WASTE IT NOT

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It was 7 o’clock, a Sunday morning. I was at Margao (Goa) railway station waiting to board the train to Mangalore. There was an announcement, “the train is delayed by an hour”. I was disappointed by the announcement, more so because I skipped my breakfast to board the train scheduled to be at 7:15 a.m.

Anyway, I couldn’t change the situation, thus accepting the revised time, I moved towards a vacant seat. But then, crows were desperately crying in my stomach; therefore I went in search of a canteen. I went around the station and found none open, except to my luck a woman who was selling samosas. She said, “3 for 10 rupees”.

I searched my trouser pockets and tried to get a tenner. I paid the lady and got the three samosas and came as quickly as possible to a vacant seat at the platform.

On settling myself there, I took a deep breath and sent a sigh of relief thinking that eating these samosas I will diminish my hunger.

My hand started picking the samosas and I was eating piece by piece enjoying every bit of its taste. Suddenly, I found someone touching my back, I turned back to see who it was. I saw a shabbily dressed, dirty, stinking, hungry man. “Oomph!” said I, “what kinds of people exist in the world?”

He extended his right hand towards me, uh…actually towards my plate asking something to eat. I was reluctant, I continued eating, the samosas were surely tasty, but, I didn’t like the extra flour at the sides, so I removed and placed it at the edge of the plate.

The stranger touched me again, this time I  was really filled with ire but I touched my heart and said, “All is right, All is right.” This time he asked me for the crumbs in the plate and all this was observed by the people around me. I was embarrassed, I didn’t know what to do, seeing my reluctance the stranger said in English, “Don’t waste it, child”

I was astonished by this statement and immediately gulped the crumbs which I had segregated in the plate……one samosa was still remaining in my plate but then I was thirsty, I remembered that I didn’t carry water, thinking that I could buy it in the train.

The stranger saw me doing, “hisss…hiss…ss” and immediately removed an old dirty water bottle from his dirty antiquated rat eaten bag and gave it to me to drink.

I was really thirsty, so I took the water bottle instantly, opened it up and satiated my thirst. With this my stomach was now happy. But one samosa still remained; I thought of eating it later and packed it. Just as I was going to keep it in my bag, the stranger made the gesture of begging again which was observed by all. I was embarrassed but then I acted as though I was packing it with a lot of care and giving to the man. I gave it to the man; he immediately took the parceled samosa, tore open the parcel and ate the samosa within seconds. I was spellbound. After eating the samosa the stranger said, “Child, don’t waste food. I lost all the members of my family because of lack of food”.

From that day onwards I stopped wasting food and I learnt to be generous to people. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4: 4-5).

Stop_Wasting_Food

Hey! I forgot to mention this: as soon as the man advised me, I ran to the woman (the samosa vendor) and bought 3 more samosas and gave the man. I’m a little frank, isn’t it? “Oh God! My train has arrived; I’ve got to go, good-bye!”

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Its Beauty Didn’t Last Long

It was my birthday and my parents gifted me a small cycle befitting my height.

I went to school and eagerly waited for the classes to come to an end, and as they ended, I jumped off the bench, took my bag and ran off to my house, forgetting my friends, whom I used to always meet and come along with, forgetting even to switch off the lights and fans, my prime duty as a class monitor.

I guess, that day I could even overtake Usain bolt. I reached my house, nibbled and gobbled the sweet dishes prepared lovingly by my caring mother and with her consent ran to explore cycling.

At first, I admired the beautiful structure it had, the big fat tyres, the slim saddle, the beautiful design of the whole cycle, the handlebars, the toe clip, the pedals and the chief attraction the horn that could actually attract the whole neighborhood like the ‘teddy boys’ from the movie, the wild ones.

It was afternoon; I walked with my cycle on the bare street so as to escape disturbances on my way, I saw the path clean and thought of venturing to cycle.

Broken Cycle

With the pride like that of John Abraham I sat on my cycle and started to pedal, I reached half a meter farther and dropped myself into the drainage pit. I was hurt a little bit on my hand and a few scratches on my leg but my cycle had the most, its tyres changed its shape. With a lot of struggle I brought the cycle out of the pit, took off my handkerchief and wiped my cycle, I was sorry for its beauty didn’t last long.

ADVENTURE IN THE KITCHEN

“Uh… huh… this milk powder container out of my reach” I said in disgust in my mind looking at the milk container far away in the center of the table. I was hungry and it was my usual routine to take a full tea-spoon of milk powder and chew it. But this odd day my lovely mother had kept it away from my reach.

My grandma was the caretaker for the day and she had forgotten to prepare and feed me with porridge as she was engrossed in conversation with her son (my father) on the mobile.

Nevertheless I was already on my adventure: Adventure in the kitchen. I struggled hard to stand, got the grip of the thin slab wherein vegetables were kept; they were all like army men standing in line in ‘attention’. There were tomatoes, beetroots, onions and my favorite, sight sharpeners, the carrots, if I stole one, my mother would immediately come to know that a carrot is missing. Therefore I decided to go for something else. I sat down and thought hard but couldn’t think of any edible.

“shhh…..shhh…” the pressure cooker asked me to be silent. The baby mosquito in front of my eyes stood still, the lizard was making a slow move towards the prey, I saw it red-handed and as soon as it saw me, it scuttled into its shelter probably conceiving a thought in its mind that I was a cop.

I rolled myself on the ground playfully and hit a hard plastic bucket in the corner. Hearing the noise, my grandma inquired “who’s that?” from the outside, but continued her conversation on the cell phone. I slowly raised my hand and tried to open the hard bucket cover and peeped inside, I saw chocolate like tails and quickly without waiting for a second thought I grabbed in my fist whatever I could and sat on the floor. I opened my fist and saw a brown gem, immediately I put it into my mouth and started chewing.

“krr…rr..” the door made a screeching noise and I saw my grandma coming in as though entering a haunted house, slow and steady, “who’s that?” she queried again….

She saw me in the corner and questioned, “Naveen, are you hungry my boy?” I nodded my head from top to bottom and suddenly swallowed the hard gem. She saw the bucket lying open behind me and came running to see whether they are safe. I was innocently silent as though knowing nothing. She surely might have guessed that I ate it.

 But in order to investigate she said, “Naveen, do you know the story of the tamarind seed”. I shook my head from left to right, and right to left meaning to say ‘no’. I didn’t know what a tamarind is either. She removed the chocolate-colored tail and said, “This is a tamarind” and splitting it open she showed the black gem and said, “This is the seed of the tamarind”. I now knew for sure that I had swallowed the seed of the tamarind. She further explained, “If one eats the seed, the seed will go inside the stomach and become a tree, so the seed mustn’t be eaten”. I was scared and immediately started shedding tears thereafter my grandma carried me on her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry son, you might have eaten the cover of the tamarind”. I was surprised at her prudence because she later revealed that the tamarind kept in the bucket was seedless and while demonstrating to me, she showed the black cover.

Thereafter, I never took on the kitchen adventure. Thank God, I didn’t eat the seed; I would have been a part of a tamarind tree.

Adventure in the kitchen

ART TEACHER: AN INSPIRATION

“Good morning students”

“Good morning teacher” the students replied in unison to the warm greetings made by the art teacher.

The art teacher for us was a goddess who was compassionate, loving and kind, she was the one who honed our talents, and we were practically never interested in studies, we loved to play, have fun, paint something unusual and do some handicrafts.

I had a classmate called Vignesh, with love we would call him Vicky he was very ambitious, he wanted to be everything to everybody. Thus he was liked by everyone.

Group Sharing

Once our art teacher asked us to share about our ambitions with one another. The proactive tallest girl Tina stood up and expressed her wish to become a painter and obviously, she would become one, because it was she who always won the first place in painting competitions in our school. The shortest boy, Ashok was a silent chap, when his turn came he stood silent expressing nothing, “He may want to become a peace maker” Manikandan silently whispered in my ears, in like manner, my classmates one by one expressed their ambitions.

When it was the turn of Vicky he stood up and said, “Teacher, I want to be a politician, I want to be known by all in the world, I want people to flock to speak to me.” Vicky obviously was the richest of all students, his father was the former CM and his royal history goes on and on…..

Teacher’s advice

“My dear Vicky, we are not certain of our future, neither do we know what is God’s plan for us” said the teacher tapping Vicky on his back, “to be known by the world and to see people flocking to meet us, we need not be politicians, but, all one needs to do is, help the needy and give them whatsoever they need”.

Art Teacher

Vicky was disturbed by this and he said , “Why should I give from my parents hard work to someone a stranger?” The teacher answered, “because they are our own brothers and sisters, we must give them not expecting anything in return, we must give them, because only when we give, we learn to become simple and humble only then will people start loving us, they will start flocking towards us to speak to us”

Vicky was enlightened by this, he ran home and asked his lovely mom to parcel food without even giving a hint of what he is going to do with the parceled food, and then he took the parceled food to the slums and gave it to a family everyday and in this manner in a month almost twice or thrice Vicky and his family donated food to the slums and slowly Vicky was known to the slum village as “Sahaya Vicky or Helping Vicky”. Vicky without even knowing, was now been known to the world and was becoming famous, even without becoming a politician. This is how our art teacher played a vital role behind the curtains.

TWIN TRIUMPHS

“I want to be a famous writer” was my quick reply, to the question Raju, the newspaper distributor posed to me, as he saw the eagerness with which I helped him distribute the newspapers early in the morning in my village before leaving for school. I earned a newspaper everyday and a good sum for the work I did.

Changing lives

Unable to read the newspaper, I carried it to the school and my friend Mehnat read and explained to me all that was happening around the world and that is how I learnt to read and write in English. Mehnat was a brilliant lad, his aim was to become an IAS officer and therefore he was working hard – reading newspapers, articles, quiz books, in a way equipping himself. His parents were unemployed, totally dependent on their older son, Mehnat’s elder brother, Rehmat, who was a manual labourer.

Our school, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, was organising many competitions. The class teacher found Mehnat qualified to participate in the quiz and therefore without a second thought she asked him to get ready for the event.

“Thank you,” said Mehnat gratefully, “this will be my first stage appearance and I will do my best, by your grace, teacher!” the teacher blessed Mehnat saying, “May this be the beginning, may your dreams come true… all the best, my son”. Simultaneously I was noting the success story of Mehnat (my friend), in my small diary.

Two winners

On this day, “Quiz” was the main event and the other competitions followed, such as Short Story writing, Poetry competition, Elocution. These events were open to all,

So I decided to participate in the short story writing. But the problem was the timings of the quiz and short story competition overlapped. Both of us were disappointed at this. “Mehnat” I said, “this time I shall give up the idea of participating in short story writing as I am keen to watch the competition you are participating in.

“No” said Mehnat in disagreement, “let’s be bold, opportunity knocks at the door only once, you do your best in short story writing and I shall do my best in the quiz, but one thing we mustn’t forget is, to pray for each other’s success”.

Mehnat was a great inspiration and motivation for me. We both proceeded to our respective locations for the competition.

I began with an invocation to my muse and then the teacher announced the topic, “Dear students, the topic for the short story writing is open-ended. You can select your own, be creative and write” it sounded quite amusing to me and I decided to pen my friend’s (Mehnat) success story.

Suddenly, my friend Mehnat, was “leading with 25 points”, I could hear the quiz master say. I wrote the story as quickly as I could and ran to witness the quiz and there… was the quiz master asking the last question of the final round to Mehnat, “who was the first President of India?” I scratched my head to draw the answer, but before I could, Mehnat on stage quickly answered, “Its Dr. Rajendra Prasad,” the audience and gave him a standing ovation.

He was then awarded a trophy and a cash prize of a thousand rupees. Then I saw the teacher who conducted the short story writing competition going onto the stage, probably to declare the winners of the competition.

Mehnat peeped into the paper the teacher was holding and stared at me from the stage astonished. He broke down with tears of happiness or sadness, I didn’t know. The teacher then announced, “the winner of short story writing competition for this year is, Younis Shaikh” well, that is my name, I ran onto the stage immediately and my friend gave me a hug though the tears were still flowing and he said, “we’ve done it”. That was the beginning of our success story…