Bestest, the journey continues #9

It was a tough day as usual. Tej was up at 4 am thinking how to meet the growing expenses at home. The previous day had ended late doing odd jobs for minimum wages. He had barely managed to scrape through his graduation and been working for many years looking for a well earning and stable job. But had ended up with makeshift jobs as his resume didn’t look as impressive as the other applicants. His aspirations of moving to the city had not materialised and he continued to stay in the house which his parents had managed to get at the outskirts of the city after a lifetime of savings. He used to travel to the city by changing buses and find odd jobs there to make a living, and return home at night. Tej wished he could pursue higher studies like some of his batchmates who had ended up with high paying jobs. But given the situation, his ambitions had become a distant dream. 

That day having woken up early, Tej had taken the first bus in the morning for the city. The bus had couple of other passengers and he took a seat. He noticed a book lying on the seat next to him. It seemed someone had forgotten their book. The book cover didn’t look that appealing and its condition didn’t look great either so no one had bothered to pick the book. Tej felt may be he could look for a name on the book so he picked it up but didn’t find any. He asked the bus driver if he remembered anyone carrying the book or asking for it, but he didn’t seem to be bothered. He gave a smirk and said people only come looking if they lose their money. Tej thought he shouldn’t leave it there. He felt he will carry it with him on his next bus journey incase he finds any co-passenger looking for it.

Tej carries the book with him for few days but no one had come looking. That day Tej had not found any evening job as the owner of the place where he worked had sold of the shop and the new owner had given the place for renovation. So he decided to leave home early. Back home, being disappointed with his day, Tej throws his bag on the floor. His lunch box and the book fall out of the bag. Frustrated, he sits on his bed, his hands grabbing his hair as tears roll down his face. He gathers himself up and picks up the bag from the floor. He picks up the book that has fallen open when his eyes fall on the page. It read – WHEN ALL HOPES FADE, ALL THAT YOU NEED ARE SOME TRICKS OF THE TRADE, AND THE CLOUDS OF DESPAIR WITH TIME SHALL FADE. FOR ALL THE EFFORTS THAT THOU MADE, THE PATH TO EXCELLENCE SHALL SOON BE LAID, AND IN A PACK OF CARDS, THOU SHALL BE THE ACE OF SPADE.

Tej stares at the book for a while, wondering if what he read could become true. He looks at the cover – My Better, Best and Bestest journeys…. . What if this book was the stroke of luck that he needed. Could it be that he was meant to find the book and it was no coincidence. He reads on. Soon he realises that the book has learnings from a wise old man. He continues to read – THE WORLD DIDN’T KNOW THE WORTH OF A DIAMOND TILL IT SPARKLED ONE NIGHT. A GLASS LAMP COVERED IN DUST DOESN’T LOOK BRIGHT. WHEN THE ROAD AHEAD IS DARK, YOU NEED TO FIND AND SHINE YOUR OWN LIGHT.

Well, it sounds so true, he wondered what it meant for him. Diamond sparkling and a glass lamp that wasn’t looking bright, shining light on dark road. He couldn’t make much sense of it. He puts the book back in the bag and keeps the bag aside and gets on with his day. The next day while at his morning job, his colleague was having an issue with some calculations at the counter. Tej helped him out in a jiffy, like he helped the shop owner keep his accounts. His colleague commented, ‘Thanks Tej, for coming to the rescue as always. You are a gem of a colleague’. Tej welcomed his colleague, but his colleagues’ words hit him like a bolt from the blue. Am I a gem of a colleague, he thought to himself. The wise man had mentioned about diamond in the book. Did it mean the wise old man’s words were a hint that he could apply to himself …

Tej completes his days’ work but his mind was all the while thinking about the book. As soon has he reaches home, he picks up the book and opens the page he had read. The words made so much more sense to him now. His teachers had also mentioned him that he had his bright spots and showed the spark that set him apart, but given his situation it never got sustained or nurtured, and mediocrity overshadowed his academic life. May be I just need to clear the dust of mediocrity and let my better qualities shine, he thought. Yes that is what the wise man was suggesting. From then on, Tej looked at himself in a different light. He started looking at what he was good at and worked on it and focused on how to let it come to the fore for the world to see. He found that he had many unique qualities that he hadn’t thought much of before. He could help others, fix things fast, calculate and retain details much better than most people, learn new skills faster than anyone he had met. No wonder he had managed to complete his schooling and get a degree given his situation. The paucity of time to focus on studies and struggles of his life had unknowingly helped him hone his talent, it was just a matter of looking for ways to sparkle like the wise old man had said. 

Tej picked up his resume and decided to let it shine with these unique talents that he possessed. Without much apprehension he wrote about completing school with minimum support and environment for study. Completing a degree while juggling 2 or 3 odd jobs for funding himself and his concerns. Being appreciated by most of his customers, bosses and colleagues for his helpful nature, eye for details, creativity and ability to fix things, and give the right advice when needed. He talked about his struggles and also his ability to overcome and find his way out of it. He wrote about the odd jobs he did, highlighting all those things he was good at. He let his brighter side out in his resume. 

Tej applied for better paying jobs and though his resume was not as polished at academics and work experience as other applicants, he got interview calls for some of them. His unconventional resume had provoked the interest of the interviewers, and the narration of his journey, experiences and abilities landed him in better jobs that did justice to things he was good at. Tej had realised the worth of the words of wisdom shared by the wise old man. With his new found success at work, he didn’t have to do multiple odd jobs and got more time for himself. His distant dream of higher studies was now appearing within reach. But getting there was not going to be an easy task, getting through a good Institute given his academic performance so far needed a miracle. But he had just experienced one in his life since he had found the mysterious book in the bus. So he picks the book and decides to read on ….