Life is one of the greatest teachers (not always the gentlest) that any of us have witnessed. We can win, lose, stumble, fail, rejoice and life continues to give us the lessons that we need to take in and move forward.
Most often than not, we have read about great men and how their childhood or their circumstances shaped them to be what they are. And these real life stories are in hindsight or a perception after an incident / series of incidents.
Much to my surprise I was part of the unfolding of some events which held the story of a boy becoming a man.
Kevin is my sons’ classmate. A boy any parent would love to bring up – well behaved, most of the time seen around with parents, topper in class, respectful, articulate, calm and composed to cite a few qualities of the boy. ( and I am omitting a lot more that I know of, like he has such impeccable handwriting, his notes are so well maintained, attends mass along with his parents in the front pews of the church, he goes up to the altar to do readings during mass etc., etc.,)
I have known Kevin for probably the last 10 to 12 years especially when he was in the high school, I used to help him with Science and Mathematics, while I taught my own boy.
I did lose touch with Kevin for a couple of years when we shifted our boy to another school in the city, but quickly got back in touch with him as soon as we returned to the locality after my son's higher secondary education. In my conversations with Kevin, after our return, I was sad to learn Kevin’s grades were lesser than my sons’ and I kept repeating to Dennu that Kevin would have scored much better he had changed his school. Kevin and my son go to the same college these days, though they are in different Engineering Streams.
Anyway, Kevin’s father passed away due to some ailments on 25th of April 2016 and it was a rude shock to all us. Kevin is an only child and his mother a housewife and his father was young. Must be in his early 50’s.
I had decided to spend time with their family, since I knew them well and also because they are our church members and I represented the youth leader of the church committee. His mom was thoroughly distraught and was totally shaken. I was watching Kevin as he was making decisions, making sure everything was taken care of, right from paying for the ambulance, getting the permission for cemetery space, informing the funeral timing to the priest to making all other necessary arrangements.
What flabbergasted me was the lack of support Kevin received from his close relatives and the poor boy was running all errands, small and big, to get things done. And none of his relatives seemed to care. Even to a trip to the church, Kevin would come out of the house and look at his friends and I had to get a couple of friends, who had a vehicle to go with him to complete the tasks. In some occasions I had to call J, who really likes Kevin a lot, to take him around.
The evening of 25th April, J and I were taking Kevin to the church so that the priest and the catechist are informed about the funeral timing. Normally this is informed by the elders in the family, but in Kevin’s case, he was doing it. While we were waiting for the priest, Kevin told me that he wants to sing during the funeral mass, a set of songs that his father likes and so after Kevin confirmed the timing of the funeral, I informed the catechist that Kevin would do the singing. Peter, our catechist was more than happy to have an helping hand, as the funeral masses do not have the presence of altar boys or girls and he ends up doing all the work.
The next day after many confusions the funeral mass started with Kevin’s entrance hymn and the entire congregation had tears in their eyes hearing Kevin’s voice and the lyrics of the songs. The entrance hymn lyrics translated to “ Give me your peace at my darkest hour”. Kevin sang solo, all the rest of songs too, and he sang so well, and continued to tug at the heartstrings of the people gathered for the funeral. In between the mass, he also read the Gospel reading and while I was listening to his composed voice, with a steely grit, there was this thought that was running in my mind - this is the making of man. This boy is going to do extremely well in his life.
Kevin continued to stay strong until the end, supporting his mom and making sure every ceremony was going on right.
My prayers were with the boy whom I had known all these years and I was certain that our good Lord will shower upon him all the blessings to do well in life.
A humble request to anyone who reads this post – say a little prayer for Kevin. Ask the almighty for strength and wisdom for this boy to do well, learn the ropes of life and excel in anything that he does for he has lost his biggest support in life, his father.