Flight Of A Kite

Chapter 3- The Final Soar

Raghu’s grandfather was a retired Colonel from Indian Army. He was still in best physical condition but just one problem, his right ear. During the war of 1971 with Pakistan, he served in Indian Army at eastern front of India where he suffered a minor injury in the eardrum of his right ear as grenade blasted off near him. Since then he has a hearing problem in his right ear. Besides the fascinating stories of grandma, war stories narrated by grandpa were favourite of Raghu. He would go for a long evening walk with Col. Rawat and during nights used to massage Col. Rawat’s legs listening to his wartime stories. He would be as attentive as a cheetah while praying on a deer. Col. Rawat’stories used to fill him with the feeling of patriotism and valour. At many times he would stand on a pile of bricks pretending it to be a tank and give the order to his imaginary soldiers to march on the enemy army. On every Sunday, Col. Rawat would bring out his old uniform and badges and medal to shine them, Raghu would sit there watching him do that in great details.

On one such Sunday evening Col. Rawat and Mr Rawat were sitting in their lawn having tea with some pakoras. Raghu came running out of the kitchen with a plate full of onion pakoras towards them, refilled their empty plate and then again vanished inside the house. He was standing there inside the kitchen where his grandma and mother were cooking all sorts of different pakoras. The kitchen was filled with the fragrance of crisp pakoras and ginger tea. Even at home sometimes Raghu would stand next to his mother in the kitchen watching her cooking and use to enquire about the different kinds of spices his mother would use while cooking. He liked watching his mother cook and at times would help her to overturn the chapattis. He would get inflated with joy when his turned over chapatti would blow up into a full round ball.

“I can become a cook” he murmured to himself.

“ I like cooking and also then I can make samosas and pakoras for myself whenever mommy would not make them” – he thought.

Filled with the enthusiasm he uttered: “ I want to make pakora Dadi”.

The kitchen suddenly filled up with a loud burst of giggles from his grandma and mother.

“What happened to you all of a sudden Raghu?” -grandma enquired.

“You are just a kid, it’s dangerous for you to be around hot oil and stove”- mother advised.

But filled with the desire of becoming a cook, Raghu didn’t listen to them and pushed himself near the stove.

“You would not listen then, okay fine. Take this potato slice, cover it with this besan and then leave it slowly into this hot oil but take care don’t burn yourself” -grandma directed him.

All determined he rose up to the slab and took the potato slice and dipped it into the besan(gram flour) mixture but as he was about to put it into the hot oil, he panicked. “It is not as easy as it was looking from down there” he realized. He through the potato slice into the plate and ran out from there as fast as he could. He came out of the house and walked towards his grandpa with shattered dreams of becoming a cook. He sat next to them and started eating those crisp pakoras with green chutney and thought it better to eat than to cook.

“So hows work at bank going” – Col. Rawat asked.

“Well, it’s all good, I might get promotion and buy a car next year” -Mr. Rawat replied with satisfaction.

This statement of his father brought a shine to Raghu’s sobbing eyes. He had never thought of becoming a bank manager this far. Raghu again went on a mental trip and started thinking of a life as a bank manager that his father is.

“Well, this is not a difficult job. I can go in the morning all suited up, sit there and come back in the evening. I would get tea two times a day and can ask the peon to get me some samosas too from the shop outside the bank. And father gets a good salary too so would I”- Raghu thought and smiled

This whole description of the job of a bank manager was based on Raghu’s visit to his father’s bank some time back. As he was almost sure what he wants to become in his life, his father’s next statement was powerful enough to break his castles in the air.

“But sometimes it gets very tiring. Even a single calculation mistake and I have to redo all days calculation of the accounts”- Mr Rawat sighed.

“what? Calculations? That means maths. No way”- Raghu’s face turned pale and his eyebrows got lifted in utter tension.

Mathematics was the monster that has given Raghu many sleepless nights before exams. This was the monster he uses to fight even in his dreams and was barely able to defeat. If it was not for his mother’s help he would have failed in his last maths class test. Raghu was again left without a job that he could rely on in future. Wiping of the tension from his forehead, Raghu picked up few more pakoras, stuffed some in his pocket, two in his mouth and few in his hand and ran towards the swing where Roli was already swinging.

“Get off it now, I want to swing”- Raghu used his authority as a big brother and got the swing.

Swinging back and forth, looking up at the blue sky from the gap between the big thick branches of banyan tree Raghu noticed two thick straight white lines in the sky. Due to his curious nature and his limited knowledge to identify what is it, he ran towards his father to ask.

“Papa, look up there. What is that?

“What is what Raghu? That is the sky, don’t you know it already?”

“No, not that. The white straight lines high in the sky?”

“Oh, that is the smoke left by an aeroplane”-Mr. Rawat answered

“How it is made”-  Raghu asked again

 

“Those white streaks planes leave behind are actually artificial clouds. They’re called contrails, which is a shortened version of the phrase ‘condensation trail’. When the pilot releases the hot smoke (like the smoke comes out of the bike and car) out of the aeroplane, at that height the hot smokes cool down very fast and make artificial clouds. Sometimes pilots use this to write in the sky too”. – Mr Rawat explained.

Fascinated with this fact, Raghu immediately questions “how can I become a pilot?”

“To become a pilot you need to study hard and have good knowledge of physics, maths, and chemistry until your class 12th. Then you can clear an exam to join National Defense Academy after class 12th or Indian Military Academy after college, where you can learn to become a pilot in Indian Air force or an Army officer like me or join Indian Navy. Then you get to fly a lot of different and very fast flying aircraft and wear a uniform too. Even if you do very good in flying you can become an astronaut too. Otherwise, you can clear some other exams and flying test to become a pilot who flies people and goods from one place to another. Do you remember when you sat on a plan when you went to Mumbai last year? Same like that.” Col. Rawat explains with enthusiasm.

“Who is an astronaut”- Raghu open fired another question.

“Well, an astronaut is a person who travels in outer space, a place outside the earth for research purpose” Mr. Rawat jumped in with an answer. He was happy because it was in such long time Raghu as asked something interesting apart from his old stupid question like why we make laddoo round or why samosa is a triangle?

“How people become an astronaut”- Raghu started to become serious and more curious.

“There are many kinds of people who become go into space like engineers, doctors, scientists etc. For that, you need to be very good in studies and have a good health. Do you know retired Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma in 1984 became the first Indian citizen to enter space when he flew aboard the Soviet rocket and spent 7 days 21 hours and 40 minutes in space? Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams are other two astronauts of Indian origin.”

The conversation started that evening move from lawn to the dinner table but the questions of Raghu about engineers, doctors, scientists, leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Minister, Police officers, Forest officers, Social workers, different kinds of sportspersons did not end. That night he lay on the roof with his grandma listening to her stories and looking up in the clear sky at millions of stars. Otherwise restless Raghu was calm and satisfied that night. It seemed like Raghu has got his answer to the question ‘what he wants to become in life’.

The knowledge of the target or the goal or what is your purpose of existence gives a great sense of satisfaction but knowing how to achieve that makes life more meaningful and worth living.

Raghu found out what he wanted to become in life. Have you decided what you want to become in life?

P.S: Dear Readers, this is the last chapter of  “Flight of a Kite” -one of my original composition of short stories. Hope this will be liked by you and can be used for inspiring young minds. Kindly provide your feedbacks.

Picture used in this post is clicked by myself.

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Flight Of A Kite

Chapter 2- The Struggle

The day has finally arrived, sitting in the bus to Chamba, playing with Roli’s two braids decorated with red ribbons and teasing her that she looks like a clown, Raghu was thinking about how much fun he was going to do at his grandparent’s house. He would take money from Dada to buy ice cream. Dadi would tell her stories of old kings and fairies. She would give him apples from their orchard, which tasted very sweet. And how he would spend noons swinging on the swing under the big old banyan tree. Among all these thoughts, somewhere at the back of his mind, he was thinking what he wants to become in life. He would observe people around him doing different jobs and then think -is that what he wants to do when he grew up.

One such train of thoughts rushed through his little brain on watching a coolie at the bus stand. This coolie was carrying two big bags on his head, one suitcase in his hand and shouting his way out between the crowd towards the bus.  Wearing a red loose worn shirt and a dhoti which was white once now a canvass of dirt and stain. Drops of sweat rolling down from his forehead and vanishing into his long beard. While looking at him, Raghu moved his hand onto his small head and made an ugly face, deciding that he would never want to be a coolie cause his small head can’t handle the load of such big bags and that he wants to do a job where he can wear good clothes.

Suddenly a shrill voice entered his ears drawing attention towards the front of the bus. A mid-age man, with a small black bag hanging on his arm, was standing there, pointing his finger toward a small bottle with some grey powder in his other hand. He was wearing a clean shirt and trouser with well-shaved face and combed hairs. Then he started to give details about how good this powder was to clean the teeth. He then reaches into his bag and brings out a set of artificial teeth that are used by old people and same as Raghu’s had seen his Dadi using. He never liked those teeth. so reacted with an expression of disgust.

Moreover, at the end of his speech, no one bought that bottle. So instantly Raghu decided that he would never want to do a job to clean the teeth and sell powder cause:- Firstly, he didn’t like cleaning those artificial teeth and secondly there was no money in it. He wanted to do a job that can give him a lot of money.  By this time the bus has started and was on its way to Chamba.

His father has brought some chips and fruit juice for them to eat on the way. While they were munching away the chips, a person with khaki uniform came to their seat. He was holding a small pad of paper in his hand with a lot of stuff written in small alphabets. He had a handbag slinging over his shoulder and pen stuck between the head and lobe of his ear. He instantly recognized this person from his last journeys on other buses. This person is called the conductor and he collects the fare for the journey from the people and then gives away all the money collected to the office. This is what his father had told him when Raghu asked his father that why he is giving him money in exchange for a piece of paper, many years ago. Well, Raghu has already made up his mind that- why he would like to be a conductor when he can not keep the money he collects from the people? And surely he didn’t want to be a bus driver because he doesn’t want to drive a big old dirty bus. What he wanted to drive was nice and new Maruti car with his name written on the back of the car.

The journey from their place to Chamba was a good eight hours by bus. So, mostly Raghu and Roli spend time-fighting with each other to sit on the window seat to enjoy the view of hilly road and rest of the time sleeping or eating. Once, when Raghu was little he drank a lot of fruit juice and water, so it happened that his father had to ask the conductor for especially stopping the bus to let Raghu to pee. Since then Raghu doesn’t drink much juice or water. After some time into the journey, Raghu and Roli slept and woke up just when their mother shook them to get ready to get off the bus as their stop had come. Raghu and Roli woke up filled with enormous energy. He took his backpack and as he was made in-charge of Roli, he grabbed her hand as well.

They deboarded the bus and took a rickshaw to their grandparent’s house, which was twenty minutes away.  Mother and father took the main front seats and Raghu- Roli sat in the seat behind their parent facing the other side. Watching the small shops, cows in streets, counting dogs they pass, Raghu shouted: “ this is the shop where Dada Ji brought me last time to buy jalebi”. Well, would he like to be a jalebi maker? The thought struck his mind. Thinking about the benefits of being a jalebi maker, he could eat jalebi as much as he wants and whenever he wants. But then he remembered how the owner of the shop used to scold the maker for being late to make jalebi.

“I don’t want to be scolded” thought Raghu and denied this career too. Also, he thought of becoming a rickshaw-walla but looking at his thin legs and thinking of pulling so many people just to make so less money was not something he would like to do. Finally, they were there. They saw their grandparents standing at the door and he ran and hugged them tightly. He was so happy that he even left his backpack in the rickshaw. Though he had to bring it when his father yelled his name and told him to carry his own backpack because it’s his responsibility.

Flight Of A Kite

Chapter 1

On a hot afternoon of June month, Mr Rastogi opens his window to enquire that why Raghu is shouting on top of his lungs and being so enthusiastic about? Mr Rastogi, a doctor in a nearby hospital where Raghu and Roli were born, was taking a nap after having his lunch when he heard someone running up and down the hot and quiet street. It was Raghu who has just reached his home after the school.

Raghu is a lean boy with long thin deer-like legs. With his two front teeth finding their way between the open lips, gives him a rabbit look, which makes him look adorable. Raghu is the only son of Mr and Mrs Rawat and has a little five-year-old sister  Roli, who for some strange reasons really enjoys pulling Raghu’s hairs a lot. Mr Rawat works as a bank manager in a local co-operative bank, while Mrs Rawat is a homemaker. Mr Rawat belongs to a small hill station of Chamba in the state of Uttrakhand, but currently living in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

“Raghu, what is the matter with you? Why are you shouting?” asked Mr Rastogi

“Uncle from today our summer vacation has started. Now no more school for 2 months. And papa promised that this time he will take us to Chamba, to meet Dada-Dadi” replied Raghu pulling up his shorts.

“Very good enjoy your holidays, but did not your teachers gave you holiday homework to do?” inquired Mr Rastogi with a cunning smile

It was now that Raghu got remembered of the lengthy homework that his teacher made them write and told all the student that if they won’t complete it in time they will not have their games classes for one whole month. His face became all dull and he stopped shouting, which made Mr Rastogi happy and he closed his window and went back to sleep. In the meantime, Raghu’s mother opened the door and Raghu ran straight into the house. As a routine tasked he threw his bag onto the bed, flung his shoes in the air, washed his face and hands and raced to the dining table to have lunch. His mother served him chapati and his favourite rajma. Roli was already sleeping as she came home back from her school two hours before Raghu came.

“Mummy ready my clothes for packing”- Raghu murmured while eating.

“Stop talking and first eat your food, then we will talk” – his mother ordered him.

“And your papa told me this morning that we will be going to Chamba next week”

“Why next week? Why waste so much time? It is too hot here but it’s very cool in Chamba”

“ He said you need to finish your holiday homework first then we will go else like last time you will not complete your homework on time”

Raghu’s  face turned red with anger and he said “ Everyone is talking about holiday homework, why even teachers give holiday homework when these are holidays”

“ Ok. Do not get angry, you can do some now and some when you come back from Chamba”

Smile revisited Raghu’s face and he continued eating.

Then he went to take nap and woke up screaming when Roli started pulling his hairs trying to wake him up. He ran straight to his mother complaining about Roli. In the living room, he saw his parents sitting and having tea. He sat down on one of the chairs and picked up a Samosa that his father has bought for them.

“So how was your school Raghu” – father asked in a heavy voice

“It was good, papa. My summer vacations are starting from tomorrow” he said with a joyous smile

“ Well then start completing your holiday homework from tomorrow, if you want to go to Chamba”

His smile vanished as quickly as it came and he looked at his mother with wide rolling eyes. He was just about to exit the room with half of the samosa in his hand and another half in his mouth when he heard his father voice telling him that if he finishes his holiday homework on time they will buy him a new school bag before the school reopens. Listening to this, filled with the extra happiness he ran to his room like an athlete would run to win a gold medal in a race.

It was just the 5 day of the holiday’s, he has already finished most of the homework. It was just one essay that was bothering him. Other home works were easy to him like reading, writing, pasting different habitats for different animals, writing the meaning of various word etc. Even he has written one essay on – Mahatma Gandhi and another one on ‘ My hobby’, but he did not know what to write about the last one- ‘ What I want to become in life’. Scratching his head with the pencil he went to his mother who was cutting ladyfinger to cook for lunch. He sat next to her and said very innocently – “mommy I have complete all the homework but this one essay is left. If I do it after coming back from Chamba, will still papa will buy me a new school bag?”

“ It’s fine Raghu, you can do it on returning from the trip” she moved her finger through his hairs smiling.

Raghu chuckled and galloped like a young calf out of the house to play with his friends.

To be continued…

P.S: Pic used in this post is clicked by myself.