An important part of thinking, feeling people.
|Prompt 3- Education
Formal education was not Jagan’s favored part of life. He went to school because his family expected him to do so. He made it to the school final and got a certificate. In this country the minimum qualification to get employment of any kind was to pass the tenth grade or school final as termed. And that’s it. No more classroom education for me, he told himself.
He was more interested in sports like football, karate and body building. He joined those classes as extracurricular activities. He led the school foot ball team to play for national Junior championship and won trophies. He had black belt in Karate. He was fit and healthy. Yoga sessions made his mind strong.
“Any plans for future? Any goals?” asked his father during lunch.
His elder brothers went to college and completed degrees in commerce and engineering respectively. In his parents’ opinion, they settled well. Jagan neither liked nor understood the meaning and motive behind “settling” in life. According him, a person could not fare well if he settled in one place like a man readying for nirvana or a boulder without mobility. He should be like a rolling stone collecting experience and from that wisdom from various sources and means.
Jagan hesitated before replying. He decided to take the bull by its horns.
“Yes, dad I want to be….”
“…mmm…you want to be, what? Speak up Jagan,” said his father, his voice slightly raised.
Before nervousness overwhelmed him, Jagan blurted out, “I want to be an oil therapist.”
His father dropped a jaw. He recovered fast enough to issue a warning.
“An oil therapist? A profession your grandfather and his father adopted?”
“I always loved it. I remember my trips to the forest with grandpa to collect herbs and roots of medicinal importance.”
He could still smell the scent of the boiling leaves in his grandfather’s carefully preserved essential oils.
“Oil therapy will not get you anywhere, son. Try something better and bold. Go for degree of some kind,” his dad continued.
“Look at Nina and Deepa, girls of your class. They got admission into well established colleges. Girls have equal number of seats with the boys. This government had done good by increasing the ratio of admissions for women. The girls are using the opportunity and are not hesitating to take up courses alongside boys.Take their example and apply in a college of your liking,” he said persuasively.
Jagan gave thought to the pros and cons of college education. Colleges and Universities all over the country were producing millions of graduates. yet not all of them get suitable jobs. Frustration and disappointment build up and they commit crime or shelter in some other illegal means in order to survive.
He knew he was not cut out to be an employee. He wanted to do something on his own. Fortunately, the government encouraged self employment and was ready to offer loans to start a business for young entrepreneurs. Jagan loved this idea of skill development.
He opened up his ideas before his family on the next morning. He assured them he would not be a burden to them. He asked them to give him two years to try out his ideas. They agreed albeit with reluctance.
First thing he did in the morning was to get down his grandfather’s kit bag containing a large number of books on Ayurveda, a Sanskrit term, which means science of life. He was reading them now and then. Every time he opened a book, he got absorbed and read it right into the night.
It is an ancient Indian system of natural medicine. Ayuh is longevity or life. Veda stands for science.
As a six-year-old, he knew his grandfather collecting the prescribed roots by various means. Sometimes he went up the hills that surrounded our coastal town and come home at nightfall with a bundle of herbs. Then he would see him talking to farmers and forest dwellers and engaging them for fetching plants of herbal value. Once he got the roots and plants of his requirement together, he spread them all on a clean mat and dried them till they were crisp to touch and brittle enough to break into small pieces. Then he would get them pounded to a powdery consistency and mix with a few other ingredients of which I had no idea at that point of time. The whole mixture used to be well aligned with the prescribed amount of sesame oil. Then he boiled the thick mixture for a couple of hours for three days in the essential oil. His nostrils still tickled with the sensational smell of the pungent herbals and the essential oil. The oil extract was then bottled and tightly capped. It was fun to watch my grandpa dig a 2x2feet square pit in the backyard, in which dozens of bottles of oil were buried under clean black soil, with their tops exposed to sunlight.
After fifteen days, the bottles used to be carried home, and kept in cool shelves in my grandfather’s private chamber. Now the oil is ready for therapeutic purpose. It was used for massage to heal debilitated nerves, painful joints and several other ailments. bottles of oils were still preserved lining up the shelves in grandpa’s room, which now was turned into a study. Jagan had every intention to make use of the carefully prepared oils for those in need.
With his goal clear, Jagan was relieved of deciding what to do with his life. He would go to the bank, and apply for a loan to get equipment. He resolved to join a diploma course in Ayurveda and learn the science.
Word Count: 948
Written for World Weavers’ Championship hosted by Nana Spindle