TEAM NAME: QISSA
(Read the previous part of the Story HERE)
Making a Difference
AMAZED at the kind of information he could collect, store and use in his brain just by walking around in his neighbourhood, appearing harmless made him marvel at his own abilities.
‘I was born to be. I was born to do this and only this’ he would often mumble to himself whenever he succeeded in proving himself right or probing into matters in not exactly the legal way!
He was all ears like the street dog vigilant at night to foresee any threat. Lawyer Aryan Ahuja had made it his life’s mission to find out what was going on in the lives of other people. Enslaved by habit, embedded in every cell of his being was a trait installed by the profession he so ardently practised. Being a lawyer was no ordinary job for Ahuja. It was life itself.
And when, there were neighbours like the Duttas whose house witnessed quarrels, enraged walk outs, slamming of doors and the zooming away of cars, there was no way that Ahuja could sit still.
Wheat complexioned with a prominent black mole just above his left upper lip, his thick eyebrows always screwed up as if pondering about something serious, Ahuja was the epitome of discontent and discomfort. He was not happy with the ways of the world and felt that most of the crimes could be reduced or done away with if only there was more harmony within families. Unfortunately, this was not something that could be practised at the drop of a pin. Painfully aware that cleaning society of its evils could not be wished for, it had to be worked for, Ahuja carried on his lonely path. Lonely because his very own family could not come up to his near perfect expectations and had to be left behind. Or, had they left him behind and gone ahead?
Whenever Ahuja saw Roohi, he was reminded of his own daughter who would have been more or less her age. Maybe, his daughter was leading a happy life without him and his strenuous schedules, but he could not say the same of Roohi who he spotted every other day sitting with her doll or drawing book in the neighbouring park. The Duttas had settled down in this plush neighbourhood almost 5-7 years back and a lot had changed over the years, Ahuja observed.
While earlier the Duttas family used to go out together, the happy family lifestyle had now trickled down to a tiny stream that flowed against the gushing speed of a fast advancing materialistic and instant-satisfaction attitude. The Duttas, it seemed had clearly lost out in the war of life!
But, Ahuja was not one to give up. Much as he longed to comfort the little girl, he knew that he was treading on dangerous territory. Like just the other day, when he managed to smile at Roohi when he was in the neighbouring park.
“Hello Roohi beta. What are you doing with a drawing book? Is it yours?”
“Yes Ahuja Uncle. It is MY drawing book. Do you want to see?”
“Yes. Yes. Why not? Let’s sit on the bench.”
Very carefully she opened her book and showed the first page of her book. Filled with colourful flowers, mountains and the bright yellow sun, the drawing was everything a little girl happy with herself would draw. But, as the pages kept turning over, the colour of the sketches began fading. Dull colours had now replaced the bright ones. And nature seemed to have no place now.
It was the last page that he was seeing.
“This is my house,” she was saying to him.
“This is my Papa. And this is my Mamma” she pointed to two stick like figures seated at two opposite ends.
“Why are they sitting so far beta? How can they talk and hear each other?”
Roohi began chewing on her thumbnail nervously. “Uncle, don’t tell anyone. They are sitting so far because whenever I make them sit close by they begin fighting.”
Just then, Tara Dutta walked briskly into the park. Even at his age, Ahuja could appreciate charm when he saw it. And, Roohi’s mother WAS charming.
‘But then, why was she coming here? She never takes a walk here. For her it was always office, car and the house’ Ahuja wondered.
And before he could even register anything, Tara had picked up the drawing book, had a look at the sketch, given an angry stare to Roohi and marched away with Roohi and the book.
Was life always going to be like this? A struggle to smile? A battle to find love. A conflict to live life happily? Aryan Ahuja thought and walked back home, his trudge comical with his bent back curly grey hair and yet so ironical for within it lay the answers to the conflicts of others.
( Read the next part of the story HERE)