Thursday, 28 November 2013

One gives what one has

There are countries where politics is essentially left to experienced and middle aged population. It takes a lot of time and effort to grab an office so youth generally loses interest. However majority of countries are still sitting on verge of revolution and youth is expected to play a significant role in bringing this revolution.

Our protagonist is a firebrand student leader. He entered into the college with his entourage, most of his followers eager to hear from him, his ideas for strengthening the college union, national politics, poverty eradication and other social activities. He looked inspiring, sincere, took every question seriously and tried his best to come up with a suitable reply. His speech was as moving as his looks.

He addresses them “I firmly believe that strong primary education will produce great leaders for the country. We will have to fortify our children so tomorrow they grow to be leaders who lead this nation to greatness. But who have we trusted with for this enormous responsibility, useless and incompetent school teachers. Can we trust our government with lives of innocent kids? No! We will have to take this responsibility in our own hands. We have to adopt as many public schools as we can. We will start evening classes for educating both children and adults. Most of these children do not come to school since they are earning members in their families. We will have to simultaneously raise funds to ensure that these children do not have to go to work. I know that this task is difficult but if we actually wish to change our nation, we will have to start at the grassroots.”

Such was his charisma that people got mesmerised and motivated at the same time. For a moment, they started thinking that they can also bring about a change. Every single one of them took a resolution to adopt schools and teach kids. This was a typical day for him. He spoke, people got motivated and together they changed some part of the world for good. They believed in him and that he will become a great national leader one day.

If there is one thing, political parties are afraid of is, growing popularity of someone other than their candidate. First natural choice for them is to make the newbie one of their own. He was summoned to the party’s office and was explained in detail, the party’s agenda, its principles, standing and ambitions. He was clear that his agenda is primary education and if they want him to join the party, they will have to spare funds to renovate schools and procure supplies. Party gladly accepted the offer.

It was the final year of college. He spent more and more time in schools. There was no dearth of funds or schools, but now he faced scarcity of one thing he had never faced earlier, his followers. It takes some time for youth to realise realities of life, importance of money and that dreams are only affordable till you get pocket money. Most of his followers were either preparing for professional courses or were trying for getting a job. If he was not so deeply involved in school activities, he would have noticed that the fund stream has slowed down. One day it stopped altogether. Without his followers, the party had no need for him.

After four years of pushing him to take a job, his father had finally disowned him. He spent some days with couple of friends he still had. He knew that he will have to take up a job. All the big companies talk about how they nurture leadership but are afraid when a real life leader comes asking for a job. The social service NGOs wanted people who could raise funds well and not who can spend well.

One day his evening class with kids got disturbed by a commotion. A mid aged woman was distributing sweets and the whole school gathered around her. He was irritated and kept looking at her with disapproval. She was a celebrity in yesteryears and thus being aware of her surroundings came naturally to her. She distributed the sweets and sat in the car. He was about to go back to the class when her driver came and told him that she has requested to meet him. He walked towards the car. Her driver opened the door and he sat beside her, wondering what she wanted to talk about.

“You know that they need all the happiness, no matter how small or insignificant the reason is. Is it not unfair that you want them to be deprived of one such moment.” She said. He paused for a moment. He wanted to read her. A lady, sitting in backseat of a BMW, clad in white from head to toe, speaking with such ownership, as if she was one of them. She looked at him with no judgement in her eyes, even when she had already judged him. He said “I looked at you with contempt for one moment and you felt the need to clarify. These kids will face scorning eyes every minute of their life, and they will never understand why. You come here to get rid of your guilt and ride away and come back when the guilt is again too much to bear. I come here because I cannot live with even one minute of guilt. They need all the happiness, but as you said, all the happiness.” She smiled. She said “Oh! A righteous man! Hard to find these days. You have your compassion, I have my money. One gives what one has.”

Days passed. He was now living in a hostel. Whatever he earned out of private tuitions, he spent on buying books for kids. He had no regrets, except for the efforts he put in for finding a meaningless job. He had never expected that this was going to end one day, but it did. He received a call from the party. They informed him that the funds were discontinued due to some communication gap and they would be willing to support him again. It is not hard to find followers and friends when one has money. He did not repeat the mistake of spending entire money on kids. He knew better now. He knew that everything has a price, even the principles and the values, so he paid it.

He was surrounded by his followers with garlands in their hands. He was running for elections. While he was standing on the stage delivering one of his fiery speeches, he noticed a BMW and recognised it. After the speech, he quietly slipped away. He was now sitting in the backseat of the car with the lady clad in white. “Why did you do it?” he asked. “This is not the right question. I had told you, one gives what one has. I see that you have realised that everything comes for a price. The right question is whether you are willing to pay it?” she said.

He knew, he cannot refuse.

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