Sunshine of Life – The last part


His suicide news did not come to me as quite shocking as it had to be. Afterall, it was a blink-and-I-go image of him in the hospital yesterday.

Megha and I decided to go to the hospital that evening.

“Did you give the coins to Suhaan? Where is he?” Simi asked as soon as she saw me.
“Jojo would beat him if Suhaan does not make hundred rupees a day”, she continued, not expecting answer from me.

“I will give them to Suhaan”, was all I could reply.

                                          ********

Days passed by. Simi was put up in an orphanage. Her little heart was somehow so strong that I felt she took the rest of her life for granted. She learnt doing things herselves. I wondered how fate turns people’s lives.

“She never talks much to the other children”, the aaya at the orphanage tells us.
But then, that doesn’t matter. She was having a changed life. Most of all, she was having an education.

Simi has changed the way Megha and I percieve little things around us. Megha would often attribute some sort of mystery to Simi’s life before the accident, until that fine day, when Himesh concluded his investigation.

Jojo was a small time goon who gathered a group of twenty children, all either orphans or lent from families that could not make their both ends meet, to make them into street urchins. He would often force these children into begging. More often, he would even resort to physical assault with the already distraught children, if they fail to  bring a “nominal” amount each day from the alms. Suhaan was one of them.

Simi’s father, who was a daily labour, found Suhaan alone at one of the construction sites he was working. He took Suhaan with him to his house. It did not take much time for Simi to bond with Suhaan. Things didn’t go well when there was a  slump in the real estate world. Simi’s father could not get work as most of the contractors did not risk hiring workers from unknown sources. He realized he would not be able to earn his bread. That was when he met Jojo and agreed to lend Suhaan to him. He got money from Jojo in return. Simi would go out with Suhaan every morning.

On the day Simi was knocked off by a car, people gathered around her and started enquiring her where-abouts. One of the workers at the STD booth who knew Jojo, stopped Suhaan from running towards Simi and informed Jojo. What happened later was still unclear. Some say Jojo fled to Kolkatta taking away Suhaan and the other children with him.

Simi’s father, it seemed, knew that Jojo left the city that night. Afraid of the volley of questions he had to face from the cops, he committed suicide.

A crap of a man! This was the only impression I always had on Simi’s father….. until today.

                                                   ****************

I gave a deep breath and sighed as I tried to remember all this that happened five years ago.
A knock on the door startled me.
I looked at my watch and realized that it should be Megha.

“What were you doing?” she quizzed.
She saw the scrap book on my table. “What was that you were scribbling?’ she gave a glance at the scrap book and laughed.

“It’s not just a scrap book, Megha. It’s probably the mirror of a little girl’s heart which we somehow couldn’t connect to, all these years”.

Megha looked at me puzzled, took the scrap book from the table and started reading it.
” I think I did not quite understand whom to look for a support on. I was terribly afraid. Pappa and I were very happy. He was the strongest man I knew.His instincts to many things in life, perhaps, made me think so. I saw my world through his eyes. I remember the night when pappa returned home very tired from work. I wanted to eat vada paav from the shop at the end of our street. He never let me down. When he had no work for days together, he used to take me to the lake every morning. We used to sit there on the grass and chat for hours together. When I had fever he would never leave me. He would sit beside me and tell all the stories he knew. The one in which the moon comes down to earth to make the little girl happy was my favourite. I never used to be tired listening to that story.

One day Pappa brought Suhaan home. I liked Suhaan a lot and we played together since then. I remember the glow in Suhaan’s face when he brought home the marbles he found on the sands of the lake. We played with them for a long time and then I stored them in a cigar box that pappa would normally throw away.

Pappa somehow never liked Suhaan. I always wondered why he brought him home if he never liked. He would never tell stories to Suhaan when he was sick, just like he used to d so for me. But pappa didn’t know that I would tell all of those stories to Suhaan the next morning. I was so fond of Suhaan. He said he worked on the roads. I used to go out with him whenever pappa was not at home. I used to play with the marbles and sometimes help Suhaan collect some money.

But now I am left all alone. Megha didi and bhayya takes good care of me. But I could never come to terms with pappa leaving me suddenly. I am angry on him. I do not know what I would do if I ever see pappa again in my life. I would probably hate him for leaving me, or I would hug him tight and cry a lot. The aaya in my school calls me a dumb girl. But what does she know about me? I would take her to Suhaan one day and then she wouldn’t call me dumb again. I will show her that I can take care of myself. I am angry on Suhaan too. Why should he leave me when I  told all my stories to him without Pappa’s knowledge? I have many friends in my school, but it is not like how it used to bewith Suhaan.

— Simi”

Tears trickled down my eyes. Megha cried copiously.

“Where did you get this from?” her voice trembled.
“The Psychologist treating Simi gave this book. He took it from her”, I said.

I realized how most of us would act so indifferent to the things that happen around us, until that day comes when we have to face it for ourselves. As I read this scrap book I did not see just Simi’s thoughts in it. It reflected the thoughts of a child whose comfort lies in its parents, who draws strength from its caretakers. How the dreams of children would be shattered, when, the very person they see the world through, lies helpless infront of them. The fear and insecurity that creeps in their minds when they come to know that they lost the support.

And most of all, how a suicide wrecks havoc in the lives of the people living with that person. The one stupid thought at the nick of a moment would grab life away from not just the victim, but his loved ones too.

I realized how there are many people out there, who are stolen away from their smiles, who are withered by the world’s indifference. Life is beautiful. But not everyone has the previlege to understand its beauty. No matter what happens, a ray of light always waits to touch our lives. It is only that people tend to stand in the shade and not be able to see the light of life. May be it is time I bring them out of the shade and show them the Sunshine of Life.

As thoughts encircled me, I opened the drawer of the table and took out the five coins Simi gave me years ago. I stared at the coins for a long time. I noticed that the coins were not worn away through out these years, just like the hope that Suhaan would one day own them.

                                          ****************** THE END *****************

Well, hmmm…the idea of this depressing story came to my mind when I was completely fed up of reading the daily news papers report a suicide each day at the drop of a hat. And then how children (rather, orphans/street urchins) lead a gloomy life in a metro where people have no time to think of them. Psst! People these days have no time to even think about themselves, leave alone thinking of others. 🙂

I tried to link up various incidents we see in the news papers everyday and make a rather-not-so-short story. 🙂

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10 Comments

  1. arvind said,

    July 12, 2008 at 12:10 am

    wow …it was wonderfulll…the fact that u gave a gap between all three parts made it even more interesting..
    well its not that depressing but yet it makes me think abt this cruel world we live in..
    keep writing !!! 😉

  2. Amit said,

    July 12, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Good story. Although it got depressing in the middle, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
    Sometimes its so surprising to think about it. The place where you are born makes such a big difference to your life.

  3. vsmelarkod said,

    July 14, 2008 at 12:51 am

    hmmm… Good story Manoj. I feel sad about these things still happen in our world today.

    What and when is your next one going to be?

  4. Joel said,

    July 18, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Never read the first two parts… well if I do find some I will for sure…!
    Looking at your comments it makes me read this story… 😉

  5. Manoj said,

    July 19, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Joel, Thanks 🙂

  6. cinnmint said,

    July 29, 2008 at 1:37 am

    hmmm another Raj Kamal Jha sort of the writer in the making huh!! ??? – have you read “If you are afraid of Hieghts..” ?

  7. cinnmint said,

    July 29, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I think you should use the screenplay templates for a narrative like this. Makes it really easy to read and as you have continued it, it helps to make visual connections.

  8. Manoj said,

    July 29, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    @cinnmint – You are one of the very few patient earthlings that made it to the last part of this pain-stakingly long “short” story 🙂 I did hear about this book, but haven’t read it. Lemme say, with a whiff of attitude, that “I don’t get enough time these days to read” 😀 But sadly, it’s true:(
    BTW hat did you mean by “screenplay template”? Something like that of a script to a drama?

  9. cinnmint said,

    July 29, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Well, one does get the patience to read long-short stories when they have read up long research articles and really long screenplays… and if they are well written you sort of gasp for more!

    The screenplay template gives the reader an idea that the scene inside the story has changed, what part of the evening/morning is it like

    Scene 1 – late evening – Hospital

  10. Manoj said,

    July 30, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    @cinnmint – Thanks for the great suggestion 🙂 I will make use of it the next time around. 🙂


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