Thursday, August 22, 2013

Memoirs of "Honest Jeremiah!"

Jeremiah was an above-average boy he had a light wheatish skin tone, apple cheeks with a prominent chin, his nose was up-turned almost like a girl, thick eyebrows, his eyes were intoxicating and moles within his eyes made it look even more mesmerizing. He was nick-named "Jerry," by his mother Nayantara, she was soft-spoken and brittle, exuded obscure expression all the time, her cheeks were wide, eyebrows were naturally alluring, always dressed in a light colored "Salwar Kameez." The most appealing feature of her body was her light honey-wheat complexion which would glow in sunlight and radiate her serene personality, she was pleasing by her tone as well as by her demeanor, she was a loved house-maker and was respected in society, she was friends with almost every kid in the block. Jeremiah was well spoken, shy, and mostly reserved with very fewer friends to mingle with, egg-headed, but academics was never his forte, as years passed, his attachment and interest in academics also grew apart from each other like people in long distance relationships.

It was recorded as the coldest day on Jan 27th 1999 since 1991. That winter was the harshest and for Jerry it was not because of cataclysmic cold, but the overwhelming feeling of subterfuge which was eating Jerry inside out, sitting in a corner of his room, contemplating ways to afloat his drowning conscience.

Jerry had stolen Five hundred rupees from his father!

His father had a small locker in his wardrobe and it wasn't well-bolted and in Jerry's words "even my dumb dog could break in that locker!" We both were planning to watch a movie and party at our friend's house to celebrate our impossible triumph to pass our eighth grade examination. We both had our obvious doubts of making that year although we had just scored above passing percentage which was more than enough for us, our parents never understood that feeling I might refer it imbecile now, but back then it was more like attainment of "Mission Impossible!" Jeremiahs father was barely making enough wages to suffice his family needs, although he was getting up on his own feet, but stability was still a far-fetched reality. Jeremiah had no choice, but to steal it from his father's unbolted locker, the tide was in the sailor's favour that night, his father had gone for two days to visit his cousins, a perfect opportunity to break in and steal the money. Next day Jerry met us, with five notes of hundred's in his hands and back then five hundred rupees was a luxurious amount, he was trying to flaunt a lot, to the level of irritation, but I guess all he was trying to convey was, "star of the party!" Has arrived!

We enjoyed the movie and then the party, we did so many things for the first time! It was exciting and weirdly satisfying, we had a over-night party for the first time, we had cold-beers for the first time I had two successful sips and Jerry had three, which was rather courageous back then and to top that we socialized with "girls!" for the first time. Actually, the last part was more than satisfying to be honest! There was one thing Jerry did extra for the "first time!" that day, it was stealing money! I could tell that when the party was phasing out, I saw a hint of shame on his face, but I forgot about it because we all were in a drift of partying. Next Day when we all were going home and bidding adieu! I could see that Jerry's face had turned from wheatish to yellow, at that time I thought: huh! Maybe he is just constipated!

It was day before the morning, when Jerry's father was supposed to arrive from his trip. As the daylight slipped into twilight, Jerry's face turned from yellow to blood red, In the corner of his room, in deep thoughts he remembered the stories recited by Nayantara when he was in primary (Junior School), Although Jerry never listened to Nayantara, unless Jerry wanted something! In his sunken contemplation he drifted back three years ago when she constantly read him the stories of Mohandas Gandhi, she recited Jerry a lot of stories on M Gandhi, but there was one story that she nagged him over and over again, it was a story on "Gandhi's first lesson in Non-violence." In the story Mohandas steals gold from his brother to pay his another brother's debt, deep in remorse and unable to amend the wrong that he did. After being overwhelmed with the helplessness of his situations, he decides he will confess everything to his father, so he writes a letter to his father accepting his wrongdoings and asking for the most severe punishment possible. At that time his father was ill, Mohandas went up to him and slipped the letter next to him on his bed and stood quietly in a corner, deeply moved by his truthfulness Mohandas father broke out into tears, watching his father cry, Mohandas decided to never lie again! The story enlightened Jerry's conscience and he gave a kiss on Nayantaras right cheek and ran down his room to write a letter of his confession of stealing money and kept it on his father's desk.

Next day, Jerry's father had arrived and after a brief chat with Nayantara he closed the conversation with a warm kiss and hug and slowly moved towards his desk, as he was slowly arriving to where the letter was kept, Jerry's heart skipped a beat, he picked up the letter and started reading it and Jerry was anxiously watching towards the desk which was right across his room, trying to figure out his father's reaction as he had his back towards the room, Jerry was unable to establish that, after few seconds in his husky voice his father called out, "Jerry can you please come here"! Cold sweat dripping from his forehead, Jerry took small, but heavy steps towards the desk. Jerry's father turned around with an assuring light smile on his face. Probably Jerry was expecting tears in his father's eyes, but a smile was also a satisfying result of his courage, he came close to Jerry and said: "Thank you for being honest Jerry and this time with much broader smile, he said: "the locker that I save my money is for you son! You can have that money, but next time just ask me?" Jerry could no longer look into his father's eyes and feeling embarrassed by giving in to a foolish temptation, Jerry decided that he will never steal or lie ever again!

I waited until school was open to hear his story and that day I realised I made gem of a friend and in my own words his name was "Honest Jeremiah"

Following story is adapted from a real incident. Characters are modified and changed to respect privacy of these individuals, who gave us one of the most important lessons to abide, Joshua D. Greene and Joseph M. Paxton are experts in neuroscience; they have presented a hypothesis called "Grace" which proves that honesty is a result from absence of temptation. If Jerry understood the importance of not giving in to his own imbecile temptations in such an early age than, I don't think so it's difficult for adults to realise who are invariably less honest then kids nowadays and probably because we have this insatiable hunger for unreasonable temptation, but why? I guess only Rakhi Sawant can answer that! Zikes! I joke! I joke!

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.