It was another boring day . Just like the other days filled with homework and assignments and preparation for some test. And just like every other day, I was cribbing about my work load and complaining to my mom that life was not fair . I was sitting in the cool environs of my room on an ergonomically designed chair with homemade nutritious snacks and a glass of fresh juice. But I still felt I was unlucky to be working so hard. I was unhappy that I could not play my new game on my playstation. I knew that mom would give me the same lecture about the value of hard work and the importance of education. She heard me whining as I finished my snacks and juice. Just when I thought she was about to give me the same lecture that I always hear, she asked me to put away my books and pen and sit with her by the window to listen to a story. I was taken aback. It wasn't like mom to give me a break before I finish my work.
She looked at me kindly and said that she wanted to share a story that was important to her. She asked me to be attentive. She said that I could decide what to do with my time once she finishes the story. But she wanted my full attention for the next few minutes. It was too good an offer to refuse and my mind was already flipping with the thought of playing my new game.
This was the story of her great grandfather (my great great grandfather) Mr.K.Iyer who grew up in the small village of Paramakudi in Tamilnadu. He grew up in a poor family. He was sent to a local school to study. Their house did not have any furniture or electricity. So he and his brothers would spend their evenings and nights studying by the roadside wherever they had access to light. The parents could barely provide the four kids with food, two sets of clothes and school education. But he worked so hard to try and avail whatever scholarships he could get. He started teaching in his school for the lower classes so that they waive his tuition fees. He struggled a lot but never wavered from his goal of completing his education and getting a good job. He went about his achieving his goal with a smile and optimism. He believed that right attitude was everything. He went on to become a civil engineer who built roads and bridges. He built a beautiful mansion for himself and also procured lands to pursue farming. He then migrated to the nearby town of Madurai and built a house for himself and his family. He believed that education is important and that hard work always pays. He used to tell his children and grand children that he wanted his progeny to study well and never go through the hardship of studying under a street lamp with insects buzzing around their ears. He followed a healthy lifestyle of diet, exercise, meditation and a positive attitude. He was fit and agile till he breathed his last. Great great grandpa lived to the ripe old age of 98 years and outlived many of his peers and relatives. But his children,, grand children and great grandchildren (like my mom) had grown up listening to his story of hard work , discipline, grit and rigor. They all wanted to emulate him in their chosen paths.
When my mom finished the story she did not tell me anything about studying hard or working hard like my great great grandfather. Instead she just left and went to do her work. She told me that she was happy that I heard her and left. I just sat there thinking how my great great grandfather worked so hard in such tough conditions and here I was complaining while sitting in the lap of comforts. It wasn't just him. Everyone in the family including my parents work so hard and are so accomplished in their respective fields. Why was I shirking work? Why was I whining? I had everything that a child of my age would want. Then why was I cribbing? Was I managing my time wisely? So many children are desperate to attend school and I was crying to finish my homework because I wanted to play. Suddenly I felt foolish and ungrateful. I told myself "Stop Complaining and Start Working". I made a promise to myself and my family that I would stop complaining about my life and instead approach all my homework, assignments and studies with positive attitude and work hard with discipline and sincerity.
The next day when I came back from school, I felt like I had a purpose and a new energy. I finished my homework and started studying for the test I had the next day without my mom prompting me to. My mom was stunned. So she asked me what changed. I told her that I was inspired by the story of my great great grandfather which she had told me the previous evening. Mom smiled knowing that she had achieved what she had set out to do when she narrated the story.
I felt so happy to be doing all my work without drudgery. Subjects started to be enjoyable. My speed improved. My curiosity and imagination increased. I began to explore and learn more. I enjoyed learning. I also got time to read books, play games and watch movies. Homework and assignments didn't look like chores anymore. My grades improved and I began to top my class. The power of positivism, hard work and gratitude for all the blessings that I had, made me more successful in my endeavors. I want to continue this way and achieve my goals and make my parents proud of me and I am sure great great grandpa K is watching from the heavens above smiling that his life has inspired one more person in the family.