Darpan (The Mirror)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


 

Darpan (The Mirror)

 

Darpan came back home, it was 7 o’clock in the morning. Put his cycle on stand and shouted, “Ma, where are you?” It is his habit, whenever he comes back home, he calls his mother, whether there’s anything important to say to her or not, that doesn’t matter. “Don’t waste time, go take your bath, your father is waiting for you at Sen Babu’s (Babu means master and Sen is the sir name) house.”

Actually Darpan’s father is a mason, there was a time when his father used to be a very popular mason in their town, he had his own team, they used to get full contract of building houses for individuals. In fact, his father with the help of his team built their own house. It’s a very small house consist of two small room, the bathroom and a small passage that they use as kitchen. But Darpan loves his house, there are two reasons for that, firstly, it’s their own house not a rented one which is a very big deal for him and secondly, it reflects the dedication of his father towards his father’s work. But things have changed now; people usually contact big construction company for making their houses or they direct purchase flats. All of his father’s associates joined different construction companies, but his father doesn’t like to do the work under someone else’s supervision. They behave very rude and don’t even pay the minimum wages. But others don’t care about the behavior or wages; they joined those companies because they thought there they would get work on a regular basis. His father has done so many works in their locality earlier, now those clients provide him some small construction work according to their need. Sen Babu’s house was also made by his father, so whenever they need some small construction work to do, they called his father. That day they called his father to reconstruct the pavement which is located in their garden, it was a lot of work for a single person and they wanted it to be done in a single. So, his father needed his help there.

Darpan usually does many odd jobs to support his family, because his father doesn’t get work on a regular basis like earlier. In the morning he distributes paper, then collects clothes from different houses and gives them to her mother, her mother does the laundry work to provide some financial support. After that, Darpan goes to the restaurant where he works as a cashier; he attains the day shift, so usually he comes back home around 5 O’clock at the afternoon and then he delivers the clothes which were already cleaned by her mother. After that he gets some time for himself, in that time he is studying for his exams. He wants to become a teacher one day, for that he is pursuing his graduation as a non-collegiate student.

His family couldn’t afford their expenses if he would join a regular college, so he chose to get admission in non-collegiate mode, in this way he didn’t have to attain the college, he just had to give the exams, so he thought it was the best options.

“Ok, give me the Gamcha and the soap, I am going to the pond”, Darpan said to his mother. Gamcha is a towel-like thing, made of cotton strings that usually used to clean the body after taking a bath. He took the bath and came back, ate one Roti (hand-made bread) with a cup of tea and went to help his dad.

He did many small works at Sen Babu’s house before, Sen Babu’s wife loves him as a son and helped him in his school days by providing accessories several times. But every time she warned them repeatedly, not to mention about the help to anyone, because Sen Babu doesn’t like this kind of charity. Apart from husband and wife in Sen Family there were two other members, their son and the mother of Sen Babu.

He reached there; his father already removed the old stones of the pavement and was leveling the surface of the pavement area.

“You are late, Sen Aunty was asking for you, go quickly”, His father ordered him.

He went inside the house; Sen Babu was sitting on the chair in front of the dining table and was eating his breakfast. He entered into that room, stood in a distance and asked, “Was Aunty looking for me?” Hearing his voice, wife of Sen Babu came there from kitchen and said, “Here you are, wait a minute, I have made some custard, before you start all the dusty work, eat that first.” He felt a little shy to eat in front of them, he took the bowl and left the room and ate it outside sitting on the floor at the porch. When he went back to the room he saw the old mother of Sen Babu was saying some harsh words to her son-in-law. He understood it was about giving him the custard, he felt sad but nothing was in his hand. He placed the empty bowl at the corner of dining table and asked, “Aunty, may I have some water?”

“Of course son.” Said the lady and was going to pour some water into the glass from the jug which was on the table but the old lady stopped her. “These people live in an unsanitary environment, you already made him eat in the bowl that my grandson eats, now you are giving him water in the same glass that we use, stop, I am bringing water for him.” Old lady said and went to the kitchen.

“Don’t mind son, her thoughts are little different.” Sen Babu’s wife tried to ease the awkwardness of the situation.

“Take this bottle and when you finish the water, please return the bottle, it’s a new bottle, don’t ran away with it.”Old lady said.

“Ok, grandma”, Darpan replied.

“I am not your grandma, don’t make personal relations with me, and call me madam.” She said with a loud voice.

“Yes madam.” Said Darpan and left from there.

Darpan faced this kind of situation many times before, he didn’t mind those words. Sen Babu’s wife tried to say something but Darpan didn’t wait; he quickly came outside the house and joined his dad in the work.

They measured the level of the base of the pavement, created proper slope and placed the concrete paver block one after another. It was a hot day and the work was making them thirsty. They finished the water, given by the old lady.

“Darpan, go inside and bring some water”, ordered Darpan’s father.

He went towards the house, before entering he heard some noise from inside, he looked through the window nearby. It was Sen Babu and his wife, they were quarreling over something, Darpan realized, it was about some personal matter of them, so he decided not to disturb them. He was going to went back to his father but suddenly he saw Sen Babu started slapping his wife. He was shocked and wanted to help her, so he decided to call her loudly.  

“Aunty, we need some more water.” He shouted from the door. After a few minutes Sen Babu’s wife came outside with another bottle of water, she didn’t make an eye contact with him; she was just hiding her tears. Darpan wanted to console her, wanted to know why Sen Babu was behaving in that way, he wanted to provide any help she was needed. But this is the reality of our society; there are invisible boundaries, if you belong to financially weaker section, no matter what injustice you notice, you just have to keep your mouth shut, as if you don’t exist. The lady was like a goddess in the eyes of Darpan, she always helped them. But he couldn’t even ask what the matter to her was. He felt a helpless condition but there was nothing to do.

The finished the rest of the work, then his father went inside the house. He didn’t want to see Sen Babu’s face anymore, he stayed outside. His father came outside and gave him two hundred rupees and said, “Don’t waste the money on any fast food, and use it for your studies.” He was saving for the exam fees, so he expressed his agreement to that statement by shaking his head.

“You have to do another job today, go and meet Paresh; he has some carpentry Job for you,” his father also informed.

He sat on his cycle and went to meet that guy. When he reached Paresh’s place, he told him about the work. It was a simple work; they fitted a window in a wrong manner. So, needed to go there and removed the screws and set the window properly. Paresh lent him the tools and said, “He will give you 100 rupees, 40 is mine for the tools and 60 is yours.”

He arrived at the house and rang the bell; one young man opened the door. Darpan Said, “Hello sir, Paresh send me to solve the problem with the window.”

Hearing that the man allowed him to go inside, but started complaining instantly about how badly the job was done by the other guys. Darpan put out Plane, Chisel and few of the other tools from his bag and started working. Phone started ringing of the house owner; he picked the call and started talking, while Darpan was doing his job. He was talking in English, Darpan was listening to him. Initially he was talking about the luxurious trip he had few days ago with his family. After some time he changed the topic.

“You know what? You can’t trust anyone; people who are coming as carpenter, plumber and mason, you have to keep an eye on them, that’s why I am sitting next to the boy who is fixing the window.” He said on the phone to someone in English. Actually that man thought Darpan wouldn’t understand because he was saying those words in English, but Darpan understood every word. These statements aren’t anything new to him. He finished the job and asked for the payment. The man finished his talk on the phone, put the phone on the bed and brought the money bag.

Darpan was standing on door, the man gave a note of 50 Rupees and said, “Is this enough?”

“No sir, Paresh told me to collect 100 Rupees.” Darpan objected.

“Oh! Come on. It was a one hour job.”

“Sir, these tools aren’t mine, Paresh would charge me 40, so if I take 50 from you, I would get only 10 Rupees.”

“Stop making stories, you guys are all same; you just want to loot money from us, if I give you a hundred, then also your family wouldn’t be benefitted by it, you’ll take the money and use it for alcohol.”

“I don’t drink alcohol, sir.”

The man gave another 20 rupees and said, “That’s it, I’ll not pay a single rupee more.”

“Thank you, sir”, said Darpan and left the place. He didn’t want to spoil the relation with the customer.

He went to home, had his lunch; It was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Because he was helping his father, he didn’t go the work at morning shift, so, had to do the work at evening, he had no time for taking some rest, he left for the restaurant.

He was sitting on the cash register, there was a couple sitting in front of him, and he was watching them. He was remembering the old days, in school days he also had a girlfriend. He proposed her after hesitating for a long time, but to maintain a relationship you need to have some money in your pocket. Every time they went out for lunch, his girlfriend used to pay for the restaurant bills. After few days of their relationship he realized that girl was making so many adjustments for him, they didn’t belong to the same economic class. God gave her chance to enjoy the life; she was born in a relatively wealthy family, so he didn’t want to become the reason of her suffering. He initially explained her why they weren’t correct match for each other but she didn’t want to understand. So, to save her from destructing her future, he told her lie that he didn’t love her, someone else was there in his life.

His shift ended around 10 O’clock. Boss came and gave him his monthly salary. He was expecting that. He opened the envelope and count the money, there was 1000 rupees short.

“Sir, I think you have made some mistake, there’s 1000 rupees short.” He informed the owner of the restaurant.

“Last month you didn’t come two days, you waste one plate of biryani and distributed muffins to beggars several times, do you thing I am running a charity?” replied the owner.

“Sir I didn’t waste the biryani, it was an accident, the plate fell of my hand”

“So? Who will pay for that?”

“Sir I am counting on my salary, I need it to fill the form for my exam,” he said again.

“I am not going to give anymore than that.”

“Sir, if you don’t give my money, I’ll not come from tomorrow,” he shouted.

“How dare you raise your voice in front of me, get out, you are fired.” The owner said this and pointed his finger towards the exit door.

This time he got really upset. He needed that money for filling the forms.

He reached home, said nothing, everyone sat on the ground to eat the dinner. While eating, he said, “Father, I need 1000 rupees.”

“What? Why?” his father replied in curiosity.

He explained the situation, his father after hearing everything said, “Then you don’t have to give the exam this year.”

He lost his calm and pushed the plate which was in front of him. His father became angry and slapped him instantly and shouted, “I am working in this age to provide the food in your plate and you don’t have the manners to appreciate that.”

Darpan started crying, the tears came out of his eyes automatically, he stood up and went to wash his hands and the left his house, his mother tried to stop him but he didn’t listen to any words of her.

With all the frustration in his mind and water in his eyes, he was sitting on the bank of a river. This was the end he thought. He was determined to end his life. He stood up to jump into the river. Suddenly, someone touched his shoulder.  He turned his head and saw an old man was standing behind him.

“What are you doing here?” asked the old man.

He honestly spoke, “I want to end this life.”

“Is that so? Come, seat next me, and tell me why you want to end your life?”

Darpan was listening to everyone but no one was listening to his problem, when that man asked to tell his problem, he started telling everything in a single breathes.

“What is the point of this life? I am not getting why God gave me this life. Everyone says that God has a plan for you. What plan? I can’t protest for my loved one, because we aren’t belong to same economical class, I can’t be with girl I love because I don’t have financial strength to provide him the happiness she deserves, I want to become a teacher one day but I don’t think I could fill the form of my graduation this year, due to lack of money. I am doing every odd job to provide some happiness to my parents but they are still not happy. Sometimes I think that I am just pushing a mountain and expecting someday it will move.” Darpan stopped.

“What is your name son?” asked that old man.

“Darpan”

 “Darpan, what a beautiful name, do you know what does it mean?”

“Yes, Darpan means mirror.”

“By ending your life what would you achieve Darpan?”

“I am bored being a looser.”

“Then you’ve to become a winner. You asked ‘what is God’s plan?’ what if he is making you stronger, you know how we make the furniture from iron? We put the iron in excessive temperature, we melt it, we bent it, give it a proper shape, then we get the beautiful furniture, grills, marvelous architecture from it. You know why we do that with iron and not with silver? Because, the iron is stronger. May be you are the stronger, stronger then all of us. Surrendering is the job of losers, what you just wanted to do was surrendering. Fight, son. You only loose the battle when you accept the defeat. As long as you are fighting you are just a fighter and if you never quit the battle ground, if you never accept the defeat, I am telling you, one day you’ll be a winner. Those who have everything since their birth they can’t enjoy the fight of life; they will never understand the happiness of winning a battle. God chooses you, gave you lovable parents, provided you purpose to struggle for.”

They sat there for few more hours, then at the mid night Darpan felt a little hunger in his stomach. That man didn’t say who he was; Darpan forgot to ask him about his identity. He came towards home, while he was coming, he was thinking, “God doesn’t want me quit, he is making me strong, teaching me lesions, otherwise why at this oddly hour that man was there. I'll beome a teacher, I'll fulfill every dream of mine. I'll never quit.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: June 19, 2021

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