Vikram Betal Stories - No Admission!

 No Admission!

The vampire went on: Ramachandra of Shripur was respectable and well to do villager. His wife died leaving one child behind, a boy named Sudarshan. Ramachandra took great care to bring up the child properly. He followed such ideals which he expected his son to follow. He never uttered a lie. He refrained from any habit that he did not consider healthy for Sudarshan. With great patience, he explained to Sudarshan all matters in which the boy showed some curiosity. Sudarshan went to school. He learnt his lessons with attention and retained them in his memory. He proved himself intelligent and sweet-natured. He was kind towards his playmates. If any of them was rude to him, he did not retort but kept quiet. When Sudarshan finished his study in the village school, Ramachandra decided to admit him in a famous school in the town, known as the Model Academy. This school was founded by a great educationist, Acharya Vijay Dev. The Acharya was no more, but his sons and grandsons ran the Academy. So great was the reputation of the institution that any student who studied there to the end was assured of high posts in the royal service. Ramachandra had a deep reverence for Vijay Dev. He resolved to donate five thousand coins to the institution. He collected the necessary amount and got ready to set out for the town, with Sudarshan. But, as fate would have it, he suddenly took ill. Their journey was postponed. Ramachandra hoped that he will recover from his illness soon. But days passed and his condition turned worse. Even the foremost physician of the region failed to cure him.

The physician called his teacher, an old man who had retired to a hermitage. This old physician too did his best, even then there was no improvement in Ramachandra's condition. Ramachandra felt extremely depressed. His dream of getting his son admitted to the Model Academy got shattered. Sudarshan, of course, was continuously attending upon him and was consoling him, but he remained sad. There was a successful merchant in the village who visited Ramachandra often. He sat by his bedside and spoke to him of the principles of commerce. Sudarshan put questions to him. In the process, he learnt a lot about commerce. "Your son should study commerce," the merchant told Ramachandra. Among Ramachandra's well-wishers was a musician. The musician visited his sick friend from time to time and sang for the patient's benefit. "Why don't you learn to sing from my friend?" Ramachandra asked Sudarshan. Sudarshan was ready to do his father's bidding. He picked up the art of singing very fast. "If you admit Sudarshan to the Model Academy, let him learn music there," the musician suggested to Ramachandra. Meanwhile, Sudarshan was listening with great interest to the discussion between the two physicians. They had diagnosed Ramachandra's disease to be a rare one. They prepared medicine according to the prescription in an old book. But the medicine did not work. One day Sudarshan politely asked them, "Could it be that in this context the prescription refers to Neem leaves?" The surprised physicians read the old text once again and realised that what Sudarshan said was true.

They had failed to understand the old text properly. Now they prepared the medicine accordingly. Ramachandra showed signs of improvement overnight. The fact that his son had hit upon the right medicine gave him great satisfaction. That speeded up his process of recovery. He got back his health in a month. "Rama, you must train your son to become a physician. My cousin, Sumath, is the head of the department of medicine at the Model Academy. I can write to him recommending Sudarshan," the elder physician told Ramachandra. At last Ramachandra and Sudarshan were ready to proceed to the town. The headmaster of the village school who came to see them off, said, "Ramachandra, Sudarshan ought to study literature. That is the subject in which he can show his merit. My brother-in-law, Dinanath, is in charge of the faculty of literature of the Academy. He will help you." Father and son reached the town in the evening and spent the night in an inn. In the morning they met Sumath. "I'll like my son to study medicine," Ramachandra told him.

"Are you a physician yourself?" asked Sumath. "No," replied Ramachandra. "Was your father a physician?" "No." "Your grandfather?" "I'm afraid, no!" Sumath's lips got curled in derision. "How do you expect your son to fit into our section when none of his forefathers was a physician? Don't be so ambitious. Go and enrol him for commerce. He can earn his livelihood through some business." They went to the gentleman in charge of the commerce department. He said sternly, "A boy born and brought up in a village should not aspire to study commerce. It is different with town boys. They are exposed to the commercial atmosphere!" They went to the gentleman in charge of the music section. "Music is not literature that anybody can learn it!" commented the man. Then he hummed a song without paying any more attention to the visitors. Ramachandra and Sudarshan went to Dinanath. Since he was a relation of their village headmaster, they told him all about their experience. "Those who come to study literature because they find no place in any other section, have no place in our section either. You should have met me first if you were truly interested in literature!" said Dinanath. 

They were tired. On hearing everything from Ramachandra, the inn-keeper said to him, "All you have to do is contribute five hundred or a thousand coins to the management. They will straight away admit the boy to any department of your choice. Tell me if you are prepared. I will get the boy admitted in no time." Ramachandra nodded but said nothing. In the morning he and Sudarshan got ready to leave for their home. "Can't you afford five hundred or a thousand?" asked the inn-keeper. "No," said Ramachandra. "Don't you know that a student of the Model Academy can get any good job?" Ramachandra kept quiet. Then both father and son left for their village. The vampire paused for a moment and then asked the king Vikram in a challenging tone, "O King, we know that Ramachandra was prepared to donate five thousand for the institution. Why then did he back out? Why did he deprive Sudarshan of higher education? Answer me, if you can. Should you keep mum despite your knowledge of the answer, your head would roll off your neck!" Forthwith answered King Vikram, "Ramachandra was willing to donate five thousand out of his free will. 

He was not ready to give even one coin out of compulsion. His respect for the Model Academy was gone when he found that nobody was willing to examine the merit of the candidate. Their judgement was whimsical." "Ramachandra had no intention of securing a good job for his son. What he wanted was true education for his boy. He realised that the Model Academy was no longer the ideal institution for education, though it was good for making a career. "Sudarshan had a knack for learning things spontaneously. One who had that quality, the whole world could become the school for him. So, Sudarshan had no need for admission into the Academy." No sooner had the king concluded his answer than the vampire gave him the slip.