The jest was not lost on Suryaprakash. He replied softly, "It is to seek forgiveness for those offences that I have come to you. I have always kept myself informed about your activities. When you left for England, I had penned quite a few congratulatory letters but could not pick up the courage to post them. When you became the principal here, I departed for England. Even there I kept reading your articles in the newspapers. I learned upon returning that you had resigned and had settled in a village. Its been over a year now that I have been posted in this district but I was not aware that you were silently serving the villagers here. How can you like to live in such a desolate village? What induced you to take up this hermitage?
I cannot describe in words the joy I felt at Suryaprakash's advancement. Perhaps I would not have been so overjoyed had he been my own son. I took him to my hut and told him my story.
"So it is like being betrayed by your own brother," Suryaprakash said after listening to my tale. "I am yet a greenhorn, but what I have learned in these few years has led me to believe that we do not know to fulfill our responsibilities. When I meet the minister next time, I will ask him about this."
"I do not think it was the minister's fault. Perhaps I too would have acted in the same manner had I been in his place," I said. "I have found peace here in this village. In this solitary environment I have realized the essence of life - something which I would never have realized had I still continued in the race for wealth and power. In that race you cannot hold on to feelings of sympathy and affability. Here in this village I find myself surrounded by contentedness and simplicity. The people who come to me do not come for selfish reasons; I too do not render my services in the hopes of praises and felicitations."
I looked at Suryaprakash after making this short speech, and saw on his face a look of humility rather than the mocking grin that I was accustomed to. He had probably come to hear a few words of praise from me - a few words of praise from a teacher who had given up the student as good-for-nothing but who eventually rises to high position. I realized my mistake - I should not be criticising wealth and power before a person who has risen high. I, therefore, changed the subject abruptly and said, "But, tell me about yourself. How did this transformation come about in you? I still shudder whenever I recall your pranks."
"It is because of your blessings," he said with a smile.
After much persuasion, Suryaprakash told me his story.