Thursday, August 20, 2009

Superhero

"Welcome Ravi, Welcome Mr. Gupta"
Mr. Narrottam Gupta felt proud as Mr. Lalwani; the ex-class teacher of Ravi greeted them. As the entire hall stood up and clapped, Mr. Lalwani escorted them to their seat. Both of them sat down.
----
----
"Chikoo," shouted Mrs. Manasi Gupta. "Are you mad? You'll fall down."
"I'm Spiderman" Chikoo yelled back in excitement. He was hanging down from a rope tied to the tree.
When he got back, his mother asked him, "Why do you want to become Spiderman? He is so ugly, red-blue colored, not a human you see!"
"But I want to become a super hero like him."
"Who wants to be Spiderman?" This was Mr. Gupta.
"Your beloved son want to be.." came the answer from Mrs. Gupta.
"Don't worry son! I've brought the latest movie of Spiderman. Want to see it?"
"I'll call all my friends first.." and he ran away.
----
----
It was a late Sunday afternoon. Mr. Gupta was at home. All of them had their lunch and were feeling sleepy. Chikoo wanted to go and play out but was afraid of his dad.
"Chikoo" called his mother. "Here's your glass of milk. Finish it before going out to play."
"Yes mamma"
As soon as his mother was out of sight, the 9 year old took the glass and threw the milk out in the drain. As he turned back, he bumped into his father who was watching all this. He became very angry. Holding him by his ear, Mr. Gupta brought him out on the road that went behind their house. There was a small child gathering food from the dust-bin. "There you see" he pointed. "There are people who don't get to eat. What we throw and call un-hygienic, is consumed by these children. You throw because god has given you the privilege of being born in a well to do family. Ever thought of these?"
When everyone gathered for the dinner, Chikoo was grim. Mr. Gupta felt sorry for the boy. He thought that he was too harsh in the evening.
"Papa" said Ravi. "Do you want me to drink milk everyday?"
"Of course, son!"
"Promise me one thing"
"What?"
"Today, I talked to that boy. His name is Ganesh. He lives in a slum and can hardly afford his meals. I have promised him that he too can go to a school… just like me! Will you help me in this?"
Suddenly, Mr. Gupta realized that his son was too old for his age. His smile said all that he wanted to. Chikoo ran and hugged his father. The next evening, when Mr. Gupta returned home, he found Chikoo talking with a boy. "Papa. Meet Ganesh."
"There's good news for you. Government has a provision for 10% reservation for the people "Below-Poverty-Line" in the admissions to private schools. I had a talk with your principal and he has asked me to bring this boy to school any day I am free."
"Why any day? Why not tomorrow?"
"OK.. OK"
So, Ganesh got admissions. Chikoo and his friends contributed towards his studies by giving him the surplus they had. They also arranged the books from their juniors. School fees was not a problem as government was already paying subsidy. The rest amount was given by Mr. Gupta as charity.
----
----
Today was the last day of school. After 15 days, the final exams of 12th were to start. Suddenly the phone rang. His mother had met with an accident while coming back from market. He and his father rushed to the hospital. The doctors tried their best… but…
Chikoo was stunned at the news. The grief was so hard that he could not utter a word. His exams went bad. When the exams were over and he had to stay back at home, everything in the house reminded him of his mother. He could not bear it any more.
One day, he decided that it was enough now. He must take some decision. He has lost his mother. When the results come, he will lose in the exams. People will call him a failure. He took the extreme decision. He wanted to end his life.
When he kicked the small table beneath his legs and the knot of the rope started gripping and tightening his throat, he grasped for breath. He longed that 'god send someone to save him'. The feelings faded by as his senses started loosing their control.
When his eyes opened, he saw a lot of faces over him. He first thought that they were devils who have come to take him to hell. Then he realized that they were his own friends and father. They all had tears in their eyes.
The result was out now. Although he could not do well, it was not very bad! He pursued his father to send him to Kota for coaching classes.
----
----
"I now invite Mr. Ravi Gupta, IIT National topper to say a few words."
"Thank you friends for such a overwhelming welcome. When I was a child, I always wanted to be a hero… a super hero....." he could not finish his words.
"Sorry for interrupting friends! I am Ganesh and I am the state topper of 10th this year. I would like to say a few words. When I was a child, I used to pick food from the scrap bins. It was Ravi bhaiya who gave me the courage and means to study and here I am. He is a super hero for me. He helped me when I needed his help the most…"He was speaking in flow and people were clapping. Tears came in the eyes of Chikoo. His dream of becoming a superhero had come true!