Daniel struck the wall angrily and stormed out. His parents had had a violent
quarrel again and the whole house reflected that. There were things lying all
over the house. It had been like that for the last year and he and his sister,
Karin, had suffered seeing their parents quarrel.
Daniel no longer cared about
what happened at home. School didn't matter and neither did his future. He
smoked a lot these days but that made him feel good, he told himself. His
friends too were like him, from dysfunctional homes and they lived a life that
left them on the streets often. There was no one waiting at home to care anyway!
Daniel remembered the time when the police picked him and his friends up for
being near a robbery scene. They had a rough time at the police station. Another
time they had got into a gang fight. His parents were furious with him when they
were informed about it. His father had hardly spoken a word to him while his
mother had wailed. Tears didn't move Daniel any more.
He remembered the many days when he had cried to himself hearing their
violent quarrels and wondered if he was to blame. Karin too used to hide in her
room until the storm of words was over. She had wanted to be a doctor once and
Daniel had wanted to be a pilot. Now, they may remain only dreams.
Daniel saw his neighbour, Rob, dragging his feet to school. Rob was disabled
and had been given up for adoption at a young age. His foster parents adored him
and gave him love and attention. They talked to him and took him for extra
classes but they didn't pamper or spoil him. He was expected to do chores at
home and work hard at school. His foster father had told him that he had to
start his work earlier and work harder if he was to cope with the rest of the
students at school.
Daniel made up his mind. He realised that he was tired of all that he was
going through. Totally miserable about his family conditions, he decided to talk
to Rob's father, Mr Pattinson. He told him his problems. Mr Pattinson listened
quietly and asked a few questions. Then, he spoke to Daniel and in his calm
voice, advised him, 'Your parents are going through some bad times but they do
love you. There are many other people who love you too. So it is your duty to do
something for yourself. You are special and unique, just like our Rob. Go ahead
and make a good life so that you can reach out to others.
When you make mistakes, remember some good will come out of it too. You learn
from your mistakes and trials and troubles make you strong and resilient. Don't
be frightened by them. Remember that the bad times will pass. They say that when
life hands you a lemon, ask for sugar. Make the best of a bad situation rather
than make it worse. You are not the only one with a problem. There are a
millions of people who are a million times worse off than you!
Don't rely on friends -- not all are good. Drop the friends who make you do
bad things. You are intelligent enough to know what is right or wrong and stay
away from bad influences. If friends lead you to harmful things, they can't be
thinking of your best interests. Move on, Daniel. Help your sister too in the
process. If you are supportive, she too can achieve her ambition. Not all
successful people come from wonderful and loving homes. Using a broken home as
an excuse not to make something out of your life is weak. I will help you in
whatever way I can but everything lies in your hands.' Daniel looked long and
hard at Mr Pattinson, tears finally returning to his eyes.