I wish, I could say that this mind-boggling phrase, “Nothing is Permanent” was mine but alas! it’s a quote by Gautam Buddha. We know it but we fail to understand it. We live our lives assuming that everything is permanent, even our existence. Life comes to us in ‘packets’, we open them and live them as they come. Some packets package success while others have failures in them. We fly without wings when a success packet arrives but the failure packet always comes with its allies ‘depression’ and ‘frustration’. At that time, it is important to remind our-selves that “Nothing is Permanent, and so is Failure.”
Failure is like a hair that if comes in the food spoils ones appetite. It definitely destroys ones mood but the effect is generally temporary. I am sure, you must have also experienced some sadness when events took an abrupt turn. These events although don’t feel or look good at the time of occurence but they always happen for a reason. After few years when we reflect back we realize that it was in our own goodwill. I wanted to know, share and learn from your stories to help someone in giving them hope about things that are not going in the right direction.
A couple of week back when my ‘muse’ visited me she inspired me to write a small story. It was about the reaction of a couple to whom I frequently put forward my queries. Answers to which I use in my articles. That day my muse was in a jovial mood and she had decided to make fun of me. She got me all excited about my writing and stuff and I added that ‘little’ story to my blog as well. Probably, I was writing under the influence and as a result of which my little incomplete draft was posted on my dearly loved blog. Later on, my positivity didn’t allow me to delete it. I hoped that somebody might have a look at it and would be generous enough to share an event, ‘a packet,’ that left an imprint on their mind. I wanted to learn the lesson they took from life, a moral that will stay with him or her throughout.
Don’t ask me how many people approached me to share their experience? Hey, hey, hey… Don’t leave this page and go checking the comment section of my last article. (I hardly have any readership and I don’t want to loose you.) Okay, I will let you ask me. “Com’ on ask.” Hmmmm….. Well, only two people shared their thoughts with me. If I tell you one was my dad-in-law, who is first in line to read and commend my articles (even though my articles don’t deserve that fan-support that he provides. He always reads them with all sorts of expressions and sometimes with sniffles too.) So, actually I am left with only one actual person who entrusted me with her true feelings.
Pari And Her Freedom
Pari is the name of my friend who confided in me. She told me something that happened fifteen years back and helped her in becoming what she is now. Her story goes like this;
“Failure is something that I wasn’t used to at all. My parents never put me in a position that gave me an option to fail. They always motivated me to do well, to be on top of anything that I did, and made me work towards it, even if I was not naturally talented enough to do it.
My first experience ‘against’ this norm was, when I started my undergraduate studies. The very idea of not being with my parents was like liberation to me. For the first time, I could do what I wanted. I did exactly that. I was barely near my books, always out with friends (not doing anything wrong or things that I should not do), but I just got carried away with the fact that my time was my own, and I was the boss. I carelessly messed up everything that I had worked so hard for, for 17 years of my life. I completely shattered my dreams, my parents’ dreams and many other things when I got my marks for the first semester. My first attempt at being all alone and being responsible was such a failure that there are no words to describe the shame I felt.”
Sorry for the interruption but being the narrator I have to give my inputs too. Pari was distressed by her actions and its repercussions but the bad phase of her life didn’t last too long as she continued further:
“There’s no point crying over spilt milk isn’t it J and why do we make mistakes – only to learn from them, right? The first thing I did was blame myself. OK, I got over that phase, and took responsibility for it. I did a couple of things I shouldn’t have at that point, but I needed to do that to recover my self-esteem. I had to change my company – it wasn’t that those people were bad people. It is just that their goals were different; they had the luxury of doing whatever they wanted to, without carrying the burdens and expectations of their family. Maybe I was wrong in doing that, but at this point in time, I don’t regret it. I began to spend time with my high school friends who came to college with me, and who knew that I was capable of doing much much more. They drove sense into me. I took it all in, sometimes with a pinch of salt (because no one likes to be told how wrong they are.) But they meant well, and I liked that there were some people who threw around their weight with me because they wanted me to do well.
I worked hard for the remaining 7 semesters. It was difficult, and sometimes made me wonder if engineering was the right choice of path for me.In some subjects I did well, and some I just did not like. Maybe it wasn’t enough, I probably could have done better. Well, all’s well that ends well…. I ended up with two jobs after my degree. It wasn’t the highest paid job but I was satisfied.”
1. Owning up to responsibilities.
2. It’s not a big deal, and it is okay to fail (this was my biggest lesson). It’s what you do to come out of it and be successful after that what matters….
When Nothing Seems Right
She was shocked when she got a call from Mr. Joans, her University Supervisor. She didn’t remember what he said or the explained at that time. Only thing that she got out of the whole conversation was that she doesn’t have to go to Thomas Jefferson High School anymore.
Niharika was in her early twenties when she came to US with Abhay. They have been barely married for a month when she left everything back in India and came to this country. America was a new, unknown land where her only acquaintance was Abhay. He was the only support system she had in her life. A computer engineer by profession, he was nice and caring young man . With his help, she began to get used to American structure and culture without much aberration.
She was a well-educated, smart, confident female. She did not have any big plans of her future but she hoped that one day she would be able to work and earn something (however small) and support Abhay and build a home and a family in this great country. She explored all her avenues and took sometime before she decided what she wanted to do.
“A Science teacher, wow!” People exclaimed to hear her resolution. Some jumped out of excitement and others out of shock. It was not an easy step to put forth. She was determined and slowly and steadily she kept climbing up the ladder. She cleared all the examinations then she got herself enrolled in the State University. She took three courses each semester to get the teaching credential in one and half year. She made up her mind that she would start her full time teaching job the following Fall.
It was not as straight-forward as she had planned. There were other things that were in store for her. In the final semester, all candidates enrolled in the teaching program have to student-teach two different classes at a school, for the whole semester. With the help of her mentor at the University she decided to work at Jefferson High School with a Biology and an Earth Science teacher. She worked hard. There was no difference between night or day or weekends. She just worked, worked and worked. Whatever time she could possibly steal from Abhay and her three year old daughter Siyona , she stole and utilized it in preparing for the class.
Niharika didn’t have the foresight. She didn’t see that one of her Master Teacher (the –teacher-in-charge) who was a new teacher herself was not happy with her. Whatever she did she was never satisfied. One day, when the Mr. Joans was visiting, the Biology class didn’t go as planned. Her lesson planning was not as crisp and some students got distracted. Mr. Joan had to interrupt in between to shut them down.
That was her mistake. Nobody understood that it was her first time doing that stuff. She is new, she is learning and she tried her best. She wasn’t excused. She was asked to terminate her student-teaching assignment in the middle of the semester. It was Mr. Joans responsibility to inform her about her FAILURE.
At that time it was hard for her to hold the phone receiver in her hands, when she called Abhay at his work. She failed to control her voice and hold her tears in her eyes. She howled and begged him to come back home. When Abhay came back he just hugged Niru hard. He didn’t let her move out of his arms for sometime. He just kept repeating, “It’s okay, everything will be fine.” But now she knew, “Nothing would be fine, she is useless and she cannot achieve anything in her life. This was the culmination of everything she had hoped for so long.”
Failure is an event, never a person.
~William D. Brown
Cheer up Folks! I am not going to end up my story in tears and sobs. Niru was not alone during that crisis. She didn’t quit. She had Abhay and other family and friends who kept encouraging her in her uphill journey. She did some remedial work and projects to learn more about teaching in USA. She took some courses to improve her communication skills and then again she took her student- teaching assignment by the ears.
This time she had a wonderful experience. She was a winner. She was respected by all her colleagues and loved by her students. I was there to share and celebrate their happiness at the Recognition Ceremony conducted by Niru’s Univeristy. Abhay was happiest of all. I could see the pride, the affection Abhay had for his wife, when she was being awarded her teaching certificate.
Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
That was the moral of my story you don’t fail until you Quit. It is okay to Fail but it is not okay to Quit. Failure is a phase that passes by, but the marks remain for good.