Trying to tune the guitar, one of the strings broke from the board and smashed the other stings making a steep sound in the air and pulling attention of the people once again towards itself,
“It broke once more…..!” said a ridiculed voice of a young adult sitting on the drum nearby while one on the mike was even starred at the man trying to fix his guitar for quite some time.
“Are Nikung bhai, it’s time to buy a new guitar, how many more days you are going to use it. Its days are over…….. Believe me…!” .
Nikung the 23 year old final year engineering student was starring at his guitar with great admiration and respect clearly visible in his eyes.
“Friends you know well that this one is my favorite and the most cherished piece in this college from which I can never ever part”.
This was really something amusing for his friends trying to rehearse for their coming performance in the college fest. “But yaar why is it so priceless to you?” asked Satyam one of the member of the band and Nikung Shankar’s closest friend.
“Yes yaar tell us today why is it so priceless to you?” asked another guy sitting on the drum set.
All now looked at him curiously and Nikung tried to ignore all of them plucking the strings of his guitar, but their anxious gazes were not ready to dissuade at any cost. Nikung even understood this “You won’t let me go…!!!!” he said trying to get rid of those curious eyes which had become still on him.
“Naa…. not at all” said Satyam once again.
He now looked at all those eyes and finally getting defeated he opened his mouth “It’s a long story you all will get bored”,
“You just say we are ready to listen anything with all the patience” said his friends. They were even quite curious because they even wanted to know the reason behind the mad love of the most affluent boy of class towards his guitar.
“Okay okay……………..then listen”
Six Years back when I was eighteen”
“Good morning………you need to wake up its Diwali…” said the smiling lady removing the blanket from over the sleeping boy.
“No…Maa its just 7” the sleepy lad tried to hold the moving blanket but his mother just pulled it off from over him.
“You need to wake up, it’s time for some work and yes the preparations for evening” she said once again and threw the towel lying on the hanger in the jeopardized room of Nikunj over his face “Get ready within half an hour, your father is waiting for you in the dining Hall”.
Nikunj Shankar, the 18 year old boy, a high school student had no chance infront of the strict orders of his mother who got herself busy in arranging his messy room. Finding his mother in the room itself, he knew he couldn’t afford to be lazy anymore and instantly got off from his bed and then itself a light, sweet and equally pleasant song filled his ears “TOOTtA……….TOOTtA EK PARINDA AESE TOOTA….. guitar strumming……….Allah ke bande hasde……………and guitar once again” it came from a radio, on nearby only .
He was so sedated by the song that he stood still for a moment, he was enjoying it and the guitar sounds in it once again surfaced up the earnest desire or we could say a long cherished dream of Nikunj Shankar in his mind ‘the dazzling guitar in his hands in front of an excited crowd ready to listen him” he was lost for a moment in it until “Nikunj…….Nikunj……!!” his mother shouted at him and he was back, once again in his room “You are still here, get ready or else it would be no good for you” he almost rushed towards the bathroom hearing it.
Within half an hour he was ready sitting right infront of his father on the dining table with his sister Pia on right waiting for the breakfast, he was trying to ignore the furious gazes of his father which was eyed on him only, he continuously looked towards his sister or the plate infront on the table, breathing hard, the elusive dream was still alive in his mind and the imagery continuously flashed in his thoughts ‘he, holding the guitar’ which was really fascinating him. This fascination gave him some courage and he looked up for the first time since morning towards his father who had been waiting for this moment. But the boy was ready to say something which Arun Shankar noted and he choose to remain silent for a moment to let his son open up “Papa what happened to the guitar…………..that I asked for on my birthday…….!!!” Nikunj spoke that in low, less confident voice with a lot of courage at his disguise which he was collecting since morning.
“What did you said?!!!! Look at this boy your exams are getting near and you are thinking to play some stupid guitar….such an immature lad!!!!!!!” He just yelled at him.
The angry father had this furious moment saved for long, he had been looking that his son had been prone to a lot of day dreaming which needed to be restrained and that was possible through some serious dosage of scolding. The poor boy, what he could do, his heart sank in moment and the whole body still on the dinning chair with a bent head. A sudden lull was broken there which was really making the two young pupils, Nikung and his younger sister Pia uncomfortable. The lull just seemed unbreakable until Nikung’s mother came hurriedly into the dining hall with plates in her hand “A very good morning to all of you and Yes……………Happy Diwali……..!!!” excitement was there in her voice which just work to lift off the tension from air.
Arun Shankar looked now towards his wife carrying the breakfast in her hands “Good morning to all of you and yes………….Happy Diwali” he said with but of hesitation giving the final gaze to his son, sitting quietly waiting for his breakfast.
The meal was there on their plates in a moment and then itself something flashed in Pia’s head “Bhaiya how are you going to make the Gharaunda this year, I was wondering about it the whole night”
Nikung instantly looked towards his sister and then towards his father who was busy with his breakfast, his mother was even there and her eyes were on him now, “I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet…!” he replied just acting like a helpless lad which was enough to dry the excitement from the his sister’s face.
“He won’t do anything ………” again said that angry father giving that furious again to his son who just tried to avoid it by looking on his plate “If you are so bad here then how are you going to plan your future…..this boy always keep me worrying” he kept on saying while Nikung was now more concentrated on finishing off his meal and immediately got off from his chair as soon as he was done and walked away with a sunken heart towards his room without giving any more look towards the people still sitting.
The dosage of scolding had really caught but that didn’t mean anything to his parents or sister who just sat there on the chair watching him going. He just entered his room picked up the towel from his bed and threw it towards the wall with hit a switch board and switched on a switch on it and the sound started
“GooooooooD …………..morning ………..Ranchi…..this is your RJ Payal and you are listening to Radio Mantra 91.9 Fm and yes a very worm and Happy!…Happy!!…….Happy!!! Diwali to all of you”
the refreshing sound of the girl speaking in the radio just tried to fill some air in the sunken heart of Nikung who just halted for a second on listening that voice “and here on the eve of Diwali Radio Mantra is organizing a contest “Dogani Salary Jeeto Contest”, the breathtaking chance to seek the blessing of goddess Laxmi on this auspicious eve of Diwali where you can win cash just double of your Salary of a week. All you need to do is just register on our number 9877774321 by calling and answer some questions” and then his room was filled with the music working to soothe any one’s senses and even making the sunken hearted boy shake his body in rhythm. His mood suddenly changed from the devastation over on which, a new ray of hope had formed a clad.
The uneasiness in the air had died out, while the world seemed now covered with blues all over which really eased the young lad who just felt that he could do anything, he just wanted to jump off with excitement then itself someone called “Nikung Bhaiya Mummy is calling you in the kitchen…. she needs some help there..” it was his sister. It was like a chilly interruption in this jovial moment, his excitement was lost and in the jittery sensation which filled his insides. He looked around, and then right on the wall clock infront of him, which was showing sap nine and then again the voice came “Bhaiya you are urgently needed there”.
What he could do now, he had been summoned after all and if he dared to deny it then the results would be catastrophic, something similar to the morning which he absolutely didn’t wanted.
He just switched off the radio and walked out of the room towards the kitchen where his mother was anxiously waiting for him struggling to lift quite a large steel pot.
“Where you boy?” she just yelled at him out of exhaustion.
Nikung had no words to reply at this moment seeing his exhausted mother, he just jumped on to add a helping hand in her work, within a minute the pot was on its place and so was the anguish of a mother which had dried out. She now looked towards her son with all the motherly feelings ‘I am sorry boy to shout at you…”.
The young lad again was wordless for a moment but he couldn’t even remain mum “Oh no problem Mummy, you can’t be sweet every time”.
“Oh…..its kind of you but you are really enraging at times I should say that” she added that with a giggle, the boy even laughed “May be mom” and then the lady said “The materials of Diwali Gharaunda is kept in the store your sister is anxiously waiting for a master piece from you”.
“Oh…..!!!!” he just jerked off hearing that which had gone absolutely out of his mind. “Yes Mummy, she would get quite angry at me if I don’t make her that” and he rushed out of the kitchen.
The other moment he just vandalized the store to find the items for the gharunda (Hubby house model for Lord Ganesha made by brothers for their sisters in Diwali) but even after investing more than whole ten minutes he was just unable to find any of those items, he started making a lot of noise trying to find the materials which reached his mother in the kitchen
“Who is there………….?” She shouted aloud.
In meanwhile his sister even walked into the store “What are you searching Bhaiya ?” she asked out of curiosity.
“The Gharaunda materials Pia”.
“Oh…..that’s with me in my room I took it in the morning only, right after the breakfast” she said with agility.
“What…?!!!” this was really surprising for him, “Have you engineered something until now or what?” he asked out of curiosity. The poor girl that nothing to say on that, her was face was absolutely blank, expressionless “you need to come and see this” she said in a low voice and turned around to walk towards her room and her brother obediently followed her absolutely unaware of what was there to come.
As he entered the room he was in complete shock, the usually dainty room of his sister was in complete mess something like his own, “Who did this Pia?” he asked instantly.
The girl was looking at the face of her brother only “Bhaiya it was all part of the crusade to built that” and she pointed at the vandalized, scattered pieces of thermocol, glue tubes, paints and a picture of a fabulous European castle all lying scattered on the floor.
This seen could have angered their mother instantly “Thank god Mama is not here or else she would have eaten you with her shout” said Nikung almost giggling while his sister just remained mum.
“What to do now?” she said getting a bit terrified.
“Well nothing for sometime, you just arrange the room and I am going to make that” he said looking towards the picture of the castle lying on the floor and he just involved himself in the work without waiting anymore.
It have been a very hectic and tiring task for anyone if you didn’t have anything to let your mind get accommodated and this boy had the best thing for that, a radio which he brought from his room and switched it on starting the music at one go “BINDIYA LAGATU BARISHO KE SANGE MAERI……….”the song continued, he just loved that while his rest of the senses got engaged in making the gharaunda. Music and work both got him engaged completely, time passed and the song continued while the Gharaunda started taking shape by very skilled hands of Nikung, the songs rhythm was so good that it always came out in repetition from his mouth, he was enjoying that moment until and sudden break halted the song in the radio breaking the sheer concentration.
“So are Ranchities ready for the sizzling prize winning contents “Do goni Salary Jeeto” the most amazing chance to win just the double salary of a week you earn, all you need to do just register in our number 9877774321, So just hurry up, you don’t want to miss the chance ” and the song started again.
The boy had no interest in it but someone nearby was getting crazy about it, “Bhaiya why don’t we register for this contest???!!!” her eyes were glimmering with the possibility of winning the prize. But those eyes were reciprocated by sheer unwillingness which her brother showed “No….it’s all sh*t….crap!!! A waste of time”.
But her determination seemed to be at par with his will “You are crap, its neither asking for money nor much time all you need to take is a phone call, nothing else”.
This was something which caught the attention of the busy boy “What……..but you haven’t noticed one more thing, you need to be a salary earner which to my regret neither of us are.”. Priya had all the ideas ready in her mind for this moment “Well I think we have an option for this, we can give Papa’s name”.
“What????!!!!!!” he was dazed for a moment; this was really out of the blue idea.
“Oh…Bhaiya don’t be so shocked, it’s the best idea”.
Nikung was running his mind now “But the prize will go with Papa, he will give it?” he seemed now to be more sarcastic.
“Well that’s the thing to worry after we are sure that the prize is in our hands”.
“You are right…..!!!!!” and a grizzly smile along a lot of excitement thrilled him. “Okay then bring the phones we have, all of them, I want to use all our chances”.
The girl just was waiting for the chance and she just rushed out of the room and was back with two mobile phones. Nikung was just grabbed them and dialed the number, first attempt the call made- replies for network problem. This seemed a little distressing and then he picked the other phone and dialed the number, this time the dialer tone was heard and so the heart of the two beating faster, “Please give you name and location after this beep………..BEEP…. “Arun Shankar from Vasant Vihar Delhi” and then a tone and then ‘We will call if your number is selected within the next six hours” a voice said from the other side and the phone was cut. While this side of the phone Pia was too anxious for a reply from her brother sitting on the chair beside him. “So what happened …………….!!!!!!!!!”.
Nikung wasn’t feeling that anxiousness but his excitement was changed into an impatient wait of ‘when they would call??’, “I think everything now relies on our luck now, we have lost control of the situation”. This wasn’t a clear reply which got her nerves jangling “what do you mean??” she asked again. “I mean they have to call now and they would do that when……….our number is selected” his voice went low while completing which showed his confidence on his own luck which had been quite low in recent times. But contrarily to this his sister seemed more hopeful. “They will call Bhaiya you will see…….!!!!!” She now picked both the phones and kept them aside and got engaged in her work while Nikung with his work on the Gharaunda and the radio was switched on again filling the room with sin dilating songs. Minutes passed, hour passed and the phone rang “TRING…..TRING……..!”. Both brother and sister immediately rushed to pick it and out of excitement Nikung just held it in his hand and pressed the receiver button and stuck it to his ear “Hello……Hello” he said repeatedly but the reply from the other side wasn’t that of a sizzling RJ voice but a womanly one “Hello Nikung Beta it’s your Mausi” and this was enough to shatter the excitement on their faces at once but he couldn’t even put the phone down.
Minutes later one more call came, this time of his own friend and then of his whole family one by one, minutes turned to hour and morning into afternoon and then evening, the Gharaunda of Nikung Shankar was almost on completion and his hopes of a most anticipated phone call had almost died until now, so happened with his quite optimistic sister. Nikung was giving the final touches to the Gharunda and Pia had now engaged herself in helping her mother to prepare the Diwali Diya’s (earthen lamps) and the phone rang once more but this time the excitement wasn’t there on the boy’s face, he just walked towards it in usual stance and picked it up without even giving a look on the number and said in a monotonous voice “Hello………!!!”.
“Hello and a very Happy Diwali to you, this is RJ Payal from Radio Mantra 91.9 Fm and you have been selected for Dogane Salary Jeeto Contest”. It was enough to shock the lame young man who was petrified for a moment standing still starring the wall. ‘What………..!!!!!!!????” he just said it out of complete shock. But the RJ knew it could happen “Oh….don’t be shocked Sir now you have been selected so you have to answer a seven questions and if you answer all seven correctly you will win salary of whole two weeks. So we can begin Sir”. The petrified boy had no questions to ask so he said hastily “Yes of course…!” finding himself alone in the room.
The questions began
RJ: Who was the first man to score a double century in a one day international?
Nikung: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
There was a bit of hesitation in his voice while the RJ said “Congratulation you have won one day salary”
RJ: Who was the actor besides Salmaan Khan in Andaaz Apnaa Apnaa?
This was quite tough but the boy had the answer in his mind
Nikung: Aamir Khan
“Congratulation you have won two days salary”
RJ: Which composed the song Jai Ho?”
Nikung: In total confidence now “AR Rahmaan”
“Ohhh…Congratulation you have won three day salary.
Mr Arun you seem quite confident now, “Oh…yes yes” he replied with same excitement
“So we can continue” the RJ asked “O…Yes Please” he replied with same haste.
RJ: Where coming the football world cup will be held?
And the whole breath of the juvenile boy became still and tension crippled on his head because he didn’t knew the answer. Silence spread in the air, and he boggled every corner of his mind to get the answer of the question and somewhere someone said something to him
And with utmost hesitation he replied “South Africa”
RJ: And………………your answer is…is .,’his breath held tight’ is…………..right.
And he jumped out of sheer excitement and happiness shouting aloud “Oh…….yes yes!!!!!!”
“Congratulation you have won six days salary”
“So Mr Arun so you are ready to proceed?” the RJ asked again and Nikung was ready again
RJ: Which god is preached on the eve of Dhanteras the festival celebrated just before Diwali?
Nikung breath again got stuck, his heart beating faster and mind trying hard to find the answer somewhere in the corners.
And then a word was in his mouth “Dhanmantri……..!!!”
RJ: “Mr Arun your answer is…….is absolutely…………………. Right”
Congratulation you have won seven days salary
So Mr Arun you have won whole seven days salary it just one to go and you will win two weeks salary. Nikung was controlling his excitement now through his sheer efforts, he wanted to jump he wanted to shout but that had to be controlled for one more question.
RJ: So Mr Arun here come your seventh and final question so are you ready
Nikung was mum this time and the RJ continued “On which year our country India became a republic?”
This was really a tough one but not for the boy a fluent master of History and general knowledge
And he gave opened his mouth in utmost haste “26 January 1950”.
RJ: “Ohhhhhh…………..Vow ………………….Mr Arun Shankar I don’t want to make you wait anymore, your answer is absolutely right and you have won the salary of whole two weeks in DOGENI SALARY JEETO CONTEST of Radio Mantra 91.9 Fm”
And the boy freeing himself out of all boundations shouted aloud “Ohhhh………..Yes I have won…..!!!” it was so loud that it reached the ears of his parents and his sister who just came running in. “What happened……..what happened?” his mother shouted. Nikung seeing his parents was more elated and he switched on the radio and there was the declaration clearly announced “Dear Residents of Delhi, the Dogani salary jeeto contest has been won by Arun Shankar from Vasant Vihar”. This declaration, an amusing one which implanted seeds of suspicion in the heart of Arun Shankar who was just stunned for a moment unable to understand what it said and what his son meant.
Then the boy himself opened his mouth “Papa it’s your name they are calling”. Arun Shankar wasn’t comprehended at all but he understood something, still he looked towards his son with sarcasm “What do you mean?”. “Papa it’s you who has won the DOGANI SALARY JEETO CONTEST” said Pia with an elated face. The phone was cut by now and then itself it rang again in the hands of Nikung, who picked up and switched the loudspeaker on, all became silent in an instant “Arun Shankar there” a voice said from the other side, Nikung replied in an instant “Yes…..”. “Sir we need to inform you that you have won the Dogani salary Jeeto Contest and you need to submit your salary slip inorder to receive your prize money” Nikung now looked towards his father who was staring at him only with all the bemusement on his face. The moment seemed to be quite long until both gazing eachother in utter silence and the everything suddenly became clear in his mind “Okay…!” with a slight shake of his head and the boys face ignited with joy, finally giving his reply “Yes…!”.
And the phone was cut once again, and both the parents of Nikung was gazing him with stunning looks waiting for an explanation and Nikung’s excitement was really of joy which was bringing a heavy shower of smile on his face. Pia was even there starring at her brother with the same excitement and joy. She now looked at her father and said “Papa, bhaiya won a prize for you on this Diwali, it’s a gift for you from him”. She was more apprehensive with her words looking at her father with strong zeal, and Nikung added something in haste “Papa we have won that for you”.
Arun Shankar, standing perturbed was starring at his both children and beside him was their mother who by now understood everything but she refrained herself from any sort of interruption, he was continuously gazing at his children while the radio continued with its song, after a minute lull he finally broke it “How much will be the prize money?”, Nikung was quick on answer “Straight, your two weeks salary minus 33% which will go as tax”. This was really a comprehensive amount for a monthly salary earner, he now shook his head in a bit amusement with a slight twisting of lips “Quite good…!” and a crescent smile occupied his face “So it’s all going to come in my account?” he asked again and Nikung was again haste in reply “Yes Papa” .
And the hearts of the two youngsters pounding, gazing at their father with great anticipation and here Arun Shankar had made his mind “So it can be transferred to your account my boy”. He added that with a gush of breath and……a moment of surprise with an overwhelming joy filled the hearts of the two youngsters but they barred themselves from reacting “Yes but spend it wisely I don’t want this prize to be wasted, it comes as my sons first earning” he added to it absolutely capturing the moment.
Nikung had no more words to say for his father, that stringent adamant man always ready to ridicule or scold his son was extinct and he just couldn’t stop himself from running and touch the feet of the Papa who seemed more friendly man now than ever before and Arun Shankar what could he do?. It was a proud moment for a father, he just held his son by his arms and hugged him “You have come off age boy, you have become a man, you are now more a friend to your Papa rather than a son” he said with little wetness in his eyes, their mother was even there and she just adored the scene with a happy smile on her face.
But the man had more in his bag “The guitar you said in the morning”, Nikung’s heart once again started pounding because the first thing he ever thought to buy with the prize money was it only but he even couldn’t afford to angry his father so he added with haste “Papa I don’t need that anymore”. His father smiled at this “Why I thought you are quite determined to play it?”, Nikung felt a little dazed now because his father was out of the blue at this moment and his guess wasn’t working at all so he choose to remain mum “Well I was thinking to finally buy one for you……………as a gift for your coming birthday” and Nikung, Pia and their mother just couldn’t hold their amusement “Oh….!!!!” They uttered together.
Arun Shankar a complacent man now finally said aloud “Well Happy Diwali to all of you once again..!!!!” and the whole family jumped on to hug him.
“So this guitar a gift from my Dad which made me ‘the boy on the guitar’ today, always reminds of the moment that day which I cherish even till date which brings that happy smile on my face even in the grimmest of times and this makes it finally, the most priceless thing for me” said a thoughtful Nikung sitting on the chair with his guitar, in the college auditorium and his friends starring at him with all the amazement and amusement in their eyes.