The referee exclaimed, “Goalie ready, Striker ready, shoot.” All eyes were on Mihir, as he took a deep breath. He threw a glance at the crowd, which was silent. A few were standing with anxious faces. After all, it was the final of the Somerset Cup, which was the annual football tournament in the city of Pune. The match had ended in a tie, with both the teams failing to score a goal. In the shootouts, the score was leveled at 1-1. It was all down to the Bhaichung Club captain, Mihir to win the game for them. Mihir prayed to the heavens and took the shoot. The ball went straight into the goal keeper’s gloves, but the shot was hit with such force, that it went past it into the nets. There was jubilation all around. It was the first time the Bhaichung Club had won the trophy. Mihir sat down on his knees and, as all his fellow players leaped upon him. Every person in the crowd stood up to applaud. For the captain Mihir, it was a dream coming true. He thanked Mr. Sudhir in his heart. Without his help, he wouldn’t have imagined himself to be in the position he was.
Mihir was born into a very poor family. They lived in a small cottage in an area called Wadachewadi. His father was an auto rickshaw driver, and he was the only earner in the family. His mother was all day in the house, looking after the children’s needs. She was a very good cook, and had been contemplating on starting a food business of her own. The whole family supported her, but she lacked the confidence. Eventually, the business never ran.
Mihir was a very naughty child, and would often play pranks on his friends and parents. But, he was equally very sincere. He used to be a good student, and would never neglect his studies. He was also a very good footballer, and was known for his terrific football skills.
Right from when he was a small child of around 6 years, Mihir’s father had been coaxing him to become a doctor when he grew up. The reason for that was that his grandfather had wished that atleast one child in their coming generation must become a doctor. It was quite a vague reason, as Mihir’s grandfather did not have any particular reason for saying that. Even though he was no more at that point of time, Mihir’s father wished to obey what he said. At that age, Mihir did not know anything about working life, and hence never contradicted his father. But, when he became a teenager, he felt his interests diverting. Other than having an interest for football, he also loved Mathematics. He always kept an account of the costs incurred during any trip, and was very good at calculations.
When Mihir reached the tenth standard, he knew that in the span of three to four years, he had to begin working. He passed his tenth standard board exams with good marks. His father advised him to take Science, and Mihir did so, even though it was against his liking. He failed to grasp the complexity of Physics and Maths. Each day, he went to school, and somehow managed to study. School seemed like torture to him. At night, his father used to come and ask him, “How was your day, son?” His father had been asking this question to him since the time he had begun his schooling life. When he was young, he used to answer telling his father about some interesting event which happened in school. At that stage, his father did not say anything as he knew that Mihir was small. But, as he got older, he came to know that this question meant how his studies were going. Now, Mihir would answer saying, “Nice.” After all, he did not have anything else to say. He knew his father would reprimand him if he said that he did not like going to school.
Life went on like that for Mihir, until the month of November that year. The next six months completely changed his view of life.
Once, his father came back from work with a smile on his face. He was beaming with delight. At the dinner table, he told Mihir, “Son, I have news for you. I have found out a coaching class where the instructors train children in medical science. This is a brilliant opportunity for you. Above all, the fees are quite affordable for us. I have already spoken to the person in charge over there. The tuition center’s name is, ‘Vaibhav Academy’. You will be joining from tomorrow.” Mihir was shocked at this sudden outburst. His father had not given him a chance to speak in between all that he said. He obeyed his father and joined the classes from the next day onwards. He did not like the classes, but went there by force. He felt angry at his father. After all, he was only 16 years of age. He had to focus on his studies in school too, which were getting harder as each day progressed. He was under tremendous amount of stress and pressure.
Mihir used to go for his tuition classes by bus. The distance between his house and the center was around 15 km. Hence it took around 45 minutes to reach the center.
On one occasion, when he was coming back from his classes in the bus, a man came and sat beside him. He was a fit and well built man, who had well-built muscles. He looked at Mihir and smiled. His smile was very pleasing. Mihir thought that the man seemed to be quite nice. A silence was observed, and the man finally broke the ice saying, “I am Sudhir, what is your name?” His voice had a touch of hoarseness in it. “My name is Mihir.” The man said, “Where are you coming back from?” Mihir told, “I am coming from my medical science classes.” The man gave a weird look and asked, “Why do you go for medical science classes?” Mihir hesitated a little. He knew that the person sitting beside him was a stranger, and it would not be advisable to inform him about such things. But, Sudhir’s humbleness and loquaciousness had impressed Mihir. He told him about why he went for these classes. He told him about his father, and his wishes. Sudhir listened intently and did not interrupt while Mihir spoke. After Mihir finished his story, Sudhir smiled at him. He finally said, “Child, can you come to my house with your parents. I want to speak to them.” Mihir nodded his head. He seemed to like the other. He hadn’t the faintest idea of his origin, or his living standards, but the most important fact was that he seemed to be a decent man. He noted down his address and took leave of him as his stop came. He promised him to come to his house the very next day.
When Mihir told his parents about this incident in the night, his mother immediately said, “Mihir, I have told you so many times not to speak to strangers. Why don’t you listen to me?” Mihir told, “Mother, he seemed to be a nice man. He never ever gave a fierce look towards me? We must go to his house tomorrow.” He looked towards his father with an expression which said, “Please, do not say no.” The vibrations probably passed on. His father gave his consent, but said, “I am a very busy man. If this appointment proves worthless, then remain rest assured that I would never listen to you again.” Mihir knew that when his father said something, he meant it. He nodded his head.
The next day, Mihir went along with his parents to Sudhir’s house. It was a 2 bedroom house, which seemed like a mansion to him. He had never thought of houses to be so lavish. Sudhir himself opened the door and welcomed them. When they entered, they found the hall room to be decorated with lanterns and portraits. They really liked the house. Mihir’s father too liked Sudhir as he seemed very cheerful. Sudhir made them sit down on the sofa and served them juice.
After a little general discussion, Sudhir got to his work. He told Mihir’s father, “Sir, I am a career mentor by profession. Even though I do not run a company, I mentor children as they come my way. I personally love children. I meet them in parks, restaurants, buses and other public places. I myself met your child in a bus. He looks a very bright child, and has many inherent talents. Would you like getting him counseled?” Mihir’s father asked, “But, what would I gain by investing on such a model, when I have already decided what my child will do in life.” Sudhir shook his head and said, “You are mistaken sir. How can you force a child to do something when he does not like it…?” Mihir’s father interrupted him saying, “Who told you he does not like the profession of a doctor? He has never contradicted me.” He looked towards Mihir and asked, “Have you?” Mihir looked towards Sudhir with an anxious face and said, “No.” Sudhir smiled at his father and said, “Sir, I won’t ask for any money. My only aim in life is to give the children a happy and settled future. I guarantee you that your child will do very well. He has many qualities in him which are yet to be discovered. Just leave him at my house every Sunday for an hour. He will benefit from it.” Mihir’s father wasn’t yet satisfied, but as he knew that this was for free, he decided to let Mihir go to his house. Before leaving, he said, “Mr. Sudhir, please take good care of my child, and ensure that he does not divert his mind from his studies.” Sudhir smiled and nodded his head.
From then on, ever Sunday, Mihir went to Sudhir’s house. On the first day, his mother dropped him, but from the next time, he went on his cycle or in the bus. He liked Sudhir a lot. On the first day, he asked Mihir to write down a list of all his strengths. Mihir wrote down his strengths and read them aloud to him. Thus, everyday, Mihir learnt something new about himself. He was noticing himself becoming a more confident person.
In one session, Sudhir asked Mihir, “What do you like to play?” Mihir said, “I love playing football. It is my dream to represent the Indian team.”Mihir had noticed that he had begun to open out with Sudhir in the last few days. He seemed to be more like a friend than a mentor. At hearing his words, Sudhir said, “I want to see your football skills one day. Whenever you play, just call me.” Mihir agreed. When Sudhir saw Mihir playing, he was astounded at his terrific skills. He knew that if he became a footballer, he would shine. He knew that the time had come when he had to discuss the most important topic of Mihir’s life with his parents, which was his career.
On one day, he asked Mihir’s parents to come to his house. Sudhir knew that his real job started from there. He had to try and convince Mihir’s parents about his skills. After the formalities, Sudhir began the discussion with Mihir’s parents. “So, do you find any significant change in your child?” Father immediately said, “Nowadays, he speaks with a lot of confidence and does not seem scared of anything or anyone.” At hearing that, Sudhir knew that his motive had been achieved. He said, “This discussion with you is surely going to change the lives of your son. Please listen to me carefully.” Both of them grew anxious at hearing his words. They allowed him to continue. “Your son has a lot of talent in him. He is an extremely brilliant footballer. You should take him out of this medical science class, and instead must put him into a football class. He will benefit from it.” His father gave an angry look and said, “I had mentioned before itself not to deal into such affairs. It has already been decided that he will become a doctor.” Sudhir said, “Do you want your child to be happy, or do you want him to live a life similar to a torture?” At hearing that, Mihir’s father rose from the sofa, and told his wife, “Let us leave from here. This man is going to ruin our child.” Sudhir said, “No sir, don’t be mistaken. I am only trying to give your child a secure life. Please sit down.” At hearing that, Father sat down. “I have seen your child playing football. He has himself told me that he has a dream of representing India in football. He has a passion for the game. He has also told me that he does not like going for his medical classes. Instead, he would love to attend football classes to enhance his skills. Please listen to me. If you do not want to put him into a football class, I can enroll him. I have quite a few contacts with me.” Both Mihir’s mother and father looked at each other. His mother nodded in approval. His father said, “We are from a poor family. Do not think that we want our son to live a tortured life. If you say, we can enroll him in a football coaching. But, he has his 12th standard board exams coming up. Can you wait till the time his exams are over?” Sudhir agreed to enroll him after his exams. Mihir’s parents left his house. Sudhir knew that he had somehow managed to convince Mihir’s parents. Even though the father sounded rather impudent, he knew that he was a nice person. He had tackled many such people in his life.
Mihir scored 80% in his 12th standard examinations, which was quite nice. But, Sudhir knew that he had bigger things to achieve in life than getting good marks. As soon as his exams ended, he enrolled him in the ‘Bhaichung Club’. Sudhir had himself been a district level football player. Hence, he had contacts of many training clubs, but knew that the ‘Bhaichung Club’ was the best of them.
Mihir went thrice a week for his football classes. His parents had relieved him from his medical science classes. They wanted to see whether Sudhir had given their son the right path or not.
Mihir turned out to be a star player. The coach was impressed with his skills. More importantly, he had the spirit of sportsmanship, and never hit or abused anyone on the field. He impressed everyone in the matches. Sudhir had expected it as he knew that Mihir had the potential to win people’s hearts. Mihir was soon made the captain of the team.
His parents were also assured that Mihir was doing well. People even came to their house, saying that their son was now not only known in the city, but in many states around the country. They felt proud to have a son, who had managed to succeed in life, and had become a famed personality in the world.
Mihir thanked Sudhir every time he met him, but all Sudhir said was, “Child, you are doing what you like to do, and hence are succeeding in it. Remember; always do things which are accepted by your heart. Do not get overwhelmed at any achievement and keep up your nature. There will be times where you will have to face difficulties; learn to overcome them. Above all, in the world, be known as a person who is not a good footballer, but a good human being.”
And truly, Mihir represented India and went on to become a famous footballer.
But, what needs to be highlighted in this story is not his success, but his happiness. If he would have become a doctor, he would not have been happy. But, it was because he did something he loved, that he could achieve success. It is important to achieve success, but it is even more essential to follow your heart. We must never do something just because someone else has advised us to do so. We must do what we love to do, and there is no doubt that if we put in the hard work, we will become the best.