- kewal sethi
i had a strange dream this morning. it was about appelton. i do not know how that name came up but then you have so many inexplicable things in the dreams.
as it is, appleton was a well to do person, employed in a respectable job in a respectable firm. certainly not the usual run of stories where the youth hits upon an idea, forms a company and becomes millionaire. appleton was just a well to do gentleman. somehow we got talking and i learnt that he was from a poor family, a very poor family. how did he rise to the present position. he gave it his philosophy in these terms "accept the things that are, and then work your way up".
he accepted his poverty but was not dismayed. he was sent to a government school. the teacher was indifferent. there was hardly any learning there but he accepted it and learnt anyhow from his seniors in the school. and did well. no, he did not get any scholarship. early on, he had to go as domestic help just as did his parents. but he accepted that and worked diligently. he used his spare time to read and he helped the young son of the house where he worked to the extent he could.
here the dream ended. i woke up and found it difficult to go back to sleep. so i carried this tale further in my imagination.
his master noted his help and saw to it that he got some spare time from the household work. he arranged with a friend to let appleton help his son, in return for remuneration. so appleton had some extra income. in due course he went back to school to carry on with his studies. but he had tutions to finance his education. he went on to complete his graduation and found a job and got his promotions and he was where he was. content with what he had. maybe he will go up in life.
but is that just a dream. are there no parallels in the real world.
my thoughts went to a class fellow of mine whom i will call just sk. sk was the son of a vegetable vendor. he helped his father in his business of selling vegetables and simultaneously carried on with his studies. he joined an evening college and found sundry jobs to carry him along. when we were class fellows, he was working as a stenographer. he had learnt typing and shorthand while studying. we were preparing for the examinations and i used to cycle ten kilometres to go the house of a mutual friend to study together, of course on holidays. then we completed our masters course and went our separate way.
years later we met through the mutual friend. he was now a professor in a university in united states. he did his gre examination and advanced gre and got admission in a university in united states along with scholarship. he did his post graduation in computer science. he is now with a leading university of united states.
i talked about mutual friend, let us call him sp, who competed for assistant grade examination and went on to be deputy secretary to government of india.
but not all my class fellows were that lucky. i had gl as class fellow in class 11 and 12 ( we used to call it f.sc). a good scholar but after doing f.sc, he could not continue as he had to look after his ailing father. he joined as a telegraphist, rose to be supervisor but could never go back to studies. but he was a great social worker. ran a ngo which helped the poor to get education.
another class fellow sc had a similar problem. he joined as a lab assistant. learnt his job well especially in eeg. he was so good in that that he would guide post graduate students. the government hospital where he worked created a post for him. it was a gazetted post and under the rules it was to be filled up by upsc. upsc insisted on candidate being graduate which sc was not. rather than recruit an outsider with doubtful competency, the hospital surrendered the post compensating sc in such manner as did not conflict with any rules.
appletons do not exist merely in dreams. they are of this world. they never quit but keep on trying for the higher goals and get them.