Moments of Truth

That every day we face. And being honest about it!

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Location: Monroe Twp, New Jersey, United States

TeeBee for many, Manthru for some, Sunny for a few, Myna for selected, Suresh for record. Hailing from Thrissur of Kerala and now lives (read survives) in Monroe Twp, NJ with wife and daughter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pricelessness of a Prize!

The paddy fields were used as sesame fields at that time of the year. I was helping parents to prepare for the harvest, to even out the land around the house for collection and drying out the sesame plants. After clearing the land off grass and roots, a layer of mud will be used to make a smoother surface on which a mixute of cowdung and water will be applied to fill the cracks and the thin coating will block the mud coming out for a good two weeks. This was the cost efficient replacement of tarpolins or mats made of bamboo ply. It was May and after my 10th exams. The result of 10th had arrived. All of us were with muddy hands and legs when an auto rickshaw came to a halt in front of the house. They introduced themselves as the office bearers of Chaithanya club functioning close to one mile from my home. They wanted to give me a cash award for securing the highest marks among the students of the village. The annual function, dance programmes of kids of the block followed by a movie or drama, was to be held in an hour and the last minute rush could be attributed to their lack of planning or interest to add this common item as it normally can be seen during the time of the year or a probable recommendation from a distant relative or friend who must have mentioned my name. Whatever be the case, a prize is a prize and getting it in front a crowd, a set of people among I had grown up, is priceless. A bit nervous as it was not planned, I was on the stage an hour later to receive the prize and say thanks. I remember mentioning about the competition between malayalam and english medium schools and the possibilities of malayalam mediums in securing good positions in competitive exams. The cash award was 25 rupees. We came back home walking.

Similar functions were held in the next months. A combined function from both the panchayat office as well as school was conducted in the school auditorium, temperorily created by removing the partitions of the class rooms. There was no vote of thanks from students who received the prize as it was not part of agenda. There were cash rewards of 100 and 200 from school and panchayat office respectively. Tharangini arts society in Athany was grand in conducting such functions. They used to combine it with movie or drama shows and used to bring celebrities from the literary circles for the inauguration of the function. Ms.Sara Joseph had the privilege this time (or is it the other way around), I was sharing the stage with two other students. They accepted the prize and occupied the seats but I promised to deliver a vote of thanks which was accepted with a thunderous applause. Gaining confidence, I spent a good 10-15 minutes explaining the issues students face due to strikes, personal egos between students and teachers etc. Each statement was well applauded and I had to wait it to stop before going to the next one. At the end of the speech, I collapsed to tears when I thanked my parents and other wellwishers. The award was a medal made of 2gms of gold and a certificate. As expected, we refused to sell it even though money was short in meeting my education.

The biggest surprise came one day when one of my friend Nijo Goerge, we started the primary education together but he had to continue one more year in one class at the insistence of his father and I always wanted to figure out why, with whom I used to cycle my way to school, came to me with an envelope saying that it was a present from my class mates. Knowing me, he had blocked the chances of returning it telling that he will not do it and that he will not disclose the names of friends. The envelope contained 75 rupees and some paise. Most of my class mates, I knew it, were sacrificing whatever they had in hand to give me a present and they knew that cash was good as I needed it badly. I knew that they were from average or less than average, only financially, homes and they would have struggled to get that amount of money. Probably something they might have got during Vishu season or saved from money for candies or supplies. Or something they had saved to see their favoruite movie or spend during the festival season. I always believed that it is not the quantity but the quality that is to be appreciated. I mentioned the amount in all cases just to make a comparison and to explain the worthiness of this priceless gift. I would rate it as the best gift I have ever received in my life because it came from people whom I loved, who loved me and it was the maximum they could afford. It has more value than the lakhs or millions I can visualize today. Having such a set of friends at that time of my life makes me proud and I feel guilty of losing contact with them during the mad rush of life.

At least I wish to make myself clear by saying what I felt. I want to let them know, if at all they get a chance to read this blog which is highly unlikely, that I am indebted to them for the love they have extended toward me. "Thank you my dear friends. Your love and faith has always been an inspiration for me to proceed in life with confidence and courage. The strength of your belief in my abilities has led me so far and I hope that I have not let you down. I am full, heart with joy and eyes with tears. I wish to remind that you all are fresh in my memory and that I love you."


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