“6th,” he was quick to respond and then to help me further, he retorted, “Tommorow is 7th, Lolo bhaiya’s birthday.”
It was only last Saturday when boredom forced me to take an old envelope lying near my side and I started scribbling on it. What else could a man bed-ridden for more than a week do?
Minakshi, my wife — undoubtedly the prime minister of my little family who leaves no stone unturned in helping me out, both professionally and otherwise — had gone out for shopping. Lolo, my son, was preparing for the secondary examinations slated for the year 2000 was also out. With none around, even the Delhi Vidyut Board was playing a cruel joke with me; there was no electricity since morning and I was unable to switch on my favourite Rabindrasangeet.
I scribbled a few lines, I have had always a passion to write poetry. Suddenly I realised that I did not even remember the date. Time had left me far behind and I could not even calculate it. Why? Even W E Henley had said, “Where’s the use of sighing? Sorrow as you may, Time is always flying — Flying! — and defying, Men to say him nay.”
First I wrote March 5, this was important as I was in the habit of writing down the date on which I composed a poem. Confused, I asked Choton what date it was. Barely 12 or 13 years of age, the attachment of Choton in our tiny world was due to the grace of one of our relatives in Calcutta. Hailing from a small distant village in West Bengal, Choton, when he came to Delhi about four years back had looked a bit out of depth and forlorn — like fish out of water. But in no time he proved his intelligence and utility to our family.
“6th,” he was quick to respond and then to help me further, he retorted, “Tommorow is 7th, Lolo bhaiya’s birthday.” I had even forgotten my son’s birthday due to my illness — it was no big deal for a person who had lost track of time.
I thanked him with a pat and asked when was his birthday. What an irony it was? Even though he had been with us for such a long time, I had never thought of asking him his birthday!
Choton was unhesistant and unabashed, “I don’t have any birthday. I have never had any such day in my life.”
Dedicated to the homeless, orphans, destitute children in different parts of the world.
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