Diwali is one festival when we clear all our dues either for #SwachchBharatSwachhGhar or for enjoying the food and what not.
Mine was also the same. I had my Pre-Diwali Celebration and just like a lazy lad, I woke up quite late on the Diwali Day. I made a plan to celebrate the occasion at my friend’s home. Around 1 pm, I was waiting for my another friend to accompany me at the Kailash Colony Metro Station.I noticed a small boy sitting with almost 40-45 novels outside the metro station. After 5 minutes, I guess, he came to me, “Didi, Kitab dekh lo”. He started narrating the names of all the English novels. I did not show any enthusiasm. A passerby asked him if he has any Hindi novel or book. He checked his collection and found only one. The interested buyer asked him for the price. He responded only Rs.150. That passerby started laughing and showed the printed price that was just Rs125.
When he left I asked the lad you are reading English quite properly then why did not you read the price correctly. He replied with a quirky smile “Try kar raha tha, thoda jyada paisa mil jaye, aaj ek bhi nahin biki hai.” FYI:- I don’t read novels. But, to pass my leisure time, I started checking out those books. He was continuously trying to attract the people who were already in fewer numbers. There were numerous thoughts running in my brain-box:- “My sister always talks about Paulo Coelho being a great novelist.” “Unlike us, this boy is working on Diwali as well”. I don’t remember why and when I started asking him these questions:-
Me:- Aaj bhi kaam kar rahe, gharwalo ne bhej diya?
Boy:- Haan, family nahin hai, bas ek bada bhai hai. Wo bhi Moolchand Metro pe yahi kar raha hoga.
Me:- Naam kya hai tumahara?
Me:- Bipul, yeh kitaabein kahan se laate ho aur kitne mein?
Bipul:- Sadar Bazaar, 70 ka ek, koi bhi le lo.
Me:- Kahaan ke rehne wale ho?
Before this, I had only empathy with him but now I started feeling a sense of belongingness with Bipul as we both belong to Bihar. Earlier, I only wanted to buy something from him but now, I found myself responsible for making his Diwali, a better and brighter Diwali. When we leave our home, we want to come back and contribute to it in one or other way. This was my chance. I started reading the excerpts of different novels. I chose “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho. While taking my wallet out of my bag, I noticed I was carrying some chocolates and cookies. I offered those to him as a Diwali gift. He denied and felt shy but when I forced him, he took it happily.
I asked him if he will pose for a selfie with me and can I use that photograph anywhere I want. He readily accepted with joy.
‘Paulo Coelho’ story did not end here. After two days, I was coming back to my flat and that very novel was in my hand. Two ladies from some other country saw me with it and said “‘The Alchemist’ is also a great one. You should read it.” While interacting with them, I told them how “The Zahir” is my first novel. With utmost excitement, they replied, maybe your affirmative energy will help you read other books as well.
PS: Finally, I realized I did not brighten up Bipul’s Diwali but he did mine. Thank you Bipul!