Suprabhat with Agnishatdal 12.12.17

21 Thursday stories 6.6.13

“Congratulations!” Dinu shouted from his compartment to Chandu. Chandu smiled hiding his sadness. His only son has scored real high in School Final examination. Third in the district! Despite the fact that Chandu’s daily income ranged from 100 to 200 the upper amount on an extremely lucky day, barely once or twice a month barring festive seasons. That meager amount earned the daily bread of three persons, he, his wife and only son Shubhro.

“Congratulations for what Chanduda?” Mr. Maity asked, adjusting his specs that were slipping down his oily nose.

“My son has passed the Higher Secondary Examination.” He humbly answered.

“How much did he score?” Maity asked casually.

“475…” he answered.

“That’s a whole lot of marks! He must have ranked…” Maity turned his full attention.

“They are saying that he has ranked third in the district…” he mumbled.

“You should be shouting these words not mumbling!” Maity cajoled him humorously. “If my son had scored 400 marks I would have been screaming from train roof!”

Then he added with a tinge of sadness, “We saved so much for his medical studies… that dumb boy ran off to Mumbai and joined movies.”

Well his son made his place there. He has belted quite a few hit songs over last two years and was making it big.

“Where will you admit your son?” Maity asked.

“Jagabandhu College!” he answered.

“What?” Maity sat upright in his seat. “You should try a better college and should let him try joint entrance!”

“Why are you sprinkling salt in my raw wound dada…?” Chandu asked, pain shadowed his sad face. “Ever since I have heard the result I can’t look into his eyes! Why did he take birth in my home? Why did not he have rich parents like you?”

Maity fell silent for the rest of the journey. The train stopped at Howrah. The final stop!

“Come to my home in the evening Chandu!” Maity told him before rushing off to his office. “Don’t forget!”

Chandu reached Maity’s posh home at nine in the night. After his final trip!

Maity’s wife opened the door; apparently they were waiting for him. “Where is your son?” she asked, “You should have brought him!”

“I came directly from the station boudi (sister in law), I will send him tomorrow to get your blessings.” He answered humbly.

“Don’t forget!” she smiled. “Your brother is waiting in drawing room.”

Maity was waiting for him in the drawing room; the table was stacked with snacks and sweets. A whole group of daily commuters of his train were waiting along with him.

“Where is our hero?” Maity asked.

“I came directly from station…” he said, feeling sad that he could not bring the boy along with him! It was his success!

“I will go and fetch him and boudi.” One of the men got up and left.

Shubhro entered the house half an hour later, blushing. A shy boy overwhelmed by applauds he has been receiving since morning.

He touched the feet of the men and women in the room and stood shyly at one side of the room.

“So what are your plans?” Maity asked.

“I will take admission in college, try to learn computer and typewriting.” He said.

“Out of question…!” Maity guffawed. “You are taking admission in Joint Entrance Examination coaching center and in a decent college…”

The boy’s face hung. “I can’t even dream of spending so much money… you know that uncle!”

“Who asked you about money?” Maity asked.

Everyone in the room started to laugh. Then Maity clarified. “We have collected some money that will be enough for the tuition fees of Joint entrance coaching and admission in a good college in Kolkata plus hostel expenses. If bad luck strikes and he fails in joint entrance exams there will be enough money to finish his college studies and a decent computer course.

Tears welled up and started to roll down the cheeks of three persons in the room…

Maity shouted merrily, “it’s time for celebrations!”

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