When I Look Back

Its been six months now and surprisingly it had been satisfying. He was happy. A happiness which had no past or a future ,may be, just the present. A happiness which had no reason. But, he was happy.

His college days were over, and it was time for him to join one of those MNCs. And when he joined this company, he was a bit scared..., a bit confused.... Not clear about his future, Not clear about his goals.
Till then his life had some purpose, he knew what exactly had to be done...
He had to get a job. He had to get a job so that his family could be financially secure, so that his family could stay happy and thus he would be happy. For him, personally, he had never thought anything beyond that, that was it, the end, the end of his aspirations, his energy, his passion, his life.

and from then, started the life of the machine, which i tried to capture in one of my previous posts.
He was getting into the exact life which i was always afraid of.
He had started to live the "The Life for a Resume." The Life of doing innovations for the sake of it, trying to compete with others, getting the work done before it was scheduled, covering more and more work portfolio, all this and more so that his resume looks good. He was trying to squeeze his life into that A4 size resume not knowing that he was strangling, suffocating himself, not knowing that, later, when he will look back, this resume will mean nothing more than a piece of paper for him.

But it was going to change soon, and the change surprisingly did not come from the more happening malls, or the posh pubs of noida, rather, it came from a slum community in Noida. It was one of the friends from his college, who had introduced him to this NGO working in Noida.

Well he dint have anything else to do on the weekends, and so he decided to do the so called "Social service". But before he started, he wanted to understand, why he was doing this.
Was he doing this so that he could tell every one that he is doing social work. so that whenever some one called him, he could tell that,
"yeah.. hi ,.. you know what, I go and do some NGO work nowadays. " ..
hmm... May be , may be not....
But what priority did it have in his life ? well , a movie definitely had more priority.
Isnt it..????

Was he doing this for his own satisfaction ? that whenever he gets some free time go spend some time with the children and get that feel good factor "of doing something good". Was it..???
Dont know... may be .. may be not...

Was he doing this coz he really cared for them and wanted to bring in some change there. Was it...?

Dont know.... I really dont know...

He started going there. Started spending some time with the kids there. It was good. He was happy.
But then like all those gals who had rejected him, the kids were also not going to accept him initially.
For the first few weeks no kid went to him to learn. He just went there every weekend, sat there amidst all those noise they made,... he was trying to find some silence in that noise. He was happy.

One day one of their 'sir'jis asked them to do "chappan adhik paintalis" and one gal dint know how to do it. Trying to find the answer from somewhere she went to him and asked
"Sirji, sirji. ye kaise karte hain..?"
Well he dint know what chappan or paintalis meant. For that matter he dint know any number beyond pachis in Hindi. But he dint want to tell her that. It was for the first time some one was coming to him to learn something. Instead, he said,

"acha... dheko beta, ye toh bahut hi aasan dediya woh sirji ne.. main aapko thoda jyaada tough deta hun. dus + pantrah. dhekte hai kar paogi ki nahi..? "

"kar paoongi sirji, abhi karke laati hun".
with one of the cutest and naughtiest smile she left for doing the problem.

He was happy. some one had gone to him for learning something for the first time.
From the next day it was learning more than teaching for him.
kids teaching him daye, baye, and he teaching them left, right.

Though gradually more and more kids started going to him for learning, there was one kid who always sticked to him. Our "chappan adhik paintalis". He should be there, then only she would start studying. More than a student, she was a lil sister to him.

Now he knew, why he was doing this. It brought some purpose into his life. It brought some passion, some passion to achieve something for some one other than himself. He knew that he could stay happy now only if his this new family is happy. Kids were happy to see him, they were happy to be with him, and he was too.

Thus went one of the most satisfying six months of his life...

But things cannot move so smoothly right. It was on the day I came back from the vacation with my smaller family, I learnt that there was govt order to remove that slum from there. I learnt that although the NGO had fought a lot to oppose it, they could not. They had closed this center.

and again I was left all alone in that road.
I was again getting into the exact life which i was always afraid of.
Once again I had started to live the "The Life for the Resume."
The next weekend, in the evening..., I went for a long walk, I walked a long distance through those 4 lane roads in Noida thinking about the meaninglessness of this life and about my meaningless future, and one of the decision I took during those long walks was to move to bangalore, to share the happiness of my smaller family.

It was after a long gap of 6 years I went back to Noida again. I went for that walk again, on those straight four lane roads of noida, thinking about the past.
A traffic jam...
I saw her, my lil sister....
My chappan adhik paintalis.
She was begging for food...... ???????
A police man was walking towards her. He slapped her on her face. caught her by her hair and pushed her to the side of the road.

I ran towards her,
God, I did not have the courage to look at her face.,
She had...
she looked at me, recognizing me, she asked,

"Why Sirji, why, why did you leave us alone...?"

What should I say...
Oh God, I could not save my lil brothers and sisters.



दर्शन said...

one of the finest story i have read,I think kanan you have penned down all the reasons ,doubts and all the purpose behind Volunteering !!
standing ovation to kannan :)
nice words selection as well ,i think every new volunteer should read this story to motivate himself/herself so that we all can work for the cause .


Ninja said...

I really don't like bleak stories. It sends down shiver thinking that I could be responsible for any such happening.

Beagle said...

Wow, this is so touching and gripping...really well written!