Thousand Rupees7 mins 1.7K 7 mins 1.7K
"WHERE IS THE REMAINING THOUSAND rupees, eh?" Janu asked her husband, who was in the bathroom to wash his face. It was a loud voice, you could hear it from anywhere in the house.
But Chalapathy wasn't in a mood to respond her. He kept splashing the water in his face, it was cold but he won't come out until he cleanses himself. It's like he was taking a sabbatical bath in the Ganga River.
"I am asking you only, no," she said. This time she screamed harder than the earlier voice.
Her husband slowly came out of the bathroom and places the blue towel on the top of the foldable chair in the small living room. It was a typical single bedroom house, hardly 350 square feet. The air circulation was tight inside as many houses were surrounded closely. He looks at his wife in a calm and polite manner.
"When I returned from my office I had seen one small boy loitering on the street, he didn't have clothes and his fingers were shivering. I had asked him where his mother is, but he couldn't speak either. He was dumb, but he could hear what I spoke. He was physically weak. He responded me with gestures. I felt really bad. So I pulled him straight to the hospital and the doctor gave medicines to him since he was suffering from fever. The doctor asked the child to take bed rest, but the child mused at me. I told the doctor he is not my child and he is an orphan. The doctor asked me to hand him over to the government orphanage center. Also, he told me to register a complaint in the police station. I said I will do. When I brought him to the orphan center the boy gestured me he is not interested to go there. I asked him why? He said (gestures) he didn't like the way they treat him. I was stunned. I didn't know why he was talking like that. He told me they didn't feed him well and always asked him to go railway station and sell toys. He actually escaped from the orphan center. He told me he wanted to go school and study like other children. My heart melted like snow," Chalapathy said as he took a deep breath and looked at his wife patiently. He wanted to read her emotions.
"You mean, you had spent thousand rupees for the boy's treatment. I really don't know if you have a brain to do like this," his wife said, as her bosom heaved up. "There are plenty of small children like him walking down on the roads, are you going to help them too? Do you know the value of a thousand rupees? It is one-month milk money for us. Do you think you earn like Ratan Tata to help the poor people? Don't forget the fact that you are a security guard in a school. Should I remember you that you earn hardly six thousand rupees a month?" she was not at all impressed with what he had done.
She wasn't educated much, she had studied up to fifth standard and quit her studies after her mother was fallen ill. She didn't mind about her studies because she wasn't a bright student. In fact, she was waiting for the right time to talk with her parents about abstaining from the school. Her father was a drunkard and he used to paste the movie posters on the walls in many areas, but he hardly used to go for work and most of the times he was lying on the roads unconsciously after drinking heavily. She used to bring him back home. But he was dead when she was just twelve years old and even her mother was passed away within a year. She didn't have any option, but to work as a helper in a small hotel where she used to clean utensils and buy vegetables from the market.
She was receiving less salary, but it was the only reason why she lived. But her first meeting with Chalapathy made her heart churn. He was working as a vegetable seller in the market at that time. She used to bargain with him in a shrieking noise, the innocent faced Chalapathy often duck down his head and give the vegetables for the prices she had quoted. After six months, she only proposed to him that she wanted to marry him. Chalapathy thought she was making fun of him, but when she hit him on his head with a bitter gourd and said, ‘I really love you fool.' He believed.
"Yes, I spent thousand rupees for his treatment. He looked like our kid Ram Gopal. I really felt bad and couldn't restrain myself from helping him," Chalapathy said in a low voice as if he was grieving inside for his lost son. Yes, Ram Gopal was dead when he was six years old, he was studying second standard at that time. When he returned from his school, he ran after picking a tennis ball on the road, but he failed to see a heavy truck was coming opposite to him. It tossed him about hundred meters as his ribs broken and doctors announced that he was brought to the hospital after his brain was dead. Chalapathy's heart was exploded when he heard that news.
But later, he asked the doctors to use his son's body parts for other patients who were desperately in the need of eyes and kidneys. Janu wasn't interested, but he was stubborn that they were at least able to see his son alive through others. Even the chief minister personally called him and gifted two lakhs, but he gently refused it and asked him to hand it over to the people who are very poor instead. He told him I am able to look after my family with my salary and he doesn't need it anyway. The CM embraced him for a few seconds and brushed away his tears with his index finger.
"I am sorry dear, forgive me for what I said," Janu's voice was suddenly shifted to a low gear now, it was soothing and compassionate and delightful. "You mean, he was really looked like Ram Gopal?" there was excitement, anxiety, and fear mixed when she asked this question.
There wasn't a moment she hadn't thought about her son after he had left this world permanently. But he was still living inside her, and she was still conversing with him in her dreams. She became partially mad when she heard the news that her son was no more. She used to talk to herself when she was alone in the house. But she wasn't a threat to the society, even the doctors told Chalapathy that she might come back normal at any time. There was a possibility. But God knows when it would happen.
Even whatever he said earlier about the kid was a lie. Yes, just a lie. He told this story just because he wanted to see happiness in her face. That's all he wanted. He knew he had seen it now. He was ready to tell thousands of lies just to see a glimpse of happiness peeped in her soulful eyes. He was ready to dedicate his entire life to take care of his wife as a baby.
"Yes, Janu. He looked very much like our son. You know what, he had that small brown eyes and chubby cheeks and broad ears. Even I had seen him walk like our boy," Chaalapathy said as made her sit down on the chair. Her eyes were soaked in sumptuous happiness and her mouth gaped.
"Yes my dear sweet wife," he said, smiling.
There was a knock on the door. He walked down slowly. He thought the neighbourhood old woman has come to ask for betel leaves. He unlatched the door as he peeked out to see who was there outside. He was surprised to see the same kid he had described earlier standing there with the money in his hand. He can't believe what was happening in front of him. There was a high current passed through his spine on seeing this kid.
"Who are you?" he asked, his throat was quivering.
"My name is Mukunth, I came here to return your thousand rupees."