“..Dear Satish return home immediately…any one giving information about Satish will be suitably rewarded…”
Satish read this ad in newspaper and was in tears again. Today was fourth day since he ran away from his home. He had stolen Rs.50/- from home before running away. He was left with only eight rupees. Rest was spent in food, cigarette and film. A storm was stirring within him.
Satish was a student of eighth standard. In school, he fell in bad company. Once fallen he could not rise though he wanted to. A bully boy of the class befriended Satish. In recess they would sit together in school canteen. Beginning with sharing tea, one day he offered cigarette to Satish. Satish refused. Bully insisted, persuaded “none would know at home..it is not bad..ok your father smokes..had it been bad he would not have been smoking…No ? He is such a big educated man. If cigarette was bad you think he would have been smoking? And so many others who smoke..Are they all uneducated unwise? Satish had no answer of such questions. He would take a puff or two. Soon he was smoking a packet a day as if he was smoking for years. The same bully persuaded him to bunk and go for film. Initial hesitation and soon Satish would yield. Soon he was addicted to tea, cigarette and films. Study became secondary rather disappeared from the scheme of things. He hated school. He had learnt to cheat parents, his teachers and above all himself.
He started stealing money from home. Once caught stealing 20 rupees he was beaten mercilessly by his already harassed father.
Same bully came forward and told Satish “Get some big amount from home and let us go to Bombay, My mama is there, will find some job there. We will do acting in films. Mama will help us get a break in films. What is this? Parents are always firing..Scolding..Why? Our parents have done nothing for us except for giving birth to us. They have given birth then it is their duty to bring us up. Bear our expenses. Don’t we work for them whole day like an ox? Buying vegetables, running errand, procuring ration from the shop. Fetching milk from dairy. We are worst than domestic servants. Satish again thought Janardhan was right. He did not need any further convincing.
Last three nights he has spent like a fugitive urchin. He longed for the warmth of his bed. Mummy’s affectionate kiss on forehead. Suddenly Satish recalled how his brothers and sister must be feeling. He thought of mother’s despair and father’s embarrassment. His heart was sinking. Cursing him he hated himself for inflicting wounds on so many. He ran and ran and did not stop till he was standing facing the main gate of his house. Door opened, next moment head in his mother’s lap he was crying uncontrollably “If a person loses his way in morning but comes back by evening he is not a loser…all is well that ends well” said his father caressing Satish on his head. Satish further hid in his mother’s lap.
(This story penned by me orig in Hindi ‘Subah ka bhoola’ was published in Nav Bharat Times on August 26, 1973)