There is this young 15 or so year old lad who comes every morning to my gym. I vividly remember the first time I saw him. Frail, thin, lanky, he seemed to me like someone who can be blown away by a mere breeze. Always quiet, submerged in his own thought pool, he would never even twitch a smile to people around him. There was always something intriguing about him. And today, his unfortunate deed became a dose of entertainment for people working out at the gym.
So this guy had been stealing money from bags of other members under the pretext of changing in the men’s changing room. During the last few weeks, lot of men had complained to the gym authorities about money being mysteriously gone missing from bags. Finally after a huge amount was stolen from a member’s bag, he threatened to take strict action. That’s when the gym management installed like a secret camera (which are there in the gym premises) that would cover the area inside the changing room and the poor lad was caught stealing yet another time.
He was reprimanded today for his immoral behaviour but refused to budge. He stood stone cold with his face baring no emotion, whatsoever. Later, his brother was summoned (who also works out in the same gym) and he is the sweetest gentleman that one might ever interact with. It was shocking to discover that this boy is his brother. The brother was utterly guilty, also ended up bursting out in tears on behalf of his younger brother committing an unforgivable mistake.
It was sad to see what was unfolding in front of me. People who were being mere spectators at their expense were having fun commenting and passing unruly judgements. They were saying things like “oh look at the elder brother! So simple and sweet and this guy! Bloody thief!” And then others were appalled at the stark difference in behaviour inspite of the same upbringing. Sometimes, it isn’t the upbringing. Nobody is born corrupt or a thief. It’s about your innate ability to ward off external temptations, which will arise in different settings around you at different times.
As a society, we in general, have such unforgettable nature that no matter what, now whenever the boy or his elder brother comes to the gym or are even seen somewhere else, people will don their favourite judgemental hats and pass comments as if it is their right. Life would have been so much simpler had people just learnt to let go. It was an unfortunate deed indeed and the young boy will learn his life lessons, when the right time comes. He shouldn’t be scrutinised time and again for one wrong act. I think his silence was not a sign of rebelliousness but the way it was put across to him. Like hundreds of people pounding on him at once, hoping for him to own up and validate their accusations. I’m sure he would have owned up and apologised had it been tackled wisely without turning this into an act of public embarrassment. He was wrong and should have been rightly punished so but not in a way that I saw. And under no circumstances, should the family be held responsible for his act. It isn’t their fault and they shouldn’t bear someone else’s guilt on their shoulders.
Sometimes, all it takes is one action to either make a difference or propel a series of cascading events.