The Rickshaw Puller
The Rickshaw Puller7 mins 25.6K 7 mins 25.6K
Raju knew that if his father had given him a proper education, he then would not have to pull rickshaw the whole day for running his family. He would also have been working in an air-conditioned office like his neighbour’s son, Dinesh, who was a doctor like his father and worked in a big hospital in a big city. He could very well remember that he was very good at the figure and wanted to become a doctor and treat poor patients for free, but whenever he thought about his past it only gave him a lot of pain. If his father had been alive to take care of him like Dinesh’s father, he would also have become something, and he would not have to live such a wretched kind of life. He did not want to go into his past. It gave him a lot of pain, but despite his best effort to check it, his mind would sometimes slip into his past life.
Raju’s parents were not ordinary people but more educated and more qualified than any other persons of the place where he now lived with his old housemaid, whom he regarded as his second mother. She had told him that his parents Nilay and Anita both were big engineers and worked in the same company for years. They owned all the facilities that are thought to be essential for a happy family. But then one day suddenly everything changed. It was his seventh birthday. The entire house had been decorated with colourful lights and balloons. He was among his friends waiting for his father who had gone to his office for some urgent work saying that he would come shortly. Everyone was waiting for him but since it was getting late, Anita allowed to cut the cake and start the party without her husband. Nilay too returned after a short while. In some time the party got over and the guests went their homes, but that night something had happened which changed their life forever. It did not remain as peaceful as it used to be. He often heard his parents talk loudly and sometimes shout at each other. The house which was once a temple of peace turned into a fiery battleground. The only difference was that here instead of weapons, fiery words more devastating than any weapon were used whenever those two creatures got together in the house. Then one day, gunshots were heard, and Raju found himself in the arms of his housemaid. Later, he was told that it was his father who with his gun had shot them both.
Raju felt responsible for all this and could not forgive himself. But even though his heart was plunged in sorrow because of the irresponsible acts of his parents, he wanted to make up for it. He decided not to destroy his son’s life as his parents had done with his, but he would work day and night and arrange for his best education. He would get him admitted to an English medium school and from that very day started working in double shifts. The first shift began in the morning after Anmol went to school and the second after he went to sleep. One day he found himself in a difficult situation when Anmol told him that his teacher had asked him about his profession and also wanted to meet him. He thought that now his lies would be caught and he would fall from his son’s eyes. Then, he carelessly said, “Tell her that I’m a social worker.”
“Social worker…? What’s it, Papa?
Is he a very big man like my friends’ fathers? ”
He did not want to go into detail as he knew that it might create a bigger problem for him, so he said, “Just say that I’m a social worker and that I’m too busy to meet hour teacher. That’s all.” That very day he told his wife, Mohini, that the time had come when he would have to go to another town for work as if their son came to know that his father was a rickshaw puller, it would fill his heart and mind both with the feelings of inferiority.
The next day, all his friends and teachers knew that his father was a social worker and was a very respectable man with a lot of money. He himself had gone to his teachers to tell this.
The time passed rapidly. Anmol’s board examination had been over and he was waiting for his results. He knew that like all his past examinations, he would top the school again. But he was not right this time, as he did not only top his school but also top the country. His marks were highest in all the subjects. His friends and teachers felt proud of him. The Principal took him into his arms and blessed him from his heart.
After some days, a big function was organized in the school to felicitate Anmol and his parents. The principal himself went to his house to invite him with his mother and father. When he told his father about this, he, as usual, said that he would reach there in time. At first, he did not want to be a part of this programme, but when Anmol said that he would not attend this programme without him, he had to change his mind.
On the felicitation day, Anmol arrived at the school with his parents and after making them sit in the front row where their seating arrangement had been made by the principal himself went to meet his friends who were waiting for him since long and got busy with them. When the programme was about to start, the officials one by one arrived and moved to their seats. When their eyes fell on Raju and Mohini, they felt uneasy. Raju and Mohini were too feeling uneasy among these big people, so they silently left their seats and stood with other people in a corner where they easily got mixed up with them.
After sometime when the programme started and the principal proudly announced about Anmol’s achievement in the Board Examination of that year and invited him onto the stage with his parents, everyone present there clapped for him. Their clap got even louder when they saw Anmol heading towards the stage holding his parents’ hands.
The principal then along with other officials honoured Raju and Mohini both with shawls for giving an excellent upbringing to their son. He said that for every child’s success or failure, the child and his parents both are equally responsible. He wished that all the parents should be like Raju and Mohini. When the principal invited Raju to say a few words about his son from the podium, he could resist his feelings and said, “Dear gentlemen, you may be thinking that I am a big man like you, but it’s not. What I am and what work I do, no one knows in this town. Don’t go on my clothes as these days nothing is more deceptive than clothes. When my son, asked me about my profession for the first time, I then told him that I am a social worker…yes…I still believe so because I’m a social worker, but it’s not like what you think. Yes, a rickshaw puller is also a social worker. I’m one among them, and that’s the reason I never attended his school. He pleaded me on every parent-teacher meeting to come and meet his principal and teachers, but I kept away. I hid from him my real profession so that he might not feel himself inferior to any other child. When he grew up and could know the things I changed my workplace. I went to pull rickshaw in another town. Today also I would not come, but my selfishness brought me here.”
At the end of the day, Anmol was feeling proud of his parents.