Chapter 5: Rising above the Horizon

Rising above the Horizon

Rising above the Horizon

The weather was gloomy. When Dad saw tears in Gopal’s eyes, he felt sympathetic and began to console him. He said, “Don’t worry, my hero. This is just a test. You’ll shine in the final exam, won’t you? Everyone faces failure at least once in their life. It’s not guaranteed that everyone succeeds every time. The important thing is that you’ve realized this.”

Gopal left the hostel after spending four challenging months there due to the unfavorable learning environment. He decided to take tuition classes at his school and completely transformed himself. He made a conscious effort to eliminate bad habits and distractions. His dedication to his studies was unwavering. However, one obstacle remained – his love for sleep.

Dad used to advise him, “Wake up early and study with a fresh mind. It’ll help you remember things better.” Getting Gopal out of bed was a daily struggle. Dad, my younger brother Chanas, and I would resort to creative tactics. We’d sing loudly, sometimes pinching, or even playfully tossing things near his ears. It became a fun ritual, although it often took all our efforts to raise him.

Once, our Grandfather had shared an interesting fact about Gopal. He said, “Gopal was born at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s why he feels so drowsy in the mornings.” It was a revelation, shedding light on Gopal’s perpetual morning grogginess. Days filled with nightmares, struggles, hunger and sleepless nights were passed. Day by day final SLC exam was coming nearer and nearer. As the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams finally approached, Gopal was determined. He gave it his all during the exams. Dad would anxiously inquire about how the exams went. Gopal would grin and reply, “Piece of cake. I attempted everything, but time ran out for a few questions.” This happened in few of his exams.

Dad was curious about whether Gopal’s exams everyday. Dad was more nervous than Gopal about the each exam papers. Dad said, “I can help you if you’re struggling, but you must pass honestly.” However, Gopal firmly responded, “No, I won’t cheat. I want to pass on my own merit. I won’t compromise my integrity. I’ll do my best.”

Exams were finished within 10 days. The results were supposed to come after 3 months. Gopal went to India in search or work, explore new places beside Nepal and know the value of education. He found a work in a restaurant where worked as cashier. His level of English, computer skills, determination and his capacity to get engaged with new people let him explore this opportunity in Gujrat, India.

Gopal’s commitment bore fruit when the SLC results were declared three months later. You will be surprised to know the final results. He had not only passed but secured first division with an impressive 75.78%. To everyone’s astonishment, he also stood second in his school. The top scorer had secured 76%. Gopal soon realized that a bit more effort could have placed him at the top of his school.

Rising above the Horizon was never easy for us.

No one could ever believe that Gopal, who had always dreamed of dancing and acting, who had been initially chosen among those students deemed unlikely to pass SLC, and who hailed from a humble background, had achieved the position of second in his school. His principal was both nervous and surprised at Gopal’s accomplishment. Gopal had surprised not only his principal, teachers, friends, relatives but also high-caste students who were accustomed to ranking second or third in their classes.

A remarkable picture hangs at J.P. School, capturing the graduating class of 2067. Surprisingly, Gopal stands in between two high-caste Brahmin students. His image in the photograph serves as a symbol of the possibilities that lie beyond societal boundaries, actually rising above the horizon is hard but not impossible. Gopal’s achievement made headlines, featuring on television and in newspapers for several days. The story of his success became an example for the new generations to come, inspiring others to study, work hard, believing yourself and reach your dreams on your own.

Our family was filled with cheer and enthusiasm, while some of our neighbors couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy. Dad and our family members, on the other hand, were immensely proud. Dad believed that providing an education was the right decision. Initially, he had prayed and thanked God for his older son’s success, and tears of joy welled up in his eyes. He felt better able to communicate to others that his son had passed the SLC with distinction. He could proudly declare that his son was extraordinary, regardless of their low-caste background.

With this news of excellent result, Gopal decided to come back to Nepal, at his home. After returning from India, Gopal was excited to distribute sweets once again. This time, he shared his joy with the entire school. His experiences in India had broadened his horizons, and he aspired to become a technician. He met amazingly talented people in India where he lived and worked. Gopal had decided to study computer hardware engineering in India, drawn by the availability of advanced resources and practical-oriented education.

Dad supported Gopal’s aspirations and enrolled him in Bhairabsthan Higher Secondary Government School, specializing in commerce. Gopal embarked on his journey to India, accompanied by our uncle, to pursue his passion for computer studies. However, some people questioned the decision, wondering why Gopal hadn’t been admitted to a boarding school in Nepal for science since he has got excellent result. After all, he had achieved excellent marks. Yet, they were unaware of the financial constraints that limited our choices. So he decided to study 20 months long Computer Hardware Networking Course in Ahemdabad instead of 3 years Computer Diploma Course.

Years passed, and my father’s circumstances changed. He now travels to India for work because it became challenging to sustain our needs and support Gopal’s education. My mother diligently manages our household expenses, including food, electricity, and other necessities, while working at the shop. Gopal was still studying Computer Hardware Networking Course in India, and his journey continues. His love for dance and acting remains undiminished, alongside his dream of becoming a hardware technician.

As for the rest of our family, my brother Binod is currently in the 10th grade, anxiously preparing for his SLC exams. Chanas is diligently studying in the 8th grade at J.P. School, and Megraj was making his way through the 2nd grade. I was fortunate to be studying at Kopila Valley School in the 7th grade. The support and opportunities I’ve received here have transformed my life as well. While our family’s challenges persist, I receive immense help and support from Maggie, Top uncle, LiBbi, Grandfather, and all the teachers and volunteers at Kopila Valley.

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