Balvihar April 2020
“What does it feel to be 80 years, Dada?” Prakash whispered as he bent down to his grandad’s ears.
“You know the answer, my young man”, Dada laughed, with a gleam in his eye.
” Yes and it’s never different – Not more than 18″ they gave each other a high-five. Prakash drew a deep breath as he held his dada’s hands.
“Did you write anything this month?” he asked as he slowly massaged those wrinkly fingers.
“Of course, I did. And you know I have been waiting to read it out to you, just like old times” Dada replied.
Prakash had been named after his Dada OmPrakash, an award winning writer and storyteller. It was Dada who inspired Prakash to read extensively since his childhood. Prakash also got to hear Dada’s stories and discuss about them too.
As the years went by, all that reading made Prakash a more open minded person giving him a new perspective and understanding of life.
Prakash who became the youngest entrepreneur to lead a company, decided that though travelling extensively and living the corporate life did have its advantages, what he really wanted was to spend time with his family, especially with his dear Dada.
Every month however tight his work schedule was, the weekend was with family members and a special weekend with his Dada.
“All these beautiful moments are our blessings. Aren’t they, Dada?”
“Absolutely” Prajal, Prakash’s elder brother joined the conversation.
“So good to see you, Chotu” He teased knowing how Prakash detested being called Chotu. Prajal was very happy with his brother’s decision to move closer to home. He would be seeing more of him and their children, Prajal’s 10 year old son Vivek and Prakash’s 14 year old son Sandeep would get a chance to bond really well.
When the two brothers saw their kids, it felt like exactly how they used to be at that age. Prajal was 4 years older to Prakash and so it seemed no different as their sons had an age gap of 4 years too.
The boys were so busy with their school and the homework that they barely found time to read. That caused Dada and Prakash to worry. The bibliophiles they were, it saddened them to see how today’s kids were not too keen to read books.
“It’s either TV, the mobile or the ipad Dada. I never see them reading any other book except the subject ones. Isn’t that shocking, Dada?” Prakash remarked.
“I always felt deeply for the characters in stories that I read and observed how the stories were offering solutions to real life problems and ways to handle situations.” Prajal stated.
“Yes, me too. As my responsibilities increased, only the habit of reading helped me to manage my emotions, situations and the people around me more efficiently. Do you think we should buy them a kindle – an electronic reader. Maybe that would encourage them to read, at least online.” said Prakash.
“I know it feels weird. Nothing like a book..but maybe we should think about it.” Prajal commented.
” Now wait, what’s this?” Dada peered closely into the local newspaper.
Prakash offered to read the headlines ” And then said the book, Put me back where I belong”.
The article was about how the boys along with their friends had set mini libraries in the neighbourhood provision stores and tea stalls to encourage the kids in the nearby slums to read, along with weekly reading and storytelling sessions with them.
And wow Dada, Prajal, Is that our two boys?”, he continued excitedly pointing to the group photo in the article.
“Of course, it’s us. Do you still think you should buy us a kindle ?” The two giggling boys responded in chorus.