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C R Dash

Abstract Drama Inspirational


4.5  

C R Dash

Abstract Drama Inspirational


Chaga

Chaga

8 mins 187 8 mins 187

Of the four children of Dinabandhu Mohanty Chagala, affectionately called Chaga, was the second son in the family. A sister and two other brothers were dedicated and serious students. But Chaga had failed in Class 7 twice. The dullest backbencher in the class, Chaga excelled in mischief. Chaga had a thick neck and a stocky build. He knew how to climb tall coconut trees and steal the fruit for fun and mischief. He had his gang of notorious pranksters in the locality. The village Nilanga, situated close to Bhanjapur Sasan, was well-known for its emerging new generation of intrepid devils who had turned life of the odd ones amongst the elderly into a harrowing nightmare. Banshi Sahu, the gingerly retailer, Durga Samal, an ex-army man, the postman Jhari Mangaraj, Baburi, the old bicycle mechanic who talked to himself most of the time, the priest in the village temple of Goddess Kali, Gokhi Panda who coined magnificent lies to captivate illiterate pious women of the village, to name a few, were the unfortunate victims.


Now Dina Babu was at the end of his patience. Every day one or the other follower of Chaga did some mischief and the people pointed it out to Dina Babu. We were junior to Chaga and his friends. Mohanty was a retired postmaster and his children were now settled in their occupations. His daughter fell in love with a distant relative's son and was living a peaceful life. When the old man, was freed from his mundane commitments and responsibilities, Chaga became his only source of concern.


According to people, Chaga had no good qualities.

But the twenty-five-year-old had a very special and rare talent. He had lived his childhood very close to birds and animals. He knew how to produce the cry of each and every animal and bird.

The eldest son was a Kedriya Vidyalay teacher who taught mathematics and the other was a philosophy lecturer in a private college. Chaga was considered a sponging parasite who lived off his old parents. Nobody except the village boys who admired his talent had any respect for the never-do-well. Dinabandhu often violently quarrelled with his irresponsible son who despite constant reminders and dire threats never stopped from keeping his hands off his father's expensive mobile phone, a gift from his eldest son. Dinabandhu was very worried about it. He could have bought Chaga a good mobile phone for Chaga but he didn't think it necessary. When his wife pleaded with him saying, "Please do give a good phone to your child and stop the dirty quarrelling every day. He is after all your son. . . ", "Your son. . ?" the old man would mock. "He has made my life an inferno. I am ashamed of him. . . He has been the bane of my family. . Rampant chewing of betel leaf and smoking of bidis are the only things he is capable of. . You have given birth to a devil. This could be because of my bad karma in my previous births. "


They were talking aloud unaware of the fact that someone was overhearing them. That someone was the niggard Banshi Sahu's granddaughter Puspita. She was reclining in a chair in the veranda of their house watching small children catching dragonflies. She had just finished her MBBS and was newly employed at a private hospital in Cuttack. She was holidaying in her village then.


Chaga felt awkward when he discovered that Puspita was following him everywhere. "What is the matter?" This question puzzled him. Nobody liked any member of Sahu's family because they were notorious for their miserliness. We had heard many a case of extreme penny-pinching and ungenerous behaviour of the Sahus. Chaga also hated the girl with whom he had not sufficient acquaintance.  


It was late afternoon. Chaga was swimming in the village pond. Of course it was very very hot that June afternoon. He was astonished to find Banshi Sahu's granddaughter beckoning to him desperately. "Perhaps she is facing some serious problem. . . !" He came out of the pond and said to her in matter-of-fact tones, "What is it. . . ?" 

She said, "First promise me that you will henceforth regard me as your sister. . . . "


"I do think so. . "


"In the true sense? "


Chaga laughed aloud and said, "Haven't I always looked upon you as a sister. . . ? Has anything gone wrong? Have I offended you any way? Or you want my help to tide over some critical crisis? Is it. . . . . ?"


Puspita produced a splendid mobile phone from her pocket and handed it to him. He hesitated and said, "Why must I take such a costly gift from you. . . ?"

"Then you don't consider me your sister. . !" A tussle started and continued for some time. When Chaga saw tears in the girl's eyes, his eyes also became tearful, for someone for the first time showed some genuine love and affection for a good-for-nothing fellow like him. Puspita advised him to make use of the phone and find his talent exposure. It was a true miracle for the neglected young man. She explained to him how to open a YouTube channel.  

Chaga excelled everyone in the village in the use of the wonder gadget. He experienced great joy, freedom and relief. He never touched his father's phone after this. The old man wondered whether Chaga had stolen the phone he was using now. After some days everybody forgot about Chaga's phone. Chaga couldn't forget the sacrifice Puspita had made. She had given her own expensive handset to him minus her original sim cards.


Chaga preferred a particular place under a huge mango tree inside their own compound. He would place a coconut leaf mat and sit down on it. Most of the time he would be surrounded by the village children who loved to listen to him imitating the cries of different birds and animals. Now there was a new trend of coping the voices of the leading Bollywood actors and actresses. Amitabh Bachhan, Prem Chopra, Pran, Amrish Puri, Shakti Kapoor etc captivated him. He remembered their dialogues and accurately produced them to the unending delight of the children. Later, even elderly people came to enjoy the fun. His mother would often come and observe him giving many kinds of calls peculiar to birds, animals and now delivering the dialogues of the important Bollywood stars. One day Dina Mohanty himself came to verify the news spreading like wildfire. People from distant places came to watch him perform live. He was amused but while the family were having lunch together, he made disappointing remarks:" You have great talent. . . but what use of it. . . ?Only if Lord Jagannath could bless you to earn a bit of money . . . . . . !" 

He had opened a YouTube channel but it was not fetching him any income at all. Puspita would often encourage him to stick to his work. He earned a lot of attention but little income. Four years had passed since he had got the phone. Puspita often told him to go to Mumbai and try his luck. He knew some Harijan boys were working in Mumbai. They were either house painters or did odd jobs like those of motor mechanics,construction labourers. He had a childhood friend called Naiya who boasted of having painted Prem Chopra's house.  

Naiya and Chaga travelled to Mumbai. Naiya introduced Chaga to one Mr. Thakur who assured him of a job. He did meet some filmy people. They listened to him and nodded appreciation but Chaga was profoundly hurt realising that there was no one to marvel at his genius. It appeared as if he had done nothing unusual or wonderful. He developed intense scorn for the affluent people of the famous city. He decided to come back home and devote his time to farming. His father possessed landed property.

When Chaga took charge of his father's agricultural lands, the old man breathed a sigh of relief. Puspita too was disappointed to know about Chaga's failure. Now Chaga was willing to get married. But his parents couldn't find a suitable girl for him. This was another disappointment that pierced his heart. This was how one year passed and Chaga had said goodbye to his hobby.


When in the afternoon Chaga had just got up from a siesta, he saw the postman Jhari Mangaraj giving a sky blue envelope to his father.  


Mohanty read the letter written in Odia. It was from an institute named J J CARTOONS based at Bhubaneswar.


Now most of the time Chaga Bhai and I meet. He is very happy with his wife and daughter. Although he is employed by an institute, he has his own independent business. He is now the richest amongst his siblings. He sells his voice and earns from a variety of sources. He always says one thing to me:"When good times come, nothing can block your road to success. . . My only regret is that I couldn't be a matriculate at least. . "


Recently we met at his daughter's wedding last May. He appeared to be in a very happy state of mind. We chatted a while and he said, "Now I give all my time to pujas and prayers. I feel whatever we do we mustn't forget our creator. Nothing can be more precious and valuable than Him. "

Finally he said Puspita Didi was in touch with him. She never forgot to tie a rakhi on him every year.  



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