Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ammani's I Ask, You Write 6 - My story

Read the other entries to "I Ask, You Write 6" here

What happened last Tuesday when Rajamanickam had gone to the bank to deposit a cheque?

Rajamanickam was not often given anything important to do. His parents had written him off as “useless” and only suffered him to remain at home because they didn’t want to get a bad name in the town. It was his younger brother who was the apple of their parents’ eye because he was everything Raja wasn’t – good-looking, academically clever, always winning competitions and prizes and so on.

Raja, however, was a dreamer. Perhaps he was a little slow, but in his quiet way he was stubborn too. He hated school and because he kept failing, his parents had not bothered to continue his studies after Std 10. The one thing he was very good at was art – painting came to him as naturally as breathing. Once – only once – he had asked his parents if he could study art, and the resulting tirade ensured that he never brought up the subject again. His parents didn’t consider art in general and Raja’s artwork in particular – or, for that matter, Raja himself - to be worthy of notice, and they made their contempt very clear. But Raja’s secret dream still lingered…

That Tuesday, however, circumstances ensured that Raja had to deposit a cheque for Rs.1.5 lakhs in the bank. As the cheque was made out to “cash”, Raja’s mother instructed him at length on what to do at the bank, stressing the fact that if he lost it, anybody could encash it. Finally she let him go, and Raja set off.

There was a crowd outside the bank today, watching a young artist who sat there with a small open box beside him and a hand-written placard saying that he was trying to finance himself for art school. He was doing quick sketches of the people as they watched, hoping that they would buy his drawings. Unfortunately there wasn’t much money going into the little box.

Raja watched the young artist for a long time. Then he quietly placed the cheque in the artist’s box and turned back for home. He himself might never amount to anything, but at least that young man’s dream would come true. That satisfaction could never be taken away, no matter what his parents did when he got home…

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