Tuesday, December 9, 2014

YOU MIGHT NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN CLASS

Let’s call him A. He is a student of mine, a young man. Just as I am about to leave the class he stops me and with a beaming smile shoots a question.
“Is it true that you have a million followers?”

At first, I couldn’t understand the question. Before I can ask for clarifications, he shoots back, “A million readers read your blog?”

That is when the question sinks in. I realize what he is talking about. He is asking me if I am a liar. If I made up the thing about my blog. Is The Indian Commentator a grand lie? He seems intent upon getting a “yes, it is a lie” answer. I could tell because when I said “no,” his face went dull.

Image Courtesy: Indu (my sister, a talented photographer)
I can feel the embarrassment on both sides, inside the young man’s puzzled heart and inside my own mind. I don’t want to put my finger on what the young man’s motives were on asking this question. But I also do not want to fool around with such a crucial issue. It’s been almost five months since I started teaching at the institution. All the students have been kind and respectful toward me, including the young man who asked the question. What I feel instantaneously is that this young man is driven by someone else’s remarks to find his own clarification. Perhaps, someone else had remarked in front of him that everything one sees about this teacher of his is a lie. Thanks to that young man, he gave me a chance to contemplate on the concept of “karma”.

“Most of them readers might not be from India, right?” the young man goes on. Well, if you ask me that was a bit irritating in the first place.

“No,” I say, thinking that in India readers from other parts of the world, “foreigners”, weigh more in its importance than otherwise. So I don’t have a problem in telling the student of mine that no, most of my readers come from other parts of the world.

“Yea,” he says. “For foreigners, these things we do are big things…when it’s nothing but child’s play for us…, right, sir?”

“Not exactly,” I say. I cannot explain why I need to spread a carpet of explanation for this young man’s question. He isn’t rude or unruly. He is only trying to clear some of his doubts, and if those questions strike a shock wave upon my ego-centered worldview then it’s solely my own problem. But an explanation is necessary.  

Image Courtesy: Paulo Coelho
“Every individual has a definite karma,” I say to him. “When one indulges in one’s karma, every act is born out of the individual meaningful. Look at Yesudas, the extremely talented Malayalam singer; look at Sachin Tendulkar, they call him a cricketing phenomenon…; look at Lionel Messy, the footballer… all of them just do what they can and do their best at that. The whole world admires them. For us, singing like Yesudas does or playing like Sachin does seem an impossible task, doesn’t it?”

When I was saying this, I could feel words coming out effortlessly. My mind was tuning into a higher frequency that was otherwise difficult to tap into. My ordinary existence, for that moment, was being transcended.

I can see my student’s face. He is lighted up again. I walk slowly out of the class, with this young man tailing me. I am sure he wants to ask me more about blogging. Then, someone else interferes and he is needed for some other purpose.

Although, the focus of our discussion was entirely on whether I am who I claim to be, I sensed deeper curiosity in his demeanor. Perhaps, he wished to start a blog too.

Image Courtesy: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
It was indeed a shock for me, personally, when I heard him put his question that way, “Is it true that you have a million followers?” It was as if the authenticity of who I am and what I do had been threatened. I remember Paulo Coelho’s words, “what others say about you is none of your business.” He is one of my spiritual gurus. I adhere to this perspective whenever my ego is under attack by some external influence like gossips or snobbery. However, at that moment, when the student was mouthing the question, I was forced to explain ‘who I am’. However, my true “I AM” essence was not what the student wanted. He wanted to check on just some of the physical attributes that are associated with me—million readers, etc.

I do not know how to tell him that I am more than just a physical being. As one of my spiritual guides Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, tells me, “I am a spiritual being, having a human experience.” However, at the end of the day’s class, I didn’t have the time to tell him that and many more. Even if I got all the time in the world, I am not sure, if my student would want to sit there listening to the great wisdom his teacher had gleaned from small battles in life.

So I left it there, hoping that he would understand.

I am that I am.  
Image Courtesy: Google

I would especially like to dedicate this article to my student, A, who made it possible for me to contemplate the deeper meaning of existence and karma even within that short time span, after an exhausting hour in class. (Remember, it all happened in about three to five minutes’ time.)


I hope my teacher friends enjoyed this and my readers had a great time too.

See you around.  

Yours in words,

Anu Lal
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