15 April 2009

One Last Story...

They say it's better to get out when you're at the top, then let yourself slide down. Well, if that was the case, I should have quit just after writing "Just A Bat And A Ball". But it's not too late. Officially, let me say. Laptop Diary is going to close down.

A few months ago, I would have picturised readers all over the world gasping at their computer screens, and feeling a sense of despair. That's the good thing about dreams. They never have to work out, do they? Most of you'll be glad. So am I.

So excatly do I mean by shutting down? Well, for starters, I dont think I'll be writing any more posts. I'm not sure about that. I may start again. That's why I've decided to keep the blog alive. You can always read my previous posts. But before I finally close everything, here's one last post. One last story...

"A Mark Sheet, A Cheque Book...and A Friend"
This is a story I heard from a cousin brother studiying in Bangalore. As a 12th grader, several years ago, my cousin, whose name for the time being will be Ahmed, got a new Physics teacher. Actually, Mr. Joseph was a temporary teacher, who was supposed to fill in for the first month of their 12th grade.

Joseph Sir was a peculiar man. For one thing, he never laid any emphasis on studies. Sure, he did appreciate the toppers, and urged the weaker students to perform well. But beyond that, he seemed to be aloof from studies.

One day, when there was just about 5 minutes left for the bell to ring, Joseph Sir stopped teaching. He looked at Ahmed, and asked abruptly. "What's the matter?"

"Huh? Nothing sir." Ahmed said.

Joseph Sir closed the cap of his marker pen, and threw it onto the table. He looked across the room, at where Santosh was sitting. "Santosh, werent you sitting next to Ahmed till yesterday?"

"Yes sir," a low voice replied.

"So why have you changed your place?"

There was silence for a minute. It was interrupted by the ringing of the bell. Without saying a word, Joseph Sir walked out of class...

Next day, he walked in, and without opening his textbook like he always did, asked everyone to keep away
their study material.

"What's the best thing you could do?" He asked. "Tell me, what, as a student, is the best thing you could do?"

"Get good marks?" someone murmurmed.

"Excellent. Good marks in what?"

"Our 12th Boards?"

"Yes, go on. In what way?"

"By topping the school..?"

"More, think more..."

"By topping every subject. But setting new records. By getting full in as many subjects as possible?"

"Yes!" Joseph Sir cried, raising his hands with pride. He suddenly fell quiet again. "And what do you need for that?"

"Study hard?"

"Yes, study hard. Study day and night. Study so much, that you finally cram everything you'll ever need to reproduce onto 12 pages within 3 hours. That, will mark the greatest acheivement of your student life. Or will it?"

No one replied. They knew Joseph Sir had a point to make. "Guys," he said, "you should all know one thing. It's tough to excel in your exams. But with the right amount of tutions, studiying hours, lack of sleep and a bit of luck, you can crack even the toughest of exams. Atleast in the Indian system of education."

"If you wanted to be a rich guy, all you'd have to do, is get a great job, invest cautiously, and soon, you'll have the bank balance you always wanted."

"But here's the question: What will make you truly happy?"

"Is it a mark sheet, a cheque book...or a friend?"

"If I had money, I'd be in a Ferrari...." someone said. Everyone laughed a little. Joseph Sir smiled. "That's right. You'd be cruising in a Ferrari. Until you run out of money. What then? Isnt money momentary?"

"What about a mark sheet. What if you were the topper from IIT?"

"Brilliant. Then you'd get the best job possible. You'd be the rising star. Until someone else comes along, with better qualifications. Better brains, faster hands, smarter tongue. What then? You're no longer the topper from IIT. You're the second best guy at your job."

"What's your point, sir?" Ahmed asked.

"My point is this. We spend all our energies, trying to get as much money and fame and social status as we can. But what about real friendship? Do we really give it much importance?"

"There's nothing such as real friendship!" Santosh said spitefully.

"My dear child, just because you havent found it yet, doesnt mean it doesnt exist. You all know the saying, "Man is a social being". What does that mean? It means we're beings who have feelings, and emotions. We love and want to be loved. Our sense of belongingness is strong."

"What it means, is that at the end of the day, after you've driven your Ferrari, and worked in IBM, you - all of you - want to come back home, and talk to a friend. Sounds absurd doesnt it? But is it?"

"I'll be leaving within the next two weeks.You'll have a new, and better Physics teacher. But before I go, let me tell you this. It's easy to top an exam. It's even easier to earn money. The toughest thing to do, is to build strong friendships. Not friendships where you discuss about movies and girls. Not friendships that stop the moment your friend cant help you out in Maths. I'm talking about the real friendships. Where you'll always have someone to help you. Someone to talk to. Someone to help you when you're down."

"If you get such friends, if you can build such bonds, you've done what most people in the world have failed to do. That, my dear students, is the true success in life. Thank you, class is dismissed early today. And Ahmed, I hope you've understood what I said..."

Ahmed nodded his head, and looked at Santosh....

This is a semi - fictional story, and only the message remains true. It's purely my view of thinking. You are free to debate, criticise, support or even ridicule.

All of you've been wonderful readers of this blog. When I started out, I never thought Laptop Diary would become a regular, comment filled blog. I dont say its an amazingly popular blog. But it's exceeded my expectations. 

For those of you, who havent commented on any post yet, there's a way : Just give a one word comment, as in 'Good', 'Bad', 'Horrible', 'Awesome' and so on. And then, rate the post out of 5. 1 for bad. 2 for average. 3 for good. 4 for excellent. 5 for outstanding. You can even give 1.5 or 2.5 and so on. But please do evalute and comment. 

Also, for my loyal readers, who've regularly commented, I would like it if you could give a review/testimonial for Laptop Diary. Maybe it's too much to ask for. Still, I hope you can...

Those who've subscribed, you'll know if I ever restart this blog. For the rest of you guys, as I said, please subscribe.

Until the time comes......Goodbye!

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09 April 2009

Why I Began Eating My Tiffin...

I know it's an unusual title. But then again, this is an unusual post.

I have a really annoying habit. Just like most of you. Many a times I forget to eat my tiffin. The reasons are always good enough. I had Prefect Duty during the breaks. I was completing my homework. Sometimes, it's actually true. The canteen just has better food to choose from.

The only one who's annoyed by all this, is my Mother of course. After all, who would take it kindly, if the food they prepared at the break of dawn, is returned half a day later, uneaten and wasted.

It's not as though I didn't care about it. I guess I just didn't care enough to actually do something about it. Until one evening, my mother snapped.

I was doing my homework, when my mother asked me whether I'd eaten what she prepared for me. "Uh, no."

Things had gotten that simplified. Just "Uh, No."

"You dont care about all the food you waste, do you?" My mother asked. It was always the same script. "One day, you'll have to face God, and be accountable for all your actions. Do you know how many people are dying because of hunger...?" I listened, like I always did.

Just then, my father tossed a newspaper page onto the table. "Take a look," he said curtly. There was an article, about a boy in India, who died after falling from a tree.

Sad, I thought.

Then I read the whole article, which was unfortunately in Malayalam, and hence took a little time. It seems the boy had climbed the tree, to get a fruit from the top. My mother shook her head when she heard me reading in my broken Malayalam.

"No! The boy was starving for food. Desperately, he decided to climb the tree and get some fruits to eat. A passerby who saw this impoverished boy, took pity on him. He decided to feed the boy, and asked the chap to get down from the tree. The boy, so overjoyed at the fact of getting one square meal, hastily tried to climb down the tree. That's when it happened. He lost his grip, and fell. His limp, malnourished body couldnt take the fall. He died.

I heard the story, and looked at my mother's face. I thought it was a joke. It had to be. After all, it sounded incredulous.

"Do you know what the mother was crying about?" She asked. "She was crying at her son's funeral, wailing about how the poor boy had to die without ever eating one proper square meal. 'Oh, why did he have such a horrible fate!' the mother wailed."

There was an uncomfortable silence after my mother finished narrating the story. I finished my homework. We had our dinner. I checked my MSN, Facebook and blog. We all went to sleep.

The next day, as my friends called me to hurry up on the way to the canteen, I stopped to take out my Tiffin box. "What happened, didnt bring any money today? I'll pay for you," one of them said.

I shook my head silently but did not reply. After all, he did not know why I had began eating my Tiffin....

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