It was a time when I used to lie a lot. So much that lying had become a habit in me. My first response to any question was a lie. I enrolled in a computer literacy course for one year after my school finished. Honestly, it is the only worthy education I have had after my schooling that proved beneficial for my life ahead. My computer teacher was a Kashmiri girl in her mid-twenties. I am naming her ‘Naina’ in this account. She signed up as a teacher in the mid-term and in few weeks, she was a favourite among the students because of the knowledge she possessed. It was the end of the year and during those festive days from Christmas to New Year’s Eve, I didn’t attend any classes. Upon joining back again after almost a week, I was asked the reason of my regular absence. I lied yet again, but quite a wayward one this time.
I told the entire class that I was selected as an Airman in Indian Air Force and I have to join the training in a couple of months. The congratulations begin to pour in, Naina appeared very happy and personally congratulated me after the class. Many friends asked about the selection procedure and I told them that I had to travel till Delhi to appear for an exam, upon clearing the exam, I underwent the physical tests and eye-sight test, for which I was deemed fit and later on my name was announced in the selected candidates. A lie was well placed in everybody’s mind and I was thought of as a talented young lad who was lucky to have his life on track at such an early stage of his life.
A few days later, my father paid a visit to the coaching center to know about how I was going along. I didn’t know anything about his visit until I reached back home that evening.
“Congratulations!” he said to me as soon as I stepped into the living room.
“What for?” I asked surprisingly.
“For your selection in the Indian Air Force! I didn’t know you were this talented!” He spoke in a sarcastic tone and I knew my lie was caught. I remained silent and went to change, but dad was in no mood to remain silent. He told me that he had been to the coaching center and teachers began to congratulate him on my selection in the Indian Air Force. He further cursed me that I don’t think twice before lying and it will make me pay big time in my life ahead. He had told the teachers that I lied to them about my selection. It was a shame for me to face. I instantly thought of dropping the coaching, but I loved computers. The machine which was so complex in its making and yet so simple to use. Within few months I was collecting extra knowledge about computers from all available sources. I was in awe of the machine as it surprised me with its ability to design, to analyse and to connect. It was all very new for me.
I somehow gathered courage to step into the coaching center and felt that everything was awkwardly normal. I did not talk to my friends and I was not able to concentrate on the lab project as well. The fear of being insulted was continuously haunting me. The worst part was that Naina wasn’t talking to me at all and I found it weird. The best part was that she had not insulted me or told anyone about my lie but she ignored me big time. A couple of days passed but nothing changed, my fear of being insulted stayed there, and Naina continued to ignore me.
It was then that I decided to face the situation. A teacher that I adored was thinking bad about me because of me. I wrote a letter for her. It was an apology. She was so happy to know that I was selected and that I will have a good life ahead and I broke her trust on me. I kept the letter with me for two days, not finding an appropriate moment to hand over the letter to her. On the third day, not having enough patience, I handed over the letter to her in front of another teacher. She suspiciously looked at me and asked what was it, I just told her to read it and left.
Next day when I reached coaching center, I was feeling unusually lighter. Inside my heart, I knew I had taken a fair step, made a confession and removed a heavy burden off my shoulders. After the class we all went to the lab and Naina, upon finding a solitary moment, sat with me. We talked about why I lied, how she felt when she got to know about it, how she felt when I confessed and felt sorry by giving her the letter. She shook hands with me and I promised to myself that I will never lie again ever in my life.
The course finished after few months. I was among the top five students. Naina was happy for me, I was happy for myself as well. We had a last party in the coaching center and life moved on. I enrolled into the college for a degree in commerce and dropped out couple of months later. It was autumn of 2004, when Indian Air Force held a recruiting camp in the city. I applied for it, cleared the written exam, cleared the physical and the medical tests as well and after ten days, my name was written under the category of selected candidates in the merit list. The first thing that came into my mind was to inform Naina about it. I went to the coaching center to meet her. I shared the news with her and she beamed with happiness. She told me that she was getting married next month and leaving the city. The mobiles were not so much in fashion that days in my city, so she gave me her email address. I didn’t note it down anywhere but I still remember it. I tried contacting her many times but didn’t get a reply ever. Last I knew, she got married and moved to Alwar, Rajasthan.
I have tried finding her on all the social networks but haven’t yet. I am not losing hope. I haven’t sent her an email in years, I think I should. She brought to me a sense of understanding about accepting my faults and having courage to repair them. It’s been ten years and she might have forgotten me, that is not important. What is important here is that I stopped lying because of her feeling bad about it. We connected effortlessly and she changed me a little in the time we had together. I believe this is what happens to us naturally. There is a time to lie and a time to tell the truth. I had been telling a lot of lies until I met her and after that one incident, I stopped lying altogether.
I won’t say it has changed my life for the good of it. But, it has made me brave to face the mess I create all the time. Nowadays, I clearly express myself, state my opinion and feel good about it. After ten years of being truthful to myself, I think this is the best that could have happened in any case.