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26. Unemployed Engineer

"Slowly a feeling of frustration begins to develop in me. Within myself I feel confident. I have faith in Mother too. Still, if nothing moves for weeks and months and years, the faith gives way. I am afraid I have to settle down as a teacher in a Polytechnic for life. If that is so, it will be a misfortune. That will bring down to dust all the high hopes with which I entered the Engineering College, worked hard, maintained it to achieve First Class all five years without fail. Also your silence is intriguing to me. I wish you throw some light on my situation," said the young engineer who called on me that day.

What he said was true, but that is not the whole truth. As the job situation in the country for engineers had become bleak and was showing signs of worsening, those engineering graduates who had managed to get some placement or other (like this young man in a polytechnic teaching post) considered themselves lucky but were dismayed by the prospects. I did not have much of an encouraging impact on him, but I knew, in his case, that this was not the end. I wanted to be clear about his future, but brief. I said, "I understand your mind and your dejection. But there is one more element in your case and that is the fact that you had Darshan of Mother last year. Ordinarily Mother's Darshan or a visit to the Samadhi would have an immediate effect. For some reason, in your case, it has not happened. I know that Mother acts swiftly, but if She delays, She has Her own reasons. When it is all over, you will realise that the delay is only for good."  He was reassured to some extent, but was not cheered up to his normal level of infectious cheerfulness.

He is a brilliant young man. The one striking aspect of his personality is that he is always found laughing. He generally begins a conversation with laughter. He comes from a very respectable family that has been reduced to hard work. His father was a leader among men during his young days, when the family was flourishing. Later, adversity overtook the family. Everything was lost except the high qualities acquired during days of affluence. Six children in the family, one after the other, died before they reached the age of ten. The only surviving child was this engineer, who received in his upbringing all the affection due to the dead children. As the father was not affluent, the normal course would be to terminate his education at the 8th standard and begin helping the father in his profession. But the child wanted to read, and the father also felt he should study. In spite of poverty, the father was held in great respect among the family members spread over several villages. More than one young man in the family circle had been initiated into life by his father, and all of them were somewhat affluent. They remained grateful to the old man who had put them on their feet. So, the boy was sent to one of his uncle's for high school education.

The boy deserved this support. Without fail, during all the three years he was in high school, he secured very high marks, often standing first in the school. In the SSLC exam he secured over 400 marks. He had cherished ambitions about higher education, particularly as an engineer. He spoke to his father. The father had Rs.500 saved over a period of many years, and in future he could not save much more. It was very kind of his uncle to have educated him for three years. To expect any further help, especially for higher education at Madras, was not possible. In consultation with me, he decided to join a polytechnic with the money on hand. And if he won a scholarship, he could finish the three years successfully. That was the best course open to him. His uncle accompanied him when he was asked to appear for an interview at the polytechnic at Chidambaram. While waiting for their turn, the students exchanged information. Everyone who met this boy, on learning about his high score at the SSLC exam, remarked in passing, "If I had this score, I wouldn't join the polytechnic."  The uncle, who was listening to these stray conversations, suddenly decided that his nephew deserved a college education and, come what may, he must provide it. He suggested to the boy that it was better to drop the idea of joining polytechnic and take up the idea of joining a college. The boy cheerfully consented and ended up in Loyola College. He passed PUC in first class. His uncle's enthusiasm continued. The boy joined Engineering College. He maintained the high academic performance of securing a first class. He won a scholarship every year. His uncle made up any gap between the real expenses and scholarship amount. It was a misfortune that on his leaving the College he found the job market bleak. Jobs were scarce and no one would consider him. One of the employers the boy approached offered him a job at Rs.100. This is worse than not having a job, adding insult to injury.

Ever since the boy came to the town for high school education, I knew him and had a share in his life as his teacher. He used to consult me on all major decisions of his life. Now it was a bleak period. He was running for a year to every possible opportunity of a job without success. It was at this time that he visited the Ashram with me and felt the ocean of peace that is Mother. He once said, "When I prostrate before Mother, my being is filled with joy and peace. Often I used to feel that I should continue to prostrate before Her for a longer time."  With heroic effort, he succeeded in getting appointed as a lecturer in a polytechnic at Madurai. This was a great relief but not a permanent solution for someone with his qualifications. He was in Madurai for a year and continuing to search for a better job. That search yielded no results. There was no hope of any future results. It was at that time he came to me and expressed the frustration mentioned earlier. I knew that better things were in store for him. Mother delays with a purpose. But my understanding was no solace for his position.

He returned after a few weeks and appeared full of news. He sat down as if he had swallowed something which bothered him. He began saying that he had some very good news but was doubtful of the entire report he was going to give and said that my opinion on the matter would decide the issue. I was happy and anxious to know the news. He said, "My uncle is in the dyeing trade. One of his customers is in Salem. Occasionally this man comes to this depot in Cuddalore OT. My uncle has long trade connections with him, but there is no particular friendship or intimacy. Today my uncle as usual went to OT to collect the dyes. Mr. Mudaliar from Salem had come there. He called my uncle over and said, "Do you know of any of our boys with an engineering degree? My friend is starting a company in Madras with French technology. I am a director of the company. The company is sending six engineers to Paris for training. The Managing Director has allotted one such job to me. The only condition is that candidate should have first class in Mechanical Engineering. I wish to offer the opportunity to one of my relatives. Though I have made money, there is no boy with that kind of education among my relatives. If you can get me any boy of that description from our people, I would happily appoint him." My uncle answered, "There is one in my house fully meeting the requirements. I shall bring him to you at Salem."

The boy told me, "My uncle is unable to believe this, nor can I. Of course, there is nothing here for me to lose, but it is hard to believe. My uncle and I felt we should take your advice."  In reply I said, "Always it is hard to believe things when they come from Mother. As you speak, I see Mother's light on your face. This is truly Grace. Accept it with gratitude to Mother."

book | by Dr. Radut