Our inner voice will continue to guide us and goad us along the right path.
As I was taking my class, a voice from near the entrance interrupted, “How are you feeling now ma’am?” Though he is also a student of mine, he is from another class. Though I normally never encouraged such interruptions, his tone was one of concern and I was perplexed. “Why? Fine of course! Was I supposed to be sick or something?” I asked jokingly. “We were told you were sick and somebody else would be finishing the course for us. Is it true ma’am?” I was taken aback by surprise, but recovered quickly and told him that there was some administrative issue and regardless of who completed the portions, he could approach me anytime with his doubts and I would solve them for him. That pacified the student and I continued with the class.
I decided to keep quiet for the time being. The work gave me immense satisfaction and the place where I was working was close to my house. They had given me a lot of leeway and I had selected my own timings for work. But this was stretching things too far. I was told by the coordinator at the centre that because students had their exams the class was suspended for sometime and the students were told I was sick. The coordinator was rude and very often he would ridicule the students. I maintained my distance with him and did not entertain any nonsense from him. But the more I thought of it, the more I realised that I never went for the classes eagerly or enthusiastically as I normally did. It was something that I did because I had to. Or so I thought. It was either this or staying at home, back to square one and searching for another job again. And the more I rationalised about it, the more I delayed the inevitable. What was the guarantee that the next job that I landed, if I landed one in the near future in the first place, would be free from hassles. Some compromises would have to be made there too. And so I stuck on, unwillingly and dutifully.
One fine day I understood that the coordinator was just the face of the organisation. His immediate heads, the owners of the centre were resorting to such ploys to maximise their profit. I realised I could not work with such people. It was against my principles. So, I made a phone call and told them I was quitting. That was the first time in my life I was chucking up a job. My hands were sweating and I had to steel myself to go on with it.
That was that! I was taking a break I told myself. Things would turn around when the time was right. I was not going to fret and fume over it. I walked down the road. Two blocks away was a very good lending library. I became a member and decided to read all the books that I had always wished to read, but never had the time.
When my family came to know about what I had done, they thought I had done the wrong thing, but knew that I would ultimately do what I thought was right. I knew something was not right. My instincts were giving me a clear message and I had to listen to that tiny voice which was telling me to follow my heart.
Two days later, on a Sunday afternoon, the doorbell rang. We were deciding to go out and celebrate my joblessness. Yes, that was the spirit with which I initially took it. So, I was a little surprised when my son answered the door and found a couple of Korean girls standing there. They were pronouncing my name with an accent and it was with difficulty that we understood what they wanted.
They were sisters and the elder sister wanted me to teach English to the younger one. I explained my situation to them, told them
I was looking out for a job and till I found one, I didn’t mind teaching her. After teaching 25-40 students in a class, tutoring one student was something I had to adapt to, I did not mind it. Well, the assignment was something very different and unique. The experience was enriching and after a long time I was my own master.
For six painfully long months, I taught this one girl for 90 minutes a day. She was the highlight of the day, every day. But several times I regretted quitting. I was earning a quarter of my previous salary, time hung heavily on my hands and I had read most of the books that I had always wanted to read. Whenever I went to the library to exchange my books, my eyes would involuntarily go up to the place where I worked before. Perhaps I had been hasty, I would think. But it was done – I would console myself, square my shoulders and move on.
And then suddenly, last fortnight, after my visit to the library, as I looked up, I was astonished and taken aback to find a new banner of a completely different enterprise. The old banner of the centre in which I had worked was missing. They had another centre with a different name in another area close by. When I went by that area a couple of days later, my doubts were confirmed. The banner there too had been taken down and a new company had already put up their board there.
I spent eight painfully long and slow months, in which I had wondered a million times about whether my decision was correct or not. I was not successful in getting a job. Sometimes it was very far, sometimes I did not fit the job profile. I plodded on with my single Korean student.
And after eight months, I now tutor four students on an individual basis. I am making almost four times the money I earned at my previous workplace and I work six hours a day. Today,
I feel glad that I listened to that tiny little voice that was goading me and guiding me. Obviously the enterprise in which I had previously worked had shut the shop now and had I not quit then, I would have been jobless now. But because I had listened to that tiny little voice, which had goaded me and prodded me into following my heart, I had settled into my new job profile, nay, I had created a new job profile for my own self, I’m my own master and the icing on the cake is that I love my work and students.
A quick scan through several incidents in my life has confirmed and reconfirmed my faith in that tiny little voice. Often times, right in the middle of a heated exchange, this voice would urge me to hold back, would urge me to curb my anger and refrain from giving the other party a good piece of my mind. And being at the receiving end when someone’s fury was vented out on me was not easy, yet I would listen to that tiny voice and remain calm, hurting and screaming inside, sobbing through nights sleeplessly. But I feel grateful that I was not the person who had unleashed my wrath on another human being without knowing all the true facts.
And then life has a funny way of unravelling itself. Slowly, when we least expect it, the facts reveal themselves. Truth prevails, always. Sometimes we don’t even have to fight or wage a war against injustice. Just as truth and goodness always prevail, the life of an unjust act or deed or word is also very short. And we don’t need to be a crusader and fight against these things. Even if we simply refrain from getting embroiled with such people and situations, we will be safe and secure. Our peace of mind will remain intact, our conscience will not twinge with regret and we will have peaceful sleep. Perhaps in the cacophony of life, in the hectic rush of making ends meet, sometimes we are so caught up with the frenzy of making a living, that we ignore the warning signals and this tiny little voice. We become so pragmatic and practical, that we will justify wrong deeds too rightly.
But no matter how fast the world seems to be changing, the change is only in the periphery, the values and the ethics that form the core of each and every human being is always a constant and will remain a constant no matter how many generations grow up on this earth. Our inner voice will continue to guide us and goad us along the right path. It will ask us to be patient in the midst of trials and tribulations and the quiet, continuous and sometimes monotonous, wait will be worth it. For, if we follow the path that our inner voice leads us on, there will definitely be a rainbow waiting for us at the end of our struggle. And it is these struggles, trials and tribulations that make us stronger and mould our personalities. And ultimately, whatever be our personality, we must be at ease with our own character, we must be happy in our own skins and that can happen only if we listen to our conscience and our heart and allow it to guide us.