Honour


The following article is the original work of Chitranjan Trivedi and should not be copied by any person or entity.

It gets under your shirt like a dagger at work, the first cut is the deepest but the rest is still flipping hurt,

You build your heart of plastic, get cynical and sarcastic and end up in the corner on your own….

-Passenger

How many of you have heard the name of Mewar? Okay, let me make it a little easier. How many of you have heard the name ‘Maharana Pratap’? Alright, let me make it even simpler, how many of you have watched the movie ‘Padmavat’?

What do you think these names have in common – Well, let me give you an opportunity to guess. Mewar has been the place for both Maharana Pratap and Rani Padmavati. Fortunately, it is also my birthplace and that’s a different story. So, coming back to Mewar, I’d like to tell you that Maharana Pratap always stood against the attempted encroachment of his honor by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. He happily decided to dwell in the forest but he never offered his obeisance to Akbar. Rani Padmavati too decided to burn herself alive rather than choosing to surrender before a foreign invader. So what do you think gave them so much power to stand up against all odds?

The only thing that gave them so much power was that they honoured their honour. They were ready to lay their lives but they weren’t ready to surrender.

Well, these were legends but since I am from Mewar too, I’ve also inherited a little bit of this quality. Well now let me walk you through the odyssey of my honour.

The earliest memory that I have about my honor is that I was made to change my clothes in front of the entire class in Kindergarten. Okay, don’t look at me with those eyes – I participated in fancy dress competition and as a kid my teacher and my Mom, decided to give me the outfit of Shivji in the class itself. Obviously, the entire class was trying to make fun of me and time & again my teacher scolded the class.

I felt a little ashamed. Then came the moment when I was called on the stage to do my Tandav and to speak my lines. I did my Tandav, but before I could even utter a single word, my music teacher thought that my act was over and he took me off the stage. I had this un-accomplished task in my head of not being able to speak my dialogues when I had learned them so well. Soon came the time of declaring the winners and I stood 3rd. The shame of getting down to my underwear before the class was taken over by the joy of winning the 3rd position in the competition.

Soon came 1st standard, I participated again in fancy dress competition – but this time I was prepared to not change in front of the class as of course, I became Nagaland’s Groom this time. While the other contestants were delivering their dialogues on stage, I wasn’t able to hear any one of them clearly backstage. Soon teachers around me also started saying that they couldn’t hear the participants. I was already fuming with not being able to speak my dialogue the last time in Kindergarten – and this time the feeble voice of other contestants gave me a new rigor – my voice will be heard across borders! I charged up on the stage and delivered my dialogues screaming my vocal cords out like the roar of a lion. During the results when Franklin Sir was announcing the names of the winners starting from the 3rd position, I prayed to the almighty that my name should also be called. 3rd place goes to … My name was not called. 2nd place goes to my name wasn’t called and the first place goes to Chitranjan Trivedi… and that was perhaps the happiest time of my life until then. Soon my parents and I were invited on stage to receive the prize and my Mom had tears in her eyes and my Dad’s chest was pumped up with pride. It was a great honor for me and my parents and I can do anything even today to get my parents on stage and honour them with a prize that I won because at the end of the day my achievements are definitely the result of their hard work.

Next year I was in 2nd standard and after the quarterly examinations I stood as the 8th ranker in the class. I had a great teacher Miss Tarkeshwari Bedla Maám who did something extra than to just distribute the report cards. She also came up with pencils and erasers to give away along with the report cards. But there was a condition, the toppers – the first 3 rank holders were given special privilege of choosing their own pencil and eraser while others had to accept what Tarkeshwari Maám had to offer. I definitely did not have the privilege of choosing my own pencil, but then too I got a decent pencil and you’ll be surprised to know that I still have that pencil from my 2nd grade.

Soon as the time progressed I observed that whenever the teachers had to choose a volunteer for any activity they’d choose from the first 3 rank holders, the first three rank holders were only eligible to get a medal on the Foundation Day of the school for the last year’s academic performance, the first 3 rank holders were the only ones to be asked to lift the notebooks from the class and keep them in the staff room. And soon the only motto of my life for many years was just to secure my place in the top 3 rank holders of the class.

Gradually after several attempts and getting stuck at either 4th or 5th ranks, I finally managed to secure my 3rd rank for the first time in the 7th standard. Fortunately, I even stood 1st in the Annual Examination for 8th Standard with a whooping 95.76 %age. My ears didn’t believe that I stood first when my uncle informed me over the phone while I was at my maternal grandpa’s home to spend my summer vacation. That was the height of my hard-earned honour.

But then something happened which lead to the downward spiral of my honour. My odyssey to overcome it is worth reading but…

There’s a lot more to this story but I’d take a pause here…Maybe, I’ll come back again here and if I have time, I’ll complete the remaining story. For now, I just wanna say, “To Be Continued…”.


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