story

A starving Birthday

a beggar

          The month of December is about to end. It’s 10 o’clock at night now. Since evening, the weather had become dense with fog due to cold winds, it felt more cold. While there was silence in the entire city due to the cold on one side, On the other hand, there was a hustle and bustle at Mr. Saxena’s bungalow. Finally, On 28 December 2012, seven years before today, a male baby was born in Mr. Saxena’s family. Every year, Mr. Saxena celebrates with great pomp on his son’s birthday and today. To celebrate this birthday Mr. Saxena organized a big party at his Bungalow. Mr. Saxena was one of the distinguished lawyers of this city and He had to go into the elite class of city. His father retired as a judge of the High Court. That’s why, in this Birthday party, all the well-known personalities of the city had arrived. The party was moving forward as the night progressed.

            Even now One or two guests were visiting Mr. Saxena’s house. Meanwhile, at the bungalow gate, a woman walks around with her three-year-old child in her lap. She must have been around 27-28 years old, but looked 35 years from her looks. Her name was Madhu and coincidentally today is her son’s birthday. Her son, who lay unconscious in her lap due to unavailability of complete food for several days. Madhu is looking for food from evening. She stopped here when she saw the crowd at Mr. Saxena’s Bungalow.  She get some hope that she could arrange some food here. She saw two watchmen standing at the Bungalow gate and engaged in welcoming the guests. Both of them start talking among themselves.

First Watchman – Today, a lot of guests came to the birthday party, I am so tired.

Second Watchman – Yes, I’m tired too. On this occasion, there is a function on the bungalow. Now, if the program ends soon, we will be relieved.

            Madhu arrived at the bungalow gate has said to the watchman- Sir …… Sir …… please give something to eat. My son has been hungry for several days. The watchman ignores her point and engages in welcoming guests. Madhu stays calm for a while, then after a while Madhu said – Sir …… Sir …… please give some food. Give me a little food for my son only. He has fainted due to hunger. If food is not available soon then don’t know what will be happen.

First Watchman – What can we do if something happens? You don’t see, our guests are coming. What should we do? See our guests or hear your chatter. Leave the path and talk to the shore.

Second Watchman – Get out of here. If you don’t leave we will get fired from jobs.

Madhu don’t have enough meal from several days also and couldn’t  even get food for four days. But she worried about her child and not her own. Once again Madhu looked at her child and said- “Sir … my son has not eaten anything for several days. Save my child’s life. Today is my son’s birthday too.

The first watchman laughed and said – child’s birthday? Are you mad? Do children of beggars also have birthdays?  If Mr. Saxena saw you, it would not be good.

           At the same time Mr. Saxena came to see off a special guest and he saw Madhu with her child. He said – Watchman, What’s going on here? Why is this noise and who is this woman? Madhu said before the Watchman say something- Sir… Today is the birthday of my son. He has been hungry for several days and fainted. You are a gentle man. Sir, there is no one in this world except my son for me. Sir, please save my child’s life. Mr. Saxena was annoyed by the runaway for the whole day. While living among liars in courts, the lawyer had lost faith in things like truth and lies in advocacy. It was not easy for him to believe Madhu.

Mr. Saxena – Tell the truth tht you need food and should not make up the story with excuse of child. You need food, ok. Then come tomorrow morning and take as much as needed. Now go away from here. We all are busy now.

After listening to Mr. Saxena, despair is reflected on Madhu’s face. She could not think of any solution and fell on his feet. Madhu holding the leg of Mr. Saxena and said – Sir, If my son does not get food soon then it will be untoward. Please save my child.

Mr. Saxena- Well okay, do one thing, Sit on the side of the front wall. I send food from inside and do not make noise at the gate here. After saying this, Mr. Saxena went inside the bungalow.

                 Madhu crossed the road and sat down at side of the wall. After sitting there she remembered the present circumstances and the old days. She remembers how four years ago her husband Suresh married her and came with her to the city. They started a new life in this city together. Suresh was an orphan and madhu had only step-mother in family. Madhu’s father also died two years ago. Suresh was a labour in a mill. His family lived in a small room near the mill there and was very happy. She remembers how the two together made their one-room house with small things. Two years ago, Both was very happy on their son’s first birthday. Suresh went to the old temple with family and Pandit worshiped for long life of Suresh’s son . After returning, he distributed sweets to all the children of the locality around. There was a festive atmosphere in the entire neighborhood. Suresh spent more than his capacity that day and celebrated his son’s birthday. At that time, every family of the neighborhood considered them their own. Everything was going so well in life. Six months ago suddenly everything changed in their life. 

            One day Suresh went to work and did not return home till night. She searched her husband a lot but she didn’t find any single clue about her husband. She is told that her husband is missing. Whereas the reality was that a new machine had arrived in the mill and he had died under the machine in an accident. Now there was no one to help her In this world. She left the room due to not paying the room rent. Due to helplessness She came with her son to live under the old flyover, which was made of old sacks and broken bricks. The flyover was just a short walk from the lawyer’s bungalow. This flyover was quite old and now this flyover no longer in use. Staying under flyover is dangerous but Madhu had no place to stay.

             Every once in a while Madhu was looking at her child and the bungalow gate. When she saw her son’s face, she became restless due to something untoward. If there was a sound at the gate, Madhu would think that someone might have brought something to eat. It had been quite a night now, but no one had come from inside the bungalow yet. Mr. Saxena got busy with his guests as soon as he went to the house and the watchman were also getting sleepy. Time passed slowly and restlessness of Madhu Was increasing . One by one all the guests left from home. It was now 1.00 o’clock in the night. Everything was deserted on the bungalow now. Suddenly the bungalow gate opens and the two maids leave the food-waste on other side of the road. Madhu gets ready to get up but sees that many dogs of the area fight among themselves and break up on food. Then Madhu sees her child, there is no movement in the child. Madhu wrapped her child in her clothes and fainted.

          In the morning there is a crowd in front of the bungalow. Watchman goes inside the bungalow and calls to Mr. Saxena. Mr. Saxena comes out and Soon calls the doctor of his neighborhood. After coming, Doctor checked up Madhu and her child. Doctor- This woman has died due to cold and starvation. It seems that she was hungry for several days, but the breath of this child is still going on, it will be saved. Mr. Saxena remembers the entire incident last night and his behavior with Madhu. Mr. Saxena lifts the child In his lap quickly, and went inside the bungalow with doctor. On leaving, he said to the watchman – do the arrangements of last rites of this lady.

          In the morning there is a crowd in front of the bungalow. Watchman goes inside the bungalow and calls to Mr. Saxena. Mr. Saxena comes out and Soon calls the doctor of his neighborhood. After coming, Doctor checked up Madhu and her child. Doctor- This woman has died due to cold and starvation. It seems that she was hungry for several days, but the breath of this child is still going on, it will be saved. Mr. Saxena remembers the entire incident last night and his behavior with Madhu. Mr. Saxena lifts the child In his lap quickly, and went inside the bungalow with doctor. On leaving, he said to the watchman – do the arrangements of last rites of this lady.

Sunrise a hope
Sunrise, a hope (Image credit- Kazuend)

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