I fondly remember my English school teacher, Ms Manna Barua. She was the darling of the whole school as each and every student would see a mentor, a guide and a mother-figure in her. I too was one of those students. But I don’t remember her only because of her popularity or her warmth. I remember her because of those golden words she spoke around eleven years back to the whole class.
In our school, we had our morning prayers in the sanctuary hall, adorned with Dada T.L. Vaswani’s marble statue. As a mark of reverence, all the students attended the prayer sans their shoes, only with their socks on. One day, as we returned from the sanctuary and settled back to start with our first lesson, which happened to be Ms Barua’s English lecture, three girls of our class trooped in a whole ten minutes late into the room. When ma’am asked them the reason, they all launched into a tirade of how wrongly they were detained for punishment by the principal only because they were not wearing their socks and attended the assembly barefoot. Ms Barua patiently heard them all and what she offered to them remains with me till now. She, in a matter-of-factly way, said “You did something wrong, you acknowledge it. Take the punishment; get done with it and move on. It’s as simple as that.”
I was 15 at that time but those words lighted a bulb in my mind. How true! Yes, it was as simple as that. This piece of simple advice dropped down like an anchor in my mind. Most of us fear punishments so much that we try to hide our wrong doings over and over again. We lie, make excuses and try to camouflage the wrong so that we can escape the consequences of admitting our mistakes. And when we are reprimanded for our errors, we feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. We hold grudges and try to make ourselves and everyone else around believe how we are wronged and don’t deserve the punishment. We justify why we did what we did.
In the process, we heap undue stress upon ourselves. So afraid our mind is of accepting punishments that we don’t give it a chance to take a much easy way out. That is, of accepting the punishment graciously and getting done with it. End of all the undue stress. The mind then is much clearer and spacious for the next endeavor, instead of remaining tangled in the mess.
Thus, whenever I do something wrong I try to owe it up, instead of pushing it under the carpet or hiding it. I admit my mistake and ask for forgiveness. If I don’t get lucky enough to be forgiven I accept the punishment and get done with it. This way, I get done with all the stress I would have been in, had I tried to hide things. Also, I find myself saying a final goodbye to the whole episode instead of holding a grudge or spoiling my mood for being punished. I agree that it is not a pleasant experience but then it facilitates a quick way out of all the stress.
Ms Barua offered such a simple solution to what was a huge predicament for a school student. But those few words surely made a difference to how that student benefitted immensely from them, in her personal as well as professional life. And as she said, things are indeed ‘as simple as that.’
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