Awakening to others’ problems. Till then I have always seen those young boys as a source of mischief and nuisance. I always maintained a distance from those enemies of peace. The innocent face, big eyes, fair complexion, brown hair, something changed at t
When the dawn gives the world the bliss of new light, a new day, Deepak is like an angel who has stepped down from the heavens, coming out of the darkness as the first ray of the morning sun.
He flashes a dazzling smile, feeding the pigeons, spreading seeds towards a flock of pigeons as a deity is distributing peace and happiness to devotees who bowed at his feet.
There is not even a minute’s delay in their daily routine ever. Even the sun and numerous stars in the universe are not as punctual as these pigeons and he is. I wake up at exactly this hour every morning. Perhaps because I don’t want to miss this vision.
I returned his impish grin as he walked towards me and said, “Good morning, didi”, with an easy familiarity. Our acquaintance goes back ten years. Without a miss I have seen his face every morning. Without this, I believe my day is not complete. “College?” I asked. “Yes!” He turned towards his house but stopped abruptly. “But I can cancel if you are free to help me filling the loan form. Should I come after an hour?”
I nodded. He ran towards his house like a bouncing deer.
I am doing my PHD in History and it is Deepak who helps me write my thesis. He collects books from different libraries when I go to office. Today, he is a helping hand for me, alike my limbs, a part of my life but he was only 10 when I moved into this house. Those days I was a student, a struggler, everything was new, this city, my marriage.
After a few days of my stepping into this house, while putting off dried clothes on the terrace, my sari stuck to me, I was completely hidden inside it trying to come out of it, I heard that sudden laughter.
Till then I have always seen those young boys as a source of mischief and nuisance. I always maintained a distance from those enemies of peace. The innocent face, big eyes, fair complexion, brown hair, something changed at that instant. I
“Now it might,” I announced, as I stood up from the bench. “I am leaving. Help yourself now,” I said sarcastically. “But, didi, I have to submit the fee,” He pleaded.
also smiled back. He offered me some chocolates, took some of my clothes from me and followed me towards my room.
That was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Deepak was living with his
mausi (aunt) in my neighbourhood. He grew as fast as this metro city. I got settled here and got familiarised with each aspect of this city.
One day I overheard him talking to his mausi while walking on the terrace. Their conversation came indistinctly to me.
“Deepak, are you sure you will win this?” “Ya! Pretty sure!” “But how? The competition is too tough, after all, it’s a state-level competition.” “So what? I will do it.” “But who will help you?” As they came to the corner of the terrace and stopped walking, Deepak replied softly,” Didi can. I am sure to get the first prize if she helps.”
My heart soared. As if I had won an award. He is much younger than me yet he is convinced that he will win the first prize with my help. He believed in me. That made me delighted.
“Do you think she has the time for all this? She is busy with her office work and household chores. Don’t bother her,” said his mausi.
But Deepak did not wait to hear what his mausi was saying. He ran inside to fetch his pen and diary.
He came to me but being true I could not really help him as those days I was extremely busy with my office work. I just gave him some books and magazines I had on that topic and a little guidance on how to write the speech. He searched the matter, wrote the speech and won the first prize.
Years passed and Deepak had become part of my life, getting me something from the market, taking care of me when I am not well, celebrating festivals with me when no one else is with me, even amusing me with his funny jokes when I felt sad.
What didn’t he do for me? Trust, respect, love, care, my likes, dislikes affected him so much, my personality assumes a far more attractive shape in front of my eyes.
In spite of all this there was one thing that exasperated me. His 24-hour readiness to help others and going out of the way to do this. I considered it impractical and a waste of time at his age. Going to slums and orphanages to teach children even during his own exams – collecting or begging money from door to door with his friends to help poor hospital patients and skipping his classes for this, arranging food to feed the beggars. He knew that my attitude towards this aspect was different. It is not that I am an unkind person but, according to me, helping each and every person one come across distracts one from achieving a bigger and more important goal and that may not be a permanent solution for others problem.
Deepak has cleared his class 12th exam and got admission to a very good professional institute in Delhi. When he gave me this news I happily became the guarantor of the loan he needed for his fees. Then why is he wasting time in these small things? “Should we start, didi?” I was startled. When did he come? He was ready with pen and loan form. There were spots of oil and
haldi on his white shirt and a folded empty bag in his hands. So that’s why he is so late. In a flash everything fell into place.
“Are you coming from the temple?” I asked abruptly.
He looked up and smiled weakly at me, lowering his eyes again. I was suddenly mad.
How did this boy, who agreed with me on everything differ with me on this subject?
An hour later, when he was about to leave, I told him, “Be ready tomorrow. We will reach the bank on time.” N ext morning, he was sitting next to me on the bench. We reached half an hour early. The bank was not yet open. We were surrounded by a calm and quiet environment. Rose and Jasmine flowers were in full bloom and the chirping of the birds were mesmerising. A gardener was watering the plants in a small garden in front of the bank. Except him there was no one in sight.
“Then, Deepak, why do you always act as a messiah for everyone?” I taunted.
He answered my question with another, “And why don’t you?”
Before I could reply, he said, “Don’t tell me because you think it is a waste of time. That’s an old argument. It doesn’t hold anymore. Even the great saints tell doing something for others gives us peace of mind.”
I had always wanted to get him to reason out his belief but today, I decided to adopt a different strategy.
“I don’t know, but the thought to help strangers
His 24- hour readiness to help others and going out of the way to do this. I considered it impractical and a waste of time at his age. Going to slums and orphanages to teach children even during his own exams.