Chintu looked up into the sky. He saw the ball hit the standards.
It was a six off the last ball and they won the finals of the inter school cricket tournament.
“And the Man of the Match award goes to Chinnaswamy Ramaraja”, echoed from the speakers.
“Ma, we won the game!”
“Ah! Now, you will start your studies!!”
Chintu’s excitement vanished into thin air. He dropped his cricket kit in his room and ran off to see his friend Mitran.
“Congrats Chintu! I missed it!”, and he hugged Chintu.
“Why do you look so dull? It was your dream to win this match and you have done it my friend”, Mitran sports a wide smile.
“Yeah, Finally! now I should study and score decent marks to keep my parents happy.”
“Chintu! This is not the time to worry about studies, let’s celebrate!”
“I don’t want to think of my studies, but I am forced to”, he looks lost.
“Chill my friend, let us meet at 8 tonight, I am off to finish my portrait now.”
“I totally forgot! How is your workshop going?”
“Once in a lifetime chance Chintu, else when would I get a chance to learn Medieval art in our country?”
“Your parents are furious with you for missing your classes to attend this expensive workshop, isn’t it?”
“You bet!” Mitran walks with a wink.
Chintu smiles in silence. Mitran wants to be an artist, I want to be a cricketer and our parents think we are innocent children who know nothing about life.
At Chintu’s place, his older brother was busy with his daily assignments when his father and uncle walked in.
“Srini, look what your aunt has sent for you, the best books for medical entrance preparation.”
“Ram, is Chintu still interested in cricket?”
“Brother, he just dropped his cricket kit and ran out. He is not serious about life! I am so worried about him.”
“He doesn’t learn any good things from his brother.” His father continued to lament.
“He is still young. Deepak also was wasting time on football, you remember? When he entered class X, we cut off the TV connection and enrolled him in coaching classes. Now he is an engineer and is working in the US. “
“You are right! I should stop his cricket coaching first”, his father added.
“Srini, I am sure you will make us proud by becoming a doctor soon. How much did you score in your revisions?”
“Which one Uncle? We have had 5 revision tests so far. I have scored centum in all except Mathematics. I got 99.”
“You don’t need Maths for becoming Doctor, Srini! Very good, your aunt will be extremely happy to hear this.”
“The medical preparations books she got for you are the best and are on huge demand”, the uncle self-proclaimed with pride.
Chintu walks in.
“Hi Uncle! When did you come?”
“Just now Chintu, how are you?”
“I am fine. How are Deepak and Deepali?”
“Oh! They are fine dear. Deepali is going to become an Engineer too, just like her brother. What do you want to do?”
“I want to become the best batsman in the world, next to Sachin Tendulkar. I don’t want to beat my God.”
“Chintu, be serious! Cricket is a game, you can play for relaxation. You can’t run a family by playing, can you”?
“Why not, uncle? Don’t our cricketer’s have families?”
“But..Beta, not everyone who plays cricket, plays for India!”
“I know. You have to be the best! But Uncle, tell me this, aren’t we suppose to be the best in whatever we do, be it cricket or medicine?”
“Yes!” Uncle trails off as he falls short of words.
“I want to be the best in Cricket!”
“But, what if you are not?”
“What if you are not the best farmer in your village?”
Chintu!!! His dad raises his voice.
“Papa, I know we come from a family of farmers, and your parents sweated it out to educate you and now you are just doing the same to educate us. I am indebted to you papa!”
“Chintu, Stop talking like that to your papa”, his mother chides Chintu, trying to mitigate the situation
“Ma, I won a match today, a match that will help me get a place in the district team and none of my family members share my joy. It hurts.”
“Chintu, come here!” his mother signals to him with love.
“We understand you dear! We know you enjoy playing cricket, have we ever stopped you from playing?”, She continues to talk softly, hoping Chintu would see their love and concern as one.
“But, studies are important too! Tomorrow, you will be a grown up man and it is only good education that will feed you.” His dad adds.
Chintu tries to present his view, “Education is important. I understand it, papa! And I am really thankful to you for providing us the best in our lives. This education will help me survive in this world, but what you need to understand is papa, I don’t want to become a doctor or an engineer. My heart does not lie there! Every individual has skill and if he can turn his skill into work, he will become successful papa. I want to be successful; I don’t want to merely survive!”
“Go Chintu! Go inside, we will talk later.” His dad sees this going nowhere and with a guest at home he feels taking this matter up later was the best resolve now.
“Papa, Chintu is speaking is heart out today, don’t stop him.”
“Srini! Don’t support your brother here!”
“Mama and Papa, I did not have the courage to speak up in front of you. I couldn’t muster the strength to express my desires when I understood yours and mine are different. You have me to live your dreams with, let Chintu live his dreams.”
“Yes, papa! I wanted to become an architect…!”
He brings all the models of homes, offices, presidential palaces, museums that he had been making since the age of 5 to the attention of his parents and uncle.
“You always looked at them and said brilliant! You never saw the skill I possessed; you never realized the fact that the talent I possess could change the landscapes of this world.”
His mother begins to sob.
“We sacrificed our lives for them and today they are questioning us..” she mumbles.
“Don’t worry; I will become the doctor you want me to become. Let Chintu do what he is good at, Please!”
“I look so small in front of my sons, today!”
“Ram, This world needs all kind of people, Engineers, Doctors, Teachers, Architects, Bankers, Artists, Lawyers, and Scavengers. Since, we have fought life to be enjoying the benefits now, we have always focused on professions that are lucrative, but our children are more profound. They respect all professions and want to be a part of a healthy society. They are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses much better than us. Isn’t it true that one who does what he enjoys will always be successful?”
“Like our father, brother? An honest farmer, who yielded the best harvest by his innovative farming in those days!”
The elders looked dazed. Chintu and Srini ran into their arms.
“Chintu! Let me take your cup to Aunty and show her what you have achieved!”
“Uncle, Deepali wants to become a chef!”
Ram meets Mitran’s father in the departmental store.
“Hi Ravi, How are you?”
“I am fine. I heard your son got selected into the district team, Congratulations.”
“Thanks! How is Mitran’s art work getting recognized?”
“Oh! Don’t ask. There is no scope for artists in this era. This boy is wasting his time!”
“Oh! Ravi, don’t make that mistake! Our children know where there passion lies! They will definitely fare well in what they choose as their heart is close to their work, unlike ours. You will be a proud father one day,”
“Papa!! My portrait has been selected to be exhibited at the International Exhibition of Arts, in London.”
Mitran’s father uttered, “Good Son! I will see you soon”. He was taken in by surprise to react.
“Congratulations, that day wasn’t really far away!!” Chintu’s dad patted his back.