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Humour and Nonsense by
Papa Hari has been busy sorting out the letters he receives each week from distressed people all around the world. Some of the letters carry heart-wrenching tales of ordinary people who are faced with the most extraordinary crisises in their lives which bring out the best in them. Here is the letter of the week - a tale of extraordinary courage from a young man (let's called him Mr. . He showed the way to all young people with similar problems and acts as a shining light in a world filled with despair and misery.
From Mr. B
Dear Papa Hari,
I was once faced with this grave crisis in my life. A long time ago I was the proud owner of a pencil. This pencil was one in a box full of pencils. The brand is irrelevant in the larger context of that incident. Suffice to say that it was a reputed brand. The real trouble started when I first started sharpening this pencil. To my horror, the tip broke! It came as a shock to me when it did. The mutilated image of that pencil remains as a deep scar in my memory to this day. All that I'd worked for - to get a sharpened pencil fit for using in my drawing class - came to naught in one instant of insanity. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I used the wrong kind of sharpener. Maybe I just didn't concentrate enough. It doesn't matter. But when the tip did break, it hit me with a force of a gale that it wasn't the price of the pencil at all - it was the feeling of utter desolation created by that breakage. I vaguely remember crying and being led out of the classroom by a few friends. I had only one predominant thought at that moment: nothing could ever bring that tip back to life. Sure, I eventually sharpened it all over again, but my life was never the same when I realized that the original tip was lost forever and that pencil had shrunk by half a centimetre and could never attain its original heights - forever. However, life went on and that pencil continued serving me for a good while longer. Today is the tenth anniversary of that pencil's horrible accident with the sharpener. To blame that sharpener was my first reaction, but over time I've learnt to forgive and forget. Every year, on this emotional day, I take out a new pencil and sharpen it with great care to ensure that the tip doesn't break. I was proud when I first did it and the ceremony has added a degree of fullness to my life ever since. I feel that this ceremony has helped me face the truth and come to terms with the incident. Nothing, however, can erase that memory. Ever.
This incident taught me courage and I learnt valuable lessons. I learnt from the mistakes of the past. When I next bought a box of pencils I was extra careful in using sharpeners. I became particular about the grade of pencils that I bought. I learnt all about H, 2H, B, 2B, HB and the differences between them - the crisis turned out to be a unique learning opportunity. Your response to my first message of agony and pain on that fateful day inspired me to buy a new box. Before that, I never imagined that I would ever be able to buy another box of pencils. Today a milestone has been reached. Ten years! It's been a bittersweet journey.
After all these years, I would like to thank you for your help, Papa Hari. Thanks a lot for your help in getting over this loss. It has made a difference in my life. Today I have dedicated my life to creating better pencils to prevent others from going through the same trauma that I once did. Please share this message with your readers and spread the word. In Pencil is Hope! A tip might be broken, but the pencil lives forever!
Papa Hari notes:
I'm glad that this story had a happy ending. In spite of the life-changing loss, Mr. B moved on and became the assistant production manager in a successful pencil manufacturing firm soon afterwards. Today he is the owner of a large pencil factory and dedicates his life to making better pencils so as to prevent others from undergoing the same terrible experience that he once faced in his life.
Posted on Sat, Feb 17, 2007 at 21:14 IST (last updated: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 @ 14:53 IST)