Friendship High School Inspirational

The Three Musketeers in Apology

We, the three musketeers, Ron, Jai, and Kishor. 

All for one and one for all.

 -Alexander Dumas

We human beings are the learners for life, and experience is the best teacher. Experience gradually transforms into knowledge. Just as is the difference between growing up and growing old. I remember my teenage days when my friends Jai, Kishor, and I were old enough to judge between right and wrong but were young (not grown up) enough to do it anyway out of curiosity. There is a point when curiosity, learning, and experience fail to connect. It is here when miscommunication and immature emotions lead to mistaken perception; consequently, anger and sufferings are born. We were too young to conclude and introspect, and the glitch of not apologizing for the impulsive reactions pinched our hearts until we dared to apologize after fifteen years. 

It was the beginning of the year 2004, I was in the IX grade, and Miss Janet Jill was my tuition teacher. She was pursuing a Master’s degree in Botany and gave tuitions to the schoolchildren in the neighbourhood. It was a small, supplementary income that she earned to support her family. Her family stayed just behind the main market of the city. It was ten minutes drive from my house. She was young maybe in her mid-twenties. She was about to get married soon. The person she was to get married lived near Kishor's house. He owned a retail shop. Miss Janet Jill was a very good teacher. She was resourceful, supportive, and a good listener too, and taught with clarity and exuberance. She was a gold medallist hence earned a better name of being a very good student, and a very good teacher. She was disciplined and valued time. Unlike other tuition classes where coming late was ignored, here it was an offense.

Jai, Kishor, and I were often partners in this offense with no defence. Our punishment was to stand outside the classroom. It took us long to understand how much time we wasted outside the classroom. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it. In other words, this became our important place of meeting. We discussed baseball, movies, and made plans about the weekend. We were around eighteen students from different classes and different schools in the tuition class. Saturday was one day we always waited for. In the last ten minutes, we would talk, share happenings in our schools, home, and discuss hobbies and interests. In short, we would speak our hearts out. Miss Janet Jill would listen patiently and cheered everyone. She motivated us to speak. Even the shyest student in our class would speak on Saturday. She would advise and give us the insight to decide and judge between right and wrong. She was more of a psychologist than our tuition teacher on Saturdays.

We the three musketeers were in some other world in which we were always late, enjoyed the punishment, and teased the students inside the class; at times Miss Jill would become so angry that her face would turn red in anger. Then our punishment was to remain standing outside the class until Miss Jill felt pity for us. She would warn us that she would complain about this to our parents and will never let us come inside. Out of six days in a week, three days we were out of the class. Our brain would not kick-start unless we spent time outside. We were habitual to it now. Nevertheless, it never hampered our studies because Miss Jill taught so well, we never came up with difficulties. The only thing that bothered us was undone homework. Our teachers in the school would always complained about this to our parents. Our parents in turn would talk to Miss Jill, and she had the same reply," these boys come late to the class, I cannot ignore this, tell them to come early, for I will not forgo the punishment of coming late."

Our parents scolded us and warned us. Kishor would get a good thrashing from his mother whenever Miss Jill complained. Kishor belonged to a very poor household. His parents migrated from India and settled here in Chicago. His father was a service man at the petrol pump and his mother was a domestic helper and worked at Jai's house. He loved to study and worked hard to match his grades with us. His temperament matched with ours. Therefore, we were the three spoilers for each other. There was yet another theory; everyone said that our company spoiled Kishor. These theories did not impede our 'try for fun' actions.

One afternoon we planned to watch a movie. Our parents would take us to the theatre but we wanted to go all by ourselves and that too, stealthily. It was a challenge for us. “Now we were in the IX grade. Grownups!!!”

According to the plan, I asked the driver to drop me at Kishor's house that day. I told him to go back and pick me from there at 6:15 pm. Jai also did the same.

That day we went to the movie theatre instead of the tuition class. Kishor was hesitant; somehow we persuaded him to come.

The movie, the songs, and the music were so enthralling that we forgot everything. The movie was the American action film “Torque”.

 While coming back at Kishor's house a boy on bicycle accidentally hit Jai, he fell and bruised his elbow and knees. When Jai reached home, his mother enquired him about the bruises. Jai said he fell while playing at the tuition. Jai's mother believed him because the bruises were light enough to be ignored. She did not enquire much about it, not even with Miss Janet Jill. Thank God!

The next day, we secretly winked at each other in the class remembering the famous song Someday from the movie Torque. We felt more confident and happy out of nowhere. After two months of the deed, we were set to do something big.

Jai and I belonged to traditional Indian families were eating non- vegetarian food that included eggs, was disregarded. As a result we never got to see what was inside an egg. We were curious to discover the hidden secret of the white and yellow stuff inside the egg that we had seen in the pictures. Google was there to answer but at that time, accessing internet was not so common among schoolchildren. We need to take our parent's help. 

We asked Kishor to bring the mountain to the doorstep, as his family had no reservations for non- vegetarian food. We had to manage time very efficiently and execute the exploit with secrecy. The time that we decided was just before the tuition class and the place was the courtyard of a disowned property just two houses before our tuition class. Moving according to the plan, Kishor stealthily brought two eggs from his mother's kitchen. As soon as our drivers dropped us, we straightway went to the spot decided to execute the plan. Kishor had brought eggs in a small box and he broke the eggs in it and threw away the shells.

Our whimsical excitement shattered just as the egg yolk spread in the box. There was no solid shape and structure inside an egg as we thought it to be. It was just round yellow and sticky white transparent. We discovered nothing interesting inside them. “Throw it away”, Jai said as we decided to go back.

“Are you out of your mind? Do you think I would be wasting these… I deliberately brought this box. The eggs tastes wonderful with salt and pepper. I will go home and make an omelette and relish." Jai and I looked at each other. We were not interested in eating. We were only curious to know what was inside it.

This curiosity was about to bring a change in our perspective thought process and give us a life lesson.

Truly goes the proverb: Curiosity killed the cat.

We hurried to the tuition class, we were late again. Miss Janet Jill did not allow us in the class as a result we had to wait outside. After ten minutes we were let inside the class. Miss Janet Jill explained how to prove - an equilateral triangle is equiangular. After the explanation was over she asked Kishor to get his practice home-work checked. As he took out his book from the bag, a strong stench filled the air. All pens stopped writing, all whispering mouths shut. Everyone pinched their nose looking at each other with a frowning face.

"Eeeww!! It is the smell of an egg", said Lincy, a small girl who was quick to identify and declare what it was.

"What is that?" asked Miss Janet Jill. We had no voice in our mouths. We looked at each other, our smiles and winks disappeared. The box in which Kishor had kept the egg yolk, leaked and spread inside his bag. Miss Janet Jill asked him to keep the bag outside the classroom. The class resumed. There was an unusual silence in the class, with only Miss Janet Jill’s voice piercing our ears. Our faces turned gloomy with the thought of what will happen now! Every now and then Miss Janet Jill looked at us suspiciously. Each time she gazed, our hearts pounded. As the class was over, Miss Janet Jill asked Kishor to wait. We stood outside the classroom, waiting for Kishor because we were equal partners in the crime. 

"Tell me the whole story. Don't lie, otherwise, you're not coming here from tomorrow."

 Miss Janet Jill never took tuition fees from Kishor. Kishor knew he would not find any other tuition teacher like Miss Janet Jill, so he spilled the beans that shocked her. We were called inside the class. We stood with our heads down and a pounding heart that feared the news of our exploit reaching our parents.

Kishor was under intense pressure so he narrated the Torque expedition too. Jai and I had no voice to speak. We requested Miss Jill not to inform our parents about this exploit. We promised her we would never be late for the class, do our homework regularly, and never ever do this misdeed again.

"My parents will kick me out of the house", Jai cried. Kishor had a different story. He said, "My mother will thrash me for stealing and wasting two eggs".

Miss Janet Jill gave us a chance and we went home relieved. Everything was going well until one day I found my mother informing Miss Jill on the phone that my tuition classes would be discontinued. Someone informed my mother about the Torque expedition and after a few days the egg challenge too. My mother passed it on to Jai's mother. Jai's mother rebuked Kishor's mother. They thought it was Kishor who was spoiling both of us. Within a few days our parents came to know about all of our secret challenges and exploits.

We could not guess who was the whistle blower? Only one person knew about this…Miss Janet Jill.

The consequences:

Jai's mother struck off Kishor's mother and we stopped attending Miss Janet Jill's tuition class. The most affected was Kishor. He thought that it was Miss Jill who was responsible for everything. His mother had to search for some other house for work, affecting them financially. Every day his mother would shout at him and hold him responsible for the circumstances that the family was going through. He had no tuition class to attend then. He was angry, stressed, and could not find a way out for his emotional rollercoaster. 

After a week, Kishor met me and informed that Miss Janet Jill's engagement was called off. He said that he talked nonsense about Miss Janet Jill to the man she was engaged to, and they called off the engagement. I felt bad; I asked him the reason behind such a misdeed. He said he was upset and held Miss Janet Jill responsible for the unpleasant situation in his family.

How silly we were, crassly immature in nature and behaviour! We held Miss Janet Jill responsible for the after-effects of our faults. Kishor was not alone in this wrongdoing. We were again partners and our action was "keeping silence".

 As time passed, we moved on. Kishor studied all by himself without tuitions. Jai and I got ourselves enrolled at a coaching centre in the city. A few weeks later, I found Manu uncle, our driver, secretly complaining to my mother about my friends at the coaching centre. I was shocked. "So he is that!!!"

Indeed, we were so silly. We overlooked our drivers. They secretly followed us.

After a few years, we settled at different places for jobs and family. I got my dream job in Ontario, Canada. Jai moved to Houston, to expand his family business and Kishor got a government job that took him to WashingtonDC. Years passed by, but the glitch in our hearts pinched us whenever we came across the word 'teacher'.

One day while I was looking for teaching communities for an upcoming project to be initiated in California, I came upon the profile of Janet Scriven. I could identify her in the profile picture. Without wasting time, I contacted Jai and Kishor. We decided to write an apology letter. We wrote a sincere apology letter and explained under what circumstances Kishor went to talk to the man she was engaged to. How bad we felt when we learned about the engagement being called off, and we still regret hurting her unknowingly. We wanted to tell her that we threesome was behind whatever happened at that time. Kishor confessed to what nonsense he spoke to the man.

With the hope of 'forgiven' word in reply, I pressed the send button.

Three days later, I got a reply from Miss Janet Scriven.

My dear students Ron, Jai, and Kishor,

"It's nice to hear from you. You all might be the father of kids now. My blessings are always with you. I am amazed to read the letter of apology that you have written. I never knew all this happened.

My dear Kishor, you think your nonsense talk- that I am a very cruel woman and enjoyed beating children would have broken my engagement!

 I called off the engagement. Now you are grown-ups, I can share. I wanted to marry someone who would support me in my profession of teaching. That person whom you are talking about was not ready to support me; instead, he wanted me to run his retail shop. His family had taken my family into confidence that they would let me continue with teaching, but later their behavior and commitments changed. They had issues with my continuing education. I wanted to marry someone who was not only educated but progressive and liberal too. Therefore, I decided to call it off. Had I not come out of it I could have never been able to complete my Masters in Botany nor would have got a coaching centre started for me. It was Jayson Scriven, whom I married later; who encouraged and supported me throughout the journey. He ultimately became the hero of my dreams. Then there was no looking back. What you did was like 'work', but nothing moved nor displaced from its position. It is like work- not done. Remember the definition of work done in our physics class! I can understand, how all this might have bothered you all these years. You are already forgiven for the deed you never did because it did not affect me.

Never forget, we are decreed according to our intentions. Intentions matter, not actions. On the last Day of Judgment, we would have no chance for justification. It is important to be mindful of our intentions. Talk to your inner self before any action.

The reaction of actions and thoughts can be spontaneous, but that of intentions is prolonged, and when it appears, it either sparkles or erodes the actions, thoughts, and the person as well.

If you want to apologize, you should to Kishor's mother. She had to go through bad times. She fought like a warrior. I am happy that my teachings and the effort that I put into, have made a worthwhile contribution to your mental and personality development…although a bit delayed. You have brought me to tears, tears of appreciation, happiness, and satisfaction. Had you threesome talked with me at that time, matters might be resolved and your hearts never had to bear the brunt.

Problems vanish if we talk to each other instead of talking about each other. Remember, time and words are like an arrow, once shot from the bow, they do not return.

So utilize and use them wisely.

All the best for your life ahead."

Janet Scriven

This letter removed the glitch from our hearts. Miss Janet Jill was the same for us. It was we who could not understand and react effectively, our immature minds thought impulsively and did not trust Miss Janet Jill. Still, she held us high and never underestimated us, and never complained to our parents about our exploits with faith in us that we will not break the promise.

She taught us learning and experiences necessarily do not turn into knowledge unless they are nurtured and developed by the tools of guidance, communication, and good intention. And curiosity is finding the best, the farthest, the highest, and the deepest of knowledge to seek it for the betterment. It has made us realize that communication with the self is as important as communication with others. 

Miss Janet Jill changed our perception of intentions, thoughts, speech, and actions. She gave us a new dimension of self- realization, and self- control. A life-lesson that we learnt now from the events from the past.


Vajeda Kardar

October 01, 2020 04:40

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Gani Kardar
19:02 Oct 08, 2020

I appreciate it


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