18 years ago… Its 1994 and there he is, kind of small even for a 4 year old, playing in the park behind his home with his faithful companion and
Its 1994 and there he is, kind of small even for a 4 year old, playing in the park behind his home with his faithful companion and best friend, Clockwork! I should probably explain that the reason why Clockwork chose to go by such a silly name is because Clockwork was a 3 month old German Shepherd and she didn’t really have any say in the matter. They weren’t alone of course. While they were busy doing everything that a hyperactive 4 year old and his puppy would do without a care in the world, they were being carefully guarded by his grandmother who watched them like a hawk ready to pounce on anything that would dare endanger her grandson’s laughter.
“Hey grandma? How many people are there in the world?”
She looked down at him with a warm smile and picked him up in her arms and said, “Well why don’t we count…there’s me and your parents; that makes 3…”
“And Clockwork!!!” he gleefully shrieked. Clockwork responded by waging her tail and barked happily at her tiny human friend.
“Yes, yes…Clockwork makes 4 and then there’s you and your brother; the two most important and special people in the world, the only reason why my world exists. So to answer your question love, there are 6 people in the world!”
“Are you sure??” he asked with squinty eyes and a squeaky voice. “Sure I’m sure pet.” she said and hugged him tightly before letting him down again, much to the joy of Clockwork who wasted absolutely no time in licking his face and making him break into peals of laughter.
18 years later…today
So while he was growing up there were 6 people in the world. Today…there are more than 7 billion!!! That’s like a 1.2 billion times increase and somehow until recently he had managed to miss the significance of this fact. How self-centered would someone have to be to miss something like that, really!
As he stood in front of a class full of his juniors busy scribbling away on a piece of paper, desperate to complete the task assigned by members of a certain SIIB senior committee on time, the bedlam of the junior band practicing for the soon to be held Arambh seeped in through the tiny crack of the window. And in case you’re wondering, yes, she was there too; hard at work, not paying any attention to him whatsoever which to be honest, he found a little rattling to his inflated ego. Feeling a little chafed he decided she had the exact traits of, what he imagined, a grown up Elizabeth Allen would have. You know Elizabeth Allen right? The naughtiest girl in the school? Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, if you were as big a fan of Enid Blyton as he was as a kid then you would have read her too. But I’m getting distracted from the main issue here again. I really need to stop doing that because he doesn’t like it when I divert the attention away from him. 😛
So coming back to him again, as he stood there staring at the juniors and listening to the practicing band it suddenly hit him that his world had gone from having 6 people in it to 7 billion people! Whatever delusions of grandeur he might have felt that evening by lording over his juniors, as senior committee member, quickly drained out of him. He was competing against 7 billion people. SIIB at any given point of time had a total strength of just under 400 students. That’s a 0.00000006 fraction of the total world population. A miniscule number, almost insignificant. Yet even this tiny fraction of the world population was filled with people better than him, both in his batch and his juniors…
A girl who had disappointment after disappointment handed to her by life, yet she continues to fight back. A man who was declared a vegetable by the doctors, crippled for life in their opinion, yet today he’s built himself like a bull. A thug, living a life of violence turned his life around to become one of the most brilliant students in the batch, yet so humble. An addict, today the most fit and health conscious person he has met. And these are just a few among the 400. If I were to delve deeper I’d have to write a whole book. And these are the people that SIIB is made of. He realized these are the people that he eats, studies, fights, befriends, and competes with everyday…day in and day out. Suddenly that number of 400 doesn’t seem so trivial anymore.
At this point, she found herself in need of some doubt clearing regarding the task and called out to him, breaking his line of thought. Sure now that she needs help she pays attention to him! 😛
Well pretty soon they were done with their tasks and it was time for them to face him in the interview panel. And since his deep and mature line of thought had been broken all his delusions of grandeur were back! He had an entire evening of entertainment to look forward to where he could have a lot of fun at the expense of other people… You didn’t think he was going to just give up on this opportunity did you??? Would you???
“Few women admit their age and few men act theirs” is how the saying goes and SIIB might yet make him act his, but it wasn’t going to be tonight. There was too much fun to be had to start acting his age just yet…
This is a series contributed by Debdeep Majumdar. You can contact him @firstname.lastname@example.org