A luxury car came and stopped with a stony creek by a popcorn seller. Mr. Roy lifting his glasses to his forehead slowly alighted from his car. Popcorn had been his all time weakness. He walked up to the small boy who was deeply focused in popping corn at the same time saving himself from being burnt with his shield.
There was already a collection of boys and girls, men and women around him. The child who must not have been more than ten to twelve years old was indeed multi-tasking. From frying popcorn to packing and collecting money – everything was done meticulously and accurately by the young lad. Mr. Roy stood a little afar and mused, “This boy can become the star of India of tomorrow.”
When Mr. Roy got his turn, the sun had already sunk into its sleepy abode. In the semi-darkness, the dark faced child was beyond recognition. Mr. Roy asked him to make fresh popcorn for him. Without looking at the customer, the child got busy with his work. The calculations as Mr. Roy observed danced on his lips. There was no mistake with weighing to charging from his customers. Mr Roy found interest in this talented lad. He chose to ask him a few questions concerning his family background which he answered curtly.
Let me introduce Mr. Roy to my readers. Mr. Roy, a leading industrialist of Mumbai had opened an institution where he sheltered children from financially weak background and had been rearing them over years as successful professionals. His sole mission in life was to rear the under privileged children hailing from small hamlets. The media persons captured Roy a number of times for his rare taste. Usually people give in their life for creating their assets. How many people are there who dedicate their lives for the sake of such budding talents? Once a radio jockey in one of the interviews asked him how could he manage the finance in rearing those children who were born in neglected society of India. Mr Roy very artfully had said that if God wishes a work to be in process, no agent can terminate it. Roy expressed his gratitude towards the Governor and the Chief Minister since the education and the expenses for the meals were taken care of. Besides for this herculean marathon, the Government had also granted him a car, a residential school building that deserves repair and a decent salary at the end of the month. Roy was so obsessed with his young mates that his time was easily spent in teaching ,playing and interacting with them. He had no qualms that he could not find a life partner for himself. It is not that he had never come across anyone in life. But as ill luck would have it, his first love Suchhanda died in a road accident. This caused a severe set back in his life. Roy had badly broken. He had lost all taste of life.
After some years when Roy struggled to overcome the looming loss of his life ,a small child came at his door to beg for alms. The child according to Roy was not an ordinary child. On being questioned the child stated that he was an orphan. He stayed with his aunt who used to devise ways and means to inflict pain to him. That was the day when Roy found his new objective of life. He sheltered the destitute and treated him with care. He also educated him to the best of his means. The young boy responded to every effort Roy took for him. Just as one success leads to another, Roy’s search for such needy children continued. Soon Roy became the cynosure of all attraction in Lucknow. Some affluent people generously contributed for Roy’s institute thereby whitening their black money. In a way Roy never had to look back or retreat from his mission since money kept flowing in.
This time he decided to pick this hunt who seemed to be amazingly different from all the children he had ever come across. Roy contemplated whether he has enough place in the residential complex to accommodate this new child. Besides he was not sure whether the child would agree to come along with him leaving his parents.
Mr. Roy asked the boy his name. The reply came in a faint tone, “Chhotu.”
“Want to study?”
“NO!”, came the reply.
“No desire of moving in cars and sleeping on soft beds?”
Slowly Chhotu looked into his interrogator’s face. By now darkness had swept over him. Only his glasses were twinkling under the starry sky. Chhotu nodded in consent.
That evening Chhotu packed up his paraphernalia a little early, loaded them on the rear seat of the car. There was a dream of the unknown in Chhotu’s eyes. The car shot through a maze of narrow roads. Finally, parking the car at an immense distance, both walked hand in hand talking like old friends. By now, Chhotu had already started chalking his future and ways to translate the despicable condition of the family. Back home, Chhotu’s mother was found ill, pasted to bed, father drunk and his elder sister Rani who did the entire runabouts. Roy was shocked to see this. Will his search go in vain? The man of the house looked at him questioningly with unsteady glance.
Leaving Mr. Roy’s clasp, Chhotu ran up to his mother’s bedstead. A noxious whiff struck Mr. Roy’s nostrils that instigated him to run away but he stood there firm as a rock. From his wallet he pulled out Rs. 5000. The young eyes of Rani almost popped out from their sockets at the sight of the new currency notes.”So many green notes!” Mr. Roy thrust all the money in the young girl’s hand and instructed her to get her mother treated at the best clinic nearby. He also offered further help if needed. In exchange he explained that he would take away Chhotu along with him to hone him and give to the world a jewel. Chhotu’s mother shed a few drops of tears and silently let go his hand. She muttered a faint prayer to God for her child’s well being. The father resisted a little but without much effort, he could be vanquished.
On the way to this new home, Mr. Roy purchased a few pairs of dresses for Chhotu, footwear and other accessories. He gave him a new life. Very soon, Chhotu got over his dialect and tuned himself with the city dwellers. He gelled well with other children in the institute. Chhotu was known for his exceptional talents. He climbed the ladder of success with utmost diligence and perfection. With time, Chhotu became the talk of the town. He graduated from the university with highest score in every subject. A week of pursuing and applying saw Chhotu in a prestigious organization which has its units across the world. Chhotu was no more ‘Chhotu’ now. Long before he was registered as Chandra Shekhar Sharma. After a month’s work, he drew the salary of the Manager of his company. Roy had turned weak by now. The power of his lens increased and his salt and peppered hair offered him a fatherly look.
Holding a suitcase, the transformed Chhotu went to his old house in the hamlet of Mumbai. People around gazed at him for never had they seen a gentleman walking into their noxious zone. Chhotu kept walking till he reached the old door of his tottering house. For a long time, he had no connection with his family. The moment he saw his mother, his heart leapt out for her. He ran and held her in his tight embrace. The lady wriggled in his arms. She seemed quite ill. But soon her dim eyes glowed with contentment and drank delight at her son’s beaming looks of success. Chandra Shekhar was happy to see his father more responsible as a family man now. His sister was married by now. He came to learn that every month for the past ten years Roy had been coming to his parents and had been supporting them with Rs 5000. Chhotu’s eyes filled with tears. his regards fir the gentleman turned manifold. He opened his suitcase, took out a large box of sweets, dresses and a number of accessories for the family. That night, Chhotu slept under the same rude shelter with his parents. A week later, the same ill clad boy gave a new address to his family. Of course, Mr. Roy who was old by now remained an angel and God for him.