for non-worthy things, nothing of which stands against the love of them."
He felt relieved after writing that answer, a sense of contentment and then with pride he moved to the next question.

9. Are your parents happy with your performance? Do they scold you for your performance in academics?

Without giving a second thought to this question, he started to answer this, "One day I came with the report card and said to my mother that I had failed in my exams. She stared at me for a few minutes in awe and then went into the kitchen without uttering a word. My sister was also there and she was very sure that I was lying just to tease the mother. She said sarcastically that not me but the whole family had failed. I showed her my report card in which I had got the remark of 'Excellent'. That too couldn't bring the smile on her. She only said that I could do well in academics but I had forgotten the basic human values. I didn't show any of my report cards to them since that day. Today I realise what she really meant. I could not bring a smile on their face with any of my deeds but never left a chance to strike them with my insensitive behaviour." He remembered now how many promises he has broken. He promised that he won't buy expensive gifts for his friends but he did that. He promised that he would not go to the theatre with his friends but he kept ongoing. He promised that he would not ride the bike along with his friends who had caused many accidents. But it was him who has caused the accident of his father. It flashed in front of his eyes how he was riding the bike of his friend on full speed and banged with the autorickshaw of his father. He was all in sweat-filled with remorse. He really wanted to fulfil his responsibilities of a son and of a brother. He no more was a selfish spoiled brat.

He read the last question

10. How are you going to help your parents after this board exam of yours?
Mohan didn't want to write the answer to this question, he wanted to give a practical answer to this question. He submitted his paper with a firm determination in his eyes. He was reformed. He was no more a pest but the seed which knew has noticed its potential.

When he came out, he found his sister waiting for him. Her eyes were red too. As she was to give the cash in his hands he hugged her with excitement. Her sister Latika thought that he was happy as he was getting his bike. She said, "Oh congratulations on your bike! Take this cash and get your bike. Please come home soon. Mother has not eaten for two days just because of you."Mohan wanted to say something but she interrupted him, "I am in a hurry, Mohan. I know that your dream is fulfilled like many others in the past. But you will never know at what cost. I have taken an advance from my job to get this amount for you as I couldn't see my parents in such a pathetic situation. You may not know but there isn't a single paisa left at home. How we are able to manage life now you won't understand. You have never tried to understand the feelings of mine or our parents. You just want your needs to be fulfilled at any cost. Do you even know how our father is going out with his rickshaw with his pain of the broken leg? Why does he need to do that? Why will you listen to such things! Take this amount and enjoy it with your friends. At present only one father has broken the leg, maybe after breaking ten more you will get your contentment."

After saying this she left giving Mohan the cash.
Mohan was spellbound. For the first time, he couldn't answer his sister. He used to say ten words for her one-word but today he has no words to say. Soon his friend came with the bike that he was to buy. Though it was a few years old, it was shining like a new one.

The friend came to him with the keys and said, "Take it now. It's all yours. People are ready to give twenty thousand for this but as you are my close friend I am giving you in just eight thousand rupees."
Mohan looked at the bike for a while and said, "Friend, it will be better if you give this bike to the one who has promised to pay you twenty thousand. I couldn't arrange the money and don't think that I will be able to do that soon. " Saying this Mohan left in hurry.

He went into the cabin of the Principal sir and touched his feet with respect. Bhagwat sir knew him very well as Mohan was the topper of Mathematics, the subject that he used to teach. He was surprised to see a student in his cabin at that time.

He asked, "Mohan! Have you finished your paper? So soon you came out. Did you write the answers?"

Mohan said, "Sir! For that only I have come to you. Without your efforts, I would have never known the responsibilities of mine. I have answered all the questions except the last one which needs a practical demonstration than mere words. I need blessings from you so that I can move ahead in the path of righteousness."
Dr Bhagwat has not met a student like this for the first time. The purpose of this test was to remind his students of their responsibilities and help them to think about their loved ones as well rather than being selfish. He blessed Mohan with both his hands and remarked, "I hope you will value love and humanity more than greed and materialism."

At home, everyone was eagerly waiting for him. When he reached home, mother went into the kitchen to offer him something to eat. She was worried about his health. The father asked, "Did you get your bike?"

Mohan didn't answer a word but with tears in his eyes, he took out the cash and gave it to the father. With much effort, he said, "I am sorry father. I behaved like nonsense for so long still you all thought about the welfare of mine. I don't need that bike anymore. We have an auto and now onwards I will also take a few passengers of yours. For a month you forget about autorickshaw. I will take care of it until I get my results. I know, I won't be able to devote as much time as you but at least it will enough for our happy family."

The father stood straight and said, "Now I can stand straight. Give me a hug my son. I feel too proud of you now. God bless you, my dear son."

He went into the kitchen and hugged his mother. He said, "Mother, my sweetest mother! Now I will help you with making dinner at least twice a week. And today we will cook your favourite brinjal kofta with didi's favourite tamarind rice."Latika was so happy to see her brother behaving like a perfect son. She went and hugged him saying, "And I will make jaggery kheer for my dear brother."

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Anupam Mitu


Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 07, 2020:

Thank you Nithya. It's my pleasure that you loved reading it.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 07, 2020:

Hi Anupam!

I am also not getting the email notifications from Hubpages. Others have also raised this issue. Please check the forum thread, related to this.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 06, 2020:

This story touched my heart, Mohan turned out to be a wonderful son and brother. Thank you for sharing.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 06, 2020:

Thank you Hari for your compliment.

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on October 06, 2020:

Excellent. Just a simple questionnaire to write about life is good enough to enlighten the ignorant. Very good hub anupam.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 06, 2020:

Thank you Chitrangada.

It's strange, I'm not getting any notification for hubpages as I used to get earlier. Do you get that?

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 06, 2020:

thank you JC Scull.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 06, 2020:

Beautiful story, well narrated.

This gives a powerful message to the young generation. It's good that the boy learnt this important lesson of life, at the right time. Someone has to teach such important values to the children, in the formation years, either the parents or the teachers.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on October 06, 2020:

Very nice hub.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 06, 2020:

thank you so much, Olusegun. I would love to read your poems

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on October 06, 2020:

This is simply "Muah!". Good work. Love this!