Sadanand bhau (Brother Sadanand)
“Dear, please do something about the electricity! There is no power and Sachin will find it very tough to study!” Sadanand’s wife Tukabai told him at dinner.
Sadanand barely earned enough that exceeded his family’s needs. It was always a battle for him to earn as equal as needed. A clerk in railway office, Sadanand was an aam aadmi (common man) of Ambernath, a small place in Maharashtra. A Marathi manoos (man), Sadanand was in his mid-40s. He was characterized by white khadi shirts with white banyan visibly covering his village body. He had no body hair; he was a short, thin person with the world easily understanding his monetary status. He wore black pants, hairs nicely done with oil, not black but without a single bald patch and wore spectacles with frame’s thickness telling you that they were made some 10 years ago.
Sadanand was a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar like every Indian and he kept the name of his son ‘Sachin’. This was the only significant decision he had taken after his marriage. Rests were taken by Tukabai as she was smart, much more confident than him. But she always supported Sadanand and this was the secret of their marriage. Sachin had taken more of his mother’s genes for the sake of society’s matter. He was the smartest kid in the local. A tall teenager now, he scored well in studies and even helped his parents in daily chores with whatever little he could do. They say a name has a lot to do with your personality. Sachin was very fond of cricket and a class player of his school.
Sadanand was proud of Sachin. He was grateful to God that Sachin had an authoritative personality which he did not have. But with years, Sadanand’s life was the definition of monotony. Wake up and the same struggle of earning began for him. It was not as if opportunities never came! Whenever there were opportunities, he did not take risks. And whenever he was ready for risks, the ‘Sun of favors’ was covered with clouds of bad timing! There were times Sadanand’s mind asked him ‘Will my life be boring like this till the very end?’ Sadly, there were no answers.
‘Just keep moving on. There is no other option!’
‘You blame! You cry! You complain! Even though you are right, nobody will listen. You better keep your feet moving!’
Sadanand somehow knew this already. He expected these kind of instructions on reaching the checkpoint. Reluctantly, he kept walking.
It was wonder-filled path. Fully green, country-side path, leaves dancing in wind which was blowing after rains! The check-point was wooden, the board being attached to the ground permanently. It was a typical scene of completion of a stage in an adventurous video game. ‘Must be one of the inner paths of Ambernath which Sachin would be knowing surely!’ thought Sadanand.
“Sir, it takes two days for all the steps to complete. I assure that there will be no power cut in your home after two days. But you will have to bear for two days as you have paid your bills late!”
“Take this 500 Rs. Note! I can’t afford power cut as my son has to study.” Sadanand said.
The official in light office: (laughs) “Sir, my charge is Rs. 300 but still I can’t take it as I can’t do anything about the power cut in your house. It will take minimum a day to forward your request through bribe. You better wait for two days officially.”
Sadanand never used to pay bribes. But with time, he learnt that to survive, he had to drop values more often than never! Now even the concept of bribe was failing. ‘People treat me so insignificant. Looking at my stature, people feel pity. Tuka said just look after upbringing of Sachin. I trained my mind to work hard so that Sachin can have a better future. I never had any wishes for my own-self so that Sachin can reap the benefits of what I do! Still, life gives only dukha (sorrows) to people like me. We are the symbol of sadness created by God!’ Sadanand’s mind was sad. He had stopped walking.
The checkpoint reappeared. This time the instructions were not predictable to Sadanand.
‘Sadness is a dangerous emotion. It makes you fall in love with it very easily. Just be sad for a single thing and get lost. No sooner you will enter a helix of sad thoughts with infinite loops. You will enjoy sadness! You will enter a comfort zone!’
‘I will take Sachin to the railway office with me. He can study on my chair. I can use the extra chair in the room. It is usually there. No worries even if there is no electricity in the home. There is always a way out.’ This idea stuck in Sadanand’s mind. Sadanand realized that if you stay sad for a long time you will enter your comfort zone. And to move on, you will have to come out of your comfort zone! He started walking.
It was breakfast. “But it still involves monthly cost of at least more 10000 Rs. And, in India becoming a successful cricketer is like counting the exact number of stars.” Sachin said protesting his mother when she told Sadanand that their son was selected for advanced training in the sport by the school.
Tukabai was very keen that Sachin take training in cricket as the school suggested that he had in him.
‘In life, all you get is that one chance! That one strike! Grab it! Else somebody surely will!’ There was no checkpoint. There was no green filled path. Yet Sadanand could read it. He pinched Tukabai. “Oouch! Kai kartas? (What are you doing?)” Exclaimed Tukabai. Sadanand realized he was not dreaming. It was morning.
Sadanand said, “Beta (son), go for your training! Never ever sacrifice your dreams for the sake of your parents. I have been working for so many years, I will find some way out. After all, what is the goal of my life?”
Tukabai was surprised, happy! She answered on behalf of Sadanand: “Your success son!”
The fan started running and light tube was suddenly ON.
Sadanand: “Ohh wow! The power has finally come. And surprisingly in one day. Dear Tuka, put off the light! It’s still morning.”