July 15, 2012 Off By Rakib

I couldn’t feel my feet on the ground! I was excited and full of joy; finally I was going home. It has been a long time and I have missed it with every passing moment. Year 1998, I came to LSE to get a Degree in Economics. I came to LSE through a scholarship program and later became a teacher at Newcastle University. Life could be in so many ways and in so many places! For a 5 year old, who was wandering the streets of Banaras, hungry, skinny and with no place to stay. I never knew who my real parents were or why they had abandoned me to roam in the streets. Yet I am in London and have found a good life for myself. Once the footpath was my Home and my Bedroom was the temple stairs or sometimes the bus stand if it was raining. Today I stay in a 2 bedroom house with most of its facility being automatic. I was living the dream of my childhood.

It was the summer of 1986, I was wandering through streets, trying to get some food or to try my luck at finding someone who would give me some money, so that I could eat. I was very hungry and hadn’t eaten for quite some time. Lots of devotees come to Banaras every now and then, to take a dip the Holy Ganga to wash away the sins and ask for forgiveness and later visit the temples to ask for blessings from the Gods.

Beta kuch kha lena. Bahut bhuk lagi hogi tumko” (Son, you must be hungry. Do have something to eat)- Suddenly, a gentleman approached me and gave me a Rs 10 note. No one was so kind and humble to me before. I looked up and saw a humble face staring at me with kind eyes. After he gave the money, he walked way to pay visit to of the temples. He was with his wife. For the first time I felt, I belong to the world. I was looking at them as they walked away and got mixed with the crowd.

With the money he gave me, I could finally buy that plate of “Puri Sabji” which I longed to eat for quite some time. With those thoughts in mind I walked to “Ram Charan ka Thela” and asked for a plate of Puri Sabji. “Iska 10 Rupiya lagega! hoga tera pass loafer kahika, Bhag yaha se” (That will cost you ten rupees. Do you have the money , you good for nothing? Now clear off) the thela owner sneered at me. Then with extreme pride I pulled out the note and gave it to him “Yeh lo”. (here it is ) But things went wrong and the 10 rupees add more to the misery. I was accused of stealing that money “ Yeh kaha se aaya tere paas? Kiska paaket kata re sale”.(Where did this come from? From where did you steal it?) He grabbed my hand and slapped me. Getting beaten was usual, but I was never accused of stealing. Tears rolled from my eyes, I was helpless, I was small and I couldn’t defend myself.

The gentleman, who gave me the Rs 10, saw it happen and approached the shopkeeper and scolded him. He took a plate of Puri and gave me to eat. “Beta aram se khao”. His affection and care made me feel better. “Beta tumhara naam kya he?”(What is your name son? ) he asked. I was very hungry; I did not pay much attention to his question and got busy eating. He said his name was “Krishnakant”. They had no children, so he came with his wife to pay visit to the temples to get blessings from God. I never knew that my life was going to change forever. “Beta hamare saath chaloge? Hamari koi santan nahi hain”. (Son, would you like to come with us?… We don’t have any children) I never thought, there are still such people. A home was what I ever wanted and someone to love me. My life was never the same since then. I was not wandering the streets anymore nor was sleeping in the temple stairs or the bus stand. I finally had a home and after so many years I was coming back to it.

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