By Abhineet Singh Malhotra
My job profile in ASER Centre requires me to travel very often and for long duration, to add to my mother’s annoyance. Since the ASER season kicked off in September, I had been to two state level trainings, and this was going to be my third training in less than 15 days. I was headed to Madhya Pradesh.
I was glad that unlike the situation in Odisha, at least now I would be able to understand the language spoken around me. Unlike other states where state level training had been conducted for four days, Madhya Pradesh was scheduled to have a five day long training.
Among the volunteers attending the training, there was something different about Vishal. There was a sense of calmness and peace about his demeanour. During the first three days of the training, our eyes met on several occasions and we smiled at each other. But we refrained from speaking to each other. On the fourth day, the training session overshot its duration and the participants were getting restless.
By the end of the day, I was exhausted. Our training venue was located in a huge campus, surrounded by trees. I sat on the stairs, waiting for my colleagues to finish their remaining work so that we could head back to our rooms.
Suddenly, Vishal came and sat next to me. He kept his hand on my shoulder and said, “I see a lot of rage in your eyes. It is very common for someone your age to lose patience. At this age, one wants to bring immediate change. But, you need to understand an important principle of life, everything that undergoes sudden change has to face resistance. This is a law of nature. To bring about a change in your participants, you need to understand them and consider the context they hail from. In life, we often judge the book by the cover. That is wrong. If you consider their initial circumstances, you will realize how you have influenced their lives.”
He continued, “Over the last four days, you mentioned the idea of perfection several times. To me, being perfect is not about winning. It is not about the change you bring. Rather, it is about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look at your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down. Deep down in your heart, you know you told them the truth. Truth is that you did everything that you could.”