Saturday Story 2: Please Forgive Me
The pen hovered over a blank piece of paper, his mind, equally blank. All that he’d been asked to do, was write a letter. An easy enough task. Why, then, was Sanjeev Suri in this helpless state? It was unusual for the over-achiever to feel yeh mujhse ho nahin sakta. For with the IIT-IIM badge, the world had been his to conquer.
“It’s a letter to say you’re sorry,” was the only instruction. Maybe that’s why, it was so bloody hard.
His mind wandered back to the first time he remembered ‘writing a letter’. It was in Mrs Chopra’s English class, under the watchful eye of Wren and Martin. The Bible of grammar and composition for every Indian high school student. The cherry-red cover had faded over the years, to almost-white. Just like the rules of grammar therein, which were almost extinct, on FB and WA.
Then there was a phase when Sanjeev was obsessed with writing ‘letters to the editor’. He was in class 9, spending the summer vacation with his chacha, an army officer posted near Shillong. In the middle of nowhere, the dak edition of the ‘Times of India’ was a treat to look forward to. And seeing one’s name in bold, black print – after a dozen attempts – was the icing on the cake.
Then came the ‘job application’ letter, a covering note with one’s CV during placement. Did anyone actually read it? But hey, it was the protocol. As luck would have it, Sanjeev got placed with Cantilever, on Day 1 and that was that. He’d been with the company for 24 years, a blue-eyed boy, on the fast track. But now, nothing was certain…
“This could be the most important letter you will ever write,” he’d been told.
Ah well, convention to the winds, then!
Hello old friend,
It’s very hard and also strange for me to write this… I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get in touch.
I could say that I was busy. Busy with school, college, work, family, and all kinds of ambitions. But the truth is I have been avoiding you. Avoiding the memories, the hurt and the shame.
I see you, a sickly little boy in the playground, wanting to be included in the game. But you weren’t fast enough, or strong enough.
So you decided to be the best in the one thing you could excel at – studies. You went home with your report card, expecting a pat on the back.
But all pappa said was, ’95 in mathematics? Where did you lose 5 marks? Try harder next time.’
And that’s all you have done, for the last 40 years. Try harder to be perfect. You work longer hours than anyone else because all that matters is winning. But what about all that you have lost?
Your wife wants to leave you and your son is a stranger. You have a drinking problem, and you are slipping up at work. Your boss has issued a warning… this cannot go on!
At a time like this, you need a true friend. I am writing to you to say, I am there. I promise that from now on, I will honor and listen to you. I will not turn my back on you. I ask for your forgiveness.
I love you.
Tears were flowing down Sanjeev Suri’s face as his 48 year old self finally acknowledged, and embraced, his Inner Child.
Long lost, and neglected, hungry for attention. Yearning to be loved.
Sanjeev Suri, MD of Cantilever, has an important announcement for customers and shareholders.
“We will no longer release advertising which instils fear, shame or guilt. All communication must pass through a ‘Truth and Positivity’ filter, which we hope, will become the industry standard…”
Tall or short, fat or thin, fair or dark, loud or quiet… Each of us is born perfect.
Let nobody ever brainwash you into thinking – or feeling – otherwise.
Don’t miss the audio file Inside the Author’s Mind: Why I Wrote ‘Please Forgive Me’.