Today, I saw a wall post on a Friend's Facebook Wall. The Picture posted reminded me of a old case where I was in College and a group of Young Boys around 5 of them used to huddle every night below a Lamp post near my house and study. If I remember correctly the youngest was around 8 years and the eldest was around 14 or 15.
Over a period of time while moving around the city, I noticed that these kids used to either sell Newspaper, or work as cobbler or do something else to make their ends meet. I don't know from when and how my interaction with those kids started and they started asking me their doubts on various subjects. It was almost like I was their personal tutor. I used to wait for them to gather there and then go join them talking to them, teaching them, helping them solve their doubts and so on. My bond with those kids increased day by day and I used to miss teaching them during my Summer Break. But as soon as I used to get back to college, these kids used to be there with all their stories and all their questions and doubts
2 years down the line the eldest one cleared the 10th standard though Open School Examination and was on top of the World when he came to my house to share the news. the entire bunch was elated. He then started for some vocational training along with his further studies. the other kids in the group also followed the suit but by the time I could help them clear their dream of passing 10th Standard, I had to move out of that city as I completed my college and got a Job in another city.
Around 6 months later, I had to visit my college to collect my final set of certificates and that night I went near the place I used to stay and what I saw there really amazed me. The eldest one had become the Tutor and was teaching a Bigger group of children below that same lamp post. standing at a distance in the darkness, I was just amused at the way he had taken over the extra responsibility,
I walked a few steps ahead and he saw me, I could see that sparkle in his eyes. I can still feel that joy coming that would have been felt by him them. He came running to my direction, followed by others. We sat there, chatted for a while and I left from there leaving my Visiting Card with him. there were tears in their eyes to see me go, may be they felt I would never return to meet them. But, the Eldest one for sure would have noted that I have left something with him that would ensure they could be in touch with me.
Couple years down the line, I received a call from an number from that city and I realized that it was from the PCO next to my house. As I answered the call, all I could hear was the joy of celebrations, and then I asked "who is it?" From the Other end the voice said "भैया आज हम कॉलेज पास कर लिए" meaning "Brother I cleared college today". I was very happy, congratulated him and asked about the others. He told me that the three others have cleared their 12th Standard and the youngest is preparing for 10th standard now. I told him to keep in touch and in case they need any help from me, he can always contact me. He replies "भैया, आपने जो हम लोगों को दिशा दिखाई है उससे ज्यादा कुछ नहीं चाहिए| बस आपका आशीर्वाद बनाए रखिएगा" meaning "Brother, the direction you gave us for our life has helped us a lot, we don't need anything more than your blessings." I was speechless at that. Then on it just became a routine to get a call from them every 2 or 3 months where they used to update me on their progress and then over a period of next 5 years, all of them except the youngest one was in a well paying job. On my side, the life became hectic due to increased work load and added travel schedules, so the contact almost was lost.
Last year, I had again gone to that city for College Alumni meet and that night again ventured towards where I used to stay. I reached there I guess slightly early than the usual time and waited for the kids to arrive. I was sitting in my cab so that they wouldn't be able to see me. Slowly the kids started coming and the count was almost 20 or 25. Then I saw the Eldest one coming in followed by another Young Guy in early 20s. I couldn't recognize him then. I saw the Younger one setting down a stand and then setting up a board on that creating a Makeshift Blackboard. I was amazed at the progress that Small School, if I may call it as, had made over past decade. I moved out of my cab, walked to them when that Young Guy saw me and came rushing to me, bowing to touch my feet. I said, "छोटू?" and I was elated to hear - "Yes Bhai, Your Chhotu has grown and is now a constable in police". I held him and hugged him when the others came around me.
The eldest one then told me about the progress made by them all the Five from Original group had completed their college were well settled and used to pool-in from their salaries to run the small make shift night school.
I had never heard from them about their parents or relatives or anyone. the only place I had ever seen them was that lamp post or on some streets working to make their end meet. They were not related by blood, but surely their dreams made them come together. They united on their Dreams, they achieved their dreams with mutual help and the chased their dreams to success with their passion. They never gave up, whether they had someone to guide or not. But Yes, they did become guide for the others and am sure they would have ensured that they influence others to dream and to successfully chase their dreams.
कल्लू (kallu), छोटू (Chhotu), जीतू (Jeetu), बबलू (Babloo), और विष्णु (Vishnu), I am proud of them and this post is dedicated to their Passion, their Zeal, their Dreams and their Chase to their Dreams. Hats off to them......