A luxury car came and stopped with a stony creek by a popcorn seller. This was another discovering for Mr. Roy. Mr. Roy lifting his glasses to his forehead slowly alighted from his car. Popcorn had been his all time weakness. He walked up to the small boy who was deeply focused in popping corn at the same time saving himself from being burnt with his shield.
There was already a collection of boys and girls, men and women around him. The child who must not have been more than ten to twelve years old was indeed multi-tasking. From frying popcorn to packing and collecting the money - everything was done meticulously and accurately by the young lad. Mr. Roy stood a little far and mused, "This boy can become the star of India of tomorrow.
"When Mr. Roy got his turn, the sun had already sunk into its sleepy abode. In the semi-darkness, the dark faced child was beyond recognition. Mr. Roy asked him to make fresh popcorn for him. Without looking at the customer, the child got busy with his work. The calculations as Mr. Roy observed danced on his lips. He chose to ask him a few questions concerning his family background which he answered curtly.
Let me introduce Mr. Roy to my readers. Mr. Roy, a leading industrialist of Mumbai had opened an institution where he sheltered children from financially weak background and had been rearing them over years as successful professionals. This time he decided to pick this hunt who seemed to be amazingly different from all the children he had ever come across.
Mr. Roy asked the boy his name. The reply came in a faint tone, "Chhotu."
"Want to study?"
"NO!", came the reply.
"No desire of moving in cars and sleeping on soft beds?
"Slowly Chhotu looked into his interrogator's face. By now darkness had swept over him. Only his glasses were twinkling under the starry sky. Chhotu nodded in consent.
That evening Chhotu packed up his paraphernalia a little early, loaded them on the rear seat of the car. The car shot through a maze of narrow roads. Finally, parking the car at an immense distance, both walked hand in hand talking like old friends. By now, Chhotu had already started dreaming of his future and ways to translate the despicable condition of the family. Back home, Chhotu's mother was found ill, pasted to bed, father drunk and his elder sister Rani who did the entire runabouts.
Leaving Mr. Roy's clasp, Chhotu ran up to his mother's bedstead. A noxious whiff struck Mr. Roy's nostrils that instigated him to run away but he stood there firm as a rock. From his wallet he pulled out Rs. 5000. The young eyes of Rani almost popped out from their sockets "So many red notes!" Mr. Roy gave all the money in the young girl's hand and instructed her to get her mother treated at the best clinic nearby. He also offered further help if needed. In exchange he would take away Chhotu along to give the world a jewel. Chhotu's mother shed a few drops of tears and silently let go his hand.
On the way to this new home, Mr. Roy purchased a few pairs of dresses for Chhotu, footwear and other accessories. He gave him a new life. Very soon, Chhotu got over his dialect and tuned himself with the city dwellers. He gelled well with other children in the institute. Chhotu was known for his exceptional talents. He climbed the ladder of success with utmost diligence and perfection. With time, Chhotu became the talk of the town. He graduated from the university with the highest score in every subject. A week of pursuing and applying saw Chhotu in a prestigious organization which has its units across the world. Chhotu was no more 'Chhotu' now.
Long before he was registered as Chandra Shekhar Sharma. After a month's work, he drew the salary of the Manager of his company. Holding a suitcase, the transformed Chhotu went to his old house in the hamlet of Mumbai. People around gazed at him for never had they seen a gentleman walking into their noxious zone. Chhotu kept walking till he reached the old door of his tottering house. For a long time, he had no connection with his family. The moment he saw his mother, his heart leapt out for her. He ran, held her in his tight embrace. The lady wriggled in his arms. She seemed quite ill. Soon her dim eyes glowed with contentment and drank delight at her son's beaming looks. Chandra Shekhar was happy to see his father more responsible. His sister was married by now. He opened his suitcase, took out a large box of sweets, dresses and a number of accessories for the family. That night, Chhotu slept under the same rude shelter with his parents. A week later, the same ill clad boy gave a new address to his family. Of course, Mr. Roy who was old by now remained an angel and God for him.
(Images used in this story are for illustration purpose only)