I was in Asansol for a long fieldwork and I happened to interview one LIC agent. I went to his house for the interview. It was a one room low-ceiling house. The ceiling was so low that somebody reasonably tall could actually touch the ceiling. Well, thankfully, the people in the residing in that house were all short. It was a afamily of three- the LIC agent, his wife and his 16 years old son. I started the interview with regular introduction and I saw the LIC agent listening to every word of mine. Then he introduced himself. As he spoke I discovered, he is more than what his shabby shirt and torn pants could hold.
He attended literary sessions, he read Camus, he could name the most recent poets of Bengal. I could see he was just not another LIC agent. His identity extended beyond what he had to do for his living. He didn’t stoop to his situation, his poverty, his obligations. Somewhere inside him I saw a hero who wants to dream big time. He wants his son to become a scientist. He doesn’t want his son to pursue an MBA or in any other “money making” profession. He wants his son to be a dreamer too- dreaming about new discoveries and inventions.
I was there doing my work and I had wasted full 2 hours of his. But yet when I got up to leave, he invited me for a dinner. And he had asked his wife to cook mutton just because I was supposed to visit. Mutton is expensive and I felt guilty. I had to leave for other interviews. I thanked him and left. But before I left, I saw a glimpse of the “king” in that LIC agent. At that moment, I felt gifted to have met a real king, a real hero. Life’s miseries failed to rob him off his heroism, his generosities and his dreams.
There are gifts for us at every turn of life; we often do not see them. In this journey called “life”, names and faces get lost soon. But what remains is a “gift”.