Aunt Anna asked John as he came back from school and threw his bag. He looked a bit frustrated.
This was a bit contrary to what he generally is, a fun loving and cheerful boy. He was in his 5th grade and the reason behind his frustration was his school friends who spoke badly about David Beckam. He had an argument with his best friend about Beckam’s last match.
Perhaps Aunt Anna sensed his mood and started asking him ‘what happened?’
John didn’t reply and took his towel. At the same time his mother Mrs. Rose came in and said ‘oh you’re back!, how was your day?’
John said ‘fine’ and headed towards the washroom.
Meanwhile, Aunt Anna told his mom that today he seemed to be a bit frustrated. Reason was unknown. His mother frowned and said ‘well we need to give him some time, these kids nowadays, you know’. Aunt shook her head and started preparing dinner.
His family was a mediocre one in which his mother was a school teacher and Aunt Anna stayed with them. John used to be close to his sister who was in her 2nd grade.
John’s sister rosemary showed her new drawings to Aunt Anna. She nudged her fondly and said ‘Very good’.
In myriad ways, many students nowadays get attracted to celebrities who become their role models. John was one of them. David Beckam played a crucial part in his life to build up his character although his dad never approved of it. He wanted his son to become an engineer. Since childhood, john has dreamt of playing like Beckam one day. His father always told him ‘Son you need to do good to people in some way or the other way, become an engineer like me’. John became defensive and replied ‘No father, I want to become a footballer’. But nothing changed.
Soon after, John grew to be a handsome gentleman. He had to pursue engineering as his dad always wanted. Much to his grief he learnt life wasn’t easy, people had to work hard and pursue realistic goals. However, he continued playing football with his friends in the backyard every weekend.
One fine day while picking up letters from the post box, he found a letter addressed to him from England’s football association. It was like a dream come true for him as he applied for it long back on his sister’s persuasion. But the question here was, should he tell this to his family members or not? Rather, would they let him go to England?
He thought for a while. Unable to decide, he went up to his sister and gave her the surprise.
‘Wow, this is incredible. How could you possibly didn’t tell me?’
‘Dear I got it today while retrieving letters from that box, I don’t know since when it was lying there’.
‘Whatever, I’m going to tell dad’, she said.
‘No, you’re not. Promise me!’ John begged.
Rosemary had no other option but to keep her mouth shut. She could understand the anxiety John was going through but felt helpless.
‘How can you make your dream come true then?’
‘I don’t know, leave me alone for some time. I’ll figure out’ said John.
She snapped the door and left.
John lay on his bed and closed his eyes. He could see the crowd cheering and the lights on. Nothing meant much to him than Victory. Victory of being acclaimed, of being a superstar. Much higher than the nitty gritty of life he was currently in. He could see all the best players smiling at him. In his mind, he saw himself as a footballer.
All of a sudden the door cracked open. It was his dad.
‘Hi buddy, what’s up with your office? You don’t talk to me nowadays’ Mr Rose said.
‘Well dad, I had to tell you something’ John said looking at his dad’s eye. ‘ I’ve got a chance to play for England’.
‘Oh come on! How could you even think they will select you? Don’t you know England is a tough team, recently it has been out of World Cup. The press call them ‘Idiots’ and you want to join them? This is ridiculous. Besides, what will happen to your job here?’
‘I’ll figure that out dad. I’ve been old enough to take the decisions of my life. I loved Beckam since I was 3, that’s too soon for a kid to adore a player isn’t it? I want to pursue my dream’ John said confidently.
‘Perhaps, I shouldn’t have given you so much freedom son. I think you don’t understand the stakes of moving to such a big city in search of stardom. You’re glued to unrealistic dreams. I have nothing more to say.’ He left the room in silence.
The clouds roared and it started raining. That night John couldn’t sleep. He kept thinking about his dream which he wanted to turn into reality.
He went to his mother’s room. Opened the door without making noise, tip toed to reach up to her bed. She was fast asleep, unaware of what her son was going through. John took her hand into his and started weeping silently. Somehow he missed her. He missed talking to her, sharing his thoughts with her. A tear fell on her hand and she got up.
Immediately he left her hand and wiped off his tears. ‘John! What happened? What are you doing here?’
‘Nothing mother, I missed you’
His mother hugged him and said she could see the tears in his eyes. He smiled. She assured him that next morning they’ll chat about the problem he might be going through and bid each other good night.
The very next morning, John and his mother met at the breakfast table. They greeted each other and John told the story of his football fascination. His dad was busy gardening so he thought of sharing his thoughts to his mother in a profound and comfortable way.
His mom nodded and said, ‘It’s good that you have a role model since your childhood, everybody does but your dad wanted to become one for you, he has worked day and night to bring you all that you needed. Do you remember the time you had malaria? He stayed up nights to look after you, he loves you and is not your enemy Johnny. We want to see you happy. If you think you can pursue your dream in England then we would help you start the procedure. Why not? But remember the importance of your family while you grew’.
‘Of course I do mother, I just wanted your support and love. I can win the whole World if you’re beside me’.
They hugged each other. A big burden was released from his chest after he spoke to her. John’s mother spoke to his dad and convinced him for his departure.
His sister rosemary and Aunt Anna were happy to see John smiling after a long time. He had this grief of not pursuing his dream all through he grew up. The family became busy packing his bags after he got approval from England’s football team and got his visa stamped.
The departure date finally set in and he held a bag in his shoulder, the other bags being on the trolley at the Airport. Aunt Anna squeezed his cheeks and told him ‘Son, remember one day you threw your schoolbag in apprehension? Don’t throw it this time’ and laughed.
He laughed and said ‘Sure I wouldn’t’. Soon after his family bid him happy journey and his flight took off.
Do you think John became a renowned footballer? How important a role does family play in shaping an individual’s life?