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It’s never too late to learn

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Of late, the air inside the precincts of our household smells sweeter. The reason isn’t hard to guess. After all, Urdu has been flowing like champagne ever since my father decided to take up Urdu lessons and enrolled himself at the university for a year-long course.

“It’s never too late to learn something new, yaar,” father quipped one fine day over a hot cuppa. After more than three decades of dedicated public service in the coveted Indian Administrative Service, he argued that he needed to pursue his life’s ambition. I couldn’t agree with him more. The mere thought of papa going back to school with a notebook in hand got my sister and I thrilled.

But all hell broke loose when mama dearest learnt of his plans. “All his life has been spent with his head dug deep inside smelly files, and now your father wants to get back to books,” she fumed over the phone.

Her anguish was hard to miss. She accused me of being a co-conspirator. Guilty as charged, I was summoned. I booked my Shatabdi tickets and came home. Milord! I plead guilty. I confessed to my crime but tried to reason with her. After much persuasion, she bought my explanation, albeit reluctantly, which she considered, ‘manufactured’ and ‘flimsy’. Thankfully, we arrived at a consensus that their evening walks at the lake wouldn’t be affected. The entire household now got down to filling up the application forms.

Life’s funny. Only three decades ago our parents were filling up our forms for school admission and now we were helping our father fill up his admission forms! Talk about life completing a full circle. Cut to the chase, with all the documents in place, the admission forms were duly filled in.

When he went to submit his form the peon had a quizzical look on his face. Here stood a white-bearded man with an application form in his hand, brimming with the enthusiasm of an 18-year-old. Ji Janab, humne hi admission lena hai, father said.

The interview panel was impressed on seeing him. In the age of competing ‘cut-offs’, we weren’t sure if papa would make the cut. When the counselling data arrived, however, his name was on the list.

And, so began his journey back to school. It’s been a month since he started with his certificate course in Urdu and he’s loving it. He has been passionate about learning Urdu for a long time. And now he is living his dream. It’s amazing to see him come home and revise the lessons. A diligent student, indeed.

Life is to be lived, savoured and rejoiced. The time to fulfil ones dreams and aspirations is now. Or else, it’ll be too late. After all, in the words of Ghalib, Hazaron Khwaishien Aisi, Ki Har Khwaish Par Dum Nikle, Bahut Nikle Mere Armaan, Lekin Phir Bhi Kam Nikle.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 11:02:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/its-never-too-late-to-learn/article24780845.ece

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