Mrs Sudha Murthy is a philanthropist, an educator, and a social worker. Mr. Narayan Murthy, the founder of Infosys, is her spouse. Her essay on Hassan’s attendance problem explains the repercussions of not taking things seriously and not working and not believing in the importance of learning. Through this chapter, she aims to explain that working just for the sake of grades or wealth will take one nowhere. She describes it with the classic example of Hassan, a student who would skip a lot of her lessons.

Hassan, Bright But Lacks Discipline!

Sudha Murthy, the narrator, was a computer science professor who taught students pursuing Masters in Computer Applications at an institution in Bangalore. Among all the students that she came across, one of them stands out to her as being significantly different from the rest.

Hassan is a tall, attractive boy with an excellent memory, according to her. He was the only son in an opulent household. Sudha didn’t notice him in class at first since he didn’t show up that often. He would only show up for class tests or exams. Sudha had only one reason to meet him, which was for discussing his shortage of attendance. He would always push her to grant attendance in such a way that would become difficult for her to refuse. He would constantly say that starting the next semester, he would attend all of her classes. ‘To err is human, to forgive is divine,’ he said, using Sudha’s own teaching.

Sudha, on the other hand, was very sweet at heart. She stated that while professors are frustrated with students who are not punctual with their attendance, if the shortage has no impact on their final test grade, their hearts melt like snow against the sun. Hassan would always obtain a first in the exam since he was such a bright student. However, every semester, just before the start of the tests, the drama would continue. Hassan promised her again that he would attend classes on a regular basis and improve his attendance record.

Sudha became tired of the stories and called his parents one day. She explained to them that their kid is a tardy despite his academic abilities. She asks his parents to look into the situation and try to get him to attend more lectures. However, Hassan’s father seemed unconcerned and negligent about this, saying that as long as his son is doing well in tests, he won’t bother trying to get him to go to class.

Hassan’s mother, on the contrary, was in tears. She admitted to feeling guilty for not being a good mother. She admitted to feeling helpless. Hassan’s mother informed the narrator that her son would spend the entire night listening to music and chatting with a friend. He would wake up at 6 a.m. after a good night’s sleep. As a result, he wasn’t able to make it to class on time. 

Earning Money Isn’t The Most Important Thing In Life

Hassan’s parents got embroiled in a dispute as a result of this conversation. ‘You are the mother, and it is your obligation to correct him because I am already so busy,’ his father told his mother. ‘You’ve made a serious mistake.’

‘You are the father, and it is tough to handle boys,’ Hassan’s mother responds. ‘You may have a one-on-one conversation with him. Money isn’t the most important thing in life.’

Sudha’s conversation with Hassan’s parents did not go as planned. Hassan went about his life as usual, obtaining a first-class grade and passing the course. He even came up to Sudha and conveyed his thanks for granting him attendance and allowing him to sit for the tests.

Hassan was out of college for several years. Sudha’s secretary came to her one day and informed her that someone was waiting for her. The man that was waiting for her was roughly 35 years old, obese, and bald. He was holding the CD containing the software. Sudha decided to see him, but she didn’t recognize him at first. When the guy realized this, he said, “From a window you can see the outside world, but from the outside you cannot see all that is inside.” Sudha was now certain that he was one of her students, as she frequently used this phrase in her lectures.

Even when she couldn’t place him, the man claimed to be her class’s perpetual latecomer. She recognized him as Hassan and greeted him at that moment.

Hassan Learns His Lesson

She was well aware that all of his classmates had progressed in life. Hassan, she thought, may have done well in his life as well. But, to her shock, he was working as a door-to-door salesman for high school software. Hassan confessed to the narrator that he was a bit of a loose cannon in college. Even after graduation, the same habit endured. He was a procrastinator who used to get up late. His mother was angry, but she never bothered him. He got a job, but he kept his old habits of arriving late to work and not being disciplined. 

Sudha urged Hassan not to be disappointed. She told him that even if you lose a battle, you can always win a war.

She remarked that nothing is out of the question. She went on to say that excellence was earned through work rather than accident. Hearing this, Hassan’s eyes twinkled. He walked away from her with a sincere commitment to change his behaviour this time. Sudha didn’t see Hassan again after that, but she says she wants to see him again and find him happy and successful.