This is a story i wrote a few years back ..unearthed it when i was cleaning my mailbox ..it amazes me how writing styles change over time .. when i read it today , i thought that there was a naiveness about the way the story is constructed .. there is of course a predictable ending .. if i had written the story now, i would have opted for a different ending..nyways, read on ..
Vinod stuffed himself with a sandwich his maid had prepared. He was late for his tuitions, again.
Vinod’s parents were successful advocates and came home late in the night. They normally were tired after a long day‘s work and didn’t have time to spend with him.
Vinod missed them a lot, but had to make do with the weekends they spent with him. His parents made up for their absence by showering him with exorbitant gifts.
“ Didi ,bye. I am going to the tuition”. Waved Vinod ,to the maid .
The bazaar, with its bustling crowd and noisy vendors always fascinated Vinod .At the corner of the bazaar street , he noticed a new chat vendor selling pani puris. Vinod’s mouth watered at the thought of yummy pani puris. He longingly looked at the food cart and hurried on, as he didn’t want to get scolded for coming late for his tuitons,again.
Every day , for almost a fortnight, on his way to his tuitons, Vinod noticed the chat vendor with his pani puris and his mouth automatically watered.One day, on his way to the tuitons ,Vinod thought he heard the someone call out to him .He brushed it off thinking that maybe he was imagining things. People always said that about him. That he was imagining things.
“ Beta, Over here.” It was the Chat vendor, an old man with flowing white beard and a smile on his face.
“ Hello. Did you call me?” Said Vinod.
“Would you like some pani puris. I had a feeling you might like them. I’ve been seeing you for a while now”. Said the Vendor.
“Oh no thanks, kaka. My mother will get mad if she knew I was eating pani puris and I don’t have money.” Mumbled Vinod , excited and disappointed at the same time.
“ Beta, I don’t want money. And couple of puris won’t do you any harm. “Said the vendor.
“ Thanks kaka. I’ll just have a couple of them.So, are you new to this city?. ” enquired Vinod .
“ I am from a village in Bihar. My grandson and I came here as we had lost all our property. I came here hoping to make a living”. Said the vendor, his eyes suddenly clouding.
Vinod felt sad at the plight of the vendor. He promised himself he would get some money from his mother to give it to the vendor.Everyday , Vinod started stopping to talk to the vendor and eat pani puris. He called him kaka.Kaka never asked Vinod for any money and a unique friendship developed between the two. Vinod told Kaka about his school, his parents and how he got lonely as there was nobody to play with him.
Kaka on the other hand, spoke only about his grandson, Munna. Munna this , Munna that. Today Munna did this and so forth. Vinod felt all the more lonely listening to kaka talk about his grandson. He wished that he had a grandfather too.How lucky Munna was , he thought with a pang.
“Don’t feel lonely. Your parents are working so hard for you. Come home sometime and play with my Munna. I just stay down the road. Just ask for Ramu kaka’s house and anybody will show you where I live.” Offered kaka.
This went on for a while and nobody at Vinod’s home knew about his special friendship. Soon , it was summer and vacation time. Normally, Vinod looked forward to spending the vacation with his cousins in Mumbai. This time he was reluctant to leave as he knew he would miss his daily trysts with kaka.
“Kaka, I am going to Mumbai for the holidays. I will be back in a month. Take care and don’t forget me , ok.” Said Vinod feeling miserable.
“ How will I forget you , beta. I made a special pani puri just for you today. Kaka’s special. Take care of yourself and see you soon. “Said kaka.
One month passed in no time and Vinod got back from Mumbai . His aunt had taken him to Chowpati for pani puris but it was nothing compared to Kaka’s pani puris. He was looking forward to meeting kaka and telling him that his pani puris were the best .
The next day on the way to his tuitions, he stopped at the place where Kaka had his stall, but there was no sign of kaka.
“ Where is kaka?. He asked the flower vendor who used to sit next to kaka.
“ Baba, Kaka is not well. He doesn’t come here these days” Said the vendor.
“ Where can I find his house?”asked Vinod, gravely.
“ Go down the road , fifth house painted in pink.” said the vendor.
The fifth house was dilapidated, dirty and crowded.
“ Where can I find the chat vendor ?.” Vinod asked a man.
“ Last room on this row” the man said.
When Vinod opened the door, he saw kaka lying on the bed , looking ashen.
“Kaka, it’s Vinod. How are you ?” Said Vinod.
Kaka couldn’t talk. When he coughed , there was blood. Vinod felt like crying.
“Kaka , why are you alone? Where is munna? Did you see a doctor?” Asked Vinod.
“ Beta. No need for a doctor. I know I am dying. My family died in Bihar in a
riot.I always wanted a grandson. So I made up all the stories about Munna.” Said kaka, gasping for breath.
“ I am getting you a doctor and who said that you don’t have a grandson. I am here .Will you be my grandfather?.said Vinod.
When Kaka opened his mouth, he couldn’t say a word.
“ Then, let’s get you to a doctor fast , dadaji. Has anyone told you that you make the best pani puris in this entire world?.” Said Vinod.
Tears of joy streamed down the vendor’s eyes. My grandson, thought the vendor.
So have your writing styles changed over the years ?