Monday, November 7, 2016

From school to streets

The boy had escaped the boarding school. He was 14, barely interested in studies, chased butterflies, low on attention, high on daydreaming and a huge Rajesh Khanna fan. Not sure how but he ended up in Bombay. When a group of people questioned the seemingly lost kid, he revealed he was hungry. They took him to their neighbourhood. He hadn't seen a chawl before. Coming from a background of plenty, he was evidently taken back by the warmth of those strangers. People he saw growing up work for people like him. The only difference being he didn't know he was kidnapped by the time he entered a stranger's house. They fed him and treated him nicely. Over the course of a day, they even dug out information about his parents. The next thing we know: they called his worried dad to tell him that the boy is OK provided they get some reward in return. No harm in getting paid for kindness, right? Charity begins at home. The father took the next possible flight and landed in the neighbourhood. He was distinct in the crowd—obviously—with his sunglasses and jacket. They shepherded him to a hut-like place. And therein, he saw his son about to strike. Nope, no guns involved. He was engrossed in a carrom game with some boys wearing creamy baniyans. After the settlement, the father waited till they reached the airport to ask the pertinent question. "Why did you run away from school?" Pat came the reply, "I thought it'd be easier to become a film star."

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