|Balvihar October 2019|
Aakash had to get back home before it started pouring again.
“ This is so unfortunate.. the 3rd day of no cricket. It cannot go on like this” he muttered to himself and just then, he bumped into a boy around the corner.
“Now what do you think …” before Aakash could finish his sentence, the boy pulled him away. A tree branch fell right where Aakash had been standing seconds ago. “Whoa, that was so close. Thanks” he held the other boy’s hand.
“ Hey, I have seen you play cricket in that ground every week. What splendid shots you hit on Monday. I had a great time watching you.” the boy talked nonstop.
Now it was Aakash’s turn to be surprised.
“Oh is it? I never knew someone watched me play. Was I really that good?”
“Of course” replied the other boy who introduced himself as Deepak. The two boys laughed and talked as they walked together.
When it started to drizzle they ran to take shelter in a teashop nearby. The owner seemed to know Deepak.
He offered the boys tea and a few biscuits. “ Sit here and make yourself comfortable. There is no way you are going out till the rain stops.”
“ Well, how’s your dad, Deepak?” He enquired as he dragged a few chairs inside.
“ He’s much better now, Uncle. The doctor said that he might be able to come back home by next week or so.”
“ That’s really good news. I was so worried ” the tea seller told him.
Aakash who did not have the slightest idea of what the conversation was about, watched in silence.
Just then, a car stopped outside the teashop and the driver honked loudly.
“That’s my car. Deepak, Would you like to come with me? I can drop you at your home later in the evening”
Aakash had very few friends but he looked forward to spend some more time with Deepak. Something about the boy really caught his attention.
As the driver wouldn’t stop honking, Aakash rushed into his car without waiting for a reply “ We shall meet again soon…maybe here tomorrow evening, same time?”
The driver Ramlal saw whom Aakash was talking to and frowned. “Babu, I hope you choose to be friends with better people.”
Aakash did not approve of Ramlal’s comment and just glared at him.
“ He’s the cobbler’s son. His father owns a shop next to the tea-seller’s. What do you think now?” Ramlal answered.
“ That doesn’t matter at all. He can communicate so well with me. ..such a good boy he is” Aakash replied abruptly.
A week passed by and there was no sign of Deepak. Aakash was feeling so restless.
He had been with Deepak for only around half an hour or so but it seemed like he had always been his best friend.There was nothing artificial about him.
The tea seller did not have any information and no one else knew how to find out if everything was okay with Deepak and his family.
Around a fortnight later, Aakash stopped by the teashop to enquire again about Deepak. As he got out of the car hurriedly, his sandals broke but he did not stop or care.
“That’s Deepak’s dad, back to work after 3 months. Hope things work out well for them”, the tea seller pointed to a frail man working in the cobbler shop.
A familiar figure was bending to pick some stuff from a box closeby.
” Excuse me. Can I place an order for a new pair of shoes? I heard the best ones are made here.” Aakash called out aloud as his new friend looked up with a wide grin.
As Deepak’s dad worked on Aakash’s broken sandal, the boys chatted away.