• Jesmal Jalal

A simple question

Children are always curious about something. They ask a question so simple, yet

nobody can give a definite answer. Ben was such a child.


“Teacher!” Ben shouted while in the class.

Mrs. Suma raised her eyebrows. “Yes?”

“Who am I?” Ben asked.

The class broke into laughter.

“Silence!” She shouted. “Ben, what do you mean? You are Ben!”

“That’s just a name. I would be me even if my name were Ben or John.”

“Fine. You are a human!” Mrs. Suma, the zoology teacher, remarked and continued

her class. Somehow, Ben felt uneasy in the answer. So he repeated the same question in other courses.

“You are a bunch of molecules,” said the chemistry teacher.

“You are a machine working on physics laws,” said the physics teacher.

“You are a social animal,” the sociology teacher smiled.

“Everything is art. You, my dear boy, is also an art,” remarked the art teacher.

“You are an Indian,” said the geography teacher softly.


Ben was in a pool of confusion. But still, he met the history teacher in the staff room

with the same question. Poor kid! The teacher lectured him on the whole human history

instead of a single sentence answer. And Ben had already lost focus halfway through the

lecture.


Now, you must be thinking that Ben stopped asking after that lecture.

No, he didn’t. And he is going to get the scare of his life.

“That’s an excellent question, Ben!” The philosophy teacher smiled.

“Considering the enormity of this whole universe,” he paused and cried out, “you are

NOTHING!! YOU ARE NOTHING!!!”

And that’s when Ben stopped asking. Instead, he began to think. Swimming in the

vast ocean of confusion, he couldn’t find an island.

“Don’t you have nothing else to think about?” His friends laughed.


He kept on thinking about the question the whole time in the school. After coming

back home, he couldn’t rest.

“What’s the matter?” His mom could see the distress on her son’s face.

Ben elaborated on his dilemma.

“But does that matter?” His mom asked. “It is not that this question would appear on

your exams.”

Ben sighed. “Well, it’s making me uneasy.”

“Then,” she remarked. “Why don’t you ask the Grand Master?”

“The Grand Master?”

“Yeah, he knows everything, from little things to the universal ones,” she explained.

“You can contact him via email.”

Ben’s face was still doubtful. “Okay.”


#


“Mom, I got it.”

Ben held up the mobile phone.

“Dear Ben,

Every answer you heard is correct. People define themselves and others based on

what they think and are taught. Each teacher defined you from their own knowledge.

But the real answer is – you are what you define yourself to be. You can be anything

in this world. Grow up and define yourself.

With love,

The Grand Master.”

“Are you happy now?” she asked her son.

“Yes, I can be whatever I define myself to be.” He said merrily as he left for school.


Sitting in the drawing-room, Ben’s father looked curiously as his son went past the

front gate. He turned towards his wife.

“Is he happy now, dear?”

“Yes, he’s finally convinced at last,” she winked. “Good work!”

He laughed and said, “Nothing convinces people like an unknown entity who knows

everything!”

63 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All