A New Year’s Gift – Part 2

by Sahadev Komaragiri

I already talked to the girl who walked into my office that morning with tears rolling down her cheeks. There was no need to ask her to visit me again. I just had to talk to the two other girls who got into a fight with this girl.

Please read this before continuing further!

When these two girls arrived in my office, I asked them to tell me what happened the previous night. They started narrating their experience and about how this other girl was being mean to them. I asked them if they understood that they ganged up against her. I already did some homework on these two girls and I also know them as I am their English teacher. They both have the penchant for being arrogant as they are the toppers in their class. I told them that I am going to be very frank in my assessment of the whole situation and told both of them that they are being perceived by the teachers as arrogant students. They should mend their ways in order to be worthy of remaining in a school that considers character development to be as important as academic excellence. One of them asked me to prove that she is arrogant. I was taken aback, but I regained some semblance before I gave her three examples of her arrogance. Thankfully she was convinced, but was adamant that it would be very difficult for her to talk to that other girl ever again. The second of the two girls I called that evening was easy to convince. She apologized for her behaviour and promised to mend her ways going forward. The girls left after about half hour of exchanging ideas and counseling. The things that I learnt from my dad and from my spiritual guru came in very handy when exchanging ideas with them.

An hour later, surprisingly, one of the two girls who was at the receiving end of my counseling came back with one more girl who had nothing to do with the whole episode. This new girl surprised me with a question to which I did not have a ready answer. Earlier while counseling the girls I told them that they did not behave like good Sai students. So, this new girl wanted me to tell her how a good Sai student should behave. I started off telling them that the basis for good behaviour stems from the understanding of the basic human values viz., Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa. They are already familiar with these basic human values. Always speak truth no matter what. Be righteous, if you don’t know whether something is right or wrong, check with someone who might know. Always be peaceful, wherever you go people should be happy to receive you and they should feel very peaceful and happy in your presence. Always be very loving; never use harsh words against anyone at any time no matter what the provocation is like. Finally be non-violent, aggressive behaviour backfires and is of no use. It is conscious practice of these values that makes a good human being. They are too young to know about the occasional exceptions while practicing these values. She was a very curious girl who liked having this discussion and was engaging me with many more questions. The other girl did not speak a word until the end, she was sobbing and that is something that is difficult to not notice. Before she left she was crying inconsolably and told me that she is experiencing some problems in her family and that she is looking up to me for guidance and wanted me to help her like a dad would help his own daughter. I agreed and thanked her for her confidence in me. But I had to warn her that if I have to be a good guide, like a father, then I cannot ignore her occasional tantrums and arrogance and that I will resort to tough measures to bring her back in line. She agreed and accepted the conditions that I put forth. They both left and I returned home with a heavy heart.

The New Year’s Eve was very quiet. I did not do much and retired to my bed by around 9:30 p.m. The entire neighborhood was very loud until about 3 a.m. in the morning. New Year revelry is something that cannot stay away even from a very sleepy small town like ours. I could not sleep well for various obvious reasons.

The next day, on the New Year’s Day, we went to the school for a small get-together with the teachers and the founder of our school. When we reached the school we found out that all the hostellers celebrated the arrival of the New Year until about 2 a.m.  As each teacher arrived, the school students came running to them holding some small greetings cards. They handed these cards to the teachers and with a very broad smile greeted them “Happy New Year sir”. Each of the teachers felt like celebrities who were surrounded by hundreds of their own fans. It was fun to watch so many kids celebrate the New Year with such enthusiasm. I lost the count of the number of cards that I received. I am treating each of these cards as a special gift from heaven. The cards will be discarded eventually, but the outpouring of the untainted love of the students for their teachers is something that will forever remained etched on our hearts.

But the best gift for the New Year came from an unexpected source. The two girls who got into a big fight two days before were found sitting next to each other. They were able to make peace and wanted to let me know that in this very unique way. They were quietly helping each other with their math problems and preparing themselves for the second part of their math exam that is scheduled for Monday. I stretched out my hand to say “Happy New Year” and they both gladly responded to the gesture. The way they looked at me with a big smile on their faces told me everything without them having to say a word. I did not have to say a word either. This Monday morning all the three girls approached me and said to me “We are one now”. The vagaries of yesterday were acknowledged, defeated and discarded. Are they prepared to face and defeat similar vagaries in the future? I do not know. But for now this is a small victory that I will cherish for a long time to come.

Do we, as adults, have the capacity to forgive the people we perceive as our own enemies? Do we still have people around us with whom we vowed that we will never talk to? Why?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Vikramj January 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Hello ,

Very intresting post …a some thing of me to learn as well.


Sarathy S January 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

Glad to see how it all ended. The lessons you’ve taught the girls are invaluable. They are in good hands. Thanks for sharing this experience.


Sridhar Chitturu January 3, 2012 at 4:53 am

Lovely……don’t worry about adults….if they were good as children they will be good as adults too….good to know you are working at their early stages ….GOD bless u, brother!

Sridhar Chitturu


Jaya January 4, 2012 at 2:12 am


Enjoyed reading both the posts. About your question on whether we adults can forgive and forget easily or not, I would just yes. I consider myself as an example. But sometimes, I think it is more a weakness since people tend to take advantage of that and take us for granted.

In this age, I believe we should groom our kids to have all the humane values but at the same time, we need to teach them the diplomacy and tact to guard the values and their own self respect. It should not be wasted on those who have no value for it!

I appreciate that you are keeping us in the loop, in your journey. It must be hard for you juggling between multiple tasks and at the same time keeping the goal in focus. Wish you all the good luck and yes… best wishes for your students for the coming exams.


Sahadev Komaragiri January 4, 2012 at 8:12 am

I think the kids of this new generation should be assertive, strong and yet humble. I try and train them to be strong and not hesitate to ask for what they want. Their inherent strength must come from their values and not from their financial or intellectual prowess. There is nothing to fear for a person who is righteous. Add a little tactfulness to the righteousness and there is no fear even from detractors.


Jaya January 5, 2012 at 2:31 am

Totally agree!


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