K from Banglore was here for two weeks. Before leaving, we were having one of those informal unstructured chats, where in, sometime, you can stumble upon deeper issues and help people to come up with great insights; Yes, it is possible to ask a man do a 180 degree turn with a ‘casual’ comment or question. K is a young buisness student from a “conservative” family.
“I have been hiding my stammer. I feel bad. I want to apologise to all- my friends, my colleagues, even that shopkeeper to whom I told that little fib- that little meaningless lie- that I was from Delhi, not Banglore.”
“But that was such a little thing. Who cares?”
But I could see that it mattered a lot to the young sensitive person sitting in front of me. He was actually suffering because of a conscience, which world had not killed yet.
“I feel that I have been telling lies even when there was no need for it. It seems that one small act of trying to hide my stammer has grown like a wild creeper all over my personality, my psyche, my emotions, my thoughts, my relationships..I am no more who I really am.. In every social encounter I have been cheating people, I feel..”
I could empathise since I had walked that lonely road once.
We talked back and forth. Where speech & communication was concerned he had covered a vast ground in last 15 days- and now, I certainly did not want him to go back with a newly discovered GUILT complex!
When, we ask for tea, instead of coffee- who are we harming, the host or ourselves? Does it inconvenience the host to give us tea, instead of coffee? Most likely not. So, if we have cheated, fooled or harmed anyone, it is we ourselves. Our friends, family and colleagues have just wanted us to be happy and comfortable, whichever way we could. So there is no need for formal apologies- I explained to him. It is enough to forgive and accept ourselves- as we are. The world is waiting outside at our gate, to accept us, to cheer us.
It was a great reward to see him smiling as he left Herbertpur, for a long journey home- where his real challenges await him. If there is a Param-Aatma, it will surely sustain him from within- I pray.