Hi,welcome to my Hubpages profile. I am Arun Kanti Chatterjee and live in Kolkata. My mission is to share experiences etched on my memory.
Eking Out A living
I was waiting outside a school gate like hundreds of other parents for my daughter who was sitting for her school leaving examination when a scantily clad man with a basket full of vegetables on his head perspiring profusely in the hot and humid weather moved forward inching towards me and said in a timid voice “ Sir, I am an illiterate person but my son is taking the examination today. Could you please hand over this packet his mother has sent for him”. Since I did not know his son I took down his name to comply with his request as the middle aged man made a quick exit to sell his merchandise and earn the day’s income.
Study In A Candle Light
Meeting the poor boy
As the parents met their children during the intermission I accompanied my daughter to trace the boy with the help of the security personnel who took no time to identify the boy ambling alone near the porch of the school building, knowing full well unlike other examinees, that nobody would be around to give him the much needed company and encouragement at that momentous time of his life. He looked to be a typical impoverished village lad with eyes his most striking feature. I have seen poor people with no determination to change their fate but the boy appeared to be different with an inner urge to prove his mettle.
We took him aside and handed over the packet. He opened it with visible shyness. We could observe puffed rice and a kind of cake of molasses had been sent for lunch. As utter embarrassment was writ large on his face he could not be easily persuaded to share the elaborate meal I had for my daughter.
Last minute preparation
After taking the tiffin right away he was found to be engrossed in his notes and text book. While other stuents were found to be loitering and meeting their parents and friends the ill fated yet bright boy was trying hard to properly use the available time to brush up. I did not consider it proper to disturb him allowing him to prepare for the second half of the important examination. I only blessed him and prayed to the almighty for his success.
As the examination was over the boy took leave of us and was headed for home. After much persuasion we could take him in our car and drop him at the nearest railway station to enable him to catch his homebound train. He was all praise for his teachers who had assisted him by all possible means and waiving his fees.
That was all we knew about the boy and his hapless parents eking out a living but nevertheless, nurturing the dream that someday their much cherished only descendant would be established in life giving them some respite and comforts in their old age. While chiding I began to lecture my daughter how the poor unfortunate boy was struggling in such a pathetic situation with lingering ambitions despite such adversity. I prayed to God for an end to their suffering and his establishment in life.
I forgot the boy and his parents gradually as we became busy with our daily routine. As I prepared myself for admission of my daughter in a good college I took keen interest in reading the daily newspapers thoroughly to know the examination results which were declared in time and she got through securing good marks. But a featured report along with the photograph of a boy drew my attention suddenly. As I called my daughter she immediately confirmed the image as that of the poor boy who was felicitated by prestigious organisations for his incredible success in the examination securing a stipend and ensuring admission in the best colleges of the city.
I thanked God that our paths had crossed and I was sure that they would cross again giving us the much needed inspiration benefitting us.
© 2013 ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE