A TALE FROM THE PAST
By Neel Anil Panicker
Everyone’s got a childhood story to tell and ‘little’ old man Dhanu was no different. Every Dusshehra he would bundle all the young ones together and gather them around the fireplace that he lit just a little beyond the backyards of the corner village mud houses. This, just in case some snoopy neighbour found it a little unnerving to find under ten year olds missing from their homes well past bed time, and gathering, wide eyed around a man the village had labelled different __a rather kinder euphemism for mad.
And so he would begin, once he had them in his grip, all eyes hooked and all ears latching onto to every single monosyllabic sound that he would utter.
“There was this time when I was as young as you guys are now. We, as did the entire village, lived poor, slept in dingy surroundings….” He began in that whisky scarred voice of his that was all too familiar for the kids of Samaipur Gharoli, the semi-rural townscape that jutted out like a sore thumb a couple of miles away from the main arterial roads that led to the big city that was Delhi.
It took barely a couple of minutes for the story to trundle past the riff raff of village life, hurtle past the filth of poverty and board the fast train that was headed to a land where all dreams came true.
And by the time it all ended, which was well past midnight, and the children trooped down to their homes, they had just one dream, which was to embark on a voyage of wonderment as soon as they touched their teens. And for that they had none but their very own, slightly strange though immensely adorable, old boy Dhanu to thank for.
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