Members of the college council became my sworn enemies. They opposed every decision I took. It became very difficult for me to work under such hostile conditions. I resigned. I had no complaints against the minister. But I had hoped he would weigh the matter on the scales of justice; he, however, gave precedence to policy over justice. The result was that my resignation was immediately accepted despite my many years of devoted service.

That was the most bitter experience I had in life till then. I was going through a very bad phase; my wife passed away during this period. She had been unwell for some time. I had gone out for a stroll by the banks of the river in the evening, and when I returned I found her dead. She had suffered from heart failure. My wife's death shattered me; she had been an unlimited source of encouragement for me; she had been an optimist through and through - I don't remember ever seeing her brow wrinkle in a frown. I had been seriously ill on a few occasions; even the doctors were not sure whether I would live. But my wife had nursed me back to life. She was certain that it is she who would die before her husband, and her certitude came true.

My wife had been a strong support; how could I continue in life without that support! Life is not about eating and sleeping; life is about the zeal to always move forward. But that zeal had evaporated. I was dejected and decided to spend the rest of my life in a small village. The village nestled amid hills, and the Ganga flowed on one side. I built myself a small house on the banks of the river.

But human nature is such that he cannot live in idleness. I started teaching children from the village, and my classes were held under a tree. My school became so popular that children from other nearby villages also started attending.

One day, while I was teaching the children, a car came to a halt and the district deputy commissioner alighted from it. I was attired in a kurta and dhoti and I was feeling very embarrassed to meet such a high official in my shabby clothes. When the deputy commissioner came nearer I held out my hand hesitatingly. However, instead of shaking hands, he dropped on his knees and touched my feet to invoke my blessings.

I was so surprised by this strange behavior that words failed me. I am proficient in English, I am also an expert in philosophy, and, then, I can deliver good lectures. But these qualities do not entitle me to be venerated. It is only the wise and the sages who have any right to be venerated.

I was still pondering over this peculiar behavior when the deputy commissioner lifted his head and looking at me said, "Perhaps you have not recognized me."

Those few words brought back a flood of memories. "Is your name Suryaprakash?" I asked him.

"Yes, I am that same pupil of yours."

"It has been twelve, maybe, thirteen years!"

"The teachers may forget their students, but the students always remember their teachers," Suryaprakash said with a smile.

"It is very difficult to forget students like you," I said.

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 success. 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 if I had 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 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."


Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu