Thursday, March 27, 2014

A village boy's dream

Manohar Kumhar’s sole ambition in life was to get himself clicked by a “Gora Aadmi” (a foreigner). Born and bred in a small village of Araria in Bihar, Manohar lived to fulfil this dream. It all began at the early age of 7 when Pitambar Kumar, his neighbor and friend had posed in front of a foreigner. Kunti, the village heartthrob whom Manohar had secretly fantasized had sat on Pitambar’s porch the entire evening listened to the entire incident.

Owing to the great deal that had been made about the photo in the entire village, Manohar in his sheepish wisdom thought that this achievement was almost equivalent to winning a Nobel prize. Adding fuel to the fire, his mother who was Manohar’s choicest companion said, “Bitwa, use Pitambar ne toh kuch kar dikhaya. Kuch toh baat hai usme!!” Manohar was jealous that his mother had praised another boy
His mother and Kunti were not the only one who were impressed by Pitambar’s success. A silver colour chariot, covered with flowers was made for Pitambar and he was lifted by 5 tall men and taken around the village. Pitambar had the photo with the Firangi Babu in his hand. It seemed that Pitambar had reached the gates of heaven and met God and returned. He was a hero.

That was when a fire had arisen inside Manu aka Manohar. The fire that wouldn’t die till he accomplished his dream. Manu wanted to be famous like Pitambar. Every morning Manu would peep into Pitambar’s house and have a glimpse of the photo before he started his day.

Years passed and the village still worshiped Pitambar. When electricity was brought into the village in the late nineties, Pitambar’s house was the first to receive this luxury. When Manu and Pitambar turned 20, Pitambar was married to Kunti and every single person from the village was invited for the grand fest.

Manu who was still dreaming of meeting a Firangi lad, went up to his mother one fine morning and said, “Amma, Hum nikal rage hai isa jahannum se. Hum jaw rage hai she her ko”, Saying this Manu left his village which he considered to be hell and left to look for a job in the city and pursue his dream.
He caught the train to Pune as Pitambar had once mentioned that the foreigner had come all the way from Pune. For him, Pune was considered to be a foreign land.

Having stepped out of the train, Manu spent the first few nights on the platform. During the day he would wander around the city in search of a Gora aadmi.
Whomever he managed to spot was either inside a taxi or a van. Many a times he ran like a mad man behind vehicles. It took him a while to realize that he has to earn some money to fill his stomach. He missed his mother who fed him. At times, he would walk to the rush to catch the train back to Bihar, but the sight of seeing Pitambar laughing away gloriously held him back.

He decided to work. However, no one would give him a job owning to his lack of education. He finally decided to work as an assistant to a sugarcane juice seller. He would wash the glasses and would get 10% of the profit every day. It was enough to fill his stomach at the end of the day.

People would laugh at him when he would reveal his dream. Mockery was all he received in return for letting people know something that was really close to his heart. Poor Manu spent 8 months figuring out different ways to meet a Firang.

He would stand outside IT parks in the afternoon wondering if he would meet some foreigners there. Weekends were spent outside the airport. He left no stone unturned and no temple unvisited. After earning for 8 long months he finally saved up some money to own a small portable cart to make sugarcane juice and sell it.

One fine day he woke up early in the morning and took the cart to make some money for the day. He cleaned the glasses and began to sort out the sugarcane. Wiping the sweat off his forehead, he began to rotate the machine. A few seconds later, he felt a flash of light. Ignoring it to be the sunshine, he continued his work. A flash of light fell again.

He lifted his head to find a man standing in front of him with a camera. It took a while for him the sink into that moment. It was his dream coming true. The very fact that everything was finally happening brought tears of joy in his eyes. He smiled as his face formed few wrinkles around his sweaty cheeks. Tears fell enormously but he continued to smile. A Gora Aadmi was finally clicking his picture.

His mate witnessed this incident and offered to click a photo of Manu with the foreigner. The firing babu placed his hand around Manu’s shoulder, while Manu wiped his tears and gave a broad smile.

That evening he caught the train to Araria and held the photo close to his heart. He knew he was going to be the new Hero in his village. Wait, Manu’s mind was was brimming with thoughts. This boy from a small village had not only made his dream come true but his journey had been incredible. He realized that he was molded to face challenges, he was capable enough to stand on his own legs and he knew how it is to save up money and manage his finances even if it was meagre. He was not only going to be a Hero in his village, he had risen in his own eyes. He knew his Amma would be proud of him and say, “Bitwa Tune mera naam roshan kiya!!”  (Son you made me proud)