Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Little Boy And His Dream

Oh I am so confused, the little boy said, irritation making his baby face even cuter. He has just come home from school and was removing the bag from his shoulders. With a tie, half pants and a white shirt, carrying fresh evidence of his engagements on the play field, he is as much a baby as anyone expects him to be. He is turning 7 very soon and yet his cheeks are fat and swollen from baby fat. His eyes are black, long and drawn, which can undoubtedly be called his best features. He has jet black hair of fine texture and thick. He was solidly built, without being overweight and has the exuberant energy which signifies his age. With his water bottle hanging from his neck, no man can stop smiling when he tries to look frustrated and his childish appearance betrays his sincere effort.

His father was home early as that was a Saturday. He observed his son and smiled. Poor thing, he doesn’t know how complicated life can be and already he says he is frustrated. When his mother took him away, changed his clothes, made him wash himself thoroughly, put on fresh clothes and lots of powder to fight the summer, he actually looked a very cute kid who promises to be dashing handsome when he grows up. Wearing a half sleeve shirt and half pants, hair combed and parted on the left, he came to sit beside his father with his mother getting busy in the kitchen.

Father, why did you become engineer? His father, not willing to reveal the true reason which might be a bit complicated for the young boy, said, well, I wanted to be an engineer, I loved it, why? What is bugging you my baby?
Oh its my teacher. She wants me to write on what I want to be. the boy replied.
And why should that bother my baby? The father asked, lifting him and placing him on his lap.
Because I don’t know, I am confused, the little boy said, I want to become so many things. I want to play and also want to be a diver underwater. And I want to be a writer, and also an engineer like you. He scratched his head. Sometimes I want to be a pilot and fly over countries. And also army and serve my country.
The father smiled and ruffled his hair, the boy leaned back on his father.
“why do you want to be so many things? Can't you make up your mind?”
“nooooooo, the boy screamed, I don’t know. Huh huh huh, he started to express his frustration.
The father smiled remembering his own confusion during his childhood. “What about your friends, didn’t you ask them?”
To this the boy nodded, playing absent-mindedly with the button of the shirt he was wearing.
And what did they say? The father asked, love for his only child making his voice soft.
Oh they all have their dreams. Scientist, oh I also want to be a scientist, then painter, engineer, car racer, player and soldier and...hmm, and many more things, his attention now on the sofa cover.

Father, what should I become? Suddenly the kid asked his father.
I can not tell you that my love, you have to decide for yourself. Father replied.
But tell me pleaseeeeeeee the boy said.
The father thought for a while. OK, why don’t we do this? Tomorrow we go to meet different people and then you can decide what you want to be.
It was a Sunday next day and the boy had an instant big smile on his face. He loved to go out with his father. It means seeing new things, knowing new things and lots of candies n and ice creams. Yessss, I want it, the boy said.

OK deal, the father said, but now you must dine and then pray to God for every person you know and you don’t know and every animal in the jungle and every bird in the sky. If you pray for them, they also pray for you. The father lifted the kid in his arms and carried to dining room. Eating happily what his mother prepared, he fell asleep after praying like his father taught him.

Next day, he woke up early, bathed and wore a sky blue soft shirt and a pair of jeans. His belly is still like a baby and he held his breath when his father buttoned him and zipped him. His mother combed his shiny hair and kissed him on both cheeks and murmured prayers for his safety. Then the boy left with this father. Today he must decide what he should become.

They went to the centre of the district. Their house was a bit on the outskirts. They reached the marketplace and they went to the biggest shop owner in the market. The moment he entered the shop, his eyes lit up. So many toys and dresses, oh he wanted each of those. His father could sense it so he followed the boy’s eyes and bought him the gift he looked at most passionately. But buying things was not their purpose there. They went to meet the owner of the shop.

The father said, sir, my son is confused what to become in his life. You have accumulated so much wealth, so I thought you can spare a few minutes and guide him well. The rich shop owner smiled and said, surely I will do that. What a lovely boy he is. What is his name?
What is your name? He asked to the boy.
Saabit Imaan, the boy replied proudly.
Nice name, what does it mean? The shop owner asked the father.
A person whose faith on God doesn’t weaver. The father replied pleasantly.

The rich shop owner spoke to the boy. Do you want all those toys in my shop?
The boy looked at his father, confused what to say to this weird question. The shop owner smiled and said, do you want them, if I give to you?
Yes, somewhat hesitantly the boy nodded, again looking at his father.
Do you know, you need lots of money to buy all those?
To this, the boy nodded confidently, he knows it will need lots of money to buy all those.
See, when you grow up, you will need many things, for yourself and for your kids and for your parents. and you need to earn lots of money for that. You need to have own business to earn all this money. Then with all the money you can buy whatever shirt you want, wherever you want to go, whatever you want to eat, cars big house and everything. For everything in this world, you need money.

As he was getting ready to speak further, there was a knock on the door. Enter, he shouted, and one of his employees entered.
What is it? He asked
Sir, the employee said, I need some advance money as my daughter is sick and I need to take her to the doctor immediately.
You already have taken 2 months’ salary as advance and I can't give you more.
But sir, I need it really, my daughter needs medicines.
Sorry but I can't break the rule for one employee. He dismissed the employee.

The father also stood up, with a smile and the boy somehow climbed down from the high chair he was sitting on. Thank you sir, for your kind advice and time. I think he loved it. They shook hands and they left.

Father, why didn’t he give that man money? He has much. The son asked when they exited from the shop.
Because my son, if he starts giving away like that soon he has no money for himself.
But that man really needed money father. If I had money I surely give him.
The father stayed silent and smiled.

There lived a great scientist in that area. They went to him. He was a really busy man. Even on a Sunday, he was busy in his huge laboratory. They were stopped at the gate by the guard. He doesn’t want to see anyone?
But we will just take 2 minutes, the father said.
It is something about my boy, the father pointed to the boy.
The guard looked at the boy and instantly smiled for his face was slightly puzzled and his eyes, big and naive, was watching a city house with intensity. The guard said, I can't get him but I can help you meet his assistant.
The assistant came, what is it? He asked impatiently, holding a sheaf of papers under his arms.
Sir, my son wants to decide what he wants to become and I think your professor can really help him in this.
I don’t think so. the assistant said, without paying much attention.
Please sir, just few minutes.
OK, just five minutes. He is busy with a very important experiment. He took them in.

It was a vast laboratory. Complex things were going on. so many heaters, beakers, chemicals and test-tubes were placed. Strange machineries worked on, making noise. It was literally beyond the comprehension of this little boy who only has only one science book. 
The scientist was busily and attentively watching something. The assistant whispered something to him, his eyebrows went up. With irritation, he looked at the father and the boy. Then he came to them hastily.
So, what do you want to know about science? He started aggressively with the boy, ignoring the father completely.
Or, tell me what do you know about science? What have you read? Do you know what is photosynthesis? What are the components of water? Table salt? Tell me how you measure weight and mass?
Not that he didn’t know the answers, but never ever someone spoke to him like that. Everybody loved him, kissed him, hugged him, played with him, ruffled his pair and lift him in his arms. Scared he held his father’ arms even tighter.
See, you know nothing. The scientist continued. To be a scientist you need to study, study and study, learn a lot, give up everything, forget everything. You know what? I sent my son to a boarding school because I don’t have time for him. He stays there alone. This is the dedication it takes to be a scientist.
The little boy shivered at the thought of not staying with his parents. He cants live alone, he loved both of them too much.
The father smiled and thanked the scientist for his time.
When they left, the boy asked, why did he shout at me? I didn’t even run in his place or touch anything? You never do that to me father. His big eyes were filled with tears. The father took him up in his arms and wiped his tears, kissed him on his forehead and bought him his favourite green mango flavoured ice-lolly from an ice cream seller.

Little calm, the boy, still in his fathers arms, asked, why he sent away his son? He cants play with his father on Sundays, like I play with you.
The father smiled.

It was getting late, so they went for lunch. When the Biriyani came, his eyes lit up, he loved it with all his heart. He ate as much as he could. Now, happy, he went to see the local member of the parliament. He was the most powerful man in the area. Even the big moustached police uncle listens to him, he informed his father. The father, who knew the local MP, went to see him. As he wanted to be a popular MP, he actually asked them inside, hold the boy in his arms and happily shook hands with his father, the bloody election is near.
When the father told him the of the purpose, he first laughed a lot, which puzzled the boy. Why does he laugh? My father is so educated and can solve all the maths in my book and also has so many people working under him in the office.

The MP took little time to start. With so many people around him and addressing him, it was difficult for him to concentrate really. His phone rang constantly. He had to listen, understand, order and even shout at the callers. The boy sat there and observed the people in the room. Everyone looking expectantly at the MP.
He received a phone where the caller informed him that the slum dwellers are protesting the eviction and the factory owners are giving up on this. He became furious, he called the caller inefficient and then rang the local police and ordered them to go and help the factory owners. Forgetting the purpose of their visit totally, he started discussing about this slum with the father.

“You see, I try so hard for the improvement of this area but some stupid will remain stupid. They simply don’t want to understand that whatever I am doing is for greater good. If this factory starts, there will be so much employment. These slum people, they can find some vacant area and build another slum there, for all I care. I hope an educated person like you understand this.” The father nodded silently.
By the way, this coming election, please vote for me for continuous improvement of this area” he added smilingly.
Again there was a call where they informed him, the police has been unable to evict the slum people. He became really angry and called every person in the room, “get on the car, today this factory owners will get the land even if I have to burn the slum” he left forgetting the boy and his father completely.

As they started for their home, they were crossing the busy market place again. The boy said, father, my closest friend, lives in that slum. He is very good. Everyday we share lunch and he says, one day he will take me there and show me the strange flower I saw only on the natural science book. And he plays with me too.
Suddenly his voice became worried, will he really burn his home? Where will he live then? Why can't they build the factory elsewhere?
I don’t know baby, the father lifted his boy.
The boy wasn’t very happy with his father, he isn’t telling me because he thinks I am a kid. I am grown up now.
The father sensed this, what expressive eyes my kid has, he wondered. OK, the spicy street food should calm him down.
At that very moment he realised someone has pinched his purse. Oh no, we are far from home, how do we go home?
The changes he has are not enough to take them home. He became worried.

Forgetting his plan to buy his son anything, he said, Saabit, can we just walk home? We can see the sun setting down slowly and also enjoy the breeze. And I will teach you the names of the flowers and trees and show you how the tailor bird builds its nest.

The boy was indifferent, OK sure, is all he said.
But the home was far, even for an adult, it would take two hours to reach there on foot. They started walking but the father could see his son panting, his little feet becoming slower with every step. He had a very engaging day and walking for 2 hours was simply not possible for him.
The father took him in his arms and started walking. But he was a big boy now and his father was slowly ageing. After walking for some minutes, they sat down on a big stone beside the path and there he started resting a bit, the son being equally tired.

ho ho ho, came the happy and cheerful sound of a man singing. The boy looked up enquiringly, so did the father. It was an ox-cart driver, going home from the market after selling his vegetables there. There was no worry on his face. The father raised his hand expectantly and the cart driver stopped. The father hurriedly lifted his son and went to him, sir, we need to go this way but someone stole my money. Can you be kind enough to take us with you?
hahaha, the man laughed. Why not I say? What do I lose if I help you? Come on, sit behind me and hold tightly.
Hey sonny, you ever enjoyed an ox-cart ride? He asked the baby smilingly.
No, the son said, his eyes lighting up at this unexpected opportunity.

They rode and the driver took them slowly to their way. Singing happily, talking cheerfully to the father and laughing at the excited son. He took out a banana he bought for his daughter and offered to the boy. As the father nodded, the kid took it and ate it, oh he was hungry.

Then came the turn from where their home wasn’t far. The driver needs to go the other way to the neighbouring village. He kissed the son and said, you have a lovely boy. The father shook his hand warmly and thanked him for his kindness and also invited him to their place next Sunday. The driver said, I am sure you would have helped me if I were in your position brother. They all smiled and he went his way, again singing.

It was a very enjoyable day but yes tiring. They reached home just in the time for breakfast. As they got fresh, the son was drowsy in sleep. They al sat their after bathing, the drooling kid on his mother’s lap. Hi smother fed him while he kept falling asleep.

Then the father took him and carried him to his room. Placed him on his bed and pulled the blanket up. His mother, who was also there, kissed him on his forehead and murmured, so what does my son want to become?

Almost asleep, the son, replied, an ox-cart driver.

The mother looked at the father, somewhat puzzled. The father smiled.

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