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‘I Crave for an Applause!’
Kamran Bashir Sheikh

I was low in spirits that day. Nothing looked meaningful or encouraging. Gloom and failure were revolving around me. I was feeling stagnant. The last day I was seeing a cricket match, amidst a stadium jam-packed with a roaring crowd. I was enjoying the game. The players were all competitive and were showing their spirits with great vigour. And then among so many players, there was one ‘man of the match’ who played a wonderful innings for his team. On finishing his turn, he was coming back to the pavilion. And that was the very moment that triggered the sad feeling I am talking about. The whole stadium was giving him a standing ovation, applauding him in perfect unison on his return to the dressing-room. He waved his bat in acknowledgement. A look of spilling delight overwhelmed his face; he was in the air at that moment. ‘Oh my God! What a moment in that man’s life’, I thought, carried away by the sight of such a triumphant occasion. I would yearn to be one such man in my life, one such hero in some sphere of activity. But I couldn’t. I was a failure; just a useless man on this earth who couldn’t accomplish anything. A poor background, ordinary education and no laurels in the bag – and no applause. And at this particular moment, the feeling of so many fiascos had become all the more gripping.

With that same dejected mood, I was slowly walking to my classroom for the last lesson of my college years – years of ordinary grades, of course. There were some four students who were already in the room when I entered. I knew them; they were the heroes in their own right. The tales of success. They were talking to each other, gossiping happily when I addressed one of them.


‘Sir, would you tell me your big events in life, something you can boast on?’


‘Oh man, there are many such occasions, you know. But one was surely unforgettable. This was when I won the international debating event in Hague in the Netherlands. What a moment that was when I received the trophy and the hall filled with thousands made a rapturous applause, something that was penetrating in my soul. I cannot forget that,’ he related in a rather emotional fashion.


‘Wonderful to hear this, sir,’ I replied and continued again with the same question to the boy sitting next to him ‘Sir, I would like to listen to your story of success in life. Have you ever been through such times?’


‘Yes, my dear, I have had a very fulfilling life. I can recall one moment when we won the national hockey championship. That was the toughest of the tournaments in my life. We were the least favourite for the tournament. But our struggle and unity brought us the victory. A victory acquired with immense toil. And then came the occasion when I was on the stage for the winning prize. The crowd was applauding, admiring, appreciating, all magnificently, and we were not on earth. It was like a dream come true.’


‘What a memorable occasion, that would be, I am sure,’ saying this I turned to the third guy who, by this time, looked anxious to share his golden moments in life.


‘I am sure, sir, you must be having your share of triumphs in your life?’ I inquired.


‘Surely, friend. It was my passion for music that won me laurels. It was the inter-college music competition that brought me recognition and the kind of satisfaction one aspires. I was the winner of the competition. It was held throughout the country and the jury comprised of very senior musicians. And when the jury announced my name, it was like a soothing breeze brushing against me. With eyes replete with tears, I went up to the stage for the prize, and in the background I could listen to the applause from the whole auditorium. ‘Oh man! What you have done to me; made me remember that time,’ he uttered passionately.


By that time the class was filled for the last lecture of our college years. But I wanted to hear the fourth voice. The voice of the boy who was sitting a little further away, working solemnly and gracefully on some class-work, but overhearing our conversation, I was sure. I called him.


‘Sir, would you relate to me your one wonderful event of enduring memories when you received a massive applause.’


He slowly moved his head and looked at me, smilingly. ‘My dear friend, I am sorry, I can’t tell you this moment. But I do crave for an applause,’ saying this he stood up under a spell of intense passion, and made for the rostrum, and spoke:


‘My dear brothers, I have nothing to tell you about my accomplishments, my victories, my triumphs in this life because these are trivial, worthless things I have achieved. I find them nothing compared to the victory, to the applause on one special day. For that special day, I am preparing myself, dear folks. I cannot impress upon you the inferior things I have done in my life. Valueless applauses resounding through the perishable auditoriums and stadiums of this world. I am looking forward to a special applause, instead. An applause that will outclass all the applauses and all the accolades in my life. An applause that will be my fate if I happen to get through the test of this life, the ordeal of this human existence on this earth. My dear fellows, you too can receive that applause if you crave for it and work hard for it. Something you have never imagined, never heard of in your life. If you attend the noble calls of your conscience and follow the message of the Almighty, you too can be the honourable recipient of that gift. One of my friends, here, was asking me about one such occasion. I can’t waste my time telling tales of worldly achievements, you innocent soul. I am in the middle of a test. The test of this life. One special day will reveal all my struggle, all my accomplishments in the test of this life. And that occasion, sir, will be the Judgement Day. Yes, my dear brothers, I crave for the applause on the Last Judgement. Just imagine, my dear follows, that the day has come, the Day of Reckoning, and you are standing among your fellow creatures, ready to hear your result. The eternal bliss of the Paradise or the terrible infernal Fire! And here your name is announced, amidst a pin drop silence within you, with nerves shrinking and the breathing betraying you. And then, … you are declared the exalted the citizen of paradise! Oh my Lord! What will be that applause like? Can you imagine, my friends? Have you ever thought of such an occasion and the grand victory waiting ahead?’


At this very moment, my eyes, filled with tears, saw our teacher standing in the door, hearing the sermon of this unique individual. The next instance I saw the teacher giving him a clap, spontaneously, rather unknowingly. The whole class followed and in a twinkling of an eye, the whole room was resounding with tumultuous applause for the young man for delivering the only missing, and much needed, lecture of our college years.


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