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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thoughtful Story: Confessions of an Old Man

short-story-confession-of-old-man

"An old man's confessions about fear, anxiety, and criticism that kept him away from becoming successful and still haunt his mind." 

Once there was a boy with curly hairs and brown eyes. He looked very cute and innocent with a glee on his face. He was sitting on edge of a wooden bench planted in a park. He was lost somewhere in his thoughts, somewhat like daydreaming or nearly meditating with open eyes.  He couldn’t notice that when a seventy years old man came and took the seat beside him on that rusty iron seat.

The old man yawned and inhaled in a lot of fresh air through his nose and wide opened teeth-less mouth. He enchanted some indistinctly audible mantra, rubbed both his hands, pressed them slightly on his face, kissed both of his palms, one by one, and then he said, ‘Hey little boy, I feel so good after prayer. Do you also want to give it a try?’

Certainly, the old man was expecting an answer, yes or no, but it intrigued him when he was asked, ‘what’s your age, grand man?’

For few seconds, he just gazed at him and then said, ‘well, I am seventy years old and…’

‘I am just seven before you ask me, I should tell you. Boy intervened.

‘Hmm Oaky, so…’

‘So what do you do old man, I am pretty sure you are retired guy and have no work at home either. You come here in morning with the intention to jog but you get along with people of younger age like me and bore them with your monotonous talks, which we really find very uninteresting.’

‘Hey little boy, It really surprises me a lot that you are so frank at such a little age.’

‘See mister, don’t underestimate any child of my age, it is the twenty-first century and today’s seven years old child holds experience similar to a seventeen years old guy from your times.’

‘Ah~ Child, you really blew my mind.’

‘That’s okay, but you didn’t answer my question yet.’

‘You are right; I am a retired primary teacher. My entire life passed in village teaching children of your age. My younger son works in a private company in Noida. Presently, I live with his family. Now tell me something about yourself child.’

‘I am boy as you can see me of course’

‘Ha Ha Ha, you are very funny and sweet just like my grandson’

‘Hmm, ’ he nodded.

‘What are your future goals’

‘I don’t know, you tell what you want to become in your future?’ asked the boy.

‘You know, I am a person sitting with my one leg in a graveyard, what can I do now?’

‘Oh, so sad, but what about your past! Did you stay as a teacher only for your entire life?’

‘Yes, I did’

‘Haww, How you could manage your living on it fo an entire life! You know, I am planning to start a career from any point, umm, say I will earn any money by any means when I reach the age of twelve, then I shall search for new ways to earn more, you know man! In present time everything is money, if you don’t have money, nobody is going to take care of yours. But it surprises me that how come you stick to a single job for all your life!’

‘Oh my god, I should say you are the most ambitious guy, I have ever seen in my life’

‘Don’t get shocked man, there are always better guys than me, just go and google it.’

‘I didn’t get, Goggle it!’

‘Ha Ha Ha, not goggle you poor man, it's Google.’

‘Okay, Okay, you are asking about the Internet!’

‘Hmm’

‘Well, boy you know, when I was young, I had a lot of energy, a little passion but no courage. So, I couldn’t accomplish big things, though I had some big dreams.’

‘I didn’t get; you say you had a bag full of free energy, a little passion but no courage. But how one can be devoid of courage when he already has energy and passion!

‘Courage means lack of fear. But I was always fearful.’

‘Fearful of what?’

‘Fearful of what people will say about me, if I fail, afraid of shame, which I would face if I tried something new and collapsed.’

‘Ha Ha Ha’ the boy laughed aloud.

The old man turned speechless; he stared in his eyes and mutely inquired into his sudden roar with laughter.

Before answering him, he controlled his hilarity and said, ‘“I don’t care”, this is what you lacked. Actually, you cared a lot, a lot for everyone! Isn’t?’

‘Yes, you are right, old man continued, I cared a lot that what one could say, what one could feel about me, I made mistake but only for once, because I never tried twice a thing, I cared deeply what people said, when I failed to establish my business in the first attempt, people said that I could never run a business, just coz I was not from a business family, and I cared a lot about it, I accepted it without arguing with anyone, hence, I gave up a second trial.’

‘Oh, so your dream was to own a business!’

‘When I tried my hands in writing, I got very good feedback from persons close to me but it was rejected by editors when I took it to them for publishing. They told it was worst writing they had ever seen and that I could never become a writer. I again cared a lot for them. I considered their statements as universal truth and never tried twice in writing.

‘Oh my Gosh, your dream was to become a writer as well?’

‘There was a moment when I had a crush on a girl, but I never told her about it, I was fearful of rejection which could come if she ignored me, I thought it’s better to keep this pain to self rather than holding the guilt of the rejection for whole life. So I never tried proposing her.’

‘You even failed in your personal life, I can’t believe it!’

‘Yes, I failed at each and every stage of life. I always lived in my comfort zone. I never tried twice. I never followed my intuition, passion or dreams. I had a lot of energy in adulthood but I wasted it in comparing other people or arguing on rubbish topics with fools. I got myself satisfied by minimizing my goals. I turned lazy and practiced procrastination. Ultimately, I became a quitter.’

‘And Quitters are never a winner and vice-versa is also very true. Quite interesting the failure stories of your life so what next?’

‘I don’t know, but I always wanted to share my experience with someone, but my ignorance and timidity restrained me to act. Today, I bear a lot of courage to reveal it to you. Now, I don’t want you to follow what I followed in my entire life, not to care what people say about you, but to follow your dreams and keep trying till you get it.’

‘Mind blowing coach you have become, hmm, just like SRK acted in Chak De India Movie. If you succeed you can lead, if you fail, you can guide. Interesting, very interesting. But tell me one thing that, where does fear prevail?’

“It triumphs over us when it is in our mind. Fear is nowhere but in mind. It is a state of mind. It is not real. But it doesn’t mean, there are no dangers, no challenges. Dangers and challenges will always exist and you will always have to get par with them and it can only be done when you never quit. If you are afraid, you quit, you are then a coward, a looser like me.’

While the man kept talking, a woman in thirties came and stood near the boy. She kept listening to the old man. She was perplexed. She hugged the boy and kissed briskly on his head. This kind of intrusion shocked the old man. He was speechless and still staring at the woman in amazement. She came to the old man and said in a soft voice, ‘Thanks a lot, Uncle, because of you, today I can see a new face of my daughter, otherwise, her heart would fail and all her courage would die.’

‘I am not getting what you are saying, I was talking to this boy, and you are saying about your daughter!’

‘He is my son, but he can’t talk to you, he is deaf and dumb by birth. I just watched you talking to him, but he can’t listen or speak. I am sorry.’

‘But, how it could be possible? You are kidding on me, hmm?’

‘No, I am not kidding, I am very serious, just look at him, the earphone which he is wearing is actually a microphone. It transmits whatever is happening around him to us. Today, when you started speaking, my daughter listened to you and was actually inspired by it. It brought in her some surprising changes and she outperformed this time.’

‘How, what did actually happen?’

‘She is seventeen years old. She had been trying for Indian Idol Audition for last two years, but she could never make it. Today, again she was supposed to go for an audition but she was very tensed and frightened. She was in depression and wanted to quit this time.

It was by god’s grace that she came through the room in which speaker was kept. She heard some male voice there and it was yours. She anxiously listened to the whole conversation and some surprising changes in her attitude and action came automatically, effortlessly. She was feeling very confident and energetic.  She was showing great courage and determination. I am very sure that she will make it for this time. You really brought a ray of hope to my family. I am delirious with joy.’ said the overwhelmed woman.

‘Bye old man, best of luck for your future’, said the lady while leaving with her deaf and dumb son.

Old Man was amused with this incident. All these years, he was keen to share his thoughts with someone. His tale could let others drive on. But, was it of any worth today? The child, who was pretending to listen and answering to him, was, in reality, deaf and dead.

At a sudden, old man was shaken by realizing the mere thoughts again; he stood and pinched to himself to check if he was daydreaming or it was a reality. He asked himself, ‘if the boy was deaf and dumb even then he could play a good listener, but then who was talking to me?’

He was left all alone, dumb and deaf.
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1 comment:

  1. There’s is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. We can’t choose or control our circumstance, but can choose our attitude towards our circumstances.

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