The Churning of the Ocean of Life- Part 2
My Sordid story - An explosive truth about my character then.
Life is a mix of the sweet and the sour. It is a combination of the good and the bad in us. If we realise our mistakes at an early period of life and rectify, there is no other emancipation from the life's bonds. Instead we harp upon the stupid theory that if we succeed in life, it is our greatness and if we fall from grace it is the Karma or result of the sins committed by our parents (not ours, there too), then we never get salvation. We can never come of the "life cycle" . This philosophy forms the basis of this part. Please read, keep reading. Many are the actors on stage, behind stage, many are the parts they played in my life And me in the central part. These two happened in the same period and this part can be construed as the continuation of the earlier.
Life is like a photo negative. How so many copies we take out of the negative and refurbish or photo- shop them in future parts of life, the original image will remain intact in the negative. That will remain in memory, till the God's decide to tear it apart and burn the body of it. But the soul remains.
Not only that, the effect of this negative will impact our character at every stage of life and shows a different kind of image, depending upon how we spruce it up. The story behind this spruced up image is not known to many. Many can't understand too. But our good and bad, our character etc., are assessed from the images they see today and they never go back to the negative, that is the heart of it. "The stories of an earlier birth" said a poet. These past life images are never taken into account when they assess us. This part of the story is akin to this.
As a child, adult and youth I used to be very short, very lean with an awkward hunchback. You can just imagine how I used to look like when I tell you that I was weighing only 40 Kg.when I became Branch Manager of a bank at age 32, commanding over four officers and total 20 staff members. There were many comic and amusing incidents during that period on my personality and my position, that I used to tell them as stories to my wife and children and laugh out. I will come to them later.
This hunchback was a result of a congenital defect in the spinal cord in that part of neck, where two spinal bones fused into one and length of neck was shortened. I came to know of this fact at age 30, as I was getting head ache whenever I worked for more than 12-15 hours or read continuously.
So, my loving brothers used to lovingly mock me with the nick name "90 years' old man". This spread in the school too. But few used to mock me as teachers showered so much of love on me and they were afraid, but not my brothers. As I was under the right or wrong impression that I was one of the most intelligent guys around me, the word "jealousy" never entered my life, till date. That people feel jealous of each other, was known to me after I grew up enough to know the ways of the world but I never was willing to accept the fact people and that my own brothers were feeling jealous of me. I always felt like one most beautiful rose in a rose garden where all other flowers were beautiful. That was the first flaw in my life, which by the time I realised it, I was totally ruined.
Ineed the later part of life, I realised that this incident dented my self confidence. Whenever, I was on stage to speak the mocking by my brothers that I was lean, short, with an awkward hunchback, making me look like an old man of 90 years age, haunted me and I miserably failed as a public speaker. But individually or in a group of people I used to talk so sweetly that they used to wait for the next opportunity to talk to this funny looking guy who can entertain his audience spell bound. The fact that one of the most beautiful girls, I ever knew, married me defying elders is proof of my attractive talking power and the storehouse of knowledge called my brain.
That is why we should avoid to praise, mock or deride children at a tender ages. Images remain intact, though we can not observe.
There was one more incident at this stage of life which effected my morale throughout and is effecting me even today. (I will include those parts that happened after I published this part on FB in Telugu.)
But before we find flaws in others, it is our duty to accept our own. This will at least give us a psychological satisfaction that we are not pointing fingers, hiding our own blunders in life. ( I am not going into the personal lives of anyone, but am confining myself to those incidents in which involvement of others is there, to the extent it affected my life and growth).
THE EXPLOSIVE TRUTH AT AGE 19.
So saying, I should mention here that till the fag end of graduation such incidents never occurred where I could point out flaws in myself as my character was like a polished gem, that everyone wanted to own. Friendship with me was an added asset to my co students. If I go to their homes, their elders used to treat their children with more love, "Oh! This babu is your friend!" and neighbours used to peep into their houses to see how I look, pat me, kiss me and give me something to eat. These are nostalgic moments, I will narrate one or two later.
For the present, let us confine to the end part of my career. Here I committed a sacrilege no intelligent guy in this part of the world would dare to and would commit. Only fee people knew this. My father, mother, and few others knew.
But my kith and kin wanted to paint me as one of the worst kind in the family and banish me. But, to the girl I loved and married later, I revealed the hard truth first. She believed me. Even now, I never tell a lie to her whether good or bad. She knows that. That is why she lived with me so many years without any differences in opinions, in spite of efforts by our family members to divide us at various points of time. Her story later.
There are six enemies in the way of development of our character. They are desire (to flirt), anger, miserlyness ownership (this belongs to me, excessive attachment), arrogance in words and deeds and jealousy. I can confidently say that the last four are afraid to come near me even now. But, I developed unmitigated anger at age 20 and it haunted till 50 years. I may be the primary reason, but my circumstances, the players on and behind the stage that played a sinister part or the ladders and snakes, might have played their role meticulously.
At age 19, the most dangerous snake, desire to flirt bit me. A married lady, elder in age by 7 years, started pestering me to give her a child so intelligent and bright as me and no more and I lost my senses. I think it is not her fault. I think is the fault of the intoxicating power of my talk. This power is still intact in me, but I am using it for better purposes. I flirted, but did not touch her as I was too afraid because of my brought up. Luckily it ended in the intoxicating talk from both sides. No damage was done.
My sister in law scented this, she told my mother who told my father who both advised me that these snakes were more dangerous than a poisoned sword. (snakes here meant the six enemies). Matter ended there. I got a job in Hyderabad soon and left for good and changes in our family due to my father's death in a month changed my whole life. I never met her again nor I ever forgot her.
My wife too is very clever. She talks without mincing words. So, a few days after we decided to marry, she asked me when we were sitting on a bench on Tank Bund, " Did you have relations with any other girl before you met me?" . Without hesitation, I told her this episode and about more girls who wanted to marry me with no result. She said, " You are truthful, you are intelligent and you have beautiful heart. My desire too is to have children as beautiful as me and as intelligent as you. Her words came true. The three children are replicas of mother and each having three times better brain than me. We propose, God disposes though we do something in the middle.
I had to embark on such lengthy narrative as I thought it fit to assess my faults first, before I find them in others.
So, let us go back to the life in the Upper Primary School days. We are five brothers like Pancha Pandavas. (Later there were two sisters). The middle one (actually Arjuna was the middle one but to suit to the story of Kali Yug, we consider the middle one as Bheema, because though he is not strong but is very timid, in anger he matches Bheema). Every other day, with every other boy he used to pick up quarrels making impossible vows and get injured much to the discomfiture of my parents. He was thinking he was only right. Even now, he still has that feeling as some recent face book postings show, which I am including in this or future chapters.
He was anger personified, at the same time timidity was his weakness. Physical weakness was added liability. He proved that timidity and anger were dangerous at least to hands and legs. I proved that excessive courage was dangerous to my position and prestige. That was the basic difference.
But we should accept a fact. He was the most innocent boy of us all. He led his life neatly and settled with perfection. But the timidity and anger are still biting him, as per his latest FB postings. Jealousy is abundant. It might not have harmed anyone but it harmed me immensely in future life. My mother lovingly used to call him "Duurvaasa"because of his anger. But I always tell my children he is a role model of perfect life and there will be less troubles in life if one lives like him, a water drop on a lotus leaf, neither help anyone nor seek help from others.
There was a war of words between our Bheemasena and the grandson of a very respected political leader in the village. It went up to one vowing to break the other into pieces and it was decided to hold the duel in the playground during lunch time. So, the boxing bout started and the well built grandson of the political leader broke the hand of Bheemasena. Those of us, who were clapping till then, silently slipped into the classrooms as the truth dawned on us. Matter reached my father through sources. He came rushing to the school. The Head Master and other teachers stood with folded hands in front of him. He was the most respected gentleman in the village and moreover the village doctor. ( I have equal leftist ideas as I have the rightist. Even now, whenever I remember this scene I feel bad for the teachers, though at that time I might have felt proud of my father's stature). My father, in a burst of anger, chided the Head Master and other teachers in the most derisive invectives and asked them what they were doing when two children were involved in a boxing bout.Teachers meekly said, they were having lunch.
In his anger, my father did not hear their pleadings. Instead he threatened to write to higher authorities and left. He did not, as my mother told him not to. She told him, after all, the teachers too should eat and when our son was at fault why should the teachers be blamed. My father used to respect her word like a sermon. He went back to school, apologised to the teachers and gave a brushing to our Bheemasena. My mother was referring this as "primary anger" in later days. It evaporates as fast as it bursts. Most in our family suffer from this ailment.
For two to three days the younger grandsons of the respected political leader drew lines on the road we go to school and stood on the line threatening with breaking our legs if we crossed the line. We went by by-lanes and wept in front of our mother, who wept in front of my father, who did almost the same in front of the respected political leader. He called his grandson, our Bheemsena, explained what we stoodfor in the village and took an oath from his grandson that he would never leave the hand of Bheemasena, come what may. Call it quirk of fate or his respect to his grandfather he stood by his word and till date he is the best ever friend or the only friend he had. He owes his position to him as that boy helped him get a job in Syndicate Bank, as our Bheemasena was incapable of getting one on his own. More on this in later chapters.
This incident and such other incidents involving Bheemasena had a direct or indirect effect on many lives (mainly mine) in future. Hence, I had to mention this. He reacted to this wildly when I published this in Telugu on FB and accused someone (mostly me, of breaking the head of my mother and killing her) .I will reproduce that in this chapter.
A dilemma arises here. If I continue the story with my High School studies it is all ladders, no snakes. If I go further it is all snakes that threw me down but I again climbed many a time. If I continue with the former, it would be self praise. If I skip and continue, I will be doing injustice to myself. Hence, I will briefly discuss my high school life.
For entering high school I faced problem of under age. I was one year four months younger than the prescribed age. High School authorities advised showing my age more than my regular age but my father objected as that would entail in my retiring earlier. ( The irony was I never retired in life.I lost my job at age 40). This sad affair will come later.
So, I was asked to continue in sixth class in old school and one year later, I was admitted to high school by showing my age more by four months.
My first experience in high school was my class teacher (teaching English) , giving me 100/100 in English for which the Head Master took objection, as in only mathematics 100 marks were given those days. My class teacher told the class that he fought with the HM but other teachers too supported the HM. He was, by nature, a very angry young bachelor. So, he gave 100/100, struck it out with the remark, "Reduced to 99/100" on the instructions of HM and half won the battle. From that day on, many teachers used to talk among themselves "See! that tiny boy is Chandra". Some teachers used to visit my class to see my books. "Your hand writing is very good " they used to pat. (Only later I knew that that the writing of the Creator on my forehead was very bad).
Influence of this instant fame was felt when I entered seventh class. There were two sections in this class. The class teachers of these two sections Sri Subbarao and Sri Narasimha Rao were distributing the students passing out of sixth class each according to preference. (Seventh Class was the first milestone in school career). I was made to stand aside as final choice.Sri Subbarao had a daughter who joined the school that year only and who, he considered was not bright in studies. His bargain was, if I were in his section he could take us both to his house after school and train both further so that his daughter too could benefit. The other teacher said he could do that even I were in his section.This unresolved issue went to HM. The future HM, who was there suggested a lottery to be picked my me. And I picked Sri Narasimha Rao. But Sri Subbarao used to take me to his house where I was studying for some time with his daughter as my student and he and his wife, who incidentally was my teacher earlier, guiding me. She was giving mouthful of eatables daily (Chowdaries are famous in making delicious snacks, they have shops in all countries in the world today) and treating me like a son. ( Did you observe how teachers used to be friends and philosophers, besides guides those days? Even now, teachers are like that. Attitudinal change came in parents. My children's teachers too were in the same mould.)
As it was going on like this, an unforgettable, unerasable from memory, incident that still brings tears of joy and agony happened in this class.
Every week, our class teacher used to conduct a test in English Dictation. That week, first time in my school career, I committed two mistakes. Those days training was strict and punishments were stricter. For each mistake, we should take one hit with a sharp cane on the palm. I did not know whether my teacher did not want to punish me or he did not want to set a bad precedent by leaving me or he did not want the whole class go unpunished. He made a suggestion. " Chandra never commits mistakes. He is too weak to take two cane blows. So, if any of you can take his blows I will excuse him." About ten students stood up. Out of this one by nick name " Three finger Sambaiah"( he unfortunately had only three fingers on each leg) suggested that he wrote all the 20 wrong. Hence, taking 22 blows instead of 20 was not that painful. And if any other student made 20 mistakes, they could share one each. There was no other. So he took my two blows. As I was too tender in age, I did not know implication of this supreme sacrifice and the cruelty of the system in punishing others for our faults. ( In future I faced similar situation of either involving ten officers in the charge sheet, of dishonesty and throwing ten families on the street by involving CBI in the investigation or submit myself before the authorities admitting my own small mistakes and my complicity in the smallest misdemenour in banking parlance, among others ( I was Branch in charge and in criminal terminology A1) , I opted for the latter. I wrote to the management admitting the charges and requesting them to relieve me by dismissal at the earliest so that I would not have to face the ignominy of flouting service rules by working elsewhere during suspension. So, the disciplinary proceedings that draghed for a decade or two in other cases was over in three years and I was dismissed from service at age 40, penny less, with a black mark haunting me.) This subject, at appropriate juncture. Then, I remembered Sambaiah. I thought how painful it would be to take punishment on behalf of others. While writing the letter I thought that I had suffered so much under a baised management, what would happen if I suffer this blow, like my friend.)
In fact, after I was well settled in life I met this friend. He became an above average farmer. He told me philosophically , " Why do we need education, Chandra?. I stopped studying after seventh class and joined the mill where my father was toiling, as a coolie. Seeing my working capacity and my plight of the handicap, the mill owner gave some land on lease and initial investment and it yielded good result. Slowly, I purchased some land and continued farming mill land too, on lease. And mill owners gave me a minor share too. " He took me to the mill. The one who sacrifices for others is always compensated otherwise by God. He and I are examples.
Without committing even 10% of the mistake, my courage and my self confidence as high as Himalayaas might be the one guided by the life philosophy of Sambaiah. And part of it may be my sensitive mindset that does not allow me to eat a morsel of food without thinking whether our workers, watchmen etc., ate or not and sharing it with them. That is why whenever our children gave me money they knew I would part a part of it as charity but they would give with a caution to be more careful while donating. May be, Sambaiah's love is still blessing me!
Be happy friend! I never forget you. Your sacrifice was the most supreme, I ever came across!