Consolation Prize

Shri was a young boy, born and brought up in the famous north-Indian city of Varanasi. He was a very reserved boy in his early school years. Varanasi is one the most religious cities of India. The holy river the Ganga attracts millions of tourists and worshipers every year. The sight by the riverside is always very enchanting a perfect place for art to take its highest flight.

The city is filled with temples everywhere. There was a temple next to Shri’s home too. There was a wall where the head priest would paint mythological deities every day. He would stand by the window and watch the priest paint every day. He was very captivated by his painting. So much that he himself developed a passion for drawing the same figures as the priest did. He was very young and not good at drawing yet, but his interest always kept him motivated.

Soon, he developed a strong passion for his art and now wanted to participate in drawing competitions. He was very much interested but never got any encouragement from his teachers in school. The only person who encouraged him was his widowed mother. She was a perfect mother and always supported him in whatever he desired.

One day, a drawing competition was announced in the city. The best students of the class could appear in the competition. The hunt had begun. Shri’s class teacher gave the students assignments which they had to complete in two days. After two days, everybody submitted their assignments. All the students had taken help from their parents for drawings, but Shri was the only child who had done it himself. As a result, his effort was not appreciated. The teacher disapproved of his artwork and threw it away. He was shattered. He went crying to his mother after his school.

With an ocean of tears, he embraced his mother by her waist and complained.

Mother, why did you not help me in my assignments. Today I lost my chance of entering the competition because you did not help me like other parents.

Shri, my son if today I give you my finger, you will never be able to walk on your feet. You have to win your own battle, so that the credit for the victory goes only to you alone. Do not be proud to be weak, do not be proud to be strong just believe in yourself.

He was convinced and motivated by her mother’s advice, but he wanted to enter the competition somehow. His mother inquired about the competition and found that there was a possibility of appearing for the competition externally also. He filled up all the necessary forms and fulfilled all the formalities required for the competition. His class teacher came to know of this and humiliated him saying that he will definitely win a prize but it would be only a consolation prize.

All the students of the school started teasing him as the consolation boy.

The day of the competition arrived. There was a competitive atmosphere as there were so many students from different schools. Shri had already started feeling very nervous but had his mother’s advice in his mind. For a long while, he could not think about a concept.

Suddenly, the memories of the priest painting the holy figures on the wall surrounded his mind. With an inner force, he started drawing a figure of a mythological figure of Hindu belief system. His heart and mind concentrated only towards one goal.

His drawing was not so good but he indeed made a very intelligent design. The competition was over, the results were awaited. Soon after the break, the judges were to announce the results. For Shri, winning was not important. He only wanted to have an experience of a competition.

The long silence was broken when the judges announced Shri as the Winner. He was completely blank. His mother took a lead and pushed him to accept the prize from the judges. His happiness had no bounds. His mother’s advice was in his mind. He directly went and touched his mother’s feet to get blessings.

The artist was recognized and the talent was appreciated. His class teachers head was down with guilt and shame. He knew that Shri wouldn’t forgive him for all the humiliations, but Shri went near the teacher and bowed down to his feet.

Teacher, if you had not stopped me from entering, I wouldn’t have won this competition. You were definitely right. This is indeed a start, a consolation prize.


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