Giving Back8 mins 264 8 mins 264
Every day began with a positive note for Asit but as the day progressed he began to lose interest. By the evening he was back into the hell. Asit was an unemployed youth and was fighting mental battles of achievement and failure. From a lower-middle-class family, his family struggled to provide him with education. But somehow he managed to complete his graduation and then on a scholarship did a diploma in art in the public-funded art school. Asit learned the finer points of art here and he upskilled himself. He proved his skills in some of the exhibitions held by the art school. But somehow the job market eluded him. Then he did some odd jobs in between. But regular income was a distant dream. At the art school, he had met a girl named Shikha and they became good friends. Together they participated in the art exhibitions. Shikha also had a good hand at art. She also was from a lower middle-class family. But her family's finances were not so stretched. So not getting a job didn't matter much to her immediately but in the long run, it could affect her mental health. So she started a tailoring shop at her house and displayed a board outside letting people know of her tailoring services. But Asit failed to get a job. So he started wall writing poll graffiti for various political parties. As he was a good artist his work started getting recognition. His work was depicted in newspapers and shown on TV. But still, the job remained elusive. Shikha would regularly talk to Asit and try to motivate him. Asit also drew solace talking to Shikha. Shikha's family allowed Asit to come over and talk to their daughter. They loved Asit as he was a well-behaved and well-mannered boy. The family knew that someday the two would marry and settle down. So they didn't show any hurry and put unjustified demand over them.
Asit's family was so involved in the day-to-day survival that they couldn't think of Asit's marriage. Although his mother knew his friendship with Shikha and sometimes she used to gently coax Asit about settling down in life. But when Asit reminded her of his financial plight his mother would calm down.
The regular struggle for existence was continuing for Asit when fate dealt a deadly blow over him.
The election time had come and Asit was busy drawing poll graffiti on the city walls. With the impending polls, the clashes between the workers of different political parties became routine. Asit was talking about it every day with Shikha and she was getting worried for him. Then one day Asit came in between the crossfire between the two parties and became injured with bullet shrapnel. The Police came charging to catch the culprits red-handed and finding Asit with a bleeding hand thought him to be one of the culprits took him away and put him behind bars. How much Asit prayed innocence the Police didn't listen. Shikha came to visit Asit in the jail and talked to the authorities for his release but the police refused to listen. They said that the elections would be over in the next couple of weeks then Asit would be produced in court and if was found innocent he would be released unconditionally. Asit's family was inconsolable with his imprisonment. Now Shikha had the duty to look after Asit's family and soothe their frayed nerves. Asit's father had a mild attack on hearing his son's plight. Shikha was put on double duty to take care of his medication also. Then after the results of the election were declared the victorious party as a goodwill gesture ordered the release of all political prisoners. Asit was in luck and found himself free. His wounds had healed in the meantime. But Asit had lost all motivation in life after spending time in jail without any fault of his. Any amount of pep talk by Shikha could not raise his morale.
In a dejected mood, Asit was sitting by the riverside one evening with Shikha by his side. If it was not for Shikha, Asit would have done something calamitous. But still, he remained very dejected.
When suddenly in the falling sunlight an elderly man approached the couple. Out of twilight semi-darkness, the man appeared unnoticed and Asit measured his movements suspiciously. Shikha gave Asit an indicative look to calm down.
The man who looked to be a senior citizen introduced himself as Dr. Anindya. He had a very confident way of talking and with his quiet steely attitude, he could captivate the other person with whom he was in conversation. Because Asit felt that he was somehow gaining his lost self-confidence. The doctor continued with his story which seemed incredible to Asit as he listened. Dr. Anindya was a philanthropist and was running an NGO. He had gone abroad in his younger days for higher studies after his medical degree and he stayed on thereafter completing his Higher education. There he had started his own medical practice. After a successful stint of three decades, Dr. Anindya felt that he must return to his native place of birth and do something for the society from which he had got so much. So listening to the call of his conscience he had come back and started his care giving organization which he had interestingly named '' Giving Back ''. Now his dream project had been launched and he was on the lookout for a good support team to carry forward his work. Asit and Shikha were listening intently to what Dr. Anindya was delivering. Finally, the doctor asked the couple to join him and support his dream project. Asit after hearing all finally opened his mouth to speak. He briefly told about himself and how his dreams had been shattered of not getting a job and being without any supporting income. He even talked about his prison time. Dr. Anindya did not seem too interested in Asit's background.
Asit looked incredulously at Dr. Anindya and asked of him that what had prompted him to decide upon Asit and Shikha to run the show for him. Dr. Anindya replied saying that he was in search of a young couple for quite some time and had been visiting the river bank and parks in the evening every day to decide upon a prospective couple. But he had been unsuccessful till he spotted Asit and Shikha.
'' What made you decide upon us as your desired couple?, '' asked Asit.
'' I just made a gamble in selecting you and I think I have not done any wrong, '' was the confident reply from Dr. Anindya. He went on saying that he had been dealing with people all his life and never had he gone wrong on his choice of people.
Dr. Anindya helped to instill the requisite confidence in both Asit and Shikha. He was an accomplished man of the world with multi-talents. Dr. Anindya apart from being a doctor was a therapist and yoga teacher. With a lot of patience, he started a regimen of yoga and meditation for both Asit and Shikha to build up their inner self-confidence. Asit found that Dr. Anindya had no dearth of Funds and had plowed all the income he had made in his professional life had now invested in the project. He had no family of his own or he did not discuss about it. He constantly preached to Asit and Shikha that at some point in one's life the incumbent must give back to the society that had endowed him so much. By giving back the satisfaction that is generated is worth all the fortune in the world. To bring a smile onto the face of a deprived person gives immense pleasure and that is the best reward one can get. In this sermon, Dr. Anindya constantly harped, and slowly Asit and Shikha became accepting it as their life's mission. Now gone was the feeling of dejection for not securing a job and not drawing a salary. Because the wealth that was at the command of Dr. Anindya was huge and it was totally at the disposal of Asit and Shikha. Also, the type of work that was being done for the society was being liked by Asit and he was feeling satisfied at the end of the day. Now having no qualms about his ability Asit's mind had changed and he was able to look at life in a different way. But still, Asit was circumspect as to why a stranger with a mini fortune should choose an unknown unemployed youth like him for such a noble work.
In his childhood, Asit had sometimes heard his mother uttering that Asit's father had a brother who had 'runaway' abroad for higher studies taking away all the family wealth leaving them in absolute penury. This uncle of Asit had then severed all connections with his family. So no one knew about his whereabouts. Within a few years everyone had forgotten about him. But this person was the cause of all their troubles and hardships. Asit while growing up had a curiosity to know who this 'uncle' was. Now Asit had his doubts about the antecedents and the past life of Dr. Anindya. Had his lost uncle returned as Dr. Anindya. But he did not have the courage to verify this with his mother nor with Dr. Anindya. Although his brain was being raked up to know the true identity of this unusual benefactor.
But Asit had learned one valuable thing from Dr. Anindya that everyone should give back to society in some way or the other at some point in their lives.