It was the first day of the year. The students were excited to be in the new class. Manoj was one of the students in the class. He, like all others, had been promoted to the 9th grade. He was a very intelligent and hardworking student. In the class, he used to sit in the first row and was attentive in all his classes. His friend Ramesh, though intelligent, was playful and mischievous in class. He was an average student.
Soon, the class teacher entered the class and the students stood up to greet her. She was a young lady who looked kindly at the students. After the introduction was over, the teacher started with the lessons right away. The first class of the day was Maths. Maths was Manoj’s favourite subject. Manoj would solve the problems faster than anyone else. He knew almost all the formulae and knew when to apply them. The teacher was happy to see such an intelligent boy in class. She praised Manoj in front of everybody.
Ramesh, however, did not concentrate in class. He spent most of his time daydreaming. He formed a group of friends who were like him. He would play with those friends in the evening when Manoj would be studying. Soon, his studies were affected. The teacher noticed that Ramesh was not performing well and pointed it out to him. But, Ramesh did not listen.
Soon, the term exams came. Manoj stood first in almost all the subjects. The teachers were proud of him. Ramesh did not perform well. He failed in many subjects. The class teacher, who had earlier warned Ramesh was angry at him. The teacher scolded him in front of the whole class. Ramesh was sullen and depressed for over a week.
Manoj tried to help his friend. He talked to Ramesh. He offered to sit with him and help him in the difficult topics. But Ramesh was not interested. He went back to his playful ways and loitered about with his friends.
His performance fell even worse in the next exam. Gradually, Ramesh began to feel jealous of Manoj. He hated to see all the teachers praise him. All the boys in class looked up to him as a leader. He felt left out of the class. Soon, the friendship between Manoj and Ramesh grew cold. Manoj noticed the change in his friend and tried to sort out the issues. But Ramesh did not respond. He was happy with his new set of friends – boys like him who did not study well and played all the time.
Ramesh grew even more jealous of Manoj when he was made the class leader. All the students clapped when the teacher made the announcement but not Ramesh. Ramesh felt angry at the teacher and his classmates. He felt all the more angry and alone when he failed in all the subjects in the next exam. The teacher and the school principal were disappointed at his performance.
Ramesh came to school the next day with a long face. All his classmates began to avoid him. He felt all the more jealous of Manoj when someone praised him. One day an evil idea came to his mind. Rahul was a boy who sat next to Manoj. Rahul’s was from a rich family. Ramesh decided to put his wicked plan into action. The next day was Wednesday. Every Wednesday, the boys had a session on physical education. They would have to go to the playground to perform some exercises.
The next day, the boys left the class to go to the play ground. Ramesh, deliberately, waited until the other boys had gone. He then crept across the classroom to where Rahul was sitting. Ramesh had planned to take Rahul’s wallet and to hide it in Manoj’s schoolbag. When Rahul would find his bag missing, he would tell the teacher, a search would be organized and the wallet would be found in Manoj’s bag. Manoj would be called a thief, humiliated and shunned by everyone. That was what Ramesh wanted.
Ramesh crept across the classroom. He checked to see if anyone was looking. He opened Rahul’s bag and took out his wallet. He then went to Manoj’s bag opened it and was about to put it in his bag when Manoj entered the class room. The sports teacher had asked him to fetch a register from the cupboard. Manoj was shocked to see what had been done. He was angry. Ramesh was shocked that he had been exposed. He knew that Manoj was the class leader and could haul him up before the school teacher and the principal. His future would be ruined if the school were to expel him.
Ramesh broke into tears and confessed to everything he had planned. He begged Manoj to forgive him and not to tell anyone of what he had seen. Manoj embraced Ramesh. “I have always thought of you as my friend”, he said, “I forgive you”. Ramesh felt ashamed of himself. He put the wallet back in Rahul’s bag. Manoj made Ramesh sit with him the front bench and helped him in his studies. Soon, Ramesh’s grades began to improve. Ramesh came to admire Manoj even more and the two boys became good friends once again.
Children, this story tells us about the damage jealousy can cause to friendship. We should always love our friends and be happy at their successes. This story also teaches us to be forgiving when our friends wrong us.