“Just moments spent with some random person in life makes a difference.”
Everyone must be aware of the “Carter Road” at Bandra indeed. It is the place I generally haunt at the weekends. Though it is crowded, I usually find my secluded place near the shore where I can sit alone or with one of my close friend for hours just watching the sea. The place is so serene and beautiful. While I sit there lost in my thoughts, I always feel like my life, for that moment, comes to a halt. No phone calls, no internet, it is just me and the vast ocean ahead.
That Friday night I went to Carters with a friend who wanted to discuss something related to his life. I usually like interacting with people and mostly when my friends are confused or disheartened they just talk their heart out to me. We sat towards one of the extreme ends talking, initially just listening to him and then discussing the way out. The discussion, after a point of time, started going nowhere and so I decided to go for a walk. I left my friend alone with a few thoughts to contemplate on and then figure his own way out.
While I was walking, I too was lost pondering over the discussion we just had, trying to understand his point of view. When suddenly I felt something watery touching my arm. I came back to reality and saw water bubbles all around me coming from behind. As usual, the kid in me started to either break them with fingers, or blow some in different direction. It was then that I heard a giggle and realized that the bubbles around me has increased. I turned just to see him.
An innocent smile, eyes filled with expressions, face lit with laughter, this kid (guess he must be 12 years or so) was indeed attractive. I smiled at him and he blew a few more bubbles and I played with them.
After some moments of fun, I asked him his name. He replied “Salman Khan”. My next question came spontaneous “Aaj shooting pe nahi gaye?” (You did not go for your shoot today?). He laughed and then said, “Jauga na, bada hoke. Bahut paise kamauga and garibo ko dunga.” (I will go, when I grow up. Will earn lots and give it to poor). I kept looking at him and thinking, he himself was in need of money, he was just a roadside vendor. Still he wanted to earn and give money to needy. Where did that thought come from to him?
We sat at a bench talking. I asked him about his family, his home and got to know that he lived on this pavement and had no family. He has lost his family in some incident post which he left his native place and came to Mumbai.
Suddenly he asked me “Didi yeh number hai ek bande ka. Who bola tha mujhe call karna, mein tumhein idhar aake padhauga. Mujhe phadna hai” (Didi this is a number of a guy who asked me to call him so that he will come here to teach me whenever he is free. I want to study.) With great hopes he gave me the number and I dallied. When the person received my call, I gave him Salman’s reference to which initially he reacted “I don’t know what you are talking about”. I told him calmly of this street kid who has his number on a piece of paper. He sounded busy and replied “Haan, tho mein jab free hounga I’ll meet him.” (Yes, I’ll meet him when I am free.) The guy on call sounded completely disinterested but not breaking Salman’s hope I told him he will come and teach you in some days. He is busy at present.
I asked him if he was hungry and then we went to have shawarma. We sat at the bench again enjoying the delicious shawarma and not uttering a word. My heart wanted to do something for him, I felt a guilt of not being associated with any NGO when I always wanted too. That urge and guilt sank me to sadness. I sent few messages to my friends who could be of help. Then I bid him goodbye when my friend came and poked me from behind.
Unfortunately later I got busy with my routine and visited carters again only after some 40-45 days. My heart hoped to meet him. I walked the entire stretch, this time not looking for my place, but for him. I was disappointed.
I asked for him to other street kids around, they knew nothing. Helplessness sank within me. My eyes almost moist, I went and sat near the shore an was completely silent that day.
Where did he go? I still look for him there…and the question remains unanswered.