Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Never Say Die...

(I'm back & blogging after a loonnngg break...Came across this article in one of my RSS feeds and found it worth posting!)

A peon with the city railway commissionerate has a lesson or two for those Mumbaikars for whom one failure is enough to push them over the brink.Prakash Karekar, who is 50 years old and has completed 29 years of life as a peon, has passed his Class 10 examination in—believe it or not—his 44th attempt, and knows much more about failure, he says, than any other Mumbaikar.

“Look at me. The first time I appeared for the examination was in 1977 and I finally passed it in 2003,’’ Karekar told TOI on Tuesday. The eternal optimist, who now has his sights set on a promotion and a new life as a clerk, could serve as a role model for suicidal youngsters whose ranks are growing alarmingly. In the last three months, over a hundred students have committed suicide across Maharashtra, prompting much soul-searching among worried parents, academics, psychiatrists and even the state government. The Maharashtra police has already formed a 15-member team to probe the reasons for the spurt in suicides and suggest preventive measures.

Karekar, currently working for a monthly salary of Rs 14,000, said he had a simple formula that helped him pull through all the years of ignominy. “I was never worried and never felt insulted despite failing the exam without fail. I only knew that I had to fight again and again till I succeeded,’’ he said. “I got a job as a peon on the basis of my Class 9 marksheet. But I wanted to become a clerk and knew that somehow I had to do my Class 10 and so did not give up.’’

The peon’s journey to an SSC certificate is illuminating. He failed in all six subjects in 1977. The first subject he passed was Marathi, after which he gradually conquered Hindi, science and English. Mathematics proved the toughest nut to crack. “But I never lost hope,’’ he said.

However, Karekar admitted that he bore a heavy load through all the years of failure. “Even my mother was fed up with my continuous failures but at least she would not ridicule me. On the contrary, she did all she could to encourage me,’’ he said, adding that other parents should follow his mother’s example and never put pressure on their children.

“People should think of the anguish of their loved ones, who they will be leaving behind before they even think of suicide,’’ he concludes. “Anyway, we have no right to kill ourselves. Our life is God’s gift, and only He can take it away.’’