Sarla was furiously mopping the floor hard till the marble tiles and her knuckles both shone white. “Go easy”, said Mrs Mishra. Sarla looked up at her with tears glistening in her eyes and replied, “Nothing will ever go easy in my life. My husband is an alcoholic and does not earn a penny. My daughter is yet to be married and I have to arrange for her dowry and my only hope, my son has fallen into bad company. There is nothing that I can do or solve, but live like this till my last breath.”
Sarla started working at the Mishra’s house recently and as she was honest and well- mannered the Mishra’s took an immediate liking for her. Mr and Mrs Mishra’s only son Mahesh along with his family stays in another city as the life in his native town did not have any scope for improvement. There is of course no harm in wishing to live a comfortable city life. Mahesh from his younger days had no interest and inclination towards Mr. Mishra’s business.
He always wanted to venture out on his own and pave an independent path. Thankfully the senior couple was a progressive thinker and always encouraged Mahesh, much to their neighbours and relatives dismay and surprise. Mr and Mrs Mishra was one of the most respected, educated couples in the entire neighbourhood. Every one, young or old would seek their advise and help whenever needed, and the Mishras would lovingly oblige them.
Mrs Mishra asked Sarla to bring her son one day while she came to work. Next day Sarla was accompanied by a gawky young lad of around fifteen years of age. He looked extremely uninterested in tagging along with his mother. Sarla nudged him to do namaste at Mrs Mishra. “My son Keshav,” she said softly. Mrs Mishra was a teacher all through her life , and once a teacher is always a teacher. She was greatly loved and respected by all her students. She spoke with Keshav gently and found him to be an intelligent boy, but extremely unfocussed.
There was still a certain innocence in him and this quality of his she found to be pretty endearing. She asked Sarla to bring him everyday in the evening as she would teach him and help him with his school studies. Keshav looked hard at both of them and was obviously displeased with the suggestion. However, he could not refuse to his mother in front of them.
After they reached home, Keshav angrily told his mother, “I will not study there. All my friends hang out at that time and have fun and you want me to study and waste my time.” Sarla was furious on hearing this. “ Spending time with all your useless friends is called waste of time. They have no aim in life and will neither dream nor encourage anybody else to uplift themselves from their miserable state. Your father has wasted his life. I will not tolerate you wasting your’s and ending up like your father. You will go for your studies from tomorrow onwards. Moreover, when she is showing interest in reforming and helping you, it would be foolish of me to refuse her and allow you to carry on with your senseless manners.”
Mrs. Mishra took on Keshav’s full academic responsibility. Any student would develop a liking for the subject if the teacher is passionate about her work, forms a rapport with the child and encourages the child to think and explore. Mrs Mishra had all the qualities of an excellent teacher and gradually Keshav also started to enjoy his evening lessons.
One evening before Keshav’s board exams, Mrs Mishra told him that honesty and hard work would definitely yield good results. Life may not be miraculous but with perseverance and dedication life’s problems can be smoothened.
Gradual increase in life’s quality is sustainable, but a sudden leap can usually be quite fatal. Keshav scored well in his exams and Sarla was bursting with pride. He took up a diploma course on automobile repairing and got a job in one of the finest auto garages of the town. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mishra also enrolled Sarla’s daughter for a beautician course and she too got work in a branded beauty parlour. Her marriage is also fixed with a decent chap from his community.
Sarla continues to work at their place, although the need for her to do so is not required. Sarla, along with her children now live a respectful, comfortable life because of the guardian angel named Mrs. Mishra. Keshav thinks about Mrs. Mishra, with a feeling of deep reverence as he now realised Mrs Mishra’s long said words, “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”