From failure to success
Failure! Total failure! Yes, he was a failure in life and he wanted to end his life.
Rakesh quickened his pace to reach the bridge. It was a sheer drop into the river from there, and no one could save him. He was resolved to end his life and end the stigma of failure.
When he reached the bridge, Rakesh found a few persons strolling there. It was a favourite place for evening saunterers. Blow! He will have to wait for the place to get deserted before he jumped into the river, Rakesh thought. Cannot have some interfering busybody spoiling his plans. Should not allow even the plan to commit suicide to fail. He has to win this time - a final victory in his life of failures.
Bother! No one seemed to be in a hurry to depart. Already his plan to commit suicide was wavering. There was a nagging voice which coaxed him to live on. "I must not allow my inner voice to dissuade me. That won't do. I will just think of my failures to steel my resolve," Rakesh said to himself.
It had been almost three years now after his graduation and he was still jobless. He had appeared for several interviews but had been rejected every time.
What bugged him all the more was that his juniors had completed professional courses like MBA and were now earning fat salaries. He, too, had appeared for a number of entrance examinations but had been unable to clear any of them. His relatives snided him and described him as "good for nothing" behind his back. Rakesh had reached the zenith of frustration. There could be only one solution - he had to end his life. That would be a full stop to all his miseries.
The crowd on the bridge had substantially reduced but there were still a few strollers. Rakesh steeled his resolve. He had to do it today. He should not fail even in this object.
"Hi, Rakesh! What are you doing here all alone. I have been looking all over for you." This sudden intrusion jarred him to his senses. Rakesh turned around to see Santosh, his friend.
Santosh was his friend. It is only people like Santosh who could be his friend, Rakesh thought bitterly. For, like him, Santosh too was a failure.
But, unlike Rakesh, Santosh had an aim. He wanted to launch a non governmental organisation to help the needy. He was a sensitive person who was troubled by the poverty around him. On the one hand, Santosh saw people earning fat salaries and, on the other hand, he came across beggars at traffic junctions. This troubled him a lot.
"What is it?" Rakesh was cross. The initial desperation had ceased and he now no longer felt like jumping into the river. Now, with Santosh around, he had to abandon any thoughts of committing suicide. At least, today!
"I have finally registered my NGO," Santosh told him. "I have decided to educate street children and have been able to convince three such children to learn to read and write," he said.
"Good for you, but why were you looking for me?" Rakesh asked.
"I need you help, you will have to spend a few hours every day to teach these children," Santosh said.
Rakesh did not have a philanthropic bent of mind like Santosh. But, since he had no work at present, he decided there would be no harm in spending a few hours every day towards this cause. "Okay," he said, "I will assist you."
It was a difficult task teaching the children who had never stepped into a school before.
But it was challenge that Santosh enjoyed. His enthusiasm was infectious and Rakesh found himself sharing the same enthusiasm as the days went by.
The children, the two discovered, were really sharp. All that they needed was the right direction. All children are alike after all!
Slowly, other children too joined in and within a year, Rakesh and Santosh were managing ten children between the two of them. As years passed by, the two roped in sponsors and donors for the children who were now admitted in civic schools. Their scope of work increased as years went by and Santosh and Rakesh had to seek the help of paid volunteers. After five years, there were 30 children and there was a distinct transformation in their lives. The street children, who once used abusive language and fought in the streets, had become well-mannered. These children who would have had no future to speak of, could now dream of making it big in life.
The NGO has grown and is able to raise funds through philanthropists. Rakesh has become so much immersed in the work that he no longer desires to find himself a high-salaried job. There can be no higher satisfaction than to serve the underprivileged, he has learnt.
Few more years have passed by and some of the children under the care of the NGO, are doing exceptionally well. The others will also be able to fend for themselves reasonably well - something which they would not have been able to do had the NGO not taken them under its wings.
Another ten years have passed by. Rakesh is standing on the same bridge, looking down at the waters. But suicide is far from his mind this time. He is just enjoying the complacent flow of waters below.
A smartly-dressed young man approaches him. "Uncle, I have found myself a job as a sales executive with a reputed firm," he tells Rakesh. "Had it not been for you, I may have turned into a ruffian on the streets," the young man tells Rakesh. This was not the first time that Rakesh was hearing such words. Several others had spoken similar words to Rakesh and Santosh in the past. But every time he heard such words, Rakesh felt a thrill of accomplishment. He suddenly remembered the mad moment many many years ago when he had wanted to end his life. "I had wanted to end my life because I was a failure, but now I have been able to create so many successful youngsters," he thought with satisfaction.