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The Saga of Life

Updated on August 8, 2014

Eking Out A living

I was waiting outside a school gate like hundreds of other parents for my daughter who was sitting for her school leaving examination when a scantily clad man with a basket full of vegetables on his head perspiring profusely in the hot and humid weather moved forward inching towards me and said in a timid voice “I am an illiterate person but my son is taking the examination today. Could you please hand over this packet his mother has sent for him”. Since I did not know his son I took down his name to comply with his request as the middle aged man made a quick exit to sell his merchandise and earn the day’s income.


Study In A Candle Light

As the parents met their children during the intermission I accompanied my daughter to trace the boy with the help of the security personnel who took no time to identify the boy ambling alone near the porch of the school building, knowing full well unlike other examinees that nobody would be around to give him the much needed company and encouragement at that momentous time of his life. He looked to be a typical impoverished village lad with eyes his most striking feature. We took him aside and handed over the packet. He opened it shyly and we could observe puffed rice and a kind of cake of molasses had been sent for lunch. As utter embarrassment was writ large on his face he could not be easily persuaded to share the elaborate meal I had for my daughter.

The tiffin over, I told him “How have you prepared yourself for the examination?” when he looked very flustered but replied gradually “ I do not have any time during the day for studies as I have to somehow attend school and assist my father in his business. I study at night only when my parents are asleep and I can use entirely the only lamp we possess”. My daughter was visibly shaken by such account of sorrowful existence she never imagined provoking me to ask again “What does your mother do?” when he said ”She is a domestic help in some houses but prepares our meals”. I was totally dumbstruck listening to his miserable life and his firm resolution to continue studies nevertheless.

He was soon found to open his notes to quickly glance through during the short recess period. I stopped chipping in again lest it should disturb him as he was deeply immersed in his papers. I left the place with my daughter allowing him to study and complete the second half of the examination with last minute touches as he must have needed further studies.


A poor Student Struggles to be Established in Life

As the examination was over the boy took leave of us and began to walk back to his home destination . After much persuasion we could take him in our car and dropped him at the nearest railway station to enable him to catch his homebound train.

That was all we knew about the boy and his hapless parents eking out a living but having the dream that someday their much cherished only descendant would be established in life giving them some respite and comforts at their old age. While chiding I began to lecture my daughter how the poor unfortunate boy was struggling in such a pathetic situation with lingering ambitions despite such adversity. I prayed to God for an end to their suffering and his success in the examination.

I forgot the boy and his parents gradually as we became busy with our daily jobs. As I prepared myself for admission of my daughter in a good college I took keen interest in reading the daily newspaper items thoroughly to know about the results which were declared in time and she got through securing good marks. But a featured report along with the photograph of a boy drew my attention suddenly. As I called my daughter she immediately confirmed the image as that of the poor boy who was receiving gifts from the Chief Minister with adequate assurance of support for his chosen higher studies after doing incredibly well and ensuring admission in the best colleges of the city.

If you have enjoyed reading this article and would like to read any more of my hubs, please click on the link below-

http://arunkanti.hubpages.com

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    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      jonnycomelately- You are most welcome in our city. I shall be happy to be of any help to you. Besides many tourist attractions one thing that sets Kolkata apart is the warmth associated while greeting friends from other countries. I look forward to your visit to the city of joy.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      Thank you Arun.

      I have seen Kerala, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Katmandu, Haiti, East Africa and many other places.

      Kolkata seems to be calling, so one day.....maybe!

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      jonnycomelately-There are some incidents which remain etched in our lives. As I have come to know you through your excellent hubs you possess a rare quality of a very sensitive mind which does not allow you to ignore such matters as might be considered insignificant by others. While inviting you to read my other hubs thank you very much for your wonderful input.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
      Author

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      grand old lady-I am overwhelmed by your words of appreciation. May I request you to read the hubs in tribute to my parents and Sona Uncle (4parts) in particular and think if our two countries are also bound by such similarities. Now in this country the indigent yet meritorious students are amply supported by not only the Government but also voluntary organizations. Thank you and wish you all the best.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      Arun, everyone, this story is timeless I feel. It is as strong and poignant now as it was 18 months ago. It still brings tears to my eyes!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      You've told this boy's story so beautifully. It seems like the Philippines and India have a lot of similarities where poverty is concerned. But it's good to know one of them, this boy, has a future because he worked so hard for it every night by candlelight.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      old albion -I am very glad that you have liked the story. I try to look for unusual characters who set examples for others to emulate. You might like to go through my tribute to my Sona uncle (4 parts) who has carved out a niche for himself in the society. Thank you very much for your positive comments .

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Arun. A delightful and heart warming story. I do hope this young man progresses to a happy life. He and his father are people of character and reliability.

      voted up and following.

      Graham.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 years ago from Tasmania

      Thank you so much, Arun, for this beautifully touching story. I have had encounters with "poor" people and feel a strong kinship, even though I am relatively more well off than they.

      It's a deep, unexplainable sense, isn't it? Who am I to determine that a person is "poor?" I see their tattered rags, called clothing. I see their skinny body, in contrast to my slightly bigger proportions. I see their efforts aimed at survival, whilst I live relatively better off on my small pension. And their lack of formal education, compared to my lucky upbringing.

      Yet, in the depths of their person, they can be so much more attuned to the Universe than my somewhat "fortunate" life.

      Your Hub has led me to this way of thinking and awareness. Thank you again.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Beautiful and inspiring story Arun and related in such an interesting style. Where there is a will there is a way and this story amply demonstrates this saying to be true and how!

      Voted up and awesome and sharing it my friend.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Marlene-Thank you very much for stopping by leaving such apt comments. Have a wonderful week

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Stories like this help us realize that there are many people suffering in the world. Each of us is affected by another and when our paths cross, we have an opportunity to be inspired and/or to benefit another.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @MsDora-Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving wise comments. Have a wonderful week.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @CrisSp- Thank you very much for your visit and such wonderful input which has enriched my hub. Wish you a great week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very encouraging story! It sends the message that who we are is different from our circumstances. Thanks for sharing.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      What a saga to tell and you did it well with enthusiasm that is contagious. Yes, it is quite sad but one that comes with a lesson and inspiration. Thank you for sharing Arun. I am sharing it in return.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Livingsta-Thank you very much and greatly appreciate your concern for the poor students who should have the strong determination to be established in life and monetary support will be available automatically once they can prove their worth. Have a wonderful week ahead.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      This one made me sad first, but in the end I smiled. How true. The boy has for sure reaped the benefits of his hard work. I am pleased that he has received scholarships from the government to further his education. Thank you for sharing your experience with us Arun. Have a great week ahead.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Felisa Daskeo-I am so glad that you have liked the story. Thank you very much and wish you all the best.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @BlossomSB- Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such wise comments. We also wish you all the best in your life.

    • Felisa Daskeo profile image

      Felisa Daskeo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Very interesting and well written. Your story always draws me to read it. I love how you write a very simple situation into something fascinating to read. Keep sharing and thank you.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      What an interesting story and how well you have told it. I'm so glad that the lad did so well and hopefully both he and your daughter will continue to do well in their studies and go on to help others who are less fortunate.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Martin- I am so glad! It has touched your poetic mind. Than you for your visit and the comments which have enriched my story. Wish you all the best.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Fascinating. Thank you for relating this to me.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      kj force-The problem with most of the poor students is that they do not generally have the urge to be established. If they can prove their mettle in any field and suffer from want of money besides the government there are organizations galore ready to help out in their endeavour. Thank you for your visit and wise comments.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      This hub is most interesting - I agree with KJ about Karma - you were drawn to this young man and you will perhaps follow his path. It's a story that makes me feel humble - he has so much ability and deserves to shine. I hope he succeeds - very best wishes to you and your daughter

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      ARUN KANTI....Ironic that your paths should cross...perhaps one day they will cross again...Karma is a very deep aura....I have experienced these in my life...thanks for the share