My Mentor part II – The Journey to Indraprastha.
I had taken my Chemistry text book as an alibi, stepped out of my home at Arkakadavu by giving an excuse to Umma that I was going to my friend Dibu’s house for combined studies as the final exams were approaching for my 12th (PDC) class. It was a very hot summer day in the month of March 1987. The smell of melting asphalt on the road was strong as I walked past Dibu’s house just wearing a white mundu (Malayali gentleman’s Sarong) and a not so noticeable white and light orange stripes shirt. My intention was not studies, but I had decided that day in the morning to run away from home and follow my dreams (I had none at that time) and return home rich and famous.
You may wonder why; well! I was a 12th standard (PDC) student of Great king’s college; never attended any classes except for the first few days at the year beginning to familiarize the location of my classes and names of my teachers. I was always outside the class, either frequenting the canteen or the grounds of king’s college with all my friends; crooning romantic melodies of Mohammed Rafi helplessly to every girl I fell in love with (which was always unidirectional). Early lesson learned was that love would happen to me only by chance and not by force). I had taken undue advantage of the new found freedom since I was away from the clutches of Pappan, Mullappan and Thankappan of my school. So what could I expect other than fresh empty note books and failed test papers.
For that matter, even in my latter school days, I was one of the very few black sheep among the white herd of disciplined students. I was so notorious with my grades that I nearly got barred from writing the 10th Board exams since the school authorities were afraid to lose their 100% pass record in that year. According to them I was destined to fail. With some cajoling from my Vappa, Pappan Sir allowed me to write the exam and to everyone’s surprise….I came in the top ten of my class.
On this ill-fated day, which was, just one month to the exam date, Nooriya beegum had accidentally come across my Physics, Chemistry and Biology record books. She had gone through the pages with horror because they were all blank. All hell broke loose in the house hold. I was completely exposed to the whole family; there were no more excuses. There was no escape either, like what happened in school, the damage was done, my guilt and fright was immense, and my heart broke into myriad pieces. There was no way out from this mess. I was completely written off by my elder siblings; at least I felt so at that moment, except for Marjaana and Dabboo. They were always on my side with unconditional support and love. In reality all my elders had always done what they felt is best for me. Exposing me on that day was the best thing Nooriya did for me. It had actually brought me to a stage where I had hit rock bottom and my only option was to perish or to rise. Being a true romantic and lover of suffering in those days, I decided to perish; hence, I took flight from home to escape from everything and return after many years like in old bollywood movies as a successful “someone”. In my misery I was not stable enough to plan my escape route properly. So instead of travelling to the north of India where opportunities were abundant, I decided to travel south. Passing Dibu’s house, I walked and crossed the electrocution bridge and hitch hiked across Eroor village and reached a small town called Tri Puny floor, the seat of erstwhile kings of Cochin. I boarded the first bus to Kothaazham and from there to “saakshaal” (original) Ananthapuri by train. Was I planning to go to Cape comerin? Well honestly, until today I do not know. The train journey commenced from Kothazhaam filled with office goers returning home from work. My destination would arrive after three and half hours. After a few local stations, I got an opportunity to sit squeezed between two elderly men in their early fifties (early fifties were elderly for me in those days though now I call that category as “late youth”). I felt very tired due to the stress I had experienced in the morning. Do not know when I had dozed off into a dream nodding my head as the train travelled forward. I heard the voice of my Umma calling “Khaisse.. Khaisse” the ever so familiar voice of her’s calling me (even now after seven years past her demise, I still hear her calling me from the kitchen or the backyard). It is probably because she called out to me less than any of her children due to my absence from home from the age of 17). I woke up from this dream startled as the train screeched to a halt at one of the stations. I looked out and saw the name of the station written in bold black letters on yellow back ground. I was lucky, the train was at “Illam Kollam” station. Now was my chance to get off the train. The dream of Umma had shaken my confidence. Love and care was guaranteed at Illam Kollam for me. It was just an Auto rickshaw drive away to Mr. Cherry Ikka’s home, who was indeed a person very close to my heart. As expected he did not judge me; instead took me for a movie the same night after informing my clan in cochin about my arrival there. We relaxed and I realized that the world was not a bad place after all. The very next day, Abdul Asthar Kostum the “Hippie” and his friend John Honaayi arrived with more love and care for me. I understood again that love is all around me once again. I remember how thankful and close I felt to Asthar kostum in those moments.
Back home it was almost like a house where angel of death had visited. After my return to Vennala, Maarjana Beegam narrated all the events that unfolded from the time I was found missing till my return. She had told me that surprisingly she had witnessed Abdul jalaal Dabboo crying in the “Iruttu muri” (dark room) without the knowledge of the outside world while others had all slept at night. She said it was the second time she had ever seen Dabboo crying. The first one being the time when he had seen Umma at home during a brief holiday from the Mammoth Ismail camp 7 or 8 years ago (Refer to part 1 of Four men around my cradle part IV for details). Well the unperturbed and ever so strong Dabboo had a weakness or two and I felt proud that one of them was me.
There is always a small stint of time when the person closest to us, our guide, our mentor also becomes a challenge to us. Well this was one of those times when Dabboo became a challenge to me. Not because he wronged to me; he has never wronged to me or for that matter anyone I know. But his success in studies, his hard work was always used as a comparison to my attitude of total negligence. I was often advised by my elders to be like him. Well I was supposed to be an intelligent one, who could grasp anything. All I had to do was to read once. But that is where my attitude really contradicted. I seldom read or put my mind to it, whereas Dabboo spent hours in his little study room, persevered and got the best of best grades in every exam he appeared.
After wiping away his brand “Harbouriley Pottan” in one strike, there was no stopping him. He was an average student during his 12th (PDC) which he did at the great King’s College. He like almost all of us in the family was a science student. I believe that Dabboo from a very young age realized that he ought to fight for what ever he wanted to achieve. He applied it not only on others, but more on himself. He fought with himself, his inabilities, his weaknesses to reach where he wanted to in life. From a mere local government school he had completed his Xth class and struggled through 12th (PDC) due to weakness in English language and passed with average marks to join for degree in Botany. This is where his passion for plants came to his help. By the end of second year in degree, he became the chosen one from his college as a potential rank winner in university. The final year degree exam result got published and there was Dabboo being awarded the second rank from the Great Gandhi University. The chubby young boy, the idiot from harbor had created history not just in the family and the clan, but also in the locality. He became an overnight celebrity; the first student to receive a university rank in Vennala.
Now you may ask what I learned from him. Yes, I was truly motivated by his triumph, but alas it lasted for only a few weeks. It was the time when I was in my 12th (PDC I) studying at the Great King’s college, enjoying life like as if it was a never ending holiday. I had completed my 10th from one of the best schools in the city and ended up on the trip to Illam Kollam as a total failure. Dabbu had completed his 10th with distinction from the most infamous and notorious local school in the city called the “Sri Ayodhya Kumara Varma School. When I look back now, I realize that what made Dabboo stand out from the rest was his attitude.
Abdul Jalaal Dabboo continued his studies and joined for post-graduation in Microbiology at the Great Gandhi university. He walked into the University campus with his principles and also the religious values he practiced from the lessons that he had received at the banks of the river periyar during the mammoth Ismail camp at the age of 13.
A change in Dabboo was inevitable. He had been carrying questions alongside him for too long. But then something should have happened to trigger that change. He was studying in the off campus section of the university near to Kothaazham medical college campus for the second year program in masters. It was an Eid holiday and he was in Vennala celebrating with all of us. Two of his friends studying for Degree Medical lab technician (BSc M.L.T) had ragged the first year girls who were fresher students in the campus. The incident went out of hand since the girls registered a complaint against the two boys for the same with the University authorities. Dabboo rushed back to Kothaazham since his friends were in trouble and faced expulsion if proven guilty. The only option was to appeal to the victims for withdrawal of the petition. After Dabboo’s meeting with the girls in the hostel, they agreed to withdraw the petition. Since the beginning of his Masters program, Dabboo had been complaining to the University authorities about the lack of facilities at the campus, which lead to the displeasure of the university staff. They found the right opportunity to get back at him. The girls where coaxed by the University staff not to withdraw the complaint and were forced to add Dabboo as the primary accused. The false allegation was escalated to the police as a case of molestation of 35 female students by Abdul jalaal Dabboo. He ended up at the sanctuary of the Film maker John Ebraham and was given shelter there by the eminent personality while hiding for a few days from the police who were searching for him. As the truth was very clear, the entire student body and students union was in support of Dabboo who by then was suspended from the university. A month long peaceful and not so peaceful agitation was held by the students seeking justice for Abdul Jalaal Dabboo, who again became an over night hero. Even the major newspapers covered the events that unfolded. The University Vice chancellor MR. U.R Anantha Murthy realized that Dabboo was being victimized. He removed Dabboo’s suspension and also had a personnel counsel with Dabboo. The VC advised Dabboo to only concentrate on his studies and bring in laurels to himself and the university. Abdul Jalaal Dabboo got acquainted to many of the senior leaders and intellectuals from the University main campus during the agitation. One among them was Mr. Jaysankar, an English literature student who was doing his masters too. The influence of him and many more was inevitable in Dabboo. All his questions where duly answered through his journey and friendship with those beautiful human beings. He slowly started disassociating from religious practices. The values he had accepted many years ago at the “Periyar” river bank was shed on the banks of “Meenachilar” (Meenachil River) forever. He was cleansed and unchained. New values of Atheism, Socialism, Communism and Marxism got planted in his soul. Genuine compassion towards fellow human beings without expectations of brownie points from heaven was his doctrine now. The final remaining strand of earlier values got blown away and a change of faith happened simultaneously when he challenged the Mammoth Ismail group when the government implemented a policy called The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act in 1986 which nullified the Supreme Court of India’s verdict over the Shehbhanu case. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohd._Ahmed_Khan_v._Shah_Bano_Begum
Dabboo held fast to the promise he had made to The VC Mr. Anantha Murthy. The result of his masters program got published. Yes, Abdul jalaal Dabboo did it again. He secured 1st rank in the university. It was celebration time again at my household and in Vennala.
Folks, it was once again a reminder to me. There was no point in being an intelligent switched on person unless I put it into practice, did my bit, study, and scored high.. I realized that intelligence didn’t matter as far as getting grades were concerned. It was hard work and practice that was required. Building up a habit to consistently work on my subjects every day was the key. Being intelligent or clever really did not matter; it was result that really mattered. Well that was the only criterion between my success and failure and indeed the difference between Khais and Dabboo.
I was lucky enough to meet my brother during that time of his rebirth. I was taken by him to kothaazham for a few days to bring me back into shape after my arrival from the “Illam Kollam” trip. A few days of watching his simple life in his one room cottage in a remote area near Kothaazham medical college, his life style, his attitude towards people around him, and his intellectual friends whom I also had chance to meet; all of this rubbed onto me. Within a few days he nurtured me back to my own self. He made time for me, though he was also recovering from the trauma of the agitation. We both spent some very peaceful days and nights together. He was the intellectual talking to me about his alternate path, me his aficionado listening awestruck to his thoughts and his philosophies.
It was the year 1991, when the coalition forces had freed Kuwait from Iraq and then left the teaming millions of Iraqis to suffer under the crippling international sanctions. 36 Billion $s had been the earnings for the US of A so they say. Yes, the profit from war by loosing just 270 army personnel. Abdul Jalaal Dabboo was travelling in the second class compartment of the train Kerala Express from Cochin to New Delhi. The enchanting city of his dreams beckoned him. He had only read about this city in the books of M Mukhundhan, one of his favourite Malayalam writers. The train was shaking fore and aft, left and right. He had just eaten two slice of “Mordern bread” and one Banana when the train had arrived at the Vijayawada station, unusually at the right time of ETA 10.00 am. The long orange and cream coloured train was now moving sleepily across the Eastern Ghats and crossed the Krishna River with very loud rattling noise. Dabboo felt lethargic as there was nothing for him to do until he reached his destination the next day evening. Anyone who has plied in these routes in our beautiful Indian trains in second class three Tier will know how he felt at that time. The Hot arid air was blowing across the train passing through the unhealthy looking vegetation of that area of the state. Majority of his co-travellers were either reading books or newspaper or lying idle on the second class bunker beds with clear marks of sticky sweat on their backs that touched the light blue rexine. The unclean fans that hung on the ceiling created more racket with their sound than blowing air. All the toilets and aisle area were extremely dirty by then. Dabboo was not affected by any of this because he was in his own world of thoughts and expectations. He had forced himself and resigned from his job at Bio medical lab in his city Cochin as a microbiologist or rather a celebrated Lab technician. After a few months of monotony, he had realised that he was wasting his time working as an adviser to the doctors to right combination of medicines and always remain behind the scene. His destiny was to fight, persevere, prove to himself and to his family that he was not mediocre, that he had a place to reach, that he had to give back to the world in return for the blessings of merely being born and alive in this world. He wanted to make a mark in science. Hence he had boarded the train feeling like “Aravindhan” from the book “Delhi” by the same author M. Mukhundhan. He was also going to Delhi; searching, seeking and to fulfill his dream unlike Aravindhan, who wanted to paint a symphony on the canvas with his brushes.
The stench from the toilet was very strong as his berth was the closest to the toilet area. He was finding it extremely difficult to focus on his thoughts. A blind boy accompanied by his 8 or 9 year old lame elder sister was singing the song “ Mujhe neendh na aaye neendh na aaye” yes it was ironical that the line meant “ I cant get any sleep, cant get any sleep”. Dabboo smiled and gave them both two bananas which he had saved up to have for dinner. They had boarded the train from Vijayawada and were given the task by their bosses to sing for 4 hours and beg until they alighted from the train at Warangal. The intense heat had numbed him for a few minutes. . He went to the washbasin, washed his face with the hot hard water that gushed through the tap with high pressure. The tap closed by itself with such pressure and noise as if it didn’t want to let out anymore of the precious compound to the unfortunate traveller. The tap was angry!! He looked at the mirror and gazed at his face through the letters “Southern railways” engraved on it. Like all mirrors fixed on the trains belonging to Indian railways, this mirror also made him look more handsome than he was in real. He looked at his beard and proudly touched the amber coloured patch of hair right on his chin. With a smile on his face he returned back to his seat and retired for the afternoon. He had decided not to have lunch for reducing bowel movement so that he could minimally use the toilet, which had the signboard “Lavatory” written proudly by Indian railways to perhaps avoid creating a 2800 odd Kilo Meter long Poo trail on the railway track. The sight of the lame girl soon slipped into a disturbed reverie. His thoughts took him to the hospital room of one of the orthopedic hospitals in Cochin, which was located near to the Lab where he had worked until the previous month. He could still distinctly recall the screech that had come across the hospital ward and into the verandah where he was musing. He had ran back to the source of this blood curdling voice. Yes, his cousin brother Abu Najmi, who had undergone amputation of his right leg on the previous day, was creating the racket. The unfortunate soul was a victim of his own over enthusiasm and zealousness to help his fellow men. Three days ago while returning from work in the Naval base, Abu Najmi the two legged man came across a team of men trying to maneuver a fork lift carrying a heavy transformer dangerously close to the deep dirty canal that ran beside the road. Seeing them in trouble he offered his help. Abu Najmi requested the driver to give way to him so that he could take over the task. He climbed into the driver’s cabin and started to play around with the steering wheel and the gears forgetting the fact that it was the first time he had ever touched a forklift in his life. The result was inevitable; he along with the heavy forklift fell into the dirty canal. The forks had cut through his right leg and severely crushed it with its weight and maimed him for life. He was rushed to hospital and within a day doctors suspected gangrene and so decided to amputate his right leg. Dabboo rushed into the room where Abu Najmi was crying in anger, frustration and unbearable pain. His wife mariyumma was standing helpless bearing all the abuse and filth he let out from his mouth. Yes Abu najmi was an animal at that moment and so Dabboo took control of the situation. He sat beside the patient and started rubbing his forehead like how a father could do for his son. He looked into his helpless cousin brother’s eyes and saw his Umma’s eyes in them, after all Abu najmi was from his Umma’s side. The compassion from Dabboo had a soothing effect on the unfortunate soul. He became silent and started to whimper like a child. Dabboo hugged his brother and pacified his aching heart. He realized how important sometimes a touch would be compared to a 1000 words. The stench from the train’s toilet reminded him of how he attended to Abu Najmi’s natures call for almost one month in the hospital. His tired thoughts slowly forced his eyelids to close. He slipped into a slumber as the Kerala Express rumbled across the Havelock bridge on the mighty Godhavari River.
My friends I can’t help mention the current status of AbuNajmi. I met him in August 2016 (three weeks ago) at a marriage function. He was ever smiling and bolder and braver than he ever was. He is fighting 3rd stage Cancer. The doctors had given him 4 months to live and he proudly told me that he has completed his 14th month. He mentioned that he is lucky to know that death was at his door step and he was given a chance to celebrate every day of his life. So if anyone of you spot a one legged handsome man with a smiling face (sans beard because the radiation on his face has killed his hair roots) riding a motorbike from Allapuzha to Cochin naval base for work… well it is Abu Najmi my brave cousin, celebrating the so called final days of his life.
I had managed to get my Lab record books signed and endorsed by the lecturers of the Great king’s college and scarped through the 12th (PDC) exams and there I was expecting to join the University for a Degree in my favourite subject Chemistry. Truly humbled and motivated by my mentor’s academic achievements, I wanted to follow his path. His University rank in masters had a permanent motivation and impact on me. Then came my way the revelation and a success story of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer who was the friend of my eldest brother Mohammed Sharaff (The sailor). So instead of joining for degree, I joined for this Aircraft maintenance Engineering course in a very famous college in the town called Kalabhavan Mani kudy in kerala. I put my heart and soul into this 3 year course. I used my full potential in my studies, secured an average of 90% marks in every subject, and completed practical training from Bombay and Baroda. In the year 1991, I was an Engineer certified by the Director General of Civil aviation in India. Just after the course like many million students in India, I realized that securing a Job was extremely difficult unless you knew the right people in the right places. That is when I decided to visit Dabboo and talk. I knew he would have a solution to any challenge I faced in life.
In the year 1992 I visited Dabboo in New Delhi for the first time. After an eventful train journey for three days in the same Kerala express I reached New Delhi and eventually reached Katwaria Sarai a small township in New delhi where Dabboo dwelled. His living quarters was just a single room, which was his bedroom, living room and Kitchen. His old friend Jaysankar stayed in the same room though he had another room at the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) campus hostel. He was doing PHD in English in those days at JNU. I was enthralled to hear him read his books aloud. I remember the story and learnings unfolding while he read for us Herman Hess’s Siddartha dramatized. How touched I was to hear about Siddartha, Govinda and Kamala. This was the same Jaysankar who supported him staunchly during the Agitation at the university and was instrumental for the radical change in Dabboo. I cannot forget the rose among the two thorns who frequented Dabboos dwelling. Well it was the dark beautiful Miss Gaatha Nayyaar, Dabboos companion. She was a JNU PHD student in Chinese language, an excellent theater artist, rebel at heart, well versed in Chinese language. A highly talented lone woman warrior who was known at those times for her courageous news reporting assignment she took up with a leading Indian Media house to report live from Tiananmen Square during the Massacre of students in 1989. She was an ideal companion to Dabboo. I got introduced to people from many walks of life in New delhi, such as intellectuals, theater artists, painters and many other alternate souls. We spent a blissful time together during that fortnight. I miss a heart beat when ever I remember the beautiful Chinese poem that Gaatha Nayyaar sang sitting on the bench near Ganga hostel under the starlit sky one evening. The melancholic tune still plays in my heart. It was in those days I understood how beautifully a bottle of “KF” fitted into the hands and lips of a beautiful Malayali maiden. The best holi festival I had ever enjoyed was at that time. I remember clearly how we had visited every hostel in JNU and had many glasses of Almond milk mixed with Bhang(edible preparation of Cannabis). We played holi with lots of colors in the campus with all the other students. Truly I felt that day to be a day of love care and harmony among all students from different walks of life. As we walked back to Jayasankar’s hostel room, Dabboo had commented to me that we were walking and wading knee deep through the oil fields of the Arabian Gulf and so he felt difficulty in walking. I felt the same too after hearing him out. Even now I have no clue why he had a notion that crude oil was flowing like rivers in the Arabian gulf. We reached the lobby of the hostel and took the stairs to reach the room which was on the second floor. When we were almost there, Dabboo collapsed into my hands saying that we have been climbing the stairs for the past 4 years and he asked me how many more years would we take to reach the room. For the rest of the steps I carried him and deposited him on Jayasankar’s tiny bed. I also felt that we had taken an eternity to reach there. Was it true; or was it the transcendental trip. After half hour, I woke up with a start as I saw Dabboo opening the door to get out of the room. I asked him his purpose of that, to which he replied that he could see his companion Gaatha Nayyar walking towards one of the nearby Gulmohar trees to meet him. I replied that it was just a dream and asked him to continue sleeping. He was adamant and so I followed him too. After around 10 minutes of swaying and walking and swaying we reached the Gulmohar tree and what I saw still gives me the goosebumps. There was Gaatha Nayyar, in a maroon colored T-shirt mixed with all other colors of holy, walking towards that tree in anticipation of Abdul Jalaal Dabboo, her companion. Was it because of the intoxication of Bhaang or was it like that invisible red thread that connected those who were destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstances; I don’t know.
If anyone has experienced that, well you are lucky. You have probably met your soul mate.
The red string of fate is an old story in an east Asian brief originating from a Chinese legend about magical connection between two people that are -(tied together by Gods)-connected by an invisible red string and destined to develop a great friendship, fall in love, or help each other in some way. This myth is similar to the western concept of soul-mates or a twin flame.
Abdul jalaal Dabbo kept his promise which he had made to self. He worked even harder, which was the best thing he knew to do in life; struggle, persevere and staying focused on his goal. He achieved the first milestone by passing the University grant commission exam (UGC). He then joined All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) as a research student under the Eminent Doctor Kochupillai the final word in Endocrinology across India. Under his mentorship and guidance he put his heart and soul into his research and in the year 1994 he registered with The Jamia Milia Islamia University for the PHD program. Dabboo submitted his final theses on his research to the university in 1998. Seven years of struggle ended finally when he achieved what he had come to New delhi for. He became the first doctor in the family. Well not a physician, but a scientist doing research on Biosciences, incidentally narrowed down to a subject called Protein Chemistry.
The convocation ceremony at the university happened without his presence. It happened during an Eid holiday and Dabboo had decided to travel to cochin to be with his folks. It was only two years ago that tragedy had hit us all with its darkest face. Our sister Sheharzadha (One of the beauties featured in my earlier story titled “Beauties and the feast”) had met with a major accident and had passed away from us forever at the tender age of 32 and that fatal day reduced our family from 12 to 11 members. From that day on, Dabboo had always been with his folks in Cochin whenever it was possible for him.
Abdul jalaal Dabboo arrived at the Hazrath Nizamudhin railway station to board the Swarna Jayanthi express destined to Cochin. It was 5’ o clock in the early morning hours and the “Fajar Adhaan” (call for morning prayer) was being called by the “Muazzin” (Mukri Adhawa ..prayer caller). The Adhaan was heard very loudly across the dirty streets and alleys of Nizamudheen. The streets still smelt a mixture of food waste and also Kababs and Koftas of Chicken and Lamb that was devoured by the locals and visitors of the Mosque and Dhargha on the previous night. It was still dark in the streets and the occasional barking of stray dogs and passing cars broke the unhappy silence of the streets. Dabboo walked into the railway station undisturbed by the bright lights and the loud railway announcements in two languages and the hussle and bussle of the station which seemed to be alive. He looked around and realized that the station was a live monster which never slept even at night. His experience told him that his train was waiting for him at platform number 7. He was not hassled or bothered by any of the red shirted porters as he held only a very small hand bag. He entered his compartment, the ticket examiner (lovingly known in india as the TTR) was busy negotiating with unfortunate passengers who were in the reservation waiting list or RAC. He tried to look out through the window but could barely see anything outside due to dirt on the window glass. He lifted and latched the window open. Fresh cold air gushed into the compartment. He moved away his nose from the grills of the window due to the pungent smell of paint mixed with rust. He saw an old man with flowing white beard sans moustache sitting on one of the concrete benches on the platform talking to himself or was he praying, he knew not. Abdul Jalaal Dabboo had the same flowing beard, but also had a moustache unlike the old man. Did the old man recognize him, yeah he did, he had a smile on his face. It was the same old man who had escorted him to safety and calmness after that incident near No 24 Akbar road a few months ago.
Dabboo had been walking as always through the streets of New delhi, for many reasons and for no reasons. Being the capital city where history had been told and retold for many centuries, every nook and corner was a place of interest. On this day he was planning to visit the National museum and hence took the Akbar road to connect to Janpath and reach his destination. As he walked, a police Jeep stopped with a screech and the constable shouted at him in Hindi “Dhafa ho jaa… VIP movement” (Run along you…VIP movement). He didn’t like that tone and replied back to the constable in negative. The police man jumped out with his colleagues and one of them pushed him. Dabboo couldn’t stand the unfair humiliation he was facing at that moment. He got up and kicked the policeman who had turned his back at that moment. The constable fell flat on his stomach. The next moment Dabboo realizes that he was flying high in the air since the police team had grappled him and thrown him up. He landed flat in front of the sub inspector who had just stopped by. His Doctor’s badge flew out of his pocket and caught the attention of the Sub inspector. He halted his team and looked at the badge and immediately held Dabboo with respect and set him free with a warning. Dabboo thanked his lucky stars at that moment and moved away to find a white bearded old man beckoning to him. The gentle old man walked him towards a safer area towards the Moulana Azad road. They had tender coconut water from a street vendor and the old gentleman had parted him by blessing him with a smile. Dabboo smiled back at the old gentleman sitting on the bench as the train moved slowly away from platform number 7…taking him towards his family that awaited him and also was leading him towards the light of his future, the mother of his unborn children a bubbly girl; the beautiful soul whom he had never met in his life.
Swarna Jayanthi rushed towards his destiny through the same track that had brought him to this dream city empty handed. His destiny will be narrated in the final part of this story on my mentor, my brother, my best friend Abdul Jalaal Dabboo.
On my journey in life, I travelled places, met myriad beings, interacted with souls with deep thinking and intriguing perspectives towards life, yet I would say that one of the most headstrong yet compassionate, sensitive yet aberrant souls I have ever met was from my own cave; the “solitary reaper” by the name Daboo. He planted his own saplings which were way different from the ones his siblings grew and he tirelessly worked in the fields when everyone was taking a siesta. But when the time came to reap, there were fruits in his basket that no one had ever seen; the wondrous colours nor the taste!
To be continued……………………………
Illustration Courtesy :- Dr. Farhan Kabeer (kabeer)