Saturday, June 11, 2011

The other day

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 21; the twenty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
For this narrative, I am trying a little trick that I picked from one of Jeffrey archer’s short stories.

I will try and narrate a day in two different ways, how the things would have been different were one thing or the other turned out differently.

Janu didn’t want to wake up from his sleep. It wasn’t that he was feeling sleepy or anything. How could one with four others lying on a single cot in the hot and humid climate of Delhi, with nothing but the sky as a cover over their heads.

No. he did not want to wake up because of the tedious day which he knew was lying ahead of him. All he wanted to do was to keep on lying on the cot and not having to beg on the streets for once. But if that is going to fill his belly, then begging he would have to do. It’s not like he had any other option. At 7 years of age, there aren’t many employment opportunities for him. Well come to that, post recession not many opportunities for anyone. And having been separated from his family since that unfortunate incident 2 years ago hasn’t exactly turned the things in his favor either. How he longed for the day when he would be back with his family, or at least free of all the troubles and be able to have a normal life.

The other children in Janu’s group had similar background as him. All separated from their families at different ages, and for different durations. With parents who half of the time couldn’t care if one of their litter was lost or at the other times didn’t have necessary resources to search for their child. One thing was common in all of them. None of them, in their wildest dreams, could ever imagine getting back together with their family. Such was the plight of their being, having lost all hopes of ever reconciling with their brethren.

Today, the bhaiyya managing his group of 10 children came early to the shelter, if you can call two cots under the New Delhi station bridge a shelter. Not that he used to come daily, anyways. Bhaiyya ji generally did not come that early to the shelter. He used to come to the shelter on a weekly or a fortnightly basis to collect his share of the “collections”. Even when he used to come, it would be in the evening and in time for his “Get Togethers”.

So when Bhaiyya ji came to the shelter that morning, everybody was a bit surprised but so much used to him that they didn’t expect a lot different than the usual. But little did Janu know that things were about to change for him.

Bhaiyya ji announced that there was to be a rally at India Gate and that he needed a couple of children to take with him for begging and some low level pick pocketing if need be. This would also be a treat for the selected kids as it would mean a higher collection, equaling higher personal share as well as chance to scrounge on a whole lot of leftovers of the various kinds.

Janu was the first to think of volunteering and for the first time, felt that being young of age helped him somewhere as people were still bound to give him alms as compared to other grown up kids.

Now the two ways to proceed forward in this story are Gates of Hell and Heavenly Bliss, in that order.

Gates of Hell
Janu was so sure that Bhaiyya ji would pick him from the crowd. Bhaiyya ji, on the other hand, had different thoughts. He picked up two teenage kids who, due to malnourishment, looked younger than their age.

I too would like to go” piped up Janu before he could stop himself, not that he really wanted to stop anyways. He was sick of being in this shelter or the New Delhi Station. Sick of all the sweat and abuses from people hurrying to their destination. He wanted a respite for a day. This, however, did not go down well with either Bhaiyya ji or his fellow mates, who looked as if they could kill him.

“So we have an outspoken one amongst us” chided Bhaiyya ji. “Perhaps some other time, but not today. Meanwhile I hope that you all can teach him a manner or two about addressing elders or you all would have had it.”

Moments after he left, all the rest of the kids gathered around Janu and began to beat him blue and black for bringing them so close to facing the wrath of Bhaiyya ji. Once done, everybody left him to nurse to his injuries and went off for breakfast. Every movement was a pain for him and he was not able to see from an eye. Not willing to take a chance of standing up and then falling down, Janu decided to keep on lying down till his body got partially used to the aches.

When, finally, he felt like being able to move, he went to to the eating area only to find that no breakfast was left for him by the others. Cursing his luck, he set towards his begging spot lest someone should take that too away from him.

Fortunately, or not so much, such was not the case and his spot near the red light was available for him. And so he began his day of begging the young and old, women and men, people in big cars and in small cars for whatever amount of alms. This being Monday was a normal day, unlike Saturday when he would be expected to wear black costume and carry a small pail with some oil in it. Or on Tuesday with Saffron attire and a plate with Lord Hanuman photo and incense stick.

So he sat on the corner when a white van with dark mirrors stopped on the red light. He made nothing of the van or anything. Suddenly, as the light turned green, two hands shot out of the van and pulled him inside. Before anyone around had any chance to react to the sudden development, the van was gone taking Janu with him; never to be seen in that area ever again.

A week later, an unidentified dead body of a boy was found dumped near old Yamuna Bridge. The boy was approximated to be around 7 – 8 years of age and had multiple bruises on his body with his rectum torn open, suggesting gross sexual acts committed to the boy.

And to think, it was the thought that some other day might be luckier for him; which used to keep him going.

Heavenly Bliss
Just as he had hoped, Bhaiyya ji picked the two youngest kids in the group, which of course included Janu. He felt the happiest that he has been in days.

Hopping in the back of a van with Bhaiyya ji, Janu and Kartik began to count their blessings and wonder what they would do with whatever extra money they are left with in the evening and what all would they see at India Gate. They had never had the chance to be away from their shelter or Station.

As it happened, the rally at India gate turned out to be a baba teaching his followers the best techniques to exercise in the ancient Hindu manner and how to cleanse the body of all that acts as a contaminant. While baba was not even the main event for Janu, it was the horde of people milling around to get a good look at baba, so that they can tell their friends that they met The Baba, without actually having to exercise. Even the weather was helping them out with the usual scorching sun replaced with slightly cloudy skies and fair wind blowing across the place. That alone made being out in the open more bearable than he could have hoped for.

With so many people around baba and his entourage, not to mention all the families out there, Janu soon realized more returns than he had ever been able to. To add to the bonus, there were several vendors around offering a wide variety of snacking options to families. It was more than a feast for Janu and Kartik as a lot of families were buying a lot of stuff but not being able to consume all of it, would pass them on to the loiterers. Once, he was even able to convince a memsahib to get him a packet of those fancy chips that are shown on the TV. An aunty also gave him a small car that her toddler was refusing to play with. The highlight of the day, however, for Janu was when he stumbled across a 5 rupees coin lying on the lawn. He decided to keep that a secret for himself and not having to share it with Bhaiyya ji. What a wonderful day this has turned out to be! He got to have loads of collections, food different from the regular daal roti and a return gift of a 5 rupee coin.

All those thoughts about a lucky day, this, he thought, must be it!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

27 comments:

  1. Ashish, one of the best post in this edition.. The trick of Archer's worked very well.. Write on..

    Someone is Special

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  2. Nice post Ashish! I can see the effort put when I read your "The Other Day". Well written, and keep writing as I will be coming over for more.

    Sureindran - The Other Day

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  3. I pick the 'gates of Hell' Ending :)All the best for B-A-T :)

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  4. All the best ...liked it a lot :)

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  5. nice story .i feel proud to think that inspite of being too busy u find time for wandering thoughts .god bless u my son !

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  6. @Someone: I am glad that you found that my post was good vis-a-vis others... Do feel free to read others that I have written!

    @Sureindran, Shilpa, Geeta, Mom: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!

    @Sureindran: I am glad that you liked the effort that I put in. Look forward to having you back for more!

    @Shilpa: To be very honest, that was my personal favorite as well!

    @Geeta: Thanx for the wishes and the same for you too!

    @Mom: Always thank you! and you know the effort as much your as are mine! Thnx for the wishes!!!

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  7. woderful post...has an essence of being unique..loved it

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  8. @Aniruddh: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!

    I am glad that you liked it!

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  9. great great post, really remarkable dude.

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  10. I have always wanted to write something on similar lines. we always wonder what would have happened if we made a different choice.. Good post and Good luck

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  11. @Pramodji: Thanks for liking it sir!

    @Srikanth: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!
    I am glad that you liked the post... The short story be Jeffrey Archer that I mentioned in the beginning, got me thinking on these lines... of course this is not even an iota of what he had done... but, for me, a beginning :)

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  12. There are darker side on both the ends but least the child survived to live in one . .but sometimes it is better to end up dead than livin a humiliated life like that . . so which one to choose?. . i don't know . . beautiful story . . brings out some ugly depths of this society . . hope every child has a deserving child hood . . .

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  13. @Critics: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!
    Sometimes it may be better to end up dead... but I also feel that we have been given the gift of life for a reason and we must cherish it, come what may! Thnx for appreciating the story!

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  14. Definitely the 'Gates of Hell' ending.
    Nice way to write for this particular BAT.
    All the best.

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  15. @D2: Same was my first choice too.. perhaps because that is the way we see the world.. dark and gory... Thnx for the wishes!

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  16. The Gates of Hell has a very sad and moving ending. Anyway, I like how your mom is commenting on your blogpost! I find it very sweet! :D

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  17. One of the best posts I have read so far!

    A read that can be counted on!

    There was a freshness which was very appealing!

    All the best for BAT!

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  18. @Aurea: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!
    Glad you liked the post!
    Actually mom just recently opened a gmail account and was keen on commenting on it through her account!

    @Enchanta: Thnx for liking the post!

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  19. Lovely story, well told - the gift of life - you could ponder the meaning forever and a day! Thanks for this brilliant read :)

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  20. Interesting plot and endings for each story. The "gates of hell" story is truly sad and really looks at the other side of fate or destiny.

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  21. I go fr 'Gates of Hell'
    Suprb post! ATB fr BAT..

    Thanks for ur Love n comments on The Other day of Mine

    Vysh

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  22. @Vysh: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!

    I am glad that you liked the post and thnx for the wishes!

    @Firenze: Yes that was the idea to give black and white ends to the same story and see the cotrast!

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  23. Hell and Heaven both can happen - to be alive is the only difference. Your story reminded me of the 'alternate worlds' kind of theory.

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  24. Loved this archer's technique...
    I too want to try it :)

    Best of luck for BAT!

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  25. @Aativas: "" very true! It is kind of alternate world kind of theory... and how the even the smallest choices we make, together, make a huge difference in our lives.

    @Sweta: Glad that you liked the post! Do tell when you do try it and would love to read through it! Thnx for the wishes!

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  26. nice one:) heavenly bliss seems a better ending:) all the best for the BAT:)

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  27. @Uthra: Welcome to the world of my Wandering Thoughts... Feel free to explore more!

    Thnx for the wishes! FRankly, you are the first one to have preferred Heavenly bliss over gates of hell... perhaps an indication of the mental thought process going in the back of the mind!

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