John's Experiments with truth

Anthony Sir was his name who taught Social Sciences in 8th standard in Hill Valley high school. His class was a form of wisdom packed into capsules; he gained respect for his age as well as for the way he was delivering his class. John who was nicknamed Gandhi, Hari was a good painter with many trophies to his credit. It was an honor for me to have two such friends in school. Like every one we also respected the teacher, during that time we considered him to be of higher stature than the lady who owns and runs the school. The incident which I wish to narrate is of John’s to depict his good character and determinism to do the right thing no matter the odds, and also the same incident which shook very moral fiber of such a good soul.

Mr. Anthony was taking his class, making political statements, and view points that made us also think ‘aha …’ during the middle of the class he was invited to the head mistress’s room. Before he left the class he said, “Till I am back no one should speak”. John and Hari where sitting next to me, John said in his usual Gandhi style “ok no matter what! We will not speak till he gets back” to which myself and Hari agreed. Forgive my recollecting ability but I think he had told to us through action, he in fact did not speak! As usual within minutes of Mr. Anthony leaving the class every one started speaking except John, Hari and I. Soon the sound from the class increased in its decibel level and Mr. Anthony returned. Needless to say he was quite annoyed with the class. But he said commandingly and with an air of broad mindedness “Who all were talking in the class, if you are truthful I will not punish”. Every one raised their hands truthfully and we three did not raise our hands also truthfully. Mr. Anthony was happy to see that every one had raised their hands, but soon discovered we three have not done that. Mr. Anthony said very harshly “If there is anything I cannot tolerate that is dishonesty, you three stand up”. He was so angry and agitated that we had not seen him before like so, we tried to explain in vain that we in fact did not speak. He ridiculed us in front of the whole class; only those who knew John well enough would have got the idea of what had really happened.

John was shocked, he could not digest the fact that his most respected Mr. Anthony could fail to recognize his prudence and honesty. He kept saying this to us “Is this value of honesty, is this how he values truth”. John soon began to change he was no longer the Gandhi we had known him to be, for some he was improving and becoming normal. My moral fiber was not as good as John’s but I knew I had to endure the after effects of my choice, be firm and did not complain to John for it either.

For all the years I had known John, it was hard to digest his change though his qualities still were far better than the best qualities I have ever had. But what changed him? Did he expect the reward of his honesty from the wrong person? That he was humiliated because of his honesty? I would never know.

Mr. Anthony could have been upset because of the conversation he had with head mistress, and I would not be right in judging such a great person and a good teacher. What I fear today is that we interact with people very often, I wish and I pray that I do not become a source or a reason for negative impact on anyone. The least is to have more positive impact than the other way. Looking back Mr. Anthony was trying to do the same thing.

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