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Lesson

November 9, 2011

I have been suspended pending enquiry. For  misappropriation. I work as a clerk in the bank. Initially it just started as a game. I wanted to see if I could surreptitiously open an account. And when I did, I was exhilarated. I slowly started scouting for inactive and dormant accounts. I was careful in choosing my victims. Old people, who wouldn’t use technology to do their banking. Surprising, there were a lot of them who fit the bill. I started transferring small amounts of money from these accounts. To avoid suspicion I opened a few more accounts. It was a big branch and there were many accounts that I could lay my hands on. When I found out that I was not going to be found out, I grew a bit more confident and started transferring more money more frequently. In case  you were wondering, this would not be possible without some inside help for which I had to offer a cut from the proceeds. One day a customer had come to close his account. I had transferred some money from his account only the previous day. Unfortunately I was not in the bank that day; otherwise I would have been able to cover this up.  When the shit hit the ceiling, everybody else involved conveniently feigned ignorance. One thing led to another, and here I am under suspension.

When I came home, wondering how I was to break the news of my suspension to my wife, my son came jumping to me. He had never seen me come so early. ’Papa, he said jubilantly, I have come first in class. He is studying in the 5th grade. He was holding the answer sheets in his hand. I was in no mood to share his joy. His happiness was explicable. I had promised to get him a Playstation if he came first in class. I perfunctorily took the papers from his hand. He had got 100 percentiles in a couple of subjects, around 90’s in a few more and in the last one, 92% was struck and in its place the teacher had marked 83 + 1  totaling to  84% and ‘honesty’ written near the 1. I looked at him enquiringly. He jumped up and sat on my lap.

‘Papa, I had not written the answer for a 10 mark question, but my teacher had totaled up wrongly and given me 94’, he said. ‘I pointed out the mistake to the teacher and she gave me a additional mark for doing that’, he added.

‘Would you have still got the first rank if you had only 83 ?’, I asked knowing fully well that  the boys always tally up their marks before the rank card is given out.

‘No Papa, I would have been 2nd but now I am joint 1st’, he said. ‘

But, didn’t you think about losing your rank and also your Playstation before telling the teacher about the error?, I asked incredulously.

‘Yes Papa, I knew that I would get only the 2nd rank, but luckily the teacher gave me an extra mark, he said gleefully. ‘Grandpa always says, it is not right to take what doesn’t belong to us, he added as an after-thought.

Tears ran down my cheeks.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2011 04:03

    A conclusion and principle worth remembering

    Thank you Larry Lewis

  2. November 11, 2011 07:55

    Hello.
    We can learn much form our children.

    A bittersweet post indeed.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Thank you Andy. We sure can learn a lot from our children.

    Seasons Of Beauty

  3. November 11, 2011 13:35

    Wonderful message, Heart-rending; very needed in a world that thinks ‘Honesty doesn’t pay’.

    I was comforted when I found that you are not the ‘Bank Clerk’ that was featured in your post, but a Marketing Manager (possibly leading a team of Medical Reps?).

    Thank you Johnson for the visit and your kind words. Yes I do (lead a team of medical reps!)

  4. November 11, 2011 13:38

    Children are our mirrors. He was taught right, and made a right choice, of that there should be pride. Mistakes are made everyday, we accept the consequence and learn if we are smart. <3<3<3

    Thank you Jan for stopping by and taking time to comment

  5. November 11, 2011 23:18

    I learnt a lesson too, today, here. To write “Honesty”, the next time a child comes with a totalling error (which has occurred frequently, given my poor mathematical skill :D). But while I pat them on the back and sometimes find a way to still give that mark or two, by adding something to another answer, I have not tried writing something like this. Point noted for the future.
    Your narrative skill continues to impress. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    A learning teacher I am proud of. Thank you. 🙂

  6. November 12, 2011 19:35

    Incredible selection of words while writing this story. I remember a story of a wood cutter who disowned the axes which were of gold and silver which the angel gave him when the former was depressed for having lost his own axe which was made of just an iron metal.Later he was gifted with all the three axes by the angel as she found him to be very honest. I think this old story can be substitued by this newly written crispy story of yours for the next generation of students.Not that the earlier one was not good. but his one is excellent.

    Thank you Ram for your very kind words. Your comment gives me a idea. Do you know what happened when the wood cutter’s wife drowned in the pond? Think I will make a post out of it.

  7. November 15, 2011 21:40

    good. your style is different. For your anniversary, you write in third person and a fictitious story in first person.

  8. November 23, 2011 09:59

    what a beautiful story Govind! very cute and heart rending story
    truly we learn so much from our kids every day,if only we listen to them more

    Thanks Soma. Yeah if only…..

  9. December 1, 2011 10:58

    Hi, I have Nominated you for the Versatile blogger award please go through the link so see more

    http://somkritya.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/verasatile-blogger-award/

  10. December 20, 2011 17:31

    Wonderful story, Govind. I especially like the way you wrote the dialogue — I could hear the father’s voice distinct from that of the little boy.

    Thank you Charles. It is my privilege to have you here.

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