the summer flower has run to seed
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He picked up the book once again and turned to the first page. Reading it for the 1000th time still made it impossible to believe. He looked through the dusty windows into the dark night and was wondering at the state of decay of his mansion. His eyes caught a spider spinning a cobweb at one corner, it was working it's way skillfully and almost beautifully. The silver threads glistened with the light from the oily lamp. At another time he would have shouted at the house maids and servants for their negligence but today he resolved to maintain peace with himself. 'He was just like this...' retired professor Dayal Sharma told himself and sighed. Swinging his head back, he let his mind escape into the realms of the past...
One timid face among the whole class stood out... I noticed those sparkling eyes, thirst for knowledge and the will to work hard. They belonged to Vishnu. With a height like five feet nine inches tall, it was impossible to ignore him completely. But his timid nature and his innocence sometimes was annoying. These attributes made him look foolish at times. The other students seemed more promising to me, they were smart, eager and fearless. I treated my students not like a bunch of idiots but as clean slates... I wrote in those slates everything I knew and wanted them to know all secrets of pathology. Somewhere deep in my mind I wished some of my students would carry the torch of knowledge far away, lighting thousands of candles and my name would thus become eternal. Thus I wasn't completely selfless in my ways...
A mid summer afternoon I was panting after a flight of stairs. The heat seemed intolerable. I stopped at the end of stairs to catch my breath... A small group of students walked along the corridor, they all seemed so lively... full of laughter and jovial. It was nice to be young, I reminded myself and smiled at the group and made my way along the corridor to my room. Vishnu was walking along the wall, before our paths even crossed he fled as if I was a wild animal. I sighed and told myself 'God, show him the right path'. Somehow, even to this day when I think about the corridor incident I find myself sympathizing Vishnu. In his eyes I saw the
Years passed by. My students did make me proud. They were now professors and teaching many students. I was content that my torch of light still burned spreading light. Everywhere I went I heard praises about my students, I could see myself holding the torch light high in the air. I did not hide my pride but flaunted my achievements, at any given opportunity.
A soft breeze entered the decrepit room, the freshness of the evening air transported Dayal Sharma back to the present. A gush of air followed and extinguished the oil lamps. Darkness of night seemed to invade the mansion wildly. He stirred in his easy chair getting used to the darkness. The cold air refreshed his senses and the darkness seemed like an excellent background to his journey into the past... So he simply let it be, continuing his journey.
As time passed clearly the standards of education changed. Students relied more on 'short notes' and 'guides' rather than classroom lectures. Money became the most important thing, everything else took a second seat. Sincere and hardworking students became a rarity... those rare ones too were discouraged and transformed very soon. everything began to fade around my world. My torch of light seemed to be burning in an empty room, soon to be extinguished. I was beginning to lose hope that anything would change this situation.
One fine day I received a parcel. My maid brought it to me with the evening tea. I opened the parcel and was surprised to find a textbook. Who would send me one, may be one of the publishers. The author's name in clear bold letters 'Dr.Vishnu Sharma'. I secretly hoped it's the Vishnu I knew...on the first page was the dedication.
This book is dedicated to the lotus feet of my guru
The screeching noise of the easy chair was the only sound to be heard in the whole mansion. That sound meant a lot to Dr.Dayal Sharma, it was the proof of life in that old mansion. In the darkness he reached for the book and clutched it close to his heart. And cried aloud 'Ekalavya....' The echoes filled the whole mansion.