Sunday, February 14, 2016

He shall carry his own burden

Ramu and Krishna were more friends than cousins. Born as the sons of the two brothers in the same year, they were naturally together most of the times. They lived in the small beautiful town, situate on the banks of the river with fine and clear water flow, with the old dilapidated fort in the background. They went to school together, playing all the way through the mile long distance. Evenings were again spent together playing in the river bed and the trees lined on either banks of the river. What started in the morning walk to the school continued till evening when both were constrained to go to their respective houses, separated by a street.

Those were the days when there was no concept of pre-school education and private schools charging hefty donations. The faithful government schools were the only ones available, except in big cities that had some private schools. A child admitted to the first standard would go on till middle school or high school, depending on his family's value for education. There was a nominal fee to be paid each year and many households found it difficult to pay even that. There used to be only one book for study each year till fourth standard. The only subject to be studied till then was one's mother tongue. Note books were not used till middle school. Slates and chalk was the source for writing practice.

There were no note books but there was homework. The extent of homework was confined to the area on both sides of the slate. Writing down on both sides of the slate was not a big order, but keeping the writing safe till it was shown to the teacher was indeed tough. The regular homework occupied sometime for the students as the writing had to be legible and neat. There could be a beating on the knuckles from the wooden frame of the slate, if the writing was not neat. Of course, no parent would fight the teacher for such blows on their wards. Students generally used the clay slate, though tin slates were available. Tin slates were unbreakable and light, but clay slates were good for writing with chalk pieces.

Krishna had the practice of finishing the homework on the way back from the school. He would take a look on the road ahead and write a word on the slate before taking another look. Thus his homework would be finished by the time he reached home. Ramu was not used to this practice and did his homework only after reaching home, but before proceeding to the evening play on the banks of the river. On a particular day when Krishna called out to Ramu for the evening play, Ramu had not yet finished his homework and needed time to finish it. Krishna became impatient, snatched Ramu's slate and finished the homework and urged Ramu to accompany him for the evening outing. Ramu followed him and they had a good evening games round. They returned after sunset.

Ramu's father had students coming to his house in the evening for tuitions. When Ramu entered the house, all the students were already sitting with their books and slates. Ramu hurriedly joined them and sat down. Krishna was curious to know the reaction of his uncle when he saw Ramu's slate. He stayed near the door expectantly. His uncle checked all the slates and asked for Ramu's now. Ramu was hesitant to show. "Where is your slate, Ramu", his father asked for the second time. Ramu did not respond. His father raised his hand and immediately Ramu handed over the slate. His father recognized that the handwriting was not that of Ramu. "Who wrote this?", his father asked in a stern voice. Ramu looked at the door. His father saw Krishna standing there and beckoned him to come inside the house. Krishna was afraid, but followed instructions.

"Did you write in Ramu's slate?", his father asked. Krishna acknowledged by the shake of the head. A blow landed on his back before anyone realized what was happening. Krishna and Ramu were both in tears. Ramu's mother intervened before another blow could land on Krishna. Both Ramu and Krishna were taken into the kitchen by her. Tuition for others continued and concluded shortly.

"You have beaten Krishna today. His father has never beaten him in his life. If he comes to know of this, he will come to beat you", Ramu's mother told her husband. He had cooled down by this time. He called Krishna and Ramu to sit near him. "Why did you write in Ramu's slate?" asked Ramu's father. "I wanted to help him finish his homework fast", answered Krishna. "Do you think what you did is right?", the uncle asked Krishna. Krishna was in no position to reply. "What is the result of your action, do you understand? You have done your lessons twice whereas Ramu has not done it even once. You may get an extra mark in the examination, but Ramu could fail", he said. 

"What you did is not help. Instead of helping, it will put Ramu into more difficulty. He becomes lazy. Your idea of help is all wrong. You are welcome to help anyone. But help in studies does not mean doing their studies. Helping should be by way of making them do their studies on their own, but not doing their work. Each one should do his own studies, reading and writing. Each one should carry his own burden in life. There are no short cuts. You cannot walk someone's distance. You are too young to understand now, but both of you should remember this. This will help you in your future life", his uncle concluded. Ramu's mother had some sweets ready by this time. The blow Krishna received was somewhat softened now.

Krishna went home but never mentioned this to his parents. He was not prepared for receiving another blow from his father or watch a fight between his father and uncle. Decades later, he still remembers the lesson. Each one shall carry his own burden. There are no short cuts in life.

There are many complaints about malpractices in various examinations. Many students believe that they are helping their fellow students when they allow them to copy from their answer books in the examination hall. They think that suggesting answers by gestures and symbols is a form of help extended to their friends. They believe it is a form of help when they log in proxy for their classmates using their user-ID and Passwords for doing their assignments. 

The lesson given by Ramu's father to young Krishna is even more relevant today. Each one should carry his own burden. There are no short cuts in life. Such help does more harm indeed. Yes, we should remember that "He shall carry his own burden".


  1. A simple story, a deep thought, most relevant. Written, as usual, in an engaging style

  2. Very deep message by a simple story

  3. a leeson to youth andthis shared on facebook

  4. Beautifully narrated. A lesson for all generations.

  5. nice story and nice correlation to what happens among students. With tech-assignments and exams of today, any student can do for any other student. But this will defeat the purpose of education and training. Lakshminarayana K

  6. Well narrated by a story with good message

  7. Sir, Again a very touching story scripted and written very well. I think this has happened in everyone's life. Very nice story. You should produce a serial of stories thru Video. Great one....

  8. I like the story, simple and engaging with important message.

  9. A good purposeful meaningful story.

  10. Timely intervention helps, so one needs to be alert all the time!!