Knowledge Molds Character
An Astronomer, Bob, working with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, was a workaholic and a self-absorbed loner. He was perceived as arrogant and rough by the neighbours, and children ran away on seeing him. People left him alone most of the time, but with due respect for the work, he was doing. One day, he was leaving for the Space Center when he encountered a small boy running on his newly mowed lawn, picking some balls that were strewn by other kids who ran away the moment they saw Bob’s stern frown. Bob turned towards the boy and reaching him, kneeled down; his expression softened.
He asked, “Why did you not run away like the other kids? Are you not afraid that I would scold you or scorn at you?” The boy smiled a very jubilant gleeful smile, and said, “Afraid of you? No! You inspire me.”
The boy went on, “You are an Astronaut. Right? You go to space, learn about beautiful stars and do things for our Earth, teach us so much. My father told me that you are so busy with the work that you have to stay away from your family. Is that the reason you are staying alone? You give so much and what you need in return is just ‘Space’. So, I was removing the balls strewn over your space, your lawn. So, I chose to help you. I chose to clear them.”
Bob heard on, feeling overwhelmed with the heartfelt appreciation. Not that appreciation for his work was rare, but this innocent hearty appreciation was something different. “In fact, I did not strew the balls here. They did and ran away”. He pointed towards the boys running at a distance. “I just came to clear. I respect and admire you. One day, I want to become as busy and as strong as you.” And the boy hugged him. It was touching, that a boy of this age saw his qualities under his stern demeanour and did not express the usual apprehension in front of him, but such love.
Bob asked the boy whether he could meet his father; appalled by his thoughts and the way he taught his child. The next evening, as Bob walked with the boy towards his home near the Church, he turned curious as the boy led him ahead of his house, crossing the Church, to reach a Graveyard. “There he is.” He pointed towards a grave.
Bob’s curiosity was replaced by sadness but the boy’s excitement did not diminish. He beamed. Bob mechanically asked him the next question. “Who said those things to you last night then? The boy- “My father had told me to read about different people, life, careers and personalities. He said he will talk to me through them and tell me new things every day and make sure I become what he wanted me to. So I never miss reading about people. Yesterday I read about you, and Astronomers.”
Bob felt a deep respect for the intuitive and intelligent man lying in the grave and smiled at the boy.
****End of Story****
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