Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lost and Found...

Continued from the previous part.

Pankaj would stare Kavya with complete surprise and did not utter any word. This was his daily routine, like for the past one month he is trying to grab some kind of attention but in vain.
Kavya surrounded with the girls would always love to boast how her father fought valiantly in police force.
"He would jump on the culprits from the tree tops and get hold of them. No one can escape from my Baba. He is my superman!"
"Arey Kavya, you never told us about your mother. Where is your Aai? Not here with you? You didn't tell us about her!" asked the girl with the runny nose, puzzled.
"Pooja, tula kaay mahiti? I don't know... My Baba says she has gone to meet Ganpati Bappa to some distant place. I am sure she will come back someday. I just want to see her. How she looks and what she wears? is she also fond of badminton like me? or she plays basketball like Sandhya? I wonder if she likes..." Kavya was soon interrupted by the noise of a loud quarrel between a lady and an old man fighting over a seat.
"Disat nahi ka?. This is ladies seat not for you, uncle!" ,the angry lady was shouting to an old man who was going to sit on her lap as the lady jumped on the window seat that went vacant at the next stop.The old man who was wearing a gandhi topi was holding a local newspaper that slipped from his hands during the tussel and fell straight in front of Pankaj.
Pankaj was busy counting his marbles down the pockets. One..One plus one is two. Two plus two is four. He was struggling with his schoolbag ,disappointed of the fact that after a month long wait, Kavya neglected him finally. But when the newspaper pages came rolling towards him, he couldn't resist but picked them up and reached to the old man who was panting now,tired and exhausted.

"He ghyaa Kaka."Pankaj saw the old man's wrinkled face creased with sweat as he was unable to stand in the crowded bus. He took the newspaper and slid it inside,buttoned up his shirt and secured it from the outside world thus saving it with his compromised state of privacy. People these days are less concerned. Everyone is busy doing nothing. Nowadays we love to make ourselves confined to our own world filled with gadgets and social networking that demand nothing except our limited time thus making us busy doing nothing at all. The screen makes us blind and the music makes us deaf to the outside world. We fail to listen to our own voice which haunts us after it's too late to respond. 

Pankaj took a quick glance of Kavya. Yes, she was watching the whole incident. Her friends were busy gossiping about the new school teacher and the possible punishments if the homework was not done, but she was silent, looking straight to Pankaj with a thoughtful mind. Pankaj took his eyes off from her and continued counting the marbles inside his pant's pockets. One..One plus one is two. Two plus two is four. Four plus four is...

The announcement, " Pudhil station Shivajinagar, Next station Shivajinagar."
Pankaj became upset when he saw Kavya getting down with her friends. They would exit as if they wanted to leave Pankaj alone, he thought. He would stare them go away..with their big bags and even bigger smiles on their face. He couldn't remember the last time he smiled. He forgot smiling the day when he lost his father...forever.

The usual pheriwala was back with his tray of piping hot vada pavs. Chala Chala ...Wada Pav..Kanda Bhajji.. Pankaj was always fond of this local cuisine. He would remember the time when his father used to bring hot vada pavs to home after returning from his daily labour. The time spent in the evenings were such a delight. His father was his only source of glittering happiness and filling appetite apart from his abusive mother.
He would readily search down all available pockets but would comfort himself thinking that today is not his day and his mother will not give him any extra money to spend. goes my dreams shattered, he would think. The pheriwala was carrying those hot little dreams that Pankaj always wanted to cherish with his father in the lost evenings at his old deserted house in Mumbai.
He jumped down from the bus in the poodle of mud and moved on to search for the pheriwala who got lost in the crowd silently just like his father. He would soon catch another bus for the place where he was least interested to go. To the school. He waited near the bus depot and started looking for the pheriwala with his school bag kept on one of the steel chairs near to the ticket counter.Now the aroma of wada pav is gone. Just noise instead. Never ending noise. Chala chala Katraj..Swargate!

"Pankoo?" he heard a familiar voice again. A female voice again but this time it was not pre-recorded.

As he turned back he found Kavya standing in front him looking straight into his eyes. Her big, round, blue eyes full of questions, he thought. No..she was not with her friends. But why she came to me? He again thought. Pankaj smiled and searched his pockets. Soon his smile began to wane when he found three of his marbles missing. Oh no, i am so incomplete without them!
" forgot something. See what i got for you! Your marbles." Kavya moved her right palm forward and offered him the exact three blue marbles that he always liked the most.
"Just like your eyes!" Pankaj was brimming with joy. As if he found his life back. His birthday gift when he was 8. Mumbai..Father...Accident...Hospital...Mother...Relatives...Friends..Abandoned.. The Deserted House...A Long Journey...A new city...New place...New people...New life. But Same old marbles, three blue,two green and one black. Blue..Just like her eyes.Big, round, blue eyes.The only constant in his life.Undisturbed. Safe and Secured back. He wished he could get everything back. His father back. "!"
"So you already know my name? You can call me Kavya, Hi... " Giggled the girl with the blue eyes.
"Haha..I am Pankaj, but I am okay with Pankoo if you like calling me by this name. I am ok. Very much. Though this is not my nickname. My Aai calls me Pakeya..." he laughed back this time.
"Pakeya...haha!...Kavya and Pakeya...haha!!!" His laughter exhibited the gap between his two incisors. Kavya laughed a little more.
"Hey, your school is not in my way right? You will go to that way right?" He asked hesitatingly.
"Yes, actually i forgot my tiffin box today. My father will be very very angry you know?"
"Oh, you can take my tiffin dabba. I don't feel like eating anyway. You can have it." Pankaj looked for his schoolbag which was out of his sight right now and no where near to the ticket counter. It vanished just like that pheriwala. "I kept it here only...where did it go?"
"It's gone! It's nowhere here." confirmed Kavya.
He was happy to get rid of his schoolbag finally. What a pain it was! Not able to help Kavya this time as a favor for returning back his lost marbles was more painful to him.
"You lost your schoolbag? But how? What will you do now? Your teacher will beat you up for not bringing textbooks! What about your parents? I feel pity for you now. So sorry for you Pankoo!" Her eyes grew even bigger now. Pankaj found such a relief getting back his marbles that the loss of his school bag didn't matter at all..

We all want to get rid of our burden. We all want to erase everything bad from our memories. Yet they have etched our minds so deeply that we fail to do so. Life is like a journey. We meet some and we leave some. We make some and we break some. Are the two little souls destined to find the way out together in this journey? Or will there path will never cross again? Lets find out in our next part...

~~~to be continued~~
Click here to know what happens next -