He never attended high school. In fact, he was not able to complete middle school. Never a good student with no academic ambitions, his plan of attending college was nipped in the bud by more urgent economic needs. When the other boys and girls of his age were attending the lectures, solving complex mathematical problems, he was doing odd jobs to earn some money. He used to wash the cars, sale poultry or sugar cane juice in the market and myriad other low paying jobs to earn meagerly sum to survive. He was not skilled at anything to shine at that trades either.
The family members used to live far away and not interested at all in helping the poor boy. There was no expected return on investments for them. He did not have any mentors, any well wishers to help him, to guide him. He was deprived of everything: hope, support, skills, friends, future, everything. Then something happened one day.
The issue was very petty but the consequences were colossal. He was involved in an argument with some local goons over a very trivial matter. And in the end, he was beaten by them. He was beaten badly as they were many and he had no one to back him up. After he recovered, one evening, he went to the local park where a ‘Sensei’, a karate master, used to teach karate to the kids. He approached the master to teach him karate so that he could protect himself in future. He was refused outright. He went back with the same request next day, and the day after that, again and again. But he was refused all the time.
Finally, Sensei agreed to take him under his tutelage and asked him to pay the fees in advance. Obviously, he did not have the money to pay. Sensei was surprised but to see if the boy was true at heart, decided to test his resolve. He asked the boy to run thirty laps of the ground. If the boy could do it, he would be taken in. The boy started the run. It was in the evening, after entire days work, yet he ran. He was hungry as he did not have anything after breakfast in the early morning, yet, he ran. He ran for fifteen laps and fell down unconscious. Once he came to his senses, Sensei accepted him as his student with one condition. He did not have to pay anything but he had follow strict diet and practice schedule.
Years passed. He did everything his teacher asked him to do. He used to stand under the lamp post at night after dinner and practice. He used to work all day but never missed a meal or a day of practice. Everybody used to call him crazy but he never got involved in any argument with anyone. He just practiced. And slowly things changed. From a street vendor, he went on to represent his country in various international competitions and won gold and silver medals.
He never went to school, until he went there as a teacher, to teach karate to the young boys and girls. He was Sensei himself. Even now, he is setting a benchmark everyday in karate. He did not have hope once, but for many today, he is HOPE.
(This is the story of Mr. Prahlad Sardar, as told by a couple of his acquaintances. The story was not cross checked with Mr. Sardar for accuracy and authenticity).
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