By Rajan Narayan

WHEN you are admitted to the first standard in a primary school you have equal opportunity with students of your class. You have equal opportunity with primary students of all the schools in your state. It is true, that in government schools you may not get as many facilities as in convent schools.
Similarly, you may not get the facilities that you may get in so called international schools like Sharada Mandir in ordinary convent schools. In Bengaluru where I studied, there was the St Joseph’s Indian high school for kids from poor families and the St Joseph’s European high school for the rich kids.
What you achieve entirely depends on you. Not everyone can be good at studies. But you can add value to your life by shining in other areas. If you are good at sports you can still build a name for yourself in the school, in your home state and country. The Don Bosco school in Panaji has always promoted sports and admitted students who have a talent for sports.
If you have a passion for music follow it through. We are aware of the son of top Tata executive, Ajay Kumar. Ajay’s son was obsessed with football. Their parents did not force him to study physics, chemistry and mathematics. They admitted him to the Sesa Football Academy. In Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil, there are hundreds of football schools. You are imparted basic education but the focus is on football. At the age of 16 years if you show enough talent you are hired as a professional footballer on a regular salary. The all-time great Pele is a product of a football academy.
You can sing for your supper. If you have an aptitude for music follow your passion. We know a young girl who was obsessed by her sitar right from childhood. Her father is a software engineer who recognized her talent. He allowed her to devote all her time to learning, practicing and playing and sitar; her parents kept admitting her to the best music centers wherever they moved, even in places like Puducherry.
Inevitably, the young girl landed up as a student of AR Rahman. She is now part of the AR Rahman orchestra and plays professionally around the world.
Before Liberation, there were very few schools in Goa. There were not many job opportunities. But every church in Goa had a choir. And the choirs trained musicians. They taught you to play the organ, the saxophone and the drums. A lot of Goan young men got very good jobs in the police and military bands.
The largest number of musicians in the Hindi film industry were Goans, like Anthony Gonsalves, Brace Gonsalves, Lorna Cordeiro and Chris Perry. Remo Fernandes is an architect who made a career in pop music.
There is a very charming story of the caterpillar and the butterfly. If you go to any garden you will see a group of caterpillars trying to climb a small mound of mud. The caterpillars will push and fight each other to get to the top of the mountain. A female caterpillar and her boyfriend were among those trying to climb to the top. The young female caterpillar who got tired took a break.
In another part of the garden, she saw a caterpillar building a cocoon. She looked carefully and asked the fellow caterpillar what she was doing. The caterpillar replied that she was in the process of transforming herself into a butterfly.
All of us can transform ourselves from caterpillars to butterflies. You have to take the initiative.

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