In the Gulf of Mannar, between Ceylon and India lay a stretch of shallow seabed, where the divers were engaged by wealthy merchants, of yore, to go diving for fetching oysters. The oysters that contained a quality pearl was rare. But like all great enterprise, wealth lay in the rarity of the item, and therefore the merchants had opened a gurukul type of DIVING SCHOOL in the vicinity, where an old diver was engaged to identify young talent and teach them the art of pearl diving.
The Old Diver had enlisted many of the fishermen boys in his school. He used to take them every morning,before sunrise, to the oyster infested areas of the sea and regale to them the stories of how wealthy one could become, if one relentlessly worked hard in Pearl diving. After being inspired by those innumerable sessions, the boys started dreaming of becoming rich and getting a girl or two of their choice and having a great time in life filled with leisure.
There was a boy by name Fernandez, who was the THINKING TYPE. The type that seeks PROOF before the words sink into them to work within. He was wondering, why the Teacher himself had not become wealthy, as he had been in the same profession till his breath had become shorter with age! This was niggling him through the nights and made him skeptical of the old man’s pep talks during the day.
Since he couldn’t arrive at any answer convincing to himself, he decided to ask the Teacher the reasons for his indigent circumstances. And not to give offence, Fernandez decided to ask Mr. Diaz, the teacher, at a time when he could find him alone. As usual Fernandez woke up early and reached Diaz’ house before any other student could. The master was surprised, to find Fernandez so early and asked him what the reason was for his early arrival? The boy stuttered and could not ask Diaz a question that would expose his master’s inadequacy in the eyes of his pupil. However, Diaz successfully persuaded him to utter his doubt.
Diaz was silent and told him that he should meet him at 10 O’ clock that morning. The classes stood cancelled for all. The other boys were happy and spent their time playing with the ever returning waves. Fernandez turned up at 10 sharp and found Diaz dressed, as if he were to attend the Christmas service. Fernandez was asked to accompany him. They both set off on a long walk on the beach. Diaz asked Fernandez, why he was excited about pearl diving? The boy said I DO NOT WANT TO BE POOR. Diaz was stunned and the reasons therefor was not uttered. Diaz knew that the boy could read and understand English. He asked Fernandez, if he had heard of a writer by name D.H.Lawrence? Fernandez answered in the negative. He asked him to meet him that evening at about 4 PM at his hut.
Fernandez reached promptly at 4 and Diaz simply handed over a few torn pages of a book and told Fernandez to read that story and that Fernandez should not talk to him till after a week of his having read the story. Fernandez, took the torn pages to his hut and started reading THE ROCKING HORSE WINNER. The end made him feel terrible in a way that he could not explain rationally. As usual, he went for his diving classes and after a week, he went early like the other day and met his master. The master saw the confused eagerness in his eyes, yet he told Fernandez to meet him that evening after sun down. Diaz took out Fernandez for a long walk- that was all that he could afford.
Diaz asked Fernandez, how the story was. Fernandez said that the end was not justifiable. Paul should not have been found dead on the Rocking Horse. Not at least after he had won the bet placed on the race horse MALABAR and had made himself rich, Fernandez said.
Diaz said the end is perfectly justifiable. Paul rode his rocking horse to find the winner, but one can not push things beyond one’s means. Paul was impelled by the voices that he heard as THERE MUST BE MORE MONEY, but to get at the inspiration he had to WORK, and hard work at that. He worked out till he couldn’t work anymore. Paul was trying to enslave DAME LUCK with his willfulness, but paid with his LIFE. In any case, he was not able to enjoy the fruits of his WILLFULNESS.
“Man cannot eliminate poverty through getting lucky, he has to redeem his luck through Labour. By the sweat of his brow he has to earn his bread and anything less is disastrous”, said Diaz. I am a Paul myself, the only difference is that I am still alive. Instead of diving on my own and looking for oysters in the seabed, i pledged my skills to a merchant who used to take 25 other divers besides me, to the diving area and when each came up with his collection of oysters, each was made to dump his pickings of oysters in the middle of the ship for opening the oysters later. I did not know whether the PEARLS came out of my collection or that of anyone else’. In any case, the merchant assured me my WAGES and till I got old, I did the same thing again and again till i could not hold my breath any longer- fit enough for diving. Now that i am retired, i am here eking out a living thru teaching. I pledged my skills in the altar of CERTAINTY of food and here I stand ALIVE in body, but DEAD in SPIRIT.
But you have the age to do it. Food will come by. The sea will provide and people will be inspired if u choose to find the GREAT PEARL YOURSELF- without pledging your skills to the merchant- and their offerings will keep the wolf away. The merchant makes you old, and THE MERCHANT had never ever made anyone RICH. Therefore do not run away from the fear of POVERTY, instead believe in the happening of a rare possibility in your life and work. The time MAY come for the Good Lord to repay you and you will LIVE to ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOUR. But merely because of the MAY, do not sacrifice the possibility of the MAY for the certainty of PHYSICAL EXISTENCE!
LIFE IS ALL ABOUT LETTING ONE’S HOPES OUTLIVE ONE’S LIFE.
Fernandez was resolved, he went back to his hut whistling, A PROFESSIONAL PEARL DIVER.