Life Skills

Varaaha Series by B S Ranganath

Young boy Dorai was left in a town to stay with his brother-in-law and go to school, as there was no school in his own village. He was just nine years old, when his father died in the village.

Dorai’s mother felt it very hard to live in the village with five children. There was a family friend who came forward to help her in her distress. He brought that lady and her children to the town, where Dorai was staying. The family friend, in the process of helping the lady in distress, could make her sign a few records which made him the owner of her house and a piece of dry land in the village. He skillfully grabbed the property of a helpless innocent woman, while pretending to help her.

Dorai’s bother-in-law, a doctor by profession, was kind enough to help the lady in need. But he felt it hard to manage the additional burden of a huge family. He got himself transferred to a far off place. Dorai and his mother, with other five children, were left homeless in a town with none to help them. The Compounder of the government hospital, a Muslim, took pity on this helpless brahmin lady with her six children and asked his third wife to vacate her room and allow the family to live there. It was a room with separate entrance, enabling the widow and her children, to enjoy an independent living.

The compounder helped the lady to admit her children to school. The tenant of the wet land belonging to the family was a nice man, who found out the where-about of the family, and brought the owner’s share of the yearly yield of the land. Things moved smoothly for the family, until the Compounder was transferred to some other place.

Dorai’s mother had to vacate the room. She could find a rented house, in a Brahmin street. Many Brahmin women became her friends. A few elderly women influenced Dorai’s mother, on the skills of leading a better life. They convinced her, that it was an honorable vocation for brahmin boys to go out for begging (spiritual way, i.e. different from those who beg on streets), before school hours. Dorai was made to feel that as the eldest boy, it was his duty to earn income for the family and begging was an honorable job for him. He took up going out for begging as a routine in the mornings, before going to school. This has generated a lot affection, from the parents of his classmates.

Dorai’s performance in the school was admirable. He was selected to lead the school prayer. The scout master made him the leader of a group. Those were the days when students had to pass a public examination called lower secondary, to join high School. Dorai got through this examination with high marks. There was no High-School in the town. The scout-master, who was keen to see that Dorai continues his education, asked him to go to Mysore for high-School studies. He gave him a letter addressed to an advocate, in Mysore.

The boy was sure that his mother would give him some money out of what she got by selling of paddy – the yearly yield from their wet-land. But she gave nothing when he took leave of her. This made him wonder what made his mother so unkind towards him. He felt it as not wrong to steal some money from her treasury (a small box). He waited until she left the place and when he was alone, he picked up a ten-rupee note from her box, hid it with his certificate and scout master’s letter, and left home. Though he felt his stealing of ten-rupees was a deserving act against his mother’s lack of interest in him, the stolen money kept him under troubled conscience.

The old aged advocate at Mysore was very much impressed, by the scout-master’s letter. He arranged for the boy’s admission in an orphanage, and paid the admission fee in a high school. The school awarded him a free studentship. The boy could concentrate upon his studies undisturbed for two years, till there was a good news from house. His younger brother also passed the middle school examination, and the family was about to shift to Mysore.

Dorai had to find a house for the family. One of his classmate’s father helped him, to secure a house on low rent. When the family arrived, he left the orphanage to join them. But he was shocked when his mother asked, ‘Why did you to leave the orphanage?’

The instance left Dorai in such a state, he could not concentrate on his studies. He secured just E.P.S (Eligible for Public Services) in his S.S.L.C Examination.

As an elder brother, Dorai felt the responsibility, to help his younger ones to study and comp up. He worked in a factory, and handed over his income to his mother. His younger brother became an Ayurvedic doctor, and enjoyed the status of the head of the family.

Dorai’s participation in Quit India movement, and imprisonment being a freedom fighter, was used as a pretext to throw him out the family. His jail life made him realize his talents, which brought many friends around him. A training in a Gandhian camp enabled him to work for the aboriginal tribes in a forest, and Dorai became a married man with two children. He had to return to city-life, in the interest of his children’s education.

When he was working for the welfare of forest dwellers, Dorai’s youngest brother came in search of him with a complaint, that the doctor brother obtained the signatures of all his father’s children except that of Dorai, and sold the wet land. This youngest brother wanted Dorai to go to the court and get the sale deed nullified, as the doctor collected the sale amount and deposited it in his own account, in a bank.

Dorai was not interested in property matters. He only admired the skills of the doctor brother, in becoming a big man. When Dorai was working in a city, he received a letter from his doctor brother, saying that his mother passed away a month ago, and it was her wish not to inform him about her death and last rites. The unwritten information that the letter conveyed was that, Dorai was barred from all kinds of family activities.

The latent life skills helped Dorai not only to bring up his children, but also to help himself improve his educational qualifications. He is now a very useful person in the field of social activities.

The cleverness with which the family friend of Dorai grabbed the property of the lady in distress, is not at all the Life Skill. It is just an out-right robbery. How Dorai overcame all the adversities and became a useful man to the society is because of his Life Skills.

An article in Readers Digest gives a bright example of Life Skills. The parents of a young software expert expressed their desire to use modern technology in place of costly phone calls. They were very¬†slow to understand the simplest thing in using a computer. But the young man’s patience helped them to be able to send e-mails today. Life Skills have bridged Generation Gap.

India is gifted with great politicians, industrialists, traders, scientists, technicians, thinkers, writers, police and army who have made the country proud with their Life Skill.

We can proudly mention the name of Magsaysay award winner Harish Hande, founder of Solar Light Private Ltd., a social enterprise, which lights poor homes that run without electricity. He wants to use the award for students who want to pursue good sustainable energy project but are not able to do it. His Life Skill give him joy in making others happy.

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