Why I am what I am

By Jahan Zaib. Jahan, 12, is a student at DPS, Srinagar who loves to read and write. He lives in Srinagar, India. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

I am going to start with a famous quote – a deep and beautiful quote that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple said, in his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”. I am not going to write a boring article about why and what I have written about this. Yes, I will write a short paragraph at the end, but I want to add a story from the point of view of some people. Let’s begin:

Amita DeNoel was sitting on her armchair and looking at her clock, silently waiting. Her elder son, Christopher, was sleeping on his bed in the next room. Her younger son Dinesh was at work in Petrofac. She herself was a famous politician in the United Kingdom. Her husband was a surgeon at the London Bridge Hospital. Yet, her son was a failure. He couldn’t become a doctor, an engineer, a chartered accountant or even a singer. When he was young, she dreamt that he would go to an prestigious school, but he flunked every subject in Year 11. He had to repeat Year 12 twice and barely passed every class he went through. She shook her head and wiped away tears from her eyes with her sleeve. She thought, “Think about the present, not the past.” All of a sudden she heard the doorbell ring. “About time.” She murmured as she went to open the door for the man outside, after setting a last glance at the cuckoo clock that hung on the wall. It was 5:30. “Perfectly punctual” was Mrs DeNoel’s first impression about Markus Guinever, England’s leading psychologist and author. He was also called the Khaled Hosseini of the UK.  She stood in front of the door and took a deep breath. Then she opened the door of her house.

Amita

When I saw Markus in person for the first time, I observed his face. A whole month had passed since his car crash accident. Rodger had been the head surgeon when he was moved to the operation ward and had saved him from death. When asked what he could do for him my husband asked him to visit our home. Markus did not object and acceded to my husband’s wishes, although his acceptance of our request was unexpected. Markus looked bulky in his shirt and jeans. His accident had left a scar on his face that started below his temple and ended below his eye in a curve. His eyes were beady and hazel. His hair was no longer jet black as his picture showed on the internet. Instead, it was gray all over. After my quick look at his facial lineaments, I asked the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner to enter my home. His lips twisted into a smile that mothers always give when they think we don’t know the truth of the world. I looked confused but simply led him to our living room. I gestured for him to sit on our couch and he did so. I sat down myself. Then, I started speaking, “Mr. Markus, it’s a pleasure to see you in our home. I’m sorry Rodger couldn’t make it, but he had to go to Vienna for a conference.” Markus merely nodded his head and signaled to me to move onto my purpose. I hesitated and continued, “Well, you might know my son, Christopher.” Markus grunted. I suddenly poured all my emotions into my words and said, “He’s a hopeless case. Well, he’s flunked two years, then merely passed all of his classes, and now he’s an unemployed person who sits at home and grumbles about what he should do other than writing.” The moment I said the last word of my sentence Markus jumped out of the couch. He literally jumped off the couch and stood on the marble-tiled floor with an expression of amusement, shock, and anger. He sat down immediately, his face crimson, and chuckled and said to himself, “Of course!”

Markus

Before I came into the DeNoels’ house, I realized that their elder son Christopher was an example of talent wasted. He was nowhere in the world. I knew what to do for people like him, but there were thousands of people like him and it was more important to see them than him for specific reasons. But I had to repay Rodger DeNoel in some way other than cash, so I immediately accepted to come to his house when he asked me. When she told me what she thought was wrong with him, I became furious, amused and shocked; furious because the poor boy could’ve had light in his future, rather than his present caliginous one, amused because I wondered how cruel God’s fate for us can be and shocked that her son on the inside might’ve had the spark of a writer without his mother knowing. Of course, I wasn’t that shocked. Some people are road sweepers, sweeping the roads every single day of the weeknot because they didn’t have the potential to become something in this world. No, it was because they had in them a spark that needed to be kindled, but they were unlucky because their spark didn’t grow into a fire due to no attention given to kindling it. I said to his mother, “How long have you known about his ability to write?” She merely sighed, showing that she was bored and replied, “Three.” I nodded and said, “You should’ve allowed him to become a writer. It’s not like he wasn’t smart. It was that you did not ignite his fire. Still, you’re in luck. I’ll guide your child. Call me when you agree.” With that, I stood up and walked out of the house.

***

In my story, the boy didn’t follow his dreams and as a result, he was a disappointment for everyone. People didn’t encourage him to write so he tried to do what was out of his grasp, yet he failed. He did not obey his wishes and live by what Steve Jobs said. He could’ve become a writer but he was forced to do otherwise. I end my article, with another quote, “everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

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