The Sunday morning was blissful with a light shower in the dawn. The clouds made the sun to play hide and seek.
Dinu da, the fiducial servant, the gaunt man with crinkles on his forehead is giving his service to the house for the last forty years. He pushes the wheel chair towards the green lawn and, left. The man sitting on it has no identity, until I had grown my cognizance. It’s told by my parents that the door next to us has a poor boy. No one knows, the reason of being poor. Though watching him it clears my query, why he is so. The young, lustrous boy sitting on the wheels remains unmoved. The coffee makes me aficionado in him. Dinu da called him Raja. I heard it, while sipping my coffee from my porch.
The sun, changing its angle makes the day brighter. The warmth of the rays makes his body to trill a bit. He moved his eyes but it seems that he does not want anybody to watch it. Dinu da brings his breakfast and keeps it on the wooden tabletop attached to the wheel chair. He does not bother about his hunger, he continuously gazing the flowers, the pleasant weather makes them to wave and smile too.
The Dog Rancho who is sitting next to him on the green grass watching his master face unremittingly, proves his loyalty. Raja looks at Rancho and he moves inside the house. He must be reading his mind or there is some connection between them, experience counts as they are staying together for years. The bonding between them is so faithful.
Dinu da came outside and talking to someone on the phone loudly. I presume that he has some deficiency in his ears. Its must be raja’s parents who are intriguing about their son and other things. I left them on their place and moved inside my room for a shower, as I have to attend a painting exhibition and reach there before 10 AM. At the exhibition Centre, the Event organizer and the contestants welcome me with great enthusiasm, as I am one of the jury members for the event. We roam the round the gallery and rated the paintings. My eyes startled to see the wheel chair boy, Raja with Dinu da pushing him from back. I still couldn’t believe my eyes. It must be something, which allures me towards him. I, advances towards them, his diligent eyes stared at me and then toward the paintings.
Hello! I said
Dinu da’s immediate response, Yes Mam? , Do you know us? Your name? Moreover, a series of question he asked in a flash.
Myself Richa , living by side of your house. I don’t know about you all, but, I want to.
Can I know his name? Asked to Dinu da.
Rajeh, He can’t speak but his ears are audible. He loves painting and that’s why he is here.
Rajeh tilt his head twice indicated that it’s time to leave. While they are leaving, I immediately asked to Dinu da that, could I visit his place this evening. Dinu da looks towards Rajeh and then tell me, Yes you can. I feel strange that how is he understand him? I found the dog lying on the door, waiting for his master. Animals are restricted to the Exhibition. The dog is calm and quiet, resting on the ground without howling or harming on anyone.
After the lunch, her anxiousness cant make her to wait till the evening. She moved to the neighbor gate, the dog howled but made calm by Dinu da. He welcomed me and took me to Rajeh room as if he knows that I’m here to inquire about Rajeh. Dinu da moves to the kitchen without saying any words. So I pump myself with a deep breath and entered Rajeh room. Every nook in the room is filled with canvas. His bed, on the extreme corner hides by the paintings. There is a small laboratory on the other corner, its look like he is experimenting on something. The girl standing there stared at me and then to Rajeh. She does not expect a visitor on this odd evening. Rajeh eyes were intrusive too.
I greet them and ask the girl her name. She stand still in her place as she cant figure out what I’m saying. That struck my mind that she may be….. It’s now her turn, she speaks with her sine language but now my chance to figure it out. I am unable to but, she repeatedly trying hard to make me understand. She wants to know my name.
How hard it must be, to them, to cope with this world. Now I understand the pain and agony, these people face .It’s make my heart to cry for them. Oh God! Why you have done this to them?
Rajeh with his notepad writes something on it and shows it to me. It was written who am i. Myself Rajeh and she is Sorah my best friend. She is deaf and dumb. But I can hear but can’t speak.
“Myself Richa staying at your next door. We are neighbors from long time but never seen you. This morning, I have watched from my porch, while you are gazing the flowers. I worked as a journalist in the Leading Daily.”
“Therefore, you are here for a story”, Asked Rajeh.
“No, No”! I said. “There is something, which attracts me towards you from this morning .Look the co incidence, we met at the exhibition. From then onwards I have some question on my mind, which I want to know. Can we become friends?”
They look each other and make their confirmation.
“Can you show me your painting?” I asked to them.
Sorah hold my hand and roamed me along the room. The electronic wheel chair also moved behind us. The excitement of her wants to tell many things but her dumbness cant. I can feel it from the warmth of her hand. I encourage by patting her and big thumbs up for Rajeh too.
Then I leave them alone and went to Dinu da where he is preparing tea for me. He took me to his room where the scene is still the same, which we found in old typical Hindi films. The old bed, a tin box, and a Gita on the puja place, which he must be reading during his leisure time but, when did he get the time?
Dinu da comes in, with the hot tea and I make him sit beside me. Ask his whereabouts and about Rajeh. He starts with a dull voice. He and his family members serving Mr. Ganguly family from long time, around 50 years .I did not get married because of Rajeh, as I feel that there is some special bonding between us till the time he is born. What a child he was, lovable cuddable, being the first child of this family. When he was two, his sister was born. However, no one knows about his or her fate. I thought it to some kind of black magic performed on this family. His father is doing good in his business. Rajeh was fit and fine then.
Once they planned a motorable trip to the hill station. While returning they met an accident. Everyone is safe except Rajeh. The doctors found that his vertebrae and spine were badly damage. Many surgeries were performed but it helped him to sit on the chair only. The vocal chords were also damage but ears and limbs are fine. I used to take care of him till then. However, the real agony and pains comes in his life when his parents left him with me and the planned to settle in another town.. They visit once in a month, only to see their property, not for him. They do not want to present him in the society as they think his presence can make them down and status too. That’s what I believe and what my eyes have witness. Don’t know, what’s in their mind.
Then I heard a vehicle sound on the gate. It must be 6 PM. Dinu da said. It has come to pick the girl, Sorah who is staying in the charitable home, as she has no parents. Rajeh and Sorah met at an Art Exhibition where they received the first prize jointly for their paintings. Then onwards they are friend. In fact, she is the only friend of Rajeh.
Sorah left for her home and then I again went to Rajeh room. He gave me his notepad, where he has written a long note for me.
You are the first unknown visitor in this home after long years. I don’t know whats make you to attract here, even my parents visiting monthly don’t even peep inside my room. They just talk to Dinu da and went away. I don’t know whats wrong with them. They are the one who brings me to this world. Now it’s melancholy. The sister of mine who loves me a lot, wants to meet me but she can’t. They restrict her. Don’t know why they are thinking me as a curse. I want a favour from you if you agree. I am working on a project from last 7 years and want it to be patented. The project is how to extract the nectar from the flowers .I am almost done and will be finishing by today late evening. I want it to be patented on your name. Will you do this?
Will you do it for me. As you are the only one who can do this to me that’s what I believe. I can see the faithfulness in you. Can I trust you. If my project succeeds then please help Sorah and the disabilities person.
He then took out a diary and hand over to me. The tears rolled down from my eyes, that a few hour meeting makes him to believe me but her own never trust her. She accepted her proposal and hugged Rajeh. Then she leaves the room with tears on her eyes. It was around 7 PM. He smiles, as if he is asking me to visit him daily.
I was just relaxing and thinking about Rajeh, then suddenly I heard the sirens at the next door. It was around 9 PM. I, Rush towards Rajeh’s house where Rajeh was lying on the stretcher senseless. Dinu da crying hard comes to me and says the doctors were true. They have said that he might get a severe attack in any point of his life. Dinu da asked me to go with him.
Rajeh was on the hospital bed in the ICU with the ventilator support. The doctors said to me that next 24 hrs is critical. While sitting on the waiting hall, Sorah, Dinu Da and the dog rushed towards me and started crying. They sit beside me for an hour. It was 11 PM now, I told them to leave, as I convince them that I will be with him.
The tiredness make my eyes close a bit but it opens in a flash, thinking about Rajeh. I took out Rajeh’s diary from my bag and open it. On the first page it was written.
To My Father And Mother
I don’t know why you have kept me in dark as because what everybody says must be true. You make me abandon when you are alive. But I didn’t, I still love you the same as before. I’m not afraid to call you as my parents. I will prove that I am your son one day.
The words make my heart to pain a bit and I cried a lot. The nurse brings a glass of water and told me not to worry he will be fine. The next pages are the project description, which are to be patented.
It was around 3 AM in the morning, the doctor comes out of the ICU with a demur face and declared that he is no more. That’s make me to collapse on the floor. When I gained my concise, I found a man and woman on the reception with Dinu da. I immediately recognize them as Rajeh‘s parents, went to them and hand over the page which I tore it from the diary and left the place.
She patented the project under her name and within a week the great discovery published in different newspapers and journals. She is a known face now but she donated the whole earning to a NGO, which she named it Rajeh Foundation. Sorah and Richa stay under the same roof now.
Once she explains to Sorah that, how she strives hard to make her own name, leaving behind her parents as they are non-supportive of what she does. The male dominated society never wants a female to defeat them. All of us live with our past. All of us allow it to shape our future. But some of us know how to shrug the past. I think that is who I am…..