Aman peddles as faster as he can, cycle zips through the morning traffic. Aluminum pot carrying milk is dangling precariously from its handle. Newspaper bundle being tightly tied to its carrier jigs each time when cycle runs into pothole. His early morning chores snapped some more time than usual. It wouldn’t have been like this if he had woken up bit early.
Aman, 13 years old… Orphan, making his living by juggling a lot of roles; a milk man, newspaper boy, house servant… He had never been to school but he longs to study and achieve a lot in his life. He wants to read and write stories, he wants to put on cool school uniform, and satchel stuffed with books… an aspirant!
But his dream remains sketchy. The gap between his dream and reality is too vast to be filled. He has got faded memories of his parents. After they left him behind, he moved heaven and earth to put up with this harsh world. Somehow he reached here… only god knows those hardships he went through other than him. His life took a different turn when he bumped into that girl, not just a girl… in his words
She is the kind of girl who would make an angel to shy by her charm…
She is the kind of girl who would make a poet to run out of adjectives to depict her…
She is the kind of girl who would make a painter to tear off the canvass soon after he made her portrait, succumbing to the fact that… She is way too beautiful to be portrayed!!
He rushes to the bus stop from where Ananya takes her school bus… part of his daily routine. He applies brake, his eyes sifted through the crowd at the bus stop.
She is there… She is there! His mind chants when he caught a view of Ananya. She is in white shirt and blue skirt ending right at her knee, her pony tail hair, cute eyes and resplendent charming face… enough to make his day.
Aman sighed… his heart beats skipped.
He takes stock of his appearance and equates it with Ananya’s. He felt wimpish and shy.
He was in a worn-out jeans and shabby Tees, not at all presentable.
His heart starts to beat like crazy as he sees Ananya approaches him. His knowingness about his lousy appearance made his confidence waned. He feels like a digging deep hole on the ground and burying himself in it.
My god she is walking towards me… what the hell I should do if she asks something, what if she slaps and chides for stalking her daily… What if she kisses me in public?
Panic seized Aman but felt bit relieved when he thought of the little feasibility of his last thought, though it is rather bizarre.
She passed him gently; her pony tail is swaying in rhythm with her strides. She fishes out a bit of paper from her pocket and sneakily tucks inside the paper bundle kept on cycle’s carrier.
Aman stood numb and awe struck. He felt like he has scored the winning goal in ninetieth minute. He badly needed to celebrate but he couldn’t make it as he was totally taken aback.
He furtively looked around and took the bit of paper out of the stack. His hands shivers so does the paper. He unfolds that yellow paper and riffles through it…
Sweat beads begins to trickle down his cheek… he felt like there is a Global Summit of butterflies inside his stomach… He can’t help it, His face is turning into a cock tail of emotions; helplessness,frustration,regret..!
He can’t figure out anything from that bit of paper except some glittering red lines and curves.
What the heck!! I don’t know how to read it… this is damn English I guess!!
Aman doesn’t have any clue. Finally he decided to meet up Samarji. He is a bank manager and lives in the city alone. Aman has been helping for his household chores.
Samarji unfolds the bit of paper. Aman’s heart is pounding, his anxiety has no bounds.
He adjusts his spectacles and reads silently and rolls his eyes to see Aman’s face and grins.
“What is it Samarji?? Aman asks curiously
“Hmmm… I can’t tell it now”
“Read it by yourself”
“Whaaat!! I don’t know how to read it. If I had, it wouldn’t have been in your hands.” Aman said.
“I will teach you. Once you learn, you can read it by yourself”
Aman is not that patient, he beseeched.
Samarji is not ready to reveal, he is adamant.
Eventually Aman agreed to learn.
So each night Samarji spends one hour for Aman. Though it was quite difficult for Aman in the beginning, he improved like anything in weeks.
Each night before going to bed, Aman tried to read her words, at first he spelled each letters, he couldn’t make it into words. He tried hard to learn, he was least bothered about studying the English language, the only knowledge he wanted was just to comprehend what was written in that bit of paper.
Weeks Zip by…!
“Your eyes are so cute
I feel like looking at them forever”
Aman reads it, he overwhelms with joy, hugs Samarji…!!
Within no time he stormed off to the Bus stop. She is not there. It has been few weeks since he met her. Aman searched, but in vain. He asked her friends…
“She went to Mumbai. Her father got a transfer” one of her friends said
“Won’t she be back” Aman asks his voice trails off.
“I don’t think so; they are planning to settle in Mumbai”
Later Aman found himself sitting in the porch of Samarji’s house. He is totally disheartened. He felt like fleeing to Mumbai, but he can’t help. He is waiting for Samarji; he wants to break the news to him.
Samarji’s land line rings… Aman picks the call up
“Hello Aman it is me I will be late today, have some extra work here and listen, one of my friends running an educational institution in Mumbai, He is giving proper classes to those who discontinued their studies because of financial crisis and family problems. I have discussed your case with him, he is happy to have you enrolled. So I have done with all the formalities and all… so be ready to travel to Mumbai. No worry about money as long as am here. Okay…?
“Hmm…” Aman just sniffed, with a cute smile on his face…
With that Samarji disconnected the call.
PS: to err is human to forgive is divine