A New dress
Kishore, a 7-year old kid made sure that he will make his demand to his father tonight. In the evening after coming back from the school, he started to play with his friends in the streets. By 7.30 he has seen his mom coming to a shop to buy some vegetables and grocery item. “Did father come home?” he asked his mother. “Yes. But why are making yourselves and your shirt dirty by playing in this mud?” queried his mother. Kishore started to run, the moment he heard word ‘Yes’ and the question asked by his mother went in the air.
After a day’s hard work Keshavan was taking rest by lying on the floor. As he started to close his eyes Kishore entered home and started asking, “Dad, will you gift me a new dress this birthday?” Kishore’s birthday was just a week away and he is reminding about this to his father. “This time I will try to buy one for you”, said his father. Not convinced by his father’s answer, Kishore insisted that he surely need a new dress. As he nodded, he went out of the home to play with his friends.
Keshavan was a daily wage construction worker. He will get 150 rupees as earnings for a day’s work. Even though this money enough to lead a normal life, the problem is that he was not able to find work daily. His family was living in a slum, which is located some meters away from the Koovam River. They were living in a hut of two rooms, thanks to the cardboard divider, which made them to have a hall and a kitchen in a single room.
Keshavan always wants to fulfill his son’s dreams but his birthday always fall on the month of November which is the monsoon season in Chennai. Due to the fear of rain many people will not start work in the months of October and November. So an 8 to 10 days work is also rare on those months for him. So his family will be forced to spend their savings made during the other months. Now he has to do some job, if not for a week but for some 3 to 4 days to buy a new dress.
Keshavan queried all the people he knew about job. But he found very much difficult in finding one. At last, he has got a work for a week in a large house to make a garden around it. He demanded 150 per day but they said that they will give only 100. With no other work in his hand, he decided to go there. After 3 days of work, monsoon rains were started making the work impossible after that. If I could get another day of work, it will be better he thought. With heavy rains pouring down, the next 2 days went without any work. On the next day morning, to his respite sun came out and he was returned to garden work. As next day was his son’s birthday he decided that after getting the salary to go to a shop and buy new dress. By the afternoon, rain started to come heavily, he has nothing much to do but to leave from there. He got a salary of 50 for that day’s work.
It was raining all over the city and roads were turned into beds for water. Keshavan traveled to T.Nagar to get a dress. After searching for about 2 hours, he selected one, which is attractive and also within his budget. The weather condition got worse and worse with heavy rains. He came out the shop and started to walk fast. As he was walking he heard from people around him that all the rivers were flooding due to the heavy rains. Luckily he got the bus to reach his place as soon as he reached the bus stop. But due to heavy traffic it took nearly 2 hours to reach his stop. As he was nearing his street he couldn’t believe his eyes, the whole place was being covered by the water due to break in a shore of the river. No one was there. Each and every home was evacuated.
“Oh! Where could I find my son and wife” cried, a helpless Keshavan. He then ran to a nearest government school, a place where people will stay in case of floods. He searched there but he couldn’t find both of them. As he enquired his neighbors present there, they said that they didn’t see them and they were not in the house when they all left their home. Keshavan was standing there without knowing what to do. Two kids were come forward and said to him, “We played with him near the river but when we returned, he refused to come with us.” He runs towards the river to find him. But police were made a safety ring into which they didn’t allow anybody. He urged that his son may fell into the river and he has to save him. But the policemen present there politely refused his plea and asked him to calm down. They also informed him that firemen were coming to rescue the persons who were inundated with the flood. But he couldn’t resist. He left the dress there itself, and ran to jump into the river. He jumped into it as the policemen were running behind to save him. A police officer wearing a life jacket jumped into the river. Due to force of the river, Keshavan unable to swim moved in the direction of the water flow. Due to intake of some amount of water he was fainted. The police person reached him at the right time and pulled him back to the shore. Keshavan got some wounds in his leg. After giving the first aid, they sent him to the hospital.
The doctor who came to treat him asked his name. “Keshavan”, he said. “Some hours back only a mother and a son said they are related to Keshavan. Now Keshavan was himself here”, doctor said. “Doctor, where are they?” asked Keshavan. “They were in the first floor” answered the doctor. He jumped off from the bed and hurried to the first floor. There he has seen his wife sitting near the bed were his son was lying. As he hobbled towards his son, he has seen lot of wounds on his body and asked his wife, “What happened?” She was in tears said that his son was slipped into the river and a man was saved and admitted him here, he has drank those dirty water and got many wounds on his chest by the stones present in the river. Both were weeping by sitting around the bed. He went down and asked the doctor to save his son’s life. Doctor said, “I have done my best. Believe in God. He will be fine by tomorrow morning.” They prayed for their son till next day.
The policeman who saved Keshavan’s life came there with that new dress. He thanked him and asked why he returned just to give this. He replied that he has saved a small boy yesterday and to check how he was only he came there. Kishore was the boy he saved the other day. Keshavan kept the dress on one hand of his son and put his hand on that and said, “Happy birthday my son. I am giving you a new dress for you. Please come out of your sleep and tell me how it looks like?” Kishore slowly opened his eyes and has seen the dress beside him. “Thanks dad”, he said with a smile. All of them there were in an endless joy.