April Fool A
And what a chase it led to!
hree years is a long period of time. Particularly when a mother is waiting for her lost son. A son whom she had reared very fondly with her husband, Umesh. Today Mumbai Police had shown her a profile picture of Avinash to confirm whether he was his son or not. Seeing the picture, she had recognised him at once. How can a mother fail to recognise her son? She used to abuse social media for wasting time of people. But today, for the first time, she became thankful to social media as it has discovered a way to find her son.
But it was not so pleasant from the very beginning. Early in the morning, her friend Sharda had befooled her – “You know, Rama, there is a severe accident on the railway track, hundreds of people have died and many more hurt.”
“Where? How?” she screamed poignantly.
“Ha…...ha…... April foooooool…..rama……ha… ha…ha… How was my acting?” Sharda tweeted in joy at succeeding in making a fool of her friend.
She did not like it. “We should not think of such a dreadful situation. Never play such acts with me or she resentfully disconnected the telephone.
fter only two or three hours there was a call again, “Hello I am Shinde from Mumbai Police, we have traced your son. We will send a picture on your mobile. Please confirm whether it is your son or not.” “April fool? Do you want to befool me? Don’t you have the sense that such a cruel joke should not be cracked on a hapless mother?” She scolded the caller.
“Please listen to me. I am not kidding. Incidentally today is 1st April. But we have traced your son and want to confirm whether our mission is successful or not.”
She was sceptical about someone kidding. But after some minutes a picture was sent on her mobile and certainly it was Avinash. Of course, he had grown a little more. His moustache had become thicker and his face had been losing the abstract of adolescence
But why had Avinash walked out without saying anything? A big question was haunting her mind. And even when he joined a company as a truck driver he would have informed his parents. She tried to solve the conundrum. She was recalling everything from the birth of Avinash to find the answer of this question… “Hello, I am Shinde from Mumbai Police, we have traced your son. We will send a picture on your mobile. Please confirm whether it is your son or not.” “April fool? Do you want to befool me? Don’t you have the sense that such a cruel joke should not be cracked on a hapless mother?”
and gaining a glimpse of a man.
“Yes, his is my son, Avinash,” she responded to the message with trembling fingers.
“Okay, we will contact you soon. He has started working as a truck driver and is presently in Gujarat for transporting a load. He was expected to return in two days as per the transport company’s information. Please come the day after tomorrow to the transport company office. I will send the address of the company through SMS.” Again a call was received from Mumbai Police.
wo days was proving to be greater than the three years that she had spent recalling her son. It was very hard to spend time. Her heart was full of joy, she will go to the transport office after two days with her husband. Not after two days, she will go only tomorrow and stay there. She doesn’t want to miss the chance of meeting her lost son.
But why had Avinash walked out without saying anything? A big question was haunting her mind. And even when he joined a company as a truck driver he would have informed his parents. She tried to solve the conundrum. She was recalling everything from the birth of Avinash to find the answer of this question…
Avinash was born on 5 September 1998. She and her husband Umesh were very happy, particularly the day he was born on impelled him to make his son an engineer. He himself had tried to become an engineer but could not due to lack of money. He had planned to make his son an engineer. And the day on which he was born was the birthday or Mr Visvesvaraya, the great engineer which was celebrated as Engineers Day all over the country. Although most of the people know it as teacher’s day only but being an aspirant of engineering he was aware of this fact.
Right from the beginning Umesh tried to instill in him an interest in engineering. He bought such toys that were meant to enhance engineering skill in infants and children. But Avinash was only interested in toy cars. He used to play with different vehicle toys – cars, lorries, buses etc – and did not take any interest in those toys which Umesh wanted him to be interested in.
“You must become an engineer,” Umesh used to say.
“No, dad, I will drive a car and tour the entire country, from Kashmir to Kanykumari and from Porbandar to Silchar,” Avinash used to reply boasting of his knowledge of geography.
“Okay, baba, when you become an engineer you will buy a car and drive yourself touring the entire country,” Umesh used to redirect him towards engineering. But all this was in his childhood. When he turned adolescent, he did not oppose the idea of becoming an engineer. His manners and upbringings did not allow him to oppose the wish of his father. But by heart he was not inclined to the engineering profession. On the contrary, he disliked engineering. Particularly as he had heard of many persons in relations’ and friends’ circles of his family doing jobs for 10 to 15 thousand rupees in big cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai and living a miserable life.
n tenth class, he secured less marks in science subjects compared to arts and literature. Seeing his marks, all schools asked him to quit science subjects and study arts or commerce. Avinash himself was eager to go with arts or commerce because he did not find science subjects interesting. At the same time, no good school was interested in giving him admission in the science stream. But Umesh did not like the idea of his going with arts or commerce streams and he anyhow managed to enroll him in the science stream in an average ranked school.
The result of the twelfth was the same. But he was compelled to fill up the forms for engineering entrance tests. His position was far behind. What to talk about national or state level institutes even other colleges expressed their inability to enroll him.
Ultimately, he got admission in a newly opened engineering college in South India which was yet to be recognised by any university. Fortunately, the college got recognition in a few months and he cleared the first semester exam. But in the second semester, just after the exam, he was not traceable. His mobile was switched off and none of his friends could tell where he had gone. When results of the econd semester were declared he had failed in two subjects. However, there was a provision to clear it at a later semester.
Every relative were
informed. An FIR was lodged with the police station but there was no trace of Avinash. Whenever there was any news of an unidentified youth’s death her heart started beating imagining an ominous plight. Both Umesh and Rama visited film cities of Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai thinking he would have been attracted to this glamorous world. Also, they had gone to pilgrimage centres thinking he would have turned a sadhu.
Gradually they lost hope of seeing their son. But thanks to the anti-human traffic team, they searched for their son.
n third April they were in the office of Dashmesh Transport Company. Avinash was expected to come by 4 in the evening as he had communicated to the company.
Umesh and Rama were very excited as well as anxious. It was five past four but Avinash had not arrived. Had he come to know that they are waiting for him and due to this he had gone elsewhere? Rama Devi got nervous. Her blood pressure got high. Umesh consoled her – there is huge traffic nowadays, they should not lose our heart.
“If he absconds from here where will we find him?” Rama was about to cry. Tears welled up on her eyes.
“Just a minute I am enquiring with them, be patient,” Umesh consoled her.
mesh requested the transport company employee to check what the matter was. He after having a talk with Avinash over the mobile informed him that he had entered the city and will be here within half an hour. Due to heavy traffic he was stuck.
As and when Avinash came to office he was informed by the supervisor that some persons were waiting for him.
“Who?” Avinash asked surprised.
“I don’t know who they are. There are waiting in the waiting lounge. Go and see,” the supervisor replied with a mysterious smile.
vinash was puzzled. Who may come to meet him? No friend or relative has aware about his whereabouts. Had it been any company employee, the supervisor must have known him.
In great surprise he came to the waiting lounge. He became dumbfounded when saw his parents sitting there. A police inspector was with them. He hesitated for a moment but could not stop himself from hugging his mother as she stood with hers arms open. He touched the feet of both his parents. Tears were brimming from the eyes of the trio. Inspector too got emotional.
“Why? Why did you do it, my son? Can you imagine how helpless we were feeling?” Rama Devi crooned.
“Sorry, mama! But what else could I do? I was afraid I was going to fail in a second semester examination. I am not made of engineering stuff. I could do anything but engineering.”
“Why did not you tell this as boldly as you are saying now?” Umesh asked.
“I did not want to break your heart, dad. I tried my best but could not. Forgive me, dad,” Avinash said timidly.
“That’s okay but escaping was not the right path. I confess I was wrong in imposing my ambition on you. I am now able to understand why you escaped but, after some days, you could have let us know your whereabouts. At least you should have told any of your friends. Now I will not impose my ambition on you. Let us go home,“Umesh said.
“Dad, I have deposited ` three lac from my salary. Just after three months I will deposit another fifty thousand and it will be sufficient for down payment of a truck. I will come home only after having my own truck. Thereafter I will open my transport company. I could not fulfil your dream of becoming an engineer but I will come home becoming a transport operator.”
“Okay I will not compel you to come home, you will escape once again to cause misery to your mom and me. So I will not force you. But you are always welcome in your own home. I will help you in financing and running your transport company.”
“Okay, beta, see you. On 5th September we will celebrate the 20 birth anniversary of our transport operator son. Bye.”
While returning home, Rama was thinking about telephone calls on 1st April. With what an ominous news Sharda has tried to make her an April Fool and as she had received a call just after that from the police official she had reprimanded the officer for playing an April Fool with her. The call that she was supposing to be an April Fool call was in fact a bouquet of flower for her. It was not the English fool, it was the Hindi phul. We