He walked into the restaurant named “Majestic Indian Veg & Non-Veg restaurant”. A very small & cramped not-so-tidy place. He took a table in the corner, looked around and found me, alone, composed, lost in the state of tranquility.
Mr. M: Excuse me, Are you alone?
I: Halloww!! Yes.. *smiles*
Mr. M: Would you mind if I join you? (In a soft & slow accent)
I: Yes, Please. I’m glad to see you! (I looked at his backpack) Are you travelling somewhere?
Mr. M: Yes, I am going to Gokarna.
I: (totally surprised to know that the foreigners also visit Gokarna beach? What’s there?). Where do you come from?
Mr. M: I come from Germany.
I: And what are you doing here?
Mr. M: I teach. I teach English to children in a village school, further from Mysore. Its a very small village named Mirle. I work here for service & no pay. I don’t earn money here.
I: *Surprised, thrilled, quizzical looks* Sounds wonderful! How did you end up there?
Mr. M: Through a missionary. We were given a list of Countries to choose. I chose India & I love it.
I: Where do you live here?
Mr. M: I live with an Indian family in the village. They provide food & shelter to me. A very good family. In fact, I love my village. Everybody is so friendly. They invite me for tea, to dinner, to play. I have many friends. I love the school too. Its a great job!
I: Wow! I can see that you love what you’re doing. But, It must be difficult for you. Are you able to adjust with the weather, food, languages, culture?
Mr. M: I totally love the food here. So many different varieties. I am here since last 7 months. We were taught a little bit of Kannada language because the village kids don’t understand English at all. The village is very beautiful. We live so close to the nature. I don’t like the city life.
I: Doesn’t the school pay you for the Job?
Mr. M: You see, I do not have complete qualifications. I haven’t completed my Education. I am only 19. I wanted to do a service to the needy world. So I took this up for a year. One year of service commitment without earning any money for it. The school gave me an opportunity to do so. Its such an amazing experience. We are a group of Germans here. Some of us work for the orphanages, old age homes and some of us teach the Children.
I: How delightful! I’m touched by the passion. And what are your next plans?
Mr. M: After I finish one year, I’d go back to Germany to complete my graduation and post-graduation. After that I will be doing my PhD. I have a long way to go, I have lots to do, for my career. During this one year, the people belonging to my age group are busy at the peak of setting up their career, competing to get admissions in the best universities, choosing their field of study. But, I took a year off for social service. I have another 30 to 40 years for a job & making money, but now when I have the energy, I want to serve the world.
I: Do you like teaching? Do you see yourself being a teacher/professor?
Mr. M: Well, No. I do not want to be a teacher for my profession. I like auto mobiles design. I will be taking up that line after I go back to Germany.
I: Well, I appreciate that you devoted an important year of your life to service. Its a wonderful experience. And I’m quite surprised that you were allowed to do so!
Mr. M: Right. My mother did not like the idea. But my Dad supported me. He told me. Go, explore the world. See, what life is, beyond where you are. I’m thankful. I’m very happy and I have no regrets for giving away my important year to the world that needed it more than me.
*** We ordered food together, I was also surprised to see him eat food the Indian style. ***
Mr. M: You seem to be friendly and kind. I’m happy to meet you.
I: I am happy to meet you too. Well, You are about 8 yrs younger to me, and I’m impressed by the work that you are doing. There are ample opportunities in our Country and not many of us pay attention to it.
Mr. M: Are you not worried to talk to me because you are not married to me?
I: *Confused Smile* Worried? Ah! Not at all.. You are not scary 😉
Mr. M: *cute smile* I asked because, in the village the girls don’t talk to the men who are strangers. I also learnt that they do not like love marriages, they only do arranged marriages. So initially, I was worried to hello you, thinking you might take me wrong.
I laughed to myself.
It was the time for us to leave, we waved each other Good-Bye. I still continued laughing.
What a wonderful lad!