“Dad! The postman says you have to sign something. I am not old enough.” Anil heard his daughter shout out. He hurried to the door to see what the matter was. He expected some kind of a “Registered Post” packet for which the receiver has to sign on the acknowledgement card. “Aapke liye money order hai. Aur chitthi bhi.” (There is a money order for you, and also a letter.)
Anil was taken aback. This was the year 2015. He did not even know that people still sent money to each other using money orders. He quickly signed what had to be signed and the postman handed over Rs. 1120. “Who would take such efforts to send me such an insignificant amount and more importantly, why?”, Anil wondered.
The postman handed over the envelope and went on his way. “Hopefully this shall clear things up.”, thought Anil as he tore open the envelope and began reading. The writing looked like that of a child.
“Dear Mishra Sir,You probably don’t remember me. I am not at all a part of your life. However, you have paid a major role in my life. Do you remember the incident at Vashi’s Tilak College? I was playing the harmonium on the street when you and your friends came out of the ‘The Big Bang Café and Bar’. Two of your friends asked me to play “Pardesi Pardesi jana nahi”. Twice. And I did it happily. Then they made me play “Ai Ai ya karu main kya suku suku” and then “Phoolon ka Taaron Ka Sabka Kehna hai”. I thought I was finally going to alms. It had been a bad evening for me even though it was my most crucial. Just when I thought that you and your friends were about to leave, they asked me to play and sing “Kaho na Pyaar hai”. It was a song that I didn’t know. They laughed and kept laughing about how I knew the old songs but not a new one. One of them tossed me a five rupee coin and all of you began walking. I yelled after you. Yes, I was just begging, but I had sung for more than twenty minutes and I hoped for more, I wanted more, I was desperate for more. I ran after all of you and begged for more. Not one of you paid me any heed. After a couple of minutes, your friends asked me to scoot and even threatened to beat me up. They only stopped because you called out for an autorickshaw and sent both of them on their way. Then you turned to me and asked what do I do. You laughed when I said I am a student. You laughed even more when I said I was begging for money to pay fees.
You said, “I don’t believe you one bit. You will go drink with the money I give you. But it is Saturday night, just why not. I have had a good time and so should you. Also, I like the song 'Pardesi Pardesi'. Go ahead, enjoy.”
And I could not believe my eyes when you handed me the Rs. 1000 note. I told you I shall be ever grateful and shall pay you back but you just laughed. When I begged for your name and address you threw me the business card. I still have it. I called your office to get your home address.
That day, only because of your generosity I could gather enough money to pay my college fees which were due the next day. I managed to pay the junior college fees and earlier this year I scored 68% in my board exams. I have now been recruited as a junior peon in the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. I received my first salary today and am sending you your money back. Thank you sir, you have helped me make my life.
The letter brought tears to Anil’s eyes and then his wife’s when he showed her. The young beggar had not only made the most of his random act of drunken generosity but had also stayed true to his word and returned the money, along with some interest that too!
It was a story more inspiring than any other. He still keeps the letter with him and reads it when he feels down because it never fails to fill him up with hope and optimism! It makes him lookup!
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