Life is an unexpected journey with its share of ups and downs. Life throws up unexpected challenges when we feel the sailing is smooth suddenly we are faced with a roadblock or a boulder that blocks our path. Some of us just sit there leaving things to fate and there are others amongst us who dare to take each obstacle as a challenge turning each opposition and challenge into an opportunity and coming out a winner. They thrive on challenges and each challenge makes them get stronger and reach higher in life.
School life was fairly smooth for me. Thereafter I began to witness the harsh realities of life. Suddenly I found myself having landed in the big bad world where you need money and infact lots of it for anything you want. Right from college admission to expensive books everything needs a lot of money. I had always wanted to join an engineering college and now I realized that due to lack of money I could not afford to pursue the engineering degree I was so eager to pursue.
Seeing so many of my classmates join the courses of their choice despite the fact that they had lesser marks then me made me very depressed. It was a feeling of standing at the station and watching your train leave.
I relinquished my dreams of a bright professional future and took admission in a correspondence course as I wanted to earn enough to support myself. In those days there were very few job opportunities for fresh school pass outs like me as neither did I have a professional qualification nor did I have any job experience. As luck would have it I landed myself a job in a garment export unit in another city. I relocated to this city and took up a paying guest accommodation. As I had joined a correspondence course I had no difficulty in moving to another city. I worked hard in my first job and was promoted to the post of a supervisor. There was an increase in pay and for the first time I felt that my life would be smooth from hereon . However every evening when I returned home I was greeted by an elderly couple who were my neighbors. They used to take coaching classes for neighboring children who could not afford education. Seeing these children study used to remind me of my dreams. Even though I had given up my dreams but perhaps there were still some sparks left in the ashes of dreams burnt down by the realities of real world.
Sitting with this couple was a soothing experience for me. When they asked me about my future plans I told them I had none as I was here to earn some money. Even the correspondence course studies had been put on the back burner my me. They encouraged me to think and plan for my future as I was very young and could achieve anything that I set my eyes upon. This was their motto. I confided in them about my dreams and shared with them my feelings that I felt that my dreams had been left far behind.
Hearing the story of my life this elderly uncle whom everyone knew as Ramesh Sir shared the story of his life. I was surprised to know that he was a qualified engineer from a reputed college .When he shared the story of his hardships I was overwhelmed my the magnitude of challenges faced by him. He was the son of a poor landless farmer. At an early age he had to work to support his family of six. Everyday he would walk about 5 miles to go to school. After coming back he would help his parents in the fields and it was only in the night that he got the opportunity to study that too sitting under the sole lamp that was installed outside the village heads house. He had never had a smooth going as everyday was a new challenge. Braving the weather and the elements he marched on to educate himself and five of his siblings. He told me how he took the competitive exams but could not pass in the first attempt as he had studied in a vernacular medium and all the papers were in english. Instead of giving up hope he took up the help of a school teacher and learned the English language for a whole year. Next year he appeared and successfully cleared the entrance exams. This conversation proved to be very motivational for me my problems were so small as compared to what he had faced. Now my next question was can I too train under him and try to attempt the engineering entrance exam once again ? He ready agreed to train me. He told me that becoming an engineer and getting a degree should not be my sole motto. The life of an engineer is full of challenges both mental as well as physical. He was very focused and determined person who helped me learn and respect time. I began to do and achieve more within a given day due to better time management. He taught me to foresee situations and prepare myself for all the possible outcomes . When I looked at him I saw a person who had self belief. He was very motivated and had the quality and the ability of motivating others .Being with him helped me bring out the best in me. He had an engineering degree from a reputed college and an illustrious career behind him so why did he leave all that. Instead of reaping the fruits of labor and hard work why had he given it all up to live the life of a school teacher who teaches underprivileged children for free?
To which he replied. That there are so many good engineers out there who can do the job that he did but he could be more productive here helping train and engineer the futures of so many young people. What about the engineering degree that he had worked so hard to earn ? To this he replied that engineering or any study for that matter is all about a state of mind. He still uses his skill to undertake community projects like building a rain harvesting system for the community or setting up a solar panel project for a remote village. Despite having achieved so much in life I was touched by his simplicity,f ocus ,dedication and selflessness . Instead of making loads of money for himself and living in a lavish style he was touching other peoples lives with the magic of his genius.
He was a man truly #madeofgreat who trained me and helped me achieve my dream of becoming an engineer. After I graduated I went to thank him and before I left his parting words to me were “never stop dreaming and chasing your dreams. Our dreams are what keep us alive and give us a reason to strive, reach out and be a winner in whatever we do.”
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