A dream for Rs. 12.
Mumbai, Juhu Beach.
Its been a hot day... and sun started to settle down in Sea to cool off... the sky turned red...and a cool evening breeze coming right from the sea... was making the “Sama look Suhana”. This all looked so filmy... but really good...
I have seen all these in Magazines and movies... till now...
I came to Mumbai for the first time ... The City of Dreams , as they say it. In whole day i atended an interview, travelled in locals, faced heavy super-heavy traffic and met a close school frnd after 3 yrs... and now sitting with him at juhu beach... Quite an eventful day... but never expected this is coming to me...
I saw many hawkers trying to sell their products to couples... irritating them till they either buy or shout...
Then I observed a decently dressed man... no...A Boy in his mid 20s. Going to many people... every1 turning him down... I have heard people making fool of you here in Mumbai and take money out of you... People are smarter here and probably heartless too. All they want is Money. Courtesy - Indian Hindi Movies.
Well like evry1 he came to us.
He said, "Sir".
We ignored. We acted we were very busy, as if we are discussing the Security affairs of United States.
He said "Sir, Sorry for Disturbing".
"I have something to sell you".
"We don’t want to purchase anything…" My friend said.
"Please listen to it, if you don’t like it... It’s Ok with me." He urged to us. One more‘salesman trick’. I know this. And this is not gonna work here.
"Listen? Listen to what? Cd or something? try someone else. We are very young, we don’t have
much money. Try some1 else" My friend replied.
"Sir, Pls. It’s a Poem." "Pls." He said again.
"Poem ? Poem for sale? U wrote it? Or took it from somewhere else? "
“No sir, I wrote this…”
We nodded our head… but it was certain we were not going to buy that.1
"It goes like this..." and he started his recitation... a Poem 2 page long, Handwritten, with some 10-12 paragraphs.
In school time I was a bit into writing... and my friend too was also very good in Hindi in our school time... so we took a bit of interest.
I must say, it was really good. A poem about ambition and all... well that’s not the point here…
He has read out some 3 paragraphs with an accent of typical hindi poem recitors and with enthusiasm.
He waited for the response from us. We were silent. Didn’t know what to say? If we say it was great he’ll urge us to buy it… and seriously I did not want to spend my money on this… a poem!!! No way.
He asked "so", "Did You like It?"
"It was great... very good. But we can’t buy it.... Sorry. See, we don’t have much money left, u know." I said, as I was not sure about the investment part.
"Sir, please try. It’s Just for 12 Rs." He Urged.
I was kind of Moved and Surprised.
The Poem was good, very good in fact. and Rs. 12. It’s too Less. Today even bhel puri cost you more than that.
I saw him again. A simple shirt, tugged in, terry-cot trouser. No belt with chappals. He was not at all Cool as Youngsters are, but decent. And fairly decent looks too. Simple with self respect intact.
Requesting, but not begging.
"Why are you selling it. I mean, Go to some publisher. You'll get good money. And why Rs. 12. Get some1 who can pay you much more. This poem is worth it."
"Wats ur name?" We showed some respect for him.
"Sir, please buy this." "My name is Tushar." His voice was humble.
By now we have figured it out he’s not a salesman.
"Take 20 Rs. and dont sell it." I was kind of Moved that he was selling his Creativity in 12 rs.
He took that Rs. 20 note in his hand.
He gave me the Paper in return and insisted...
I took it...
A yellowish recycled paper in blue ink. It was the original copy.
Then I asked. "This is your first time? You sell poems!!!"
“Is it the original copy. Do you have any Xerox or not?”
“No copies sir. No copyright. It’s yours sir. Just remember me. Thank You Sir.” He smiled.
“Why do you do this?” My friend asked.
Even I was thinking the same question. Why the hell in this world one can sell his own creativity? What’s such dire need? So many questions came to my mind in a flash and I became curious.
I mean, he looked Ok. He dressed up quite decent. Shirt- pant, well combed hair. No belt or expensive clothes though, but decent. That’s all one need to look decent I guess. I mean he can manage 2 times food in Mumbai I guess.
“Sir here you are, your change 8 rupees.”
“If you are in need, keep it.” My friend uttered.
But he insisted and my friend took the change, Rs 8 to be precise.
I asked “Why? What’s such a need? And why only Rs. 12?” He could have easily ask for some more money. I don’t know how much but still Rs. 12!!!
“Sir I am from a small town, near Kanpur. I was good at writing hindi. I wrote poems and stories. People close to me liked it very much. I wanted to make it big. I asked my parents for permission to go to Bambai. They denied and I ran away and came to Mumbai.”
“Just like that!!!” We were amused. Our expression said it all.
But I have heard people run to Mumbai to become hero n heroine… Nothing new.
Stupid! Idiot! Indian films inspire people, and there are some dumb people who actually leave home for this.
“Sir, I have a dream.”
“I want to write script for a Yashraj Films.”
“I dreamt big. I know its very difficult. Still I didn’t want to give up without trying.”
“I came to Bambai. People call it CITY OF DREAMS. I too had one. So I came here.”
“I work in a machine tool shop in the day. At night I write poems and stories. And in the evening… I sell my poems. I want people to know me as a good writer. Someday some1 somewhere will mention my name to Yash Raj sir. This is my dream sir.”
“How long you have been doing this?”
“41 days sir” He replied.
“Why don’t you keep copies” my friend asked.
“Sir, I can write many more and even better. This is what I do, and this, I guess, is in my blood. Writing. I’ll keep on writing till I get to my dreams.”
Wow!!! That was seriously something. Sorry about that Idiot and stupid thing I said. I said to myself.
“Why Rs. 12?”
“Sir, it’s the local train’s ticket cost. Rs.12 for to and fro.”
“Thank You again sir.”
He walked away.
I was stunned. I have heard people living for a dream. I saw it for the first time.
Do I ever have a dream like this? Can I ever feel that passion? Wow!!!
I saw the paper again. Read that poem. It was great. Felt even better now.
Sun has cooled off by now. Only orange light lit the sky. And a cool breeze, coming from sea. I’ll always remember this evening.
I held the paper in my hand.
It was a dream for Rs. 12.