“You don’t want to go to school?” Hariya shook Ramu, his 8-year-old son. “You want to play in the jungle all day?”
Enraged, Hariya dragged him into the jungle. “Then stay with the animals and ghosts of the jungle.” Hariya walked away.
Ramu explored the jungle to his heart’s content but it wasn’t much fun without his friends. Plus he was hungry. He decided to return home, but to his despair, he couldn’t find his way out. “Amma! Babuji!” Ramu screamed loud and long but no one came.
Darkness fell abruptly and closed in on him. Fear gripped him. He ran to the lone lamp and looked around in dread at the shadows hovering over him. He clung to the lamppost and held on for dear life. Then the unthinkable happened. The bulb flickered and died. Darkness engulfed him, threatening, choking, strangling, “Amma! Babuji! Where are you? Please take me home. I promise I will always go to school.” The wind howled and the trees swayed. Leaves blew into his face. Terrified, Ramu bolted but something held him back.
He opened his mouth in a soundless scream and collapsed in a dead faint.
Note:Unfortunately, the above narrative is not completely imaginary. Recently there were reports of a 7-year-old boy being abandoned near a bear infested jungle by his father as a punishment for misbehavior. Fortunately, the police rescued him after a week of intense search. But another 12-year-old boy wasn’t as lucky as his father stabbed him to death for not studying for a school exam.
Please accept my apologies for being absent without intimation. That life will end for all those who are born is inescapable; yet when life takes one of its expected stoppages, it is nevertheless inexplicably unexpected and heartbreaking.
Whole or not, ready or not, it is time to pick up the pieces and begin again. I hope to start posting regularly once again from the 24th of August. Do mark the date on your calendar and make sure to join in for I need your company more than ever before.
Thank you for being there and not giving up on me.
Wishing all brothers and sisters a very Happy Rakshabandhan. Do watch this heartwarming advertisement that sensitively captures the essence of Rakhi. A warning though – the video is in Hindi and subtitles (auto-generated) in French.