The constant battle | B. Yathev 37th Batch
I’m well dressed. I have been this way since my childhood. Now, when I say childhood, the first thing that sparks in to my mind is my glistering pair of black shoes.
You would not believe me if I told you that I sometimes even comb my hair looking at it. My father polishes it for me every day before I leave to my high fee demanding “Private school”.
But I do not remember him having such shoes. Instead all he had was a pair of torn old dusty pair of slippers that he never changed; even though I teased him about it.
I was a celebrity in my class when it came to academics. All my friends wanted to know who my teacher was. It was my mom. But she was very reluctant, to make it to school with me.
I wonder whether it was because, she was shy to arrive in a three wheeler amidst Audis and BMWs, or was it because, she was afraid that she’d mispronounce a word amidst a group of intellectuals, or much worse, was it because, she was afraid that her presence would bring down my dignity?
But I wasn’t aware of any of this and I remained the happiest young boy in the world.
Throughout my life, I thought I’ve succeeded in all my battles, whether it was facing exams, impressing beautiful girls, or learning a new skill.
But life has a nasty way of bursting your bubbles and proving that you are wrong.
It was very recently that I realized it; after qualifying to university. It was when I was short of Rs10 to buy a cup of tea and had to ask for credit, I first realized how my father would have led his past 24yrs.The reason behind his torn old slippers made sense to me.
The joy I had when government increased the Mahapola scholarship made me realize how happy my mother would have been when th
ey reduced the prices of the groceries.
I realized that everything has a cost. In my case it has been my parents’ hardships. The worst part is, that I have been unaware of it. And thus I stand as a failure.
When I was young, I’ve been failing as a fool. Now I am wise, but still failing.
I have not yet found my path to success.
But, I have learnt something, and that is to fight, because it is when you have nothing to loose, that you put on your best fight.
Thomas Alva Edison and I are not different from one another. Both of us have failed over thousand times. It’s just one success that separates us.
And I would continue to fight until I see my unretired father go to work with at least one pair of black leather shoes and see my mom walk in to my graduation not with the same fear of her language barrier and status, but with a small smile of pride. At that moment my achievement would make her feel less insecure.
The society has a way of giving us an identity when we are born.This socially constructed ideas of my identity will not write my
fate. And I am sure that each and everyone of you are fighting your battles to change this identity, at least to maintain it.
The society always finds a way to suppress us from fighting, and keep us in the comfort zone and lead a stereotypical life. But the essence of the life rests in the battle.It is the fight that reveals our strength , resilience and true potential.
“A calm sea never made a skilled sailor”
So, let me conclude by reminding you of Martin Luther King’s famous quote,
If you cannot fly then run,
If you cannot run then walk,
If you cannot walk then crawl,
But by all means, keep moving.