Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Paraglider


"Welcome to the 'All India Duet Singing Championships' Misterr.. Ritesh Bahl and Miss Swati Arora; what would you like to present?", said judge 1 as other judges welcomed the participants with smiles.
Ritesh was an instinctive genius. He loved spontaneous challenges, was never nervous on big occasions. He was from a well to do family. His father owned a large general store in the city market; a single destination for all home stuff, grocery to stationary, rice to soaps to toothpaste! Ritesh had a pot belly; was hairy, though not too much; he loved wearing a cap. He never used to come in the awe of situation. But he also never used this quality to his benefit. He was careless, had no ambition, no purpose in life. He drifted in the direction life took him.

''Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa toh nahi", said Swati.
The judges nodded and both of them begun the song. All was going well until...
Ritesh: Tum jo kehdo toh aaj ki raat, chand..., chand hmmhmm nahiii, 
             chand ko rok do (singing this line really quickly)
Ritesh went offbeat. He had forgotten the line. This made Swati nervous. She was not prepared for this. Upon her lines, she reacted...
Swati: Tere bina zindagi... se koiiii... shikwa toh nahi, toh nahi... 
She stopped singing. Ritesh tried bringing her to life again. But the look of judges was enough for her to resign in the moment. 

The judges obviously shown the doors to the medium sized, amicably dressed in shining black outfit, serious Swati; and her best friend Ritesh, dressed casually in white T-shirt, blue jacket, blue jeans and his trademark blue cap.

It was Ritesh's error which made Swati nervous and succumb to the occasion. She was very excited to come on TV as the show was meant to be broadcast. But this performance meant that both of them would now become victims of bullies and jokes by the people when they see the show. The exact happened. The channel regularly showcased how they were rejected by the judges, in advertisements, to generate TRPs. Swati was depressed. It took her time to be normal. Her friendship with Ritesh was affected. The chemistry was no longer the same. This made Ritesh sad as he could not bring the equation with Swati back to normal.

Ritesh's father decided to handover the responsibility of the store to Ritesh. He felt it was the right time. He struggled a lot to rebuild the shop after floods devastated the market six months ago. Although the shop did not boast of the glittering appearance it used to, Ritesh's father had managed to re-establish the shop decently. But now he handed over the job to Ritesh.

After six months of Ritesh occupying the shop, the sales had gone down. The earnings were affected. People preferred to purchase from the new downtown mart, although it was far from the market. The regular customers were now seen rarely in the shop. Ritesh excused that floods and the new mart had affected the business and it was normal. He argued with his father that they are still far from the situation of taking loans and a little less income should not be an issue.

One night, Ritesh and his old man had an intense discussion. Ritesh was very defensive about his approach to work. But Ritesh had no answer when his father told him, "I am proud that you don't get affected by the sudden storm. You are always ready to face the changing winds. You are a paraglider who knows that sky is not always the same. But remember son, this alone is not enough. A successful paraglider knows how much to steer the glider when the winds are opposing." That night his father passed away and his words were etched in his mind. 

Five years later...

The Grand Resort Hotel was shining as ever. The lawns was the busy place where media and press men were waiting. There was a constant buzz as to when will the glider land. It was the occasion when the head of 'Bahl Marts', a nationwide chain of general stores, Mr. Ritesh Bahl, on a record paragliding journey, was to land. He was to complete a record journey of 500 kms to mark the growth of his company which had reached a figure worth of 500 million dollars.

It was the end of March. But to everyone's surprise, there was lightning and heavy rains gatecrashed the occasion. Tension mounted on everyone's face as this was certainly not predicted. Such an environment was definitely not suited for paragliding. The sky made transition from light blue to dark in no time. Every thunder of lightening increased the worries on everyone's face. The topic of the occasion changed from the company's success to hope for a safe return of Mr. Ritesh Bahl.

While in the sky, Ritesh, held his calm. He remembered his father's words. After a healthy struggle with the winds and of course the lightning, he successfully landed. He calculated his risk in the flight of how much to steer and how much to exploit the wind. His risk paid off. The charming, well built, amicably dressed in black suit Mr. Ritesh Bahl arrived. His success story and obviously his paragliding journey hit the newspapers everywhere. He was talk of the moment everywhere in the media. He was now a symbol of inspiration.

The morning after the paragliding journey...

"Sir, there is a message from the 'All India Duet Singing Championships'. They want you to grace the finale occasion by being their special celebrity judge", reported the manager.
Ritesh: (smiles) I would love to...