Aamir helps Sagar get help. And then, more people help Sagar turn his life around. Ramendra Kumar’s Friends Forever proves you can if you want.
Ten minutes later, Mrs Sheila Puri appeared with a tray full of sandwiches and two omelettes. The boys got up and wished her. She smiled a gentle smile and went indoors.
Aamir reached out and handed over a plate to Sagar and took one himself. The sandwiches were delicious and Aamir realised he was utterly famished. Poor Sagar continued nibbling at the omelette, fear flashing in his eyes ever so often.
Twenty minutes later, Mr Puri appeared and sat down.
“I talked to Vijayant Rao SP, Narcotics, who is known to me. His son studies in our school. I’ll take you to him. You will have to give him all the details so that we can track down the culprits.”
“But, sir, will it not be dangerous for Sagar? If the drug peddlers come to know …”
“I am aware of the risk, Aamir. Let us first go to Vijayant. Let us see what his plan is. But, one thing you can rest assured, I’ll make sure there is no danger whatsoever to Sagar.”
Two hours later they were sitting in the chamber of Vijayant Rao. He was a tall, muscular man with handlebar moustaches and blazing eyes. He had thick, black hair which was combed back and sideburns which were beginning to grey.
‘He looks like one of the suave and urbane dons in Hindi films,’ Aamir thought to himself.
“Well, Sagar, I want you to tell me the entire sequence of events from the beginning till the end. Do not leave out any detail, however trivial it may seem to you. I’ll be recording your experience on my cell,” Vijayant said. He had a smooth voice and a clipped accent.
Sagar, for the second time in one day, started narrating. Vijayant watched him keenly, taking notes from time to time on a small writing pad on his desk.
After Sagar had finished Vijayant looked at Mr Puri. “Nabbing Mian Mudassar and Alan will not be much of a problem.”
“But Sir, if you catch them, will they not deduce that it is Sagar who has informed the police?” asked Aamir.
“I have already thought of that. I’ll put my men on the job of shadowing Alan and this Mudassar fellow. Sooner or later I am sure they will be able to catch at least one of them red-handed. I’ll make sure whoever is caught will squeal the name of the other.”
Sagar and Aamir nodded.
“I am confident, even if they suspect a leak, they will never be able to trace it back to Sagar. These rascals have many customers. It won’t be easy for them to find out who among their customers has informed the police.”
“Vijayant, how do we help Sagar in freeing himself of this habit once and for all?” Mr Puri asked.
“After you called me, I rang up Ashiana – the best rehabilitation centre in the State. It is on the outskirts of our city on the Hyderabad-Mumbai highway. The Director is a good friend of mine. Sagar can be sent right away and I am sure very soon he will be able to kick this habit for good.”
Sagar looked at Mr Puri.
“But sir, my exams are starting next week.”
“I am aware of that Sagar. Don’t worry; you will be promoted on the basis of your record in the first two terminals. It is vital that you get admitted in Ashiana. The earlier you free yourself from the stranglehold of drugs, the better.”
“Sir, what about my parents? My father will skin me alive when he comes to know…”
“Don’t worry. I’ll talk to your parents and counsel them. I’m confident they will understand.”
A month later Mr Puri took Aamir with him to Ashiana. Things went exactly as per Vijayant’s plans. The police tailed Alan and Mian Mudassar and soon nailed them. Using the information provided by these two, the Police busted the drug trafficking racket. The police had come to know that Alan had worked for Sports Scan. A year ago he was sacked. However, using the magazine as a front, he was indulging in drug trafficking. The watchman too was not spared. Mr Puri sacked him.
Sagar’s parents got over the initial shock and went to visit him. His father compensated suitably, through the Principal, all the boys from whom Sagar had stolen.
Sagar was delighted to see Mr Puri and Aamir in Ashiana.
“You already look much better, Sagar,” Aamir said, doing high-fives with his friend.
“I have some very good news,” Mr Puri said, patting Sagar on the back.
“Using your information, the Police could bag the culprits who had spread their tentacles not only in our town but in seven other cities spread across three states. The SP has recommended that our school gets an award of Rs 2,00,000 and the Government has accepted his recommendation. The award is being given to the school to keep your names out of the media glare. But since both of you deserve the credit, the money is all yours.”
Aamir was thrilled. With the money he would buy his mother a brand new sewing machine and his father a moped, so that he could drive comfortably to work.
“What will you do with your share of the money?” he asked Sagar.
Sagar thought for some time and then looking at Mr Puri said, “Sir, with my share is it possible….I mean could you institute a scholarship for poor students like Gopal so that they don’t have to abandon their studies?”
“That is really very considerate of you Sagar. I think it can be done. I’ll talk to the school board. I’ll request them also to contribute a suitable amount so that a tidy sum can be given as scholarship.”
“Thank you, sir, thank you very much.”
“You will be able to join school after the summer holidays. There is a summer coaching camp being organised by the Hyderabad Cricket Association. It will start ten days from now. I want you to attend the coaching camp. I have given your name and they have accepted it.”
“B…but Sir, will I be able to …”
“Why not? I talked to the Doctor looking after you. You are okay now and whatever little improvement is required will happen in the next ten days.”
Sagar couldn’t believe his ears. A month ago, his life was in the pits. He was a junkie with his future dark and dismal. And now the Princy was sending him to a summer coaching camp to fine-tune his cricketing skills.
“Th…thank you sir, thank you very much.”
“Don’t thank me. Thank your friend, Aamir. He got the information about the coaching camp and gave it to me.”
Sagar reached out and pressed Aamir’s hand.
“What about the results, Aamir? I forgot to ask you.”
“I’ll tell you, son. Aamir has topped his class with the highest marks in English, Maths and Science,” Mr Puri said patting Aamir on his back.
“Wow! Fantastic news, bro! This is truly the best news of the year.”
“No, Sagar, the best news is yours – news that the prodigal has returned,” Aamir said slapping his friend on his back.
Read on to Chapter 23
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