As a teenager, almost everyone saw him without a future.
In a small village, where everybody seemed to be nosing around at their neighbors’ business, he was the favorite to be associated with failure. As part of a broken family, his only hope rested on his caring grandmother.
“Study hard or you will end up a farmer,” one grandfather from his father’s side remarked often. The same man, who thought highly of himself but actually a hard-headed drunkard.
He would swallow the message without a word, bowing his head without trying to reason out.
There were enough reasons why people thought of him that way: he was a slow learner. All he was good at was riding his bicycle, wandering about for hours.
“You are the master of your life,” his grandmother would say. “You will make your own future.”
Years passed, he was almost forgotten by the village folks. He disappeared from home with a promise to his grandmother that he would seek his fortune somewhere else.
One time, there was a medical mission sponsored by the local government. Doctors and nurses from the capital came over to give the residents free consultations, simple surgeries and boxes of assorted medicines. In some way, the poor village folks needed the assistance badly: they did not possess the financial means to see a doctor regularly. The fact that even the lone dentist who joined the group became the most popular person that day.
Grandma was still strong as an ox, which was a mystery to most of her neighbors. They had no idea how she could maintain her health despite her similar impoverished state like theirs.
Before the day was over, a tall man, his beard trimmed expertly, came to a makeshift stage and gave a short speech.
“In behalf of my friends, doctors, nurses and other volunteers, I would like to thank you all for your warmest welcome. The food is great as I remembered it when I was a child.”
Several of the old timers was astounded by the reference that they approached him to check if they could recognize who he was.
Grandma looked so proud of his grandson that she went up the stage, hugged him, before unraveling the mystery she knew all along.
“My grandson works in a big pharmaceutical company. He arranged all of this for us because he wanted to show his gratitude for all the kindness you had given him.”
The younger generation clapped loudly, grateful that someone from their village reached a high position in life. But those, who were old enough to know his story, seemed embarrassed to face him, that their harsh words against him fell flat on their faces.
“I came back to inspire you,” he explained, smiling without any hint of anger against those who judged him prematurely. “All of us could achieve anything we wish for.”
There was another round of applause. This time everyone joined in.
“My grandmother believed in me. I promised her I would not let her down.”