Until the rain stopped , Sameer was frozen at his place. Cup of coffee , he is holding is got chill like the weather outside & his eyes a bit wet. He never thought that he is going to hear something like this about Johnson. The real hero of his life , to whom he was dying to meet since last 18 years, He is no more.
“Sir , Taxi is ready.” Driver interrupted him
“Ok, You just wait outside , I am coming.” Sameer said and put the cup on table & started to wait Margarita. She is packing her stuff inside. She have to leave this house within two days. While Sameer is standing in this small drawing room, his eyes are going again and again on Johnson’s smiling snap which is hanging on a empty, sad wall. it doesn’t look like his dream hero , it is not like he ever imagined but yet filing his heart with a feel of respect.
Sameer always believed that Johnson must be a very rich man. Brown thick moustaches on a thin white face & blue eyes, this all he always imagined, but he would be a Gardner, this is the most unbelievable thing for him. The person just because of whom, he is an CEO of a multinational firm, he was spending his life by taking care of plants? Sameer’s eyes are still on his picture, but his mind and soul went 18 years back , when he first heard about any Santa.
Wearing Grey pant of school and a dirty yellow T-shirt , 8 years small, innocent Sameer is standing at the side of main door & watching the Christmas party, which is just beginning inside. Since childhood he used to come every of this evening but today, without any reason he is getting hesitate, may be this is the thing of social life, which teaches us to make difference between people , by shoes and cloths. Because of his dirty cloths & old cloths, Sameer lacked courage to step inside. He is just standing in a lonely corner and watching the rush of guest, gifts and that table which is burdened with rich delicacies food stuff like Cake , cookies, sweets, fruits, drinks, ice cream & many more things. He was in his limits, but sudden entrance of dolly aunty surprised him.
“Hey Sameer! you came alone?” almost 48 years old a fatty lady , putting her hand on her waist, & staring at him with a fake anger.
“Yes aunty…” He answered. Dolly aunty lean down to him and set his messy hairs.
“No!, I came here, just to wish you…. Happy Chris-Mus Aunty.” Sammer gave her a Rose, which he didn’t buy, but he earned as a pay by helping in a flower shop for two hours. Aunty smiled & took the Rose form him. She knows that form where he got this Rose, She forcefully bring him inside. Her own children did not turned to home this festival but that poor Sameer, who is an orphan, to whom her neighbors brought from an orphanage just 3 years back & who is not more then a servant in their house, he never forgets his responsibility on this evening. He never miss this day & never forgets to celebrate this evening with her.
Dolly Aunty left him in the crowd of children. The entire hall is filled with rich fragrance. Other children are dancing and jumping on music beats. They are celebrating in their won way. They are going to the large table to grab their share of cake & sweets, but Sammer has no guts, even to look there. He is just trying to hide himself in his dirty cloths and roaming around the beautiful tree. This is the most attractive thing for him in this whole party. Whenever December month starts , a dream to decorate a Chrisms tree , doesn’t lets him asleep but it never ever came true.
This is a tree of his dream’s heaven. That large ,green tree which is covered with snow kind of cotton balls, colorful balloons, ribbon, golden bells and a large star, This is always very fascinating for him. Today he grew up as much that he can understand meaning each of this, but there one thing is still confusing him , those socks. The brand new pair of socks , which hanging on its little branch. With a bit curiosity he was touching those socks that , other boy of his age, stopped him .
“Hey’ don’t take them off! Santa will leave gift in this..”
“Gifts? In this??” Sammer is very shock
“Yes! Santa Claus comes every Christmas night and leaves gift for children in this…Don’t you know that??”
Sameer nodded his head in no. That child continued.
“Santa lives in the moon and every night of X-mus he gives special gifts to every child.”
“What kind of special gifts?”
“Anything you stupid! whatever we want, but in only one condition , we have to be good & obey to our parents whole year.” He finished very seriously.
“If he lives in moon , how you asks him for your gift? Can I ask also?”
“Ummm , Ya. You just write a letter of wish and give it to your parents. they will pass it to Santa Claus & then you’ll get your gift.” That boy ran from there and the same moment Sameer’s smile too , because he has no parents. Today he first heard about Santa Claus & by name he imagined that Santa would be any angel kind of thing , who fulfills children’s wishes by his magical stick.
Sameer is here since last an hour. Night is getting darker & now he have to go back to his home. Although he was sitting in a corner but still he enjoyed this party and he felt so good. The only bad thing about this evening is, he did not get the pieces of that cake. Dolly aunty is busy with her guest. Sameer silently came out form the hall , Without telling any one , without asking for any thing. Adjustment & compromise! this two voluble and painful gifts are given to him from his life. He left the party behind and slowly walked to the gate. He is walking on a silent, dark street , who’s both sides are blinking up with colorful light. It is also a bit similar to Heaven. As just he hold the gate to open , the same time a car stopped right in front of him. This is Dolly aunty’s husband.
“hello Cutie..” He messed his hair like before.
“Happy Christmas uncle..” & Sameer turned to go
“Wait Sameer, why are going so soon? Party is just beginning.”
“No, Aunty will scold me.”
“She is your mom Sameer. Call her mom.” Sameer did not reply him & looked down. In this matter he can not explain anything to anyone. He is a bit reserve. Uncle saw at his upset face &-
“You had something?” Sameer nodded his head two times in Yes , but he is too small to lie any matured person. Uncle spooned his chicks with a smile.
“Don’t move from here , I am just coming back. Ok?” Uncle gone inside and after few minutes he came back with some pieces of cake , cookies & sweets in a disposal plate.
“You was going without having anything?”
“Yes, If I’ll be late , Dad surely going to beat me.” Sameer filled his mouth with cake. That night uncle spend 10-20 minutes with him. He was sitting with Sameer in his lawn and talking to him despite of attending his guest. Sameer also got a chance to know more about Santa Claus. He have a lots of question in his mind like, what is a Santa ? Why he helps children? How is he & who is he?
“Actually Sameer, Santa Claus was a rich man of old time. He was very soft hearted and he loved to help poor peoples & so he did , but he never gave his identity to any one. He never came in front of people, but he used to put gold coins to that every window , door, whomever he found needy. He never even knocked any door. His activities were hidden, People used to call him Santa.”
“So…He still exist?”
“Umm Yes.” Uncle found this answer good that time. Sameer thought for a couple of seconds and asked him again.
“Uncle, can an orphan also write him letter of wish?”
“Yes Sameer…why not.”
“how? & Where they can drop it?”
Uncle took a moment and said-
“Yes, they can drop their letter in Church.”
After that Sameer didn’t ask anything. He cleaned his mouth and ran fast to his home. He was like flying in air.
The same night is wrote a letter to Santa and after 2 days , when he was going to school , he gone to a Church & put his letter in fornt of Christ. Since that day, a new feeling raised up in his small heart. A very different feeling , with lot of dreams , which made him believe that his wishes going to fulfill , to which we call hope. Sameer was desperately waiting for next Christmas , but he wasn’t aware that his reply will come very soon.
After one month. one midday, When he was snatching dwon dry cloths form the hanger in his lawn , postman threw a letter in yard. Sameer picked it & try to read it. This entire letter is written in English and rarely going to his City board school’s student Sameer was not able to read more then his name. He gave that letter, to his so called mom & she told him that it is really belongs to him.
“but for me?” Sameer was confuse. Suddenly he recalled about his letter. His mom read the complete letter and tore it in 2 pieces with a laugh. Sameer snatched those pieces form her hand with a bit anger.
“what you have done?? It was for me! Form my Santa..”
“Are you gone mad or something!! There is no wroth doing this kind of thing! You just go back to your work ,There no any Santa in this world! You got it??”
But Sameer didn’t believe her & he hide that letter in his bad. until evening he kept watching the letter repeatedly , if he could read that, if he could reply for , but reading english was an impossible dream for him. For what he wrote that letter to Santa. A wish related to his education.
“Samer, Are you waiting for someone?” Margarita entered in room, where Sameer is standing like a statue in front of Johnson’s Picture.
“Yes ,I was waiting for you Margarita. What have you decided? I mean…Where will you go?”
“I do not know” Margarita took a chair. She is silent. Sameer can understand Her disappointment and pain even better then her, because she lost her Father just few days back, but Sameer was born an orphan. He never ever saw his father’s or mother’s face, not even he knows their name. He can understand Margarita. He wants to help her, but she refused to him just half an hour back. Sameer can not force her because this is the first time he is meeting her and on other hand, she is daughter of Johnson, So respecting her is unconditional thing for him.
“Margarita , Can I ask you something?” Sameer tried once again.
“Johnson was like my father. I respect him more than God. He helped me so much! So…”
“So you want to help me now….Right?” Margarita took his words away and made him silent “No way Samer, I do not need your help!” May be , This 21-22 years old beautiful , English girl doesn’t want any Indian’s help. She went back to her room and closed her door as louder that Sameer couldn’t knock it again.
“You are just like your father..” Sameer smiled on her rudeness. At this time he do not want to make any argument with her, so he left his card next to coffee mug on the table and moved from there. While he was sitting in car , once again he saw that house , who’s pain and silence making this evening more upset. That dim light which is coming form it’s window, is reminding him something. That silent and dark house of Dolly aunty. Which was so alone that evening & Sameer was constantly staring its windows that when its going to light up.
Since midday, dozens of time he went there , thousand of time ,he looked up there , but Dolly aunty still in market. There no one home. If any matured person would have been there, he would have lost his patience but this is a child’s will , which hardly surrender even when it fails. Those 2 part of letter are still in his hand. He his hanging on this gate, & waiting for Aunty to return. As the night got darker, Sameer’s empty brown eyes fleshed with a light , because Dolly aunty’s home turned bright. She is back form the market. Sammer once turned back and saw his door , is any one watching him or not? And finally ran to Aunty’s place.
“Sameeer!” She hugged him tightly with pleaser and then asked.
“how you did this??”
“what I did?” Sameer is happy but a bit scared too.
“I means how you got this letter?”
Sameer told her all the story since he wrote a letter to Santa till this day.
“What is in this letter aunty?”
“You wanted to study in English medium School? This is related to the same. Some one going to help in your education! He had said to you to take admission in any good English medium hostel & all your expenses will be bare by some…Johnson.”
Again she hugged him. Sameer didn’t understand completely but he understand one thing that his letter has been received at Santa, and now he will help him out.
“Your stop sir.” Driver press the break of car & took him back in present, in New Jurcy. Sameer paid the charges & moved to his hotel with a thoughtful walk. This life, this reputation, this stage is all given by Johnson. Today if he is watching this world form the balcony of a multiplex building , this is just because of him. Johnson made him a successful man. He never said no to him. Not even then when Sameer asked for an expensive course of MBA.
Sameer always thought that his Santa is a very rich person & Today when he knows the truth, he has a feeling of guilt within. He wants to say sorry for his every genuine and ungenuine demands. Today Margarita is standing at his place. He desperately wants to help her but she is not giving him a chance. Sameer do not know the actual reason behind her anger and rejection, but as much he can judge her , may be she don’t want to take a single penny form the one, who always used to beg in front of her father. Because of whom, she suffered lack of money.
Johnson was an divorcees, whose girl was living with his ex wife. Until his wife was alive , Sameer was only responsibility of Johnson but, when she died, Margarita’s also became an unexpected responsibility for him. She started living with Johnson. It wasn’t so easy for Johnson to bare expenses of two growing, young children at the same time, but he never took his feet back. He never let him feel that he is suffering with any kind of money problem or he is working harder to fulfill his needs. Sameer never knew the reality of his Santa. It was also a new thing for him that his Santa has a daughter. He got to know about this when he came here.
Sameer thought a lot but he could not find any way. He went back to his room and started packing his cloths. He has flight tomorrow early morning. After packing his stuff he laid down to the bed & closed his eyes. In the darkness of his mind, the smiling picture of Johnson is fleshing again & again. There is question in his smile. As he is asking Sameer to do something, as he wants an efforts form his side, as he is forcing him not accept the defeat so soon. Sameer can not sleep tonight. He woke up. Once he thought to open the suitcase , once he thought to wait for Margarita, May by she needs time to go with this decision. Some steps in life are to hard to take ,although we know that they are correct. 8 years old Sameer was also very confuse that time when Father Thomas came to take him along.
Holding his bag in his hand , he was looking to his step mother & Father with a hope. His innocent eyes were asking them , can’t you stop me forever with a promise of a good life? Please make a commitment with me that you both going to take care of mine like parents, but their eyes were empty like always. Last night his step mother taught him lot of things. She was trying to stop him, not because she loves him but, Because Sameer was her right hand. She was not afraid for his good or bad, but she was scared for her won comfort.
“Sameer , lets move. What are you waiting for? What are you thinking?” Father asked
“Yes Father.” Sameer replied and & again looked at his Step Father , as if he is asking , what should I do? His father was about to say something but, Father Thomas interrupted him.
“Don’t Mr. Chadda. I know what is going in your mind. We all knows the way you people keeps this child & that day is not so far, when people will start asking questions regarding this. So , it will be better if you let him go to hostel. Please!”
Mr. Chadda couldn’t stop Sameer. Sameer holded a finger of Father Thomas & cross the door of that hell, to which people used to call his home. He started a good life In a good hostel & yet he did not understand that it is not any miracle but a pay of someone’s hard work. Sameer was 14 years when he got to know the reality of his Santa Claus & the fact that his letter was never reached to the moon ,but it was received at a Church of New Jurcy. Where a Gardner read his letter and came ahead to help him. Johnson was an Gardner, May be that’s why he was able to understand Sameer’s condition.
For him Sameer was just like a little plant , who was suffering and straggling for his life in changing conditions. Johnson took that small plant form the dry and killing land and placed him in a valley of life. Sameer grew up & today he is sleeping in a soft & cozy bed in spite of the rough mat. Today he is in Johnson’s city but his deepest desire to meet Johnson and touch his feet is never going to get fulfill. Until johnson was alive , Sameer was not able to come here and when he became able to be here , Johnson passed away. Sameer never got any news about Johnson’s death & may be he would never got to know, but when he got his last 2 letter’s reply in different handwriting , he got a bit suspect. That’s why he came here without any plan.
Johnson was living on the behalf of church. His quarter was just back side of it. Sameer knocked the door with excitement that he is about to see his Santa today, but someone else opened it. It was Margarita. His smile vanished.
“Hi , I am….Sameer.”
“I know, Come in.” Margarita was not surprised to see him. She left the door open & without paying any attention to him, She went inside. After sitting few minutes silently, Sameer asked about johnson, he wanted to meet him, see him. Magrita looked once at him and took him to a graveyard of the same church. Sameer felt like someone threw him form the sky, when he read johnson’s name with date of death, on a gravestone. his blood got frozen in his veins.
“This is not my Johnson!!” he shouted
“Yes, He was.” She replied with a deep discontent & left him alone there. Sameer never cried in his whole life but that moment made his eyes wet without concerning him. He put his head down to that grave and kissed it once. Said thanks for everything & then he came back with a blank face.
Alarm buzz made his wet eyes open. He woke up and saw at the clock. Its 5.5 AM. He have to reach airport by 5.20. He took extension’s receiver and-
“Good Morning, I need a Taxi to airport.”
His restiveness is increasing with every passing second. Still his heart is fighting with his mind & saying that he should try at least one more time. While he is getting ready for flight , only one thing striking his mind. He should ask her , if she can come along with him? but, those blue eyes with a lot of complaints , with a silent anger , with an unsaid pain , those eyes not letting him to try this. Impatiently he is rubbing his hands & trying to get a way , suddenly some one knocked his door.
“one sec!” He answered and opened the door with hope of housekeeping, but it is someone else again.
“you??” it is Margarita. Disappointments and emptiness is a bit increased on her face.
“May I?” she asked in quite low voice.
“Ya, Please.” He lean a bit & got a side. She took 2-3 steps inside and threw a view on his packed suitcase. She tuned to him & put an envelop on his hand.
“This is for you…..I can not keep it any more.”
“What is this” He tried to open it
“You can check it later. Samer , I don’t know what my father was for you, but you was always like his son for him. He always appreciated your efforts. He always respected your hard work, your will power.”
“thanks” He put the envelop on bed. Margarita just said two words and moved back to the door. She was about to open it.
Sameer Stopped her, he came nearby her,
“Please…Margarita, You don’t have option here…means how?? How you’ll survive her alone…without job. Without family…”
“It is New jurcy Samer , not india. A girl can survive here easily….even alone.” She left.
After she left, Sameer opened that envelop. It has lots of snaps of him, dozens of letters he wrote to Johnson. He spread them all over the bed & looked with a wet smile. It has all the beautiful and special moments , which he wanted to share with his Santa, but he never knew that his Santa going to keep them so long. It is a priceless gift for him. He was collecting them all that suddenly one of those picture fell down. He picked that. Something is written on its back side with red ink.
“love you a lot.” It is an old picture of him, when he was around 20. Those words also seems old. This is not any fresh writing , it must be written few year back. He was thinking & shocked again. It is not Johnson’s handwriting. He opened his suitcase and checked those last two letters, he received in differ handwriting.
“Margarita? Unbelievable!!” His smiling with a big surprise. His problem gave him a solution. Before he would react , the extension of his room rang up. It is form reception , his taxi is waiting outside for him. He left his suitcase and room open like that & moved fast form there. He did not said any single word to reception. He got the taxi &-
“Airport sir?” The driver asked
“No! this address….& Fast!”
After 15 minutes, Once again he was knocking at the door of Johnson’s home. On his sixth knock, Margarita opened it.
“This is not Airport Samer.” She is still have a complaint & now it is reflecting in her voice also.
“I know , & Can I ask you something?”
“What?” She didn’t let him to cross the door line.
“Why you have wrote these letters to me? It was not your responsibility. Why you did this for me?”
“I did this for myself…but now it is worthless.”
“That I’ll see. May I…?” he asked her to come in.
“Sorry, I am just leaving this place.” She said rudely
“Ok so…..I am here to tell you that, I am not going back today. Either we will go together or I will wait here , until you say Yes.” He took a step back
“& one more thing. My name is Sameer, with double E not Samer.” He smiled on her with this complaint.
Margarita was 17 , when she came to her father & here she found Sameer & Sameer everywhere. Johnson made her believe that there no one like Sameer in this world. Johnson’s appreciation & Sameer’s beautiful pictures took a special place in her heart. Johnson used to love him so much & so he made her. She also wanted to meet him but not in this way. She was wiling to see respected & love in his eyes, but not sympathy. She wanted him , but not just because of his father’s sake. Behind her rude attitude , her love was trying to take a deep breath.
The very next day, Sameer wedded to Margarita in the same church, where his Santa got his letter & he took help form 3 Indians peoples, to read it.