l He was a boy of few words. But he always carried a calm smile on his well-groomed face. Everything about him looked good, rather ideal. He dressed well, if not expensively. His hair was well-kempt, his shoes polished. None of his fellow-students ever remembered him to have forgotten his books or notebooks or pens or drawing box back at home, in school and later in college. He often claimed modestly that he was good in studies, but often ended up with high marks. And when asked about the paradox, he would say in all shyness that his good luck was working for him. Fact, however, was that he was working systematically all the time. And that was also the reason he was never in any hurry to do things at the last minute. To the college he went on a beat-up mobike his father had discarded sometime ago.
Yet, his old mobike looked like a new one and ran so smoothly that every student felt rather surprised or even jealous. Everything about the boy was always so proper, if not perfect, you know! ... YET the boy belonged to a family of moderate resources. His father worked in a private firm that paid him a somehow-okay salary. His mother gave private tuitions in languages and made some money. But for the family of seven with two old grandparents, resources were always strained.
Yet, looking at this young fellow studying in college, nobody ever got an idea of how the family managed its affairs so neatly. For, everybody in that family was as well-groomed as the young fellow.
Obviously, the boy offered a great contrast to many of his colleagues in the college. They were always in a hurry, and this boy always in a calm control of things. They were ready with their assignments in time, but this boy always seemed to have finished all his assignments the day those were given by the teacher. This young fellow often came visiting, seeking to get a book or two to read. Occasionally, I did oblige by lending him a book or two. On those occasions when he called on me, he would share his thoughts and ideas with me. One evening, he appeared a slightly irritated. I asked him the reason. He said, “Uncle, all my class-mates today gheraoed me and asked so many questions about how I manage things so well. I got irritated. Ultimately, I told them, ‘Look friends, I love myself and so take care of myself.’ This statement of mine angered them as they asked, ‘Do you mean, we don’t love ourselves?’ And, when this question was hurled at me, I just rose and left. I cannot answer such a question. But Uncle, I know that loving oneself is not as easy as it may seem. It takes some work to do to love oneself so that one takes one’s own care fully. This is all I do”.
I complimented him for his maturity, and promised to pray for his continued success. However, I did realise that the young fellow had expressed quite a complex thought. It is really, really not easy to love oneself in a sane manner and then take care of oneself properly. On the face of it, everybody loves self. Yet, everybody’s thought and action do not prove this love as most are casual about themselves and their own care. Eventually, all get on to life’s groove and get going. But there are only a handful whose thought and action are perfectly in tune with their personalities and needs. That is the reason why we see such messed up individuals all around us. I chose to offer the true story of this young fellow for other youngsters only to underline a rare virtue -- of taking care of one’s own as part of one’s love for self. This is a complex psychological phenomenon whose dimensions are not easy to be understood. But experience shows that those who try that difficult endeavour of self-exploration often succeed in it.