A Lesson For Life
was 7:44 when I left my office building. My head was spinning and
my legs were trembling - my dreams had shattered. Finally, my worst
fear had come true. I was asked to put down my resignation. Recession
had taken its toll on my company too. We were all hearing about
possible retrenchment in the organization from the last 2 weeks.
I received an E-mail today from my group head saying my services
were no longer required. I was paid one month’s salary and asked
to submit my resignation letter. I am a 28 years old, a newly married
man with ongoing EMI's of Home loan and car loan. I am a construction
professional and had been working with a giant real estate firm.
I started walking towards the bus station. “How in the world will
I manage those life taking EMI's?” “My life is over” “How will I
get a job in these times of recession?” “I hurried too much in purchasing
my house and car” “How will I break this news to my newlywed wife?”
I was talking to myself and walking towards the bus station. Loud
horns, yelling from chai walas, shining adverts & hoardings
- nothing in the world could draw my attention. Everything around
me had changed ever since I received that e-mail. I can pay the
EMI's and survive for the next 6-7 months with my savings if I live
miserly. I will definitely find a job in the next 6 months. I tried
to console myself. I felt good but it did not last very long and
I again questioned myself - "What if I don’t get a job?” “How
will Megha react when I tell her all this?”
My bus came and I
quickly jumped into it and collapsed on the first seat I saw. The
bus was pretty empty that day. A middle aged guy of around 40 came
and sat next to me. I still don’t know why he chose to sit next
to me when there were about 30 more empty seats in the bus. The
man smiled at me but I was in no mood to smile at anyone. I turned
my face and made it clear that I am upset and in no mood to talk.
I noticed a bundle of 1000 Rs notes in his hands.
“The guy is a great actor. I never miss his movies.” The middle
aged guy said, pointing towards a big Amitabh Bachhan cut out on
the crossroads. “I just saw ‘paa’. “What a great movie. Have you
seen it? You must see. Well, I am Arvind. And you?” I was really
irritated by then but somehow controlled my temper and did not react
at all. Apparently, he seemed to be in a jovial mood and was looking
for someone to share his happiness. I was certainly not the right
“Where are you
going Mr.?” Arvind asked me. He was not undeterred with my
lame reactions and still wanted to chat with me. Finally,
I lost my mind.
“Look Mister, I am in no mood to talk to you. I am not at
all interested in you. I have lost my job today. I have a
wife and burden of EMI's and I don’t have any idea how I will
manage everything. I am in the most painful period of my life
so please shut your mouth or go somewhere else. People like
you never understand other people’s problems. Have you ever
faced a scenario like me? Then I would surely see see this
smile and joy on your face disappearing in an instant. Holding
these 1000 Rs notes in your hand, do you think you are the
king of this world? You rich people will never understand
the problems of middle class people.” I shouted at Arvind.
He was listening very carefully and still had that smile on
his face. It angered me even more. I turned my back and closed
“Everything will be
fine” Arvind said and put his hand on my shoulder. Surprisingly
I felt better.
“I am sorry for being rude but as you see I am in trouble and have
difficult times ahead.” I regretted being so rude to Arvind. “No,
it is completely all right. I understand. But you will definitely
come out of it. Have faith, this difficult phase will soon pass.
Does your wife earn?” Arvind started digging deeper.
“Yes, she is a school teacher but her salary is just 15,000. How
would that help during these times of inflation?” Arvind laughed
loudly. Though I was not too happy to hear him laugh at Megha’s
salary, I had a moral duty to ask him about himself as he tolerated
my nonsense. “Where are you going? To home from work, I guess.”
“No, I am going to Motilal Hospital to visit my wife. She had developed
a tumour in her chest but with God’s grace she is fine now. They
will discharge her in a few weeks. “Oh Holy lord. That must be devastating
for you.” I exclaimed.
“No, I am happy
that she has survived this scare. I think God is too kind
to me. My wife was diagnosed with tumour and I lost my job
after 3 days. This way, I got a lot of time to look after
my wife and my 11 year old daughter. My entire family lives
in the village. They can’t be of any help. I was the only
one to take care of my wife and daughter. I had to pay 1 Lac
Rs in the hospital and I had no arrangements. But look at
this money, God is kind to me. I suddenly met my old friend
in the hospital and he offered to help. I have promised to
return this money in a year. 1 year is a long time and I trust
God. I know that some arrangements will be done by the time
the day of repayment arrives. Hey, my stop has come. Don’t
worry, everything will be fine.
Remember one rule
‘God never gives more pain than one can tolerate.’
And he disembarked
from the bus. He taught me a lesson that would stay with me my entire
life. Relieved and happy, I bought flowers for Megha on my way home
and told her everything about my job loss. She supported me and
we both promised each other that we will never lose our faith, we
will never lose hope. We will always smile and trust God irrespective
of the circumstances, like my friend Arvind.
Story Teller H.
P. Shah is a civil engineer and works for a real estate firm.