One Fine Day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A day which changed a man's vision towards life. A day which which gave him a mission. A day which made him realized about true inner satisfaction.

Submitted: June 06, 2017

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Submitted: June 06, 2017

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Chapter 1
 
Their luxurious car stopped. Both of them came out of the back seats and entered the gate of the police station. Straightaway, they went into the Inspector’s room and were warmly welcomed by him.
“Please have a seat, Kamal Sir”, said the Inspector as they shook hands and got seated.
“Yes, thank you”, said Kamal and gestured his son to sit down too.
“Yesterday, your secretary called and informed me about this meet. Is everything okay at your construction site?”, asked the Inspector.
“Of course…Of course Inspector. After you helped to clear the people from my new residential project, the construction is going smooth now. All thanks to you, otherwise it is always a big mess convincing those poor lower ones to leave”, said Kamal smilingly.
“No sir, not at all. Don’t thank me. I had to follow the Commissioner’s order”, said the Inspector while he ordered a constable to bring tea for them.
“Yes but still, I have to thank you for all you did”, said Kamal looking appreciative. “So, as an extension of thanks, I would like to invite you to a party at my residence”, continued Kamal.
“Oh! Why not Sir? I would love being a part. But, may I know the occasion?”, asked the Inspector.
“Yes, Inspector. And I am sorry, I totally forgot to introduce my son. He is Gaurav. He just came before two days from America. He was doing MBA there, and now like my elder sons, he would soon join my business”, said Kamal while patting Gaurav’s back, who was sitting quietly with a ‘social’ smile on his face.
“Okay…Okay…So let me guess. Is this party for his arrival?”, asked the Inspector, looking at Gaurav with a smile.
“Actually, there is one more. It is for his birthday too, which is day after tomorrow”, said Kamal as he took out the invitation card from the inner pockets of his coat and handed it to the Inspector. He looked at the invitation card and said with admiration, “I have heard a lot about the lavishness of your parties. I must say I am honored to be invited”, to which Kamal replied, “It is all my pleasure, Inspector. You have no idea how relieved I am after you cleared my plot. This is the least I could do in return” and they both shared a laugh. Upon looking at Gaurav, the Inspector asked, “So, Gaurav. How is America? How was your experience?”.
“It is nice and…”, Gaurav started replying but stopped as he heard a sudden loud crying voice. The Inspector too noticed it and called out to one of the constables.
“Who is it?”, asked the Inspector while the constable entered the room.
“Sir, he was beaten last night by the residents of the Patel Colony after he was caught stealing some jewellery from one of the houses. Now, upon asking him for whom he works, he says he is not a thief but did it for some urgency”, informed the constable. Gaurav was listening quietly, as he started getting anxiously concerned for the crying boy. Kamal knew that Gaurav often gets disturbed by such events. Seeing him getting thoughtful, Kamal held his hands and whispered into his ears, ”Son, just relax. This is a police station and these things happen here daily”.
“Did you check the past records?”, asked the Inspector.
“Yes Sir. No records are found. He must have done this for the first time. He is just 15 years old”, answered the constable.
“Reports?”, said the Inspector.
“Registered. But sir, he is continuously saying one thing”, said the constable.
“What?”, asked the Inspector.
“He says that if we don’t release him, his mother would die and he was trying to steal so that he could get her treated”, said the constable. “And we think he is just making excuses out of fright”, he continued.
“Of course. I know these bloody first-timers. Beat him till he speaks the truth”, ordered the Inspector. Hearing this, Gaurav stood up, as if he could not take more of it. Kamal wasn’t surprised, he knew this was coming.
“Sir, can I meet the boy?”, asked Gaurav very concernedly. The Inspector looked at Kamal with a questionable smile, to which Kamal replied with a forceful laugh, “Oh! I am so sorry Inspector. He is just too emotional. He cannot stand all these things. I think we should leave now. See you at the party”.
“Sure, Kamal Sir”, said the Inspector with a smile. He then looked at the standing Gaurav and said, ”Son, don’t worry. It is everyday’s business. We have to straighten up these criminals by all this. Relax”. Gaurav didn’t reply, but went out of the room with his father. Upon coming out of the police station, Gaurav stopped advancing his steps. Kamal realized it, he closed his eyes and said, “How did I make the mistake of taking you to a police station?”. Seeing Gaurav not responding and looking at the police station again, he said, “Gaurav, son, listen. Please don’t think too much. Those criminals often lie to get released, don’t get convinced too easily”.
“What if he is not lying? What if his mother dies?”, said Gaurav as a teardrop fell from his eye.
“My God! Gaurav please, please don’t bring tears”, Kamal said overwhelmingly and hugged him. “Son, I know many a times justice doesn’t happen. But this is life. People do suffer”, continued Kamal.
“Dad, let me meet him once, please. I won’t leave unless you let me do that”, said Gaurav.
“But what difference will it make to him? And how would you make out that he is speaking truth or not?”, asked Kamal.
“Please dad, don’t ask me anything. Just tell the inspector to allow me. I know he cannot deny you”, said Gaurav adamantly while sweeping his tears. Seeing the stubbornness in his eyes, Kamal knew he cannot convince him anymore. They went inside the police station again and requested the Inspector, to which he allowed them. He couldn’t have said ‘no’ to them because of Kamal’s status of being one of the top real-estate builders and his relationship with the Commissioner.
The bar-gate was opened by the constable. Gaurav stepped in slowly and stopped, as he started looking at the boy, who was in torn clothes with his head down between his bent knees. The marks could be seen on his forearms which were done by the belts of the policemen. Gaurav took those forward steps and upon reaching the boy, he got onto his knees. The boy realized that someone has come near him. Thinking that again we would get bashed, he tightened the grip of his head with the knees. As soon as Gaurav held the boy’s forearm, he looked up and said frightfully, “Don’t beat me again, please. Don’t beat me again”.
“No! No! No one will beat you again, trust me”, said Gaurav while pacifying him with his caressing. The boy was silent. Gaurav could see those dried tears on the boy’s dirty cheeks, which were scratched too.
“Tell me. Why did you try to steal? What happened to your mother?“, asked Gaurav, still holding the boy’s forearms.
“Who are you?”, asked the boy with a lowered voice. He looked at Gaurav with his innocent and tired eyes, wondering who Gaurav was.
“I will tell you everything, but first, answer my question”, said Gaurav while smiling at him.
Seeing the first person showing some affection towards him, he sensed that the man wants to help him. Realizing this, the boy said, “Yes, I did try to steal. But I have not done it before and I am not a thief. Believe me”.
“Yes, I believe you. But why did you try to steal?”, asked Gaurav.
Looking into Gaurav’s caring eyes, the boy said, “My mother is ill. She is getting warmer day by day. Her face has started to sulk, because she isn’t able to eat. Even after drinking water, she would vomit sometimes. When I took her to the doctor, they refused to admit her because I couldn’t submit more money. With whatever money I had at home, were spent in different kinds of tests. They told that her condition is very critical, she could die out of fever. She has to be admitted”.
“Fever? How?”, asked Gaurav being lost in the boy’s words.
“I don’t know”, said the boy. “They told that it might be because of mosquitoes, or unfit water, or spoilt food, I don’t know”, continued the boy.
“Didn’t anyone give you money? Couldn’t you borrow something?”, asked Gaurav while placing his hands on the boy’s cheeks.
“No. Why would anyone give us? Nobody really know us here, we came to this city just before three months. I work at a tea stall near Patel Colony. The stall owner too refused lending. I had no option. Yesterday night, I tried breaking in. But they caught me. The owner shouted and called the other residents as well. They beat me severely and handed me over to the police”, said the boy. Gaurav was speechless. He took his hands off the boy’s cheeks and looked down. The boy was still wondering why the man has come to him and behaving in such a way. Gaurav stood up and turned to the mid-aged constables standing outside the cell. Stepping outside the gate, he told them, “I completely understand your police system. Criminals do deserve this. But do you really think this boy is lying? How could you miss the truth in his eyes?”, and walked away passing the least concerned constables.
Kamal and the Inspector were waiting in the latter’s room. Gaurav entered it and stopped at the gate. Kamal stood up and went near him while the Inspector just noticed Gaurav’s disturbed appearance.
“Son…”, Kamal started saying but stopped as he noticed his hands held by Gaurav’s.
“I want him out”, said Gaurav and looked at the Inspector.
“What? Why?”, said Kamal being perturbed. “You just wanted to meet him. Why do you want him out?”, he continued.
“Can you do this for me, Dad?”, asked Gaurav while leaving Kamal’s hands and holding the forearms gently.
“Gaurav, listen to me…”, said Kamal.
“Can you do this for me?”, said Gaurav with pleading eyes. “Do as a birthday gift for me. I will cherish this all my life”, he continued. Kamal was silent for some time. After looking at Gaurav’s hopeful eyes, he turned to the Inspector and said, “Inspector, if you say I can talk with the Commissioner”.
“Not at all, Sir. This is not a big case and there are no past records of the boy. I can handle it”, replied the Inspector with a smile. The boy was released.
They came out of the police station and Kamal called the driver. Gaurav was unable to take his sight off the boy, realizing this, Kamal said, “What do you plan now?”.
“I don’t know, Dad. Let me just go through”, replied Gaurav, still looking at the boy with loving eyes.
“Go through what? Gaurav, please tell me what will you do with this boy?”, asked Kamal getting more puzzled.
Turning his eyes to Kamal, Gaurav said smilingly, “Please don’t ask me anything right now. I won’t be able to explain what the last hour did to me”, and started looking at the boy again.
“But Gaurav…”, Kamal tried to say further but didn’t as the car came and stopped in front. “Let us talk in the car, come on”, he said.
“I need to go somewhere else”, Gaurav said and looked at the boy.
“God!!! Gaurav, this is too much now. This really is”, said Kamal getting irritated.
“No Dad. This is not too much. This is our unfortune that we consider this duty as too much. The things through which this boy and his mother are passing and their circumstances are ‘too much’ in real sense”, said Gaurav, looking straight into Kamal’s eyes.
“I know there is no point trying to convince you. Okay, go with the boy. But please don’t get into any trouble”, said Kamal and got seated at the back seat of the car. “I am still not able to understand what you are trying to do”, he continued.
Upon coming close to the window, Gaurav said, “Dad, please let me. I don’t know why I am doing this, but trust me, something is making me do this, something. I am too unaware of the reason”.
“Gaurav, please take care of yourself. Just close this boy’s matter as soon as possible and come home. I will not allow you to stay outside overnight. Do you get that?”, said Kamal getting lovingly irritated.
“Of course, Dad. And thanks for trusting me”, said Gaurav smilingly. Kamal kissed his son’s forehead through the window and after looking at the boy for a while, he told the driver to start the car. Gaurav and the boy looked at the moving car, which was out of sight after some time. Gaurav moved his hand across the boy’s head and the boy looked at him.
“What is your name?”, asked Gaurav while still caressing the boy’s head.
“Mohan”, said the boy, still wondering what is happening with him.
Gaurav said, “Okay, Mohan. Its time to go to your mother”.
 
Chapter 2
 
Both got into a rickshaw to head towards Mohan’s home. All along the way, Gaurav was seeing Mohan’s innocent eyes, which wanted nothing more but his mother’s sight. He kept on talking about his mother to which Gaurav listened with all attention. On one side, Gaurav was glad that a fifteen-year-old is so much obsessed with his mother and her contribution to his upbringing, and on the other side, he grieved Mohan’s circumstances. Gaurav soon sensed that he isn’t a ‘street-smart’ like any other boys of his age and is largely influenced by his mother’s moral teachings.
They got off the rickshaw and started walking towards Mohan’s home. Gaurav was constantly observing the locality, the sludge-water running along the small street, large opened stinking dustbins which looked that they have not been operated ever. Gaurav started feeling disgusted as he never ever stepped onto something like this, but he was desperate to sideline this feeling considering the fact that millions of people like Mohan live here. They live here, they die here. They are probably destined to get the worst, the worst which could even kill one’s morals.
“Mohan, why did you stop? Which one is yours out of these?”, said Gaurav as Mohan stopped his steps and started staring the small huts in front of them. Mohan looked at him with his wide eyes, said nothing and pointed towards the huts. Before Gaurav could ask, Mohan started running towards the huts and stopped before the door of his own, he looked back to Gaurav, who fastened his steps towards him.
“What happened, Mohan? Knock the door”, said Gaurav as he reached Mohan’s hut. Mohan took his hand to the door but before it touches, he closed his fist and looked at Gaurav, who didn’t understand those feared eyes of the boy.
“Can you open it?”, said Mohan while taking back his hand. Gaurav turned from Mohan to the door, he didn’t know why, but he feared too. He got hold of it and opened.
“There is no one in here. Where is your mother? And where are the other people of this area, is it always lonely like this?”, asked Gaurav as he entered the hut. Mohan was still standing outside, motionless. He didn’t answer.
“Mohan, answer me, please. Where is your mother? See, I have called the doctor, he would be here in some time but your mother has to be here for that. Where is she?”, said Gaurav very anxiously and stepped towards Mohan, who was speechless and his face turned ‘lost’.
“Please say something…”, said Gaurav as he held Mohan’s arm but heard a group of people coming towards them.
“Who are they? Why are they coming towards us?”, asked Gaurav, still looking at those arriving people.
“They live with us in this locality”, said Mohan with a lowered voice.
Those people stopped before Mohan. Some of them hugged him, some moved hands across his head and some gave strength blessings. Gaurav wasn’t able to understand anything, he was confused that Mohan, who was so desperate to get to his mother has become unusually inactive.
One of those men started passing through, to whom Gaurav called, “Uncle, what is going on? Where is Mohan’s mother? Why is he not speaking?”.
“Last night, she passed away. Knowing that Mohan is caught by the police, we performed the last rituals”, the man replied and noticed that Gaurav is looking at Mohan with grieved eyes. “Mohan is a very good boy, not at all cunning like others. He served his mother throughout, but see, fate didn’t allow him even to serve agni to his mother’s body”, the man continued and started walking off. Hearing all this, Gaurav was silent, he was unable to react, say. He looked up, into the sky and muttered disgracefully, “Why do you do this?” and closed his eyes, a teardrop went running through his cheeks. He suddenly felt his hands being held, he opened his eyes and looked down, it was Mohan. He immediately sat on his knees and hugged him. They both cried, cried their hearts out. He held Mohan to his chest, still with wet eyes.
They both went to the crematorium as people told Mohan to take his mother’s ashes from the priest who conducted the rites. The priest handed the copper-brass vessel, the ashes to him. They both sat down near the spot where his mother was ritualized, Mohan still looking at her ashes with sorrowed eyes. He slowly touched the vessel with his forehead and said, “I am sorry maa. I wasn’t able to arrange money for you, and you died. You never taught me to steal, but still I did try. I am sorry for that too, maa. I promise never to go against your teachings, I promise”, he kissed the vessel and started shedding tears. “Where have you gone? What is the place? Tell me, maa”, cried Mohan. Gaurav didn’t stop the boy’s tears, nor pacified him. He knew that this load has to be out of him.
“Mohan”, called Gaurav with a smile. Mohan looked at him, still heavy with tears. “Look there, at the settling sun”, said Gaurav as they both looked at the orange thing. “This would be vanished in few minutes. Why so? Because night arrives, it has a part too. And this very sun will rise tomorrow, shining proudly. Do you get it? Life can’t just have shining days, sun has to settle, night has to arrive. This cycle is what life is”, continued Gaurav, still smiling. Mohan nodded to it, but was unable to reciprocate the smile.
“I get that”, said Mohan while turning to Gaurav. “Can I say something?”, asked Mohan.
“Yes, boy”, replied Gaurav, placing his hand around Mohan’s arms.
“You helped me get released from the jail. You yourself came here with me. There is no one in this entire area who is sitting with me here but you. Why? Why did you do all this? We are completely strangers”, said Mohan with a lowered voice, looking straight into Gaurav’s eyes with his wet and tired ones.
“I don’t know, Mohan. I just don’t know”, replied Gaurav, who looked at the sun again. Mohan didn’t say anything more, he too looked at the sun, who was just about to get underneath.
After Mohan got onto his knees and kissed her mother’s ritual spot with her ashes in hands, they started walking towards the hut again. Gaurav was about to leave. He took out some money and gave it to him, to which Mohan refused out of shame. But Gaurav kept on insisting and Mohan accepted it. Gaurav promised that he would come soon to him for some help. On asking about the kind of help, Gaurav told him that everything would be revealed when he comes back again. They hugged again and Gaurav left. He called out for a rickshaw and sat in it. On the way back to his home, Gaurav thought about the day he had. The day which exposed him to the disgraced ground condition. From the posh tiles of his house to the sludge filled huts, he identified the real consequences.
Gaurav entered through the large gate of his bungalow. He slowly stepped up to the floor and stopped before his father’s room. He knocked the door.
“Gaurav, son, where were you all day? I tried calling you so many times. Where were you?”, said Kamal with disturbed wide eyes. “And look at you, your dirty clothes. Gaurav, answer me, where have you been? Why are your eyes looking tired?”, continued Kamal being very anxious about his son’s condition.
“Dad, can I please come in? I want to talk to you”, answered Gaurav.
“Of course, son”, said Kamal as they walked in and sat on the bed. Kamal waited for Gaurav to speak, but he was still occupied with the day’s thoughts and stared at the floor.
“Gaurav, will you speak? I am getting very anxious now. Please speak”, urged Kamal.
“Dad, you remember that boy, with whom I went this afternoon”, said Gaurav, still staring at the floor.
“The boy? Oh yes, the boy. I am really sorry. What happened to him?”, asked Kamal.
“Doesn’t matter, dad. But please answer my one question. What gives you happiness?”, asked Gaurav while moving his eyes to his father.
“What do you mean, Gaurav?”, asked Kamal confusingly.
“Happiness, dad. A simple expression of being overjoyed. When do you feel it?”, said Gaurav.
Kamal was getting restless now, but for the sake of the situation, he started speaking, “My work gives me happiness. The fact that I keep my family up to a standard gives me happiness. You already know how respected I am in this city, this gives me happiness”.
“Fair enough. But you know what gives me happiness?”, said Gaurav with a smile.
“What, son”, asked Kamal while taking off his spectacles.
“Talking to that boy, knowing his problems gave me happiness, and more importantly, satisfaction. Going with him to his hut, sitting with him and pacifying him while he cried over his mother’s death gave me happiness”, said Gaurav smilingly.
“His mother’s death? I am sorry to hear that”, said Kamal as he put his hand on his son’s lap, showing concern.
“Don’t get shocked, dad. What is so shocking about that? If a boy doesn’t have money to treat his dying mother, this was bound to happen. There is nothing shocking in this. Right?”, said Gaurav as he again looked down, unable to forget Mohan’s images.
“Gaurav, please. Don’t get low. There are millions of people who suffer. We cannot do anything about it, it is a reality which can be just accepted, nothing else”, said Kamal trying to pacify his son.
“A reality which can just be accepted and nothing else could be done? What if I say that I disagree?”, said Gaurav holding Kamal’s hands.
“Listen, son. I really don’t know why are we having such conversation? I am aware that you had a rough day, but please stop overthinking. Take some rest”, said Kamal.
“I will definitely tell you the reason for having such a talk, but first I will let you know why I am doing this”, said Gaurav.
“What are you going to do? What are you talking about?”, asked Kamal, getting concerned.
“I will tell you what I feel, dad. I really gave a thought to it. Someday, when I am on my death bed, when all the memories of my life would run before my eyes, when I will start analyzing whether I was a good human or not, I don’t want to get disappointed by just having the scenes of parties, champagne, status, company of royal people”, said Gaurav as he smiled innocently.
“Son, what has happened to you? Why do you think like this? You are a good human and you will always be”, said Kamal.
Looking at Kamal and holding his hands firmly, Gaurav said, “I think we have different definitions of a good human. Its not just about respecting the elders, being moral and ethical. It is a mere quality which disallows himself to enjoy a certain thing when he knows that someone next door is being challenged for having the basic needs of survival. When I am aware that there is a son, who couldn’t save his mother due to lack of money, I can no longer be happy seeing my mother buying herself new jewellery”.
Kamal didn’t speak anything but looked at his son with a smile, a proud one. He patted his back and said, “Gaurav, you really don’t know how proud I am to hear all of that. Who thinks this way nowadays? All are busy filling their own bag, even me. I totally understand you, son. Now tell me, what do you really want to do?”.
Hearing all that from his father, it brought a wide smile to his face. He was glad that his father has caught the essence of his feelings. Unable to control the tear of joy, Gaurav said, “The things you said, it means everything to me because I won’t proceed without making you satisfied with my decision, the thing which I vowed today to follow for the rest of my life”.
“Say it, son. Whatever you decide, I am all for it”, said Kamal lovingly.
Gaurav looked into his father’s joyous eyes and said, “My every day of life will be for serving those needful. I plan to make a dedicated organization. Don’t think that I am trying to be a great soul or bring a change in the society. It is my selfish motive, as I won’t get satisfied doing anything else”.
“You are so young, but your vision is so matured and selfless. I don’t have words to describe that how happy and proud I am. But just one thing, the day which started at the police station, the day which gave your life a mission and the day which immediately matured you, is the best day a man can have, believe me, there are very few who could turn such a mediocre day into a visionary one, like you did”, said Kamal and hugged his son not out of just love, but respect too. While they were sharing the warmest hug of their life, Kamal kissed his son’s cheek and said with a lowered yet filled voice, “This day, this fine day, has marked your new birth”.
 


© Copyright 2017 Abhishek Navathe. All rights reserved.

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