She was a simple girl. She had dreams and aspirations. It was her effort in every field to give the best of her capabilities. She know her limitations as well.
As she was hardworking and sincere she often got appreciation and encouragement from her teachers and elders. She never got the sense of pride in her but felt beautiful inside.
As she grew up she went through school and reached her college level. This was one of the best colleges she could get admission into. She was happy that now she was studying the subjects of her liking and interest.
This college had students from all over the country and even foreign students. They belonged to the best schools. They had had the best education in terms of academics and were way ahead what was taught to her in the normal public school that she had attended.
But, this did not affect her in any way. She was never in competition with others. All she aimed was hard work and excellence in anything she chose to study or do. She kept doing her part. She was not so fluent in spoken English as her fellow girls as she was not from such a background but whenever she did an assignment in English language, her's came out to be among the best ones.
Her college was a very active and lively one with some or the other activity going on there. Lots of creativity, talent and excellence was present in there. She felt good about her college.
Once when she was talking about the greatness of her college in front of the brother of her childhood friend he exclaimed,
"Leave alone what others are doing, tell me what you have done there!"
This was probably the rudest thing she had ever heard as she was a good student and almost all her teachers praised and liked her. No one among her acquaintances had ever told her such a thing.
But this criticism was something that she learnt for the rest of her life. She kept thinking about it from time to time. She went ahead in life in terms of academics, always on the top list but still the thirst wasn't quenched.
She realized soon that she was running after merit and qualifications which were not the mark of a person's worth. It soon dawned upon her that real knowledge, intelligence and wisdom were the ways a person deals in practical life and the ways a person actually acts.
Knowledge is not limited to books rather it manifests itself in the person's actions when he or she does something for the benefit of the society.
That one simple statement of criticism got her thinking every other while and she learnt a very important lesson in life.
Criticism or somebody telling you the flaws in your work or your opinion is not always bad. It sometimes turns out to be the changing force in your life.
She then started working on the real education, the education of practical life, the education of the true source of Knowledge, the education of self analysis and self improvement. She started working on expressing her feelings in the spontaneous and sincere ways. She started working on benefiting others with whatever she had collected as knowledge and wisdom over all those years.
A time came when her long awaited dream of becoming something in life and doing something worth while came true and she realized that her life has turned out to be of some help to others and has some meaning with all the useful stuff that she practically started doing.
The sentence by that friendly critic still boomerangs in her mind...but she finds it as a source of motivation for her to keep doing more and more and not to be dependent on any association with any person or institution to be proud of her identity.
"Leave alone what others are doing, tell me what you have done..."