A boy was born with a crooked spine. He faced difficulties in walking around. His mother booked an appointment with a doctor to help him get his body in shape. The doctor designed special leg braces for the boy to assist him in moving. With regular practice, the boy learned to walk in a smooth manner. But the world wasn’t kind to him.
He was regularly bullied by his classmates. No one wanted to sit with him either in the school bus or in the class. No one wanted to share their lunch with him. He would often sit in the backbench with no friends to talk to.
One day, a new girl joined the school. She was a zestful and exuberant girl with a kind heart. She understood the boy’s plight and had sympathy for him. She let him sit beside her in the bus and also shared her lunch. It was just a matter of time when they became best of friends.
One day when she saw him sitting idle during the sports period, she decided to discuss the matter with him.
She: Why are sitting idle?
He: Because I cannot play with them.
She: But why?
He: Because the doctor says I have a crooked spine.
She: But you have those leg braces to support your spine. Don’t you?
He: I know. But I feel embarrassed. I can never be as good as them.
She: Who said that?
He: Nobody said that to me but I can guage it from people’s action.
She kept her hand over his shoulder and asked “Okay, tell me one thing. What do you want to become when you grow up?”
He: I always wanted to become a sprinter and earn medals for my country.
She: Have you heard of George Eyser?
He shook his head sideways in disagreement.
She: This guy lost his leg in a train accident. But he didn’t subside the desire to excel. No matter how many difficulties came in his life, he always found a solution.
The world is full of such personalities. And if they can do it, you can too.
The boy was filled with a desire to excel.
She: Promise me that you will never feel embaressed. You will always bounce back. And for God sake, don’t consider yourself lonely. I will always be there with you. Now make me a promise.
With wide gaping eyes, the boy shook his head in affirmative and asked “What?”
She: You will not only participate in the upcoming interschool sprinting competition, you will win it too.
She reached forward to touch his hand and repeated “Promise me”.
The boy was shell-shocked. The self-assurance in the girl’s voice shook his core. He immediately raised his hand and made the promise.
From the very next day, he adopted a strict routine. He got up early in the morning and ran for an hour. Then he went to his school, attended his classes and practiced running after his classes were over. Upon reaching his home, he ran for another hour. He read about successful paraplegic runners who made their mark in sprinting. He also watched videos to learn techniques on how to run fast without getting exhausted quickly. Whenever he felt lonely and defeated, the girl gave him emotional support. She Whatsapped him two inspirational quotes daily, one in the morning and the another before going to bed. More than often, she would accompany him to the ground to cheer him up. She created a chart to record the time taken by him to cover a distance of 100 metres on a daily basis. Her happiness knew no bounds when she saw his performance improving.
After a month of practice, the interschool sprinting competition finally arrived. The boy was nervous but the girl stayed by his side, providing him the required confidence and emotional support. She even tied a band on his right wrist as a token of trust. Seeing the band, the boy gathered the courage in times of distress and hopelessness.
After some time the competitors were called to take their respective places for the race. When the spectators saw the boy participating in the race with leg-braces, they booed him. The stadium yelled and cried upon his plight. The boy saw the band on his right wrist and immediately raised his head only to find that the girl was cheering for him. He saw her carrying a huge placard with “Go. Win it.”
Seeing the placard in her hand, the boy was charged to such an extent that he decided to compete without his leg-braces. Everybody laughed and made fun of him. But he knew that no matter what, he had to win this one. He wanted to win the race to show to the world that if you have the will power, you can do anything. And moreso because he wanted to keep alive the trust that the girl had on him.
The race began and everyone ran as fast as they could. With the sole aim to win the race, they dashed along the circuit. The audience roared with a loud cheer. The four sides of the stadium were filled with students from different schools. Everyone cheered for the runner who participated from their school respectively. But nobody cheered for the boy. This didn’t have any adverse effect on his running. Because he had goal to achieve. He thought about the rigorous training sessions that he went through, the example that he had to set for the world, and most importantly, he had to prove himself worthy of the trust that the girl had put in him. She was the only one who sympathised with his condition and supported him when there was no one else.
These factors echoed in his mind and filled his body with energy. He was so charged up that he zoomed across the circuit. People were amazed to see a physically handicapped boy leaving the fastest runners miles behind. Everyone was astonished when the boy crossed the finish line. Not only did he stood first in the race, he set a new record for years to come.
The boy was felicitated by the principal of his school. His photos flashed in the newspapers. He was invited to news studios to discuss about his considerable achievement. Renowned universities in his city called him to deliver lectures on motivation. In short, he was transformed into a star overnight.
After paying gratitude to his well-wishers, he went to the girl and thanked her for everything she did. He told her that if it wasn’t for her, he would have still remained the demotivated crippled leg boy that he was before meeting her. He hugged her and they remained friends forever.
MORAL: The Way of the Heart is beautiful but dangerous. The way of the mind is ordinary but safe.