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Potter, Writer, Blogger, Quiller, Avid Reader, Chatter Box, Traveller, Foodie, photo crazy, Orchid lover, FB addict, and an enthusiast.... I work on extremes... You'll either find me laughing insanely or discussing something seriously serious.... I suffer from a laughter disorder...I am a lover of arts and crafts and anything that's colorful, bright and beautiful which includes my plants and my little lovely birdies... I am a mad friend, an insane daughter, a crazy wife and an unconventional sister... I choose to love, laugh and live!! My smile is contagious....So be careful :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Secret Diary

This post won the "Silver Batom" in Blog-a-ton 40.


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 40; the fortieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "MAKE A WISH"


"Happy Birthday Maya." I hugged my beloved wife. "Okay, now make a wish today and I promise I shall fulfill it." I held Maya's hands firmly.

"Can I ask for anything, Saahas?" She reconfirmed and smiled.

"Yes, anything." I assured her.

"Okay, I want to read your baba’s diary, the one that you, baba and Maa treasure."

"But Maya… that is…" I was hesitant.

"You promised me." She frowned.

"Okay. I will give it to you. But promise me you will never let Maa and Baba know about it."

"I promise." Maya instantly agreed.

As I gave the diary in her hands, I knew Maya will be reading the most beautiful story ever. A story where 3 people made a wish and how God made it a reality. 

9th July 1987
“Ey chottu, do cutting chai dena…” I called out to the little boy who stood at the corner of the tapri. He was clad in a creamish white vest which was torn from more than one place. The tiny holes in his vest spoke tons about the hollow life he was leading. A brown pant that barely covered the other half of his little body was as shabby as his vest. We sat across a white table which was now drenched with raindrops. Monsoon had hit Bombay.
He came running to us and placed two tiny glasses of chai on the table. Nisha, smiled at him lovingly. He smiled back. Thank you, she said.

"Kitna pyara baccha hai na ye?" Nisha was in complete awe with him.

"Hmmm…" I affirmed.

"Kitne saal ka hoga?" She enquired.

"Pata nahin Nisha… hoga 6-7 saal ka." I was a little annoyed at her.

"Don’t get irritated, Rahul. I was just curious. Sip your chai now." She sensed my irritation.

As I sipped my chai, I saw him running to almost every corner of the little space that the tea stall occupied on the busy street of Bombay.

10th July 1987
“I am in a meeting Nisha. I’ll call you later”. I tried disconnecting the call.
“Rahul listen. Please come here as soon as possible”.
Sensing fear and anger in her voice I got worried.
“Where are you Nisha? What happened? I am leaving from office”. I enquired
“Rahul come to Anna Bhai’s tea stall. Chottu is getting beaten up. Nobody is helping him”. Nisha was crying inconsolably.
I am coming to pick you. Tum beech mein mat padna (do not get in between the fight). I instructed Nisha as I started my car.
The sight was shocking when I reached Anna Bhai’s tea stall. I found Nisha holding chottu in her arms while chottu was bleeding through his mouth and tears rolling down his little cheeks. But I noticed his eyes today. He has beautifully expressive eyes. They  pierced through my ribs and pinched my heart. I couldn’t look at them for long.
“Let’s go Nisha”, I insisted.
“Yes, let’s take chottu to the hospital. He needs medical attention. Bohot maara hai isko.” I could feel Nisha’s pain through her words.
But I was skeptical on taking chottu alongwith us. On humanitarian grounds, I couldn’t say no.
 “Okay, let’s go to Dr. Bhatia and get a first aid done.” I agreed.
We reached Dr.Bhatia’s clinic and he was shocked to see us with a little child who was bleeding profusely.
Dr.Bhatia was our family doctor. I had known him since ages. In fact I had seen him age gracefully. He was one of the finest doctors and one of the finest people I had ever known. Known to all for helping the needy and less fortunate.
“Who is he Rahul?” Dr. Bhatia enquired as he was administering Chottu’s wounds.
He is.. I fumbled.
"He works at a tea stall near my office. Those brutes have beaten him up" Nisha informed Dr.Bhatia.
“Cruel world outside.” Dr.Bhatia sighed.
“I have given some medicines. The wound will take time to heal. Give him after he eats something.” Dr. Bhatia instructed Nisha.
I thanked Dr.Bhatia and we left his clinic. Chottu was limping. That’s when I noticed he was bare feet. That was his reality. Harsh and crude.
As we drove back Nisha insisted that we take him home. But I was unsure. We hardly knew him though she was adamant.
“Didi, I will go back to the stall. If I don’t reach there, Anna will beat me up again. That’s when I heard him. His voice was tender and very soothing.
“No Chottu, you come with us.” Nisha insisted.
“Didi, Anna is my owner. I must go. If he finds me, he will kill me.” Chottu insisted that we drop him to the tapri.
We obliged. But what he said resonated in my ears for very long. Chottu had an owner. Anna owned him.

11th July 1987
I couldn’t sleep last night. I was eager to see Chottu. As I waited outside Nisha’s office, my eyes constantly searched for this little boy. And then I saw him, running around, serving cutting chai to so many people who were oblivious to his wounds. Some on his tender face, some on is tender heart. Something inside my practical head wrangled. I wanted to turn a blind eye to him. But I was moved, moved by the fake smile that Chottu wore on a rainy evening of July. The rain couldn't wash it. I was speechless. I was hurt.

25th July 1987
Last two weeks were very different. Nisha and I met Chottu every day. In fact I pick up Nisha every day from office. And we sip a chai at Chottu’s stall almost every day. No we don’t speak to him often. He gets afraid of Anna Bhai. May be he gets beaten up if he talks to anyone. So we have tiny moments of conversations with him when he brings chai on our table. Nisha loves him I guess. But what surprises me is that even I like the boy. May be I have fallen in love with him. I can’t write anymore. I want to cry..over my helplessness, tonight.

5th August 1987
"Where is chottu?" Nisha enquired.
"Gaon gaya hai." Anna bhai informed us.

Nisha was not convinced. She could see through Anna Bhai’s white lie. Sensing a fish, she tried checking with some other people who were like us, very fond of little chottu. That’s when we were informed that Chottu was beaten up for eating an extra biscuit in the morning. He was beaten on his legs and face. I can only imagine the pain he goes through every day.
Nisha and I don’t know where he lives. We have to find out soon. One of the onlookers also told Nisha that they twisted Chottu’s hand mercilessly. Nisha has been crying bitterly since then. But a question haunts me. In spite of several onlookers the child got beaten up? Why could no one come forward and help him? But then I have no right to say this. I am no different. Am I? Today is the most painful day of my life.

15th August 1987
"Where is chottu?" I enquired at Anna Bhai’s tea stall.
"Bastard eloped last night stealing money from my house. Bastard!" Anna bhai answered.
"What? Eloped? Where did he go?" I further enquired.
"I don’t know Saheb. And you shouldn’t worry as well. He was a very smart guy. I gave him shelter and food and he ran away." Anna bhai was clearly angry. Angry because he will have to find another Chottu to beat up.
But I was happy. I was happy for Chottu's freedom. Where ever he is, I pray for his happiness and safety.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Saahas, where are the missing pages from this diary. Do you have them? I want to know what happened to little Chottu." Maya looked eager to know more.
My legs wobbled as I reached out to my drawer. I took out some torn pieces of paper from Baba's diary and gave it to her.

6th August 1987
“We need to meet Inspector Shinde,” I informed the guard at the entrance of Wakola police station.
“He is inside. You can meet him. The guard pointed towards a tall and dusky man standing upright inside the police station.
“Inspector Shinde, I am Rahul Goenka. Dr. Bhatia must have informed you that I am coming to see you. I introduced myself without any delay.
“Oh yes. Dr. Bhatia is like a father to me.” Inspector Shinde was one of the many people who loved Dr.Bhatia.
I told him everything about Chottu. He promised to help us find him. He was like a silver lining in our otherwise dark life.
By the way Nisha has not been eating well. She has been praying endlessly to her God. But I don’t think he is even bothered. He didn’t hear her prayers when we lost our unborn child. He hasn't even been kind enough to bless her womb again. And now when she has found her joy in Chottu, he is punishing her, yet again. When I think of Chottu and Nisha, I believe there is no God. Or even if he is, he is lost.

9th August 1987
“Inspector Shinde? Did you find him?” I immediately gasped as I heard his voice on the phone.
“Yes. He is in a bad state, Rahul. He lives in a very unhygienic condition. In fact when I saw him today he was lying on a gunny bag in pain. It seems this time he has been beaten up horribly. I think he has not been given medicine as well. He is yet another victim of  bonded labor. His father sold him to Anna Bhai for 700 rupees.”
My heart sank as I heard Inspector Shinde.
“Inspector, Nisha and I have decided to adopt Chottu.” I instantly informed him.
“It’s not easy Rahul. Such cases are very complicated. And we have our limitations too. But I assure you that if you are serious about this, we can find a way out.”
“Okay. I will come to see you this evening." I informed him and hung up.
I was heart wrenched. Chottu told Inspector Shinde that he gets food only once a day. At seven, the child is enduring so much. That’s the state of children in India. But I am not a helpless onlooker anymore. I am not.

12th August 1987
“Shinde Saahab, do anything but the child needs to be out of the hell he is in. We are willing to do anything for that.” Nisha tried telling Inspector Shinde.
“Bhabhiji, I can’t do anything legally. It may take time and meanwhile Anna can harm the child but if you wish to take the other path then perhaps… “Shinde hesitated.
“What does that mean?” I curiously asked.
“I can help the child elope and then you can adopt him. Of course we will have to hide the child for some time. I will take care of the legal issues involved. And as far my experience says, owners like Anna, do not usually file a missing complaint with us. It’s too much of a hassle for them.” Shinde’s plan was illegal but then it made sense.
“But how do we reach Chottu?” I asked.
I will talk to Chottu about this on the stall today. When he returns home with Anna in the night that’s when we will have to ask him to escape. The child will have to show some courage." Inspector Shinde completed.

"Inspector Saahab, he is one of the bravest child I have ever known." Nisha informed.

"If that is the case then what are you waiting for?" Inspector Shinde hinted.

Nisha and I looked at each other. The decision was obvious. We wanted Chottu.
I am eagerly waiting for 15th August. At midnight, when the world will sleep, Chottu will rise to freedom, freedom to live a life, freedom of childhood.

15th August 1987
“Anna, I want to pee, Chottu informed Anna just like how Inspector Shinde had instructed him.”
“Okay, but come fast. I am very sleepy. Anna hushed the child away.”
Chottu nodded. The child knew this was his only chance to freedom. Was he sacred? Yes he was. He was after all just a 7 year old.
He slowly walked inside the bushes near the Santacruz Bridge. That’s where, Inspector Shinde and his team had been hiding along with Dr. Bhatia and me. As he walked inside they grabbed him and we slowly escaped with the child in his jeep.
“Chottu, ey Chottu.” Anna was calling out madly. Lytle did he know that Chottu had left.
Chottu is out of his clutches now. He is at Inspector Shinde’s house, the safest place at the moment for him. He will be shifted to Dr. Bhatia’s polyclinic tomorrow to get treated and then he will be ours. I feel peace within. Nisha is on cloud 9. Pagli…!!
I think God has finally heard us. I just can’t wait to hold my son in my arms. Yes, My son. Tonight a father is reborn, a mother is reborn. And so is born our son… Saahas!”

Maya wiped her tears and hugged me. She was moved by the story of a child labor. But not all stories have a happy ending. Do they?


The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 2

15 comments:

Shreyasi Majumdar said...

This is one of the best stories I have read so far! Its beautiful! Funny how Your story and mine had a similar theme :-)

Jini Fernandez said...

Wow!!! What a write-up. Added to that the theme you have chosen has tugged at my heart-strings.

the little princess said...

I loved this line "At midnight, when the world will sleep, Chottu will rise to freedom, freedom to live a life, freedom of childhood."

but like u said not all stories have an happy ending..

Dilip Patel said...

Nice story.

Dilip Patel said...

Great story.

The Blog from n'th Dimension said...

Hey nice story !!! Didi u write it in one day ? Keep it up !!

Ritu Bhateley said...

Wonderful story Khushi Great Job

Rhythm said...

loved it..!!
all the best for BAT :)

Vikas Khair said...

Awesome story Khushi loved it and truly not all the stories have happy ending. Another truth, countless chhotus are still wasting their childhood working in such condition. Really Great Job, All The Best for BAT.

My Entry - Vikas Khair - Wishes

AYUSHI... said...

Wow...this was amazing, truly loved this :) Excellent story, great narration, perfect timings...loved it very much Khushi :)

Uthra Suresh said...

you have written it so beautifully!! expressive!!






Uthra Suresh- If only wishes were horses

Unknown said...

Wonderful story... you did it again :)

Panchali said...

Wow..such a beautiful story- poignantly close to the skin....:))Loved the way you wrapped up the story.It was like watching a movie...:)
ATB for BAT!!

cifar shayar said...

every child must get a chance like this,style of writing this story is impressive,very good story

Manas Shukla said...

Very impressive khushboo, way to go!!