GOD GIVEN VISION AND OUR PASSION LED US HERE

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?

Wow! Candles Online completed 3 years today.

This journey actually started long back in the year 2006 which you can find in the ABOUT page. And the journey came to a standstill in 2014. 2014 was a year when I saw my child ‘Candles’ succumbing to death because of many different constraints that had been troubling me from all around. It was a very disturbing year in regards to my passion and vision. But 2015 was a year when God prompted in my heart to revive my dead child in a newer way. And I praise God, that I could revive my child with the help of 6 valiant warriors who joined hands with me in the same. These 6 valiant warriors were Anupam, Sulagna, Avishikta, Khristina, Rajnandini and Prabhjot.

11th July 2015 my child ‘Candles’ was reborn as ‘Candles Online’ on a Web Platform. My joy was by leap and bounds and was uncontrollable. And we seven were excited and were happy about what we were doing. We discussed, shared our ideas, helped each other and  wrote numerous articles together. I wrote a lot of articles then as we were very less in number and my team members were a bit busier than me. But we did give a kick start to this initiative in a very good way.

After few months when Avinash, Aastha and Kalpana joined, I became greedy. 😛 I started searching for more writers and I did get some awesome writers. Prabhjot fired the bullets at Kuljeet & Preeta her sisters, keeping the gun on my shoulder and they joined as well. Pradita came in and Candles Online became very heavy and well decorated with multi-talented writers.

This journey was not an easy one. Those who were with me from the beginning, like Rajnandini and Prabhjot were aware of those struggles to some extent. Sometimes I was scolded for this initiation. I was told it’s a wrong vision. I was mocked at. Some could not commit time for it, some rejected it, some were arrogant about it, some were rude with me, some left it.

Yet, those who grasped it, wrote for it though I understand some of my team members are  extremely busy with their professional life but they had never disown me or Candles Online. Some of their passion for Candles encourage me so much. Few days ago someone almost screamed at me for not paying proper attention to Candles Online and I am proud of that person. Couple of days ago we came up with 18 old and new topics together. And I was enthralled by the passion of my team members. Because for that passion to change and to be a change agent we stepped into this boat called Candles Online.

(Image Source: Pixabay.com)

I praise God for His faithfulness envisioning me and helping us to carry this mantel to lit the fire in everyone’s heart and bring the true joy and transformation in their lives through His divine intervention.

On this auspicious occasion few of my family members have shared their hearts as well.

They say…

Saakshi: A lone candle lit  was enough to vanquish the darkness from our hearts and now it’s been three incredible years and the light just gets brighter, stronger, mightier.

Sriram: It’s a platform where we express ourselves and our thoughts and we let our own lights shine, in best hope, that our experiences or views will be a shining beacon to those who read and can relate or learn.

Rajnandini: From multifarious topics addressed on paperprints years before, to completing three remarkable years in the web world, CANDLESONLINE has come a long way in reaching far and wide in realising it’s vision and mission to touch lives and rekindle the spirits of people.

Kuljeet: Candles Online is 3 years old.. Many many congratulations.. Under the able guidance of Chiradeep we have published at least one article every day.. No mean feat.. I joined this creative journey one year ago and loved every moment of it… Kudos to the creative, hardworking and beautiful family of Candles Online…

Ashrita: Congratulations to all the team who help the community learn new things each day for the last 3 years!

Peter: A great team of people who bring hope and encouragement to others through their honest and sincere experiences shared in their well-crafted, thoughtful articles, always leaving behind a nugget of wisdom.

Prabhjot: In last 3 years, this platform has helped me build an amazing relationship with my readers and co-writers and in this journey, I have grown multiple folds. Thanks to this community.

And at the end Preeta nailed it by saying: Keep burning and enlighten everyone. Cheers! May we grow, grow and grow.

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY 3 YEARS ANNIVERSARY!

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RAISED FROM THE PIT – XIV

An infuriated Arunima hastily banged the door and went in search for Binoy. After sometime, Arnab rushed out for work. But he was in no mood for office. The fact that Binoy had left empty-handed urged him to get to the bottom of the entire matter. Arnab turned towards the traffic post where Binoy used to sell roses. However, except for an old man with few roses in his hand, there was no sight of Binoy! Arnab shoved his steering wheel in disappointment. He was about to turn and leave for office anyway but a café across the street caught his eye. “Great now I can sit there and keep a close watch on this traffic post. The moment I see Binoy, I’ll confront him”, Arnab thought aloud and entered the café.

After sometime, Arunima too arrived at the traffic post and was desperately looking for Binoy. But to her dismay, he was nowhere to be found. After waiting there for sometime, she left. “I think he must have returned there by now,” Arunima muttered. Straight from home Arunima had been to the place where Binoy resided earlier, and since she couldn’t find him, she headed towards the traffic post. Now again she turned towards that place. Arnab on the other hand had already notice Arunima. “Hmmm, so madam is on Mission Binoy, she may end up get a good shock in the end, serves her right,” Arnab chuckled.

Arunima again arrived at the same traffic post for the third time in two hours. This time she literally parked her car and was frantically on a hunting spree! Arnab saw her from the café window. He wanted to smile, but was disturbed seeing the pensive state of Arunima. “I think I should talk to her. Arunima is going crazy. I can’t see her like this. This is simply going nowhere.”  Arnab thought aloud and rushed towards Arunima.

Arunima was in a pathetic condition. It was first time in her life that she was not able to arrive at any decision.  As she turned to leave, she bumped into someone. “Oops I’m sorry,” murtured Arunima as she walked away. “Its okay,” replied Arnab politely. Arunima found the voice familiar and was shocked to see Arnab infront of her.

“Wh..what are you doing here?” Arunima asked in a sharp tone. “Aru please, don’t create a scene here, let’s go home and we can discuss,” Arnab said in a convincing tone. “There is nothing left to discuss,” Arunima replied angrily. She turned to leave but was startled to find an old man staring at her. Arunima turned her face, she was in no mood for charity.

Young lady are you searching for someone?” , the old man asked her politely. “Please mind your business,” Arunima replied rudely. Immediately Arnab interrupted, “Have you seen any 14-15 year old boy who used to sell roses here??”  With folded hands and trembling lips, that old man went near Arnab and asked , “so you are Arnab bhaiya and she is Aru Didi, and you are searching for Bi..Binoy???”  Arnab and Arunima froze in astonishment!! “Ye..yess, yess we are searching for Binoy,” Arunima suddenly felt energized.

“I knew, I knew you will definitely come looking for him. Binoy is such a gem of a person!”, that old man exclaimed! “Wait a sec! Who are you? How do you know us? And how are you related to Binoy?”, Arnab asked in one breath. “I’m his Kaka,”  Kaka replied delightedly wiping away his tears. “Binoy has told me everything that happened last night. So before you ask me anything further, I want to show you something. Please come, all your doubts will be cleared once you witness it. Please I request you to come and see,” Kaka requested Arnab and Arunima with folded hands.

Arnab and Arunima exchanged glances, not sure how to react. But they clearly couldn’t deny such a humble request. Kaka took him to the place where Binoy, Bablu and other boys resided. They parked their car at a distance as per Kaka’s request. Kaka pointed towards a water tank and signaled them to follow silently. As they neared the water tank, they could clearly hear a person screaming at the top of his voice, “That Binoy how dare he? What does he think of himself? We could have stolen so many articles from that house and he could have helped us, but no! He turned out to be a loyal dog.”  Arnab felt as if lightning struck him! Even Arunima was stunned to hear all that. Both of them stood there motionless.

Kaka smiled to himself on seeing their reaction. He knew that he had done his part. “Don’t worry Bablu, let’s go find Binoy and we will smack him good. Then, he only will take us to that place,” another voice buzzed in. “No, no first let that stupid kaka come, he will lead us to Binoy, no need to waste our energy, let’s have lunch, come on,” replied the dominating voice.

Arnab was about to confront Bablu and his group when Kaka grabbed him by his arm and stopped him. “No don’t go there, please come, I have something to tell you guys.”  Kaka, Arnab and Arunima tip – toed towards the car. “What you heard is the truth. Please don’t doubt Binoy. He can’t think of hurting his Aru Didi, even in his dream. These boys had left him with no option – either he allowed a robbery to take place or he had to leave that house forever and come back to his initial state. Binoy listened to his heart. He prevented the robbery at the cost of his dreams,” Kaka narrated with a heavy tone. “Don’t you think Binoy deserves a good future? He is innocent, please accept him again, take him and give him a better future that he deserves. I had asked your address, but he denied sharing it with me. He purposely didn’t go to the traffic post. He knew for sure that you both will come looking for him. He showed us what loyalty means. He…”  

“Where, is Binoy?”  asked Arnab. Arunima could sense the urgency in his tone. “I knew you will accept him, he..,he is on the other side of the street, the road which you never take”, replied Kaka, smiling amidst his tears.     

Arunima looked at Arnab questioningly. It was as if she was asking him “so, got your answer?”  Arnab didn’t stare back at Arunima. In fact he couldn’t. He felt guilty and ashamed too. He didn’t want to meet Binoy. “Arnab lets go, we can deal with these boys later,” chipped in Arunima. Arnab stood still, he didn’t utter a word. “Arnab please, before Binoy takes any drastic step, lets meet him,” Arunima urged Arnab. “I, I’m not sure if I can meet him. Here take the keys and you go meet him,” replied Arnab hesitantly. “Arnab please don’t create a scene here, we can discuss stuffs at home,” Arunima taunted sarcastically. They both thanked Kaka and reached the location.  They easily spotted Binoy. He was still wearing the blue striped shirt and was sitting with his face buried in his knees. A bunch of roses was lying next to him.

Arnab and Arunima went near him. “Hey, Binoy,” Arunima called out in a sweet tone. Instantly Binoy looked up and was surprised to see both of them. He got up and hugged both of them and wept bitterly. Arnab and Arunima exchanged glances. Suddenly Binoy recollected last night’s episode and immediately turned away from them wiping his eyes. “Aru Didi, bhaiya how can I help you?” asked Binoy politely.  “Come home, with us,” Arnab butted in. Which surprised Arunima and Binoy. “But bhaiya, I,..” “Ohh! common Binoy, now don’t create a scene here, we can discuss stuffs at home,”  replied Arnab in a hilarious tone. Arunima couldn’t control her laughter. Seeing Arunima smile, Binoy smiled, and seeing both of them smile, Arnab too smiled. He didn’t want a weeping fiasco, so he intentionally lightened the mood. “So Mission Binoy is finally accomplished,” he muttered to himself.  

Later that evening, Arnab met Bablu and the two other boys and talked them into starting a life of dignity. He promised them help from an NGO. They agreed after some initial hesitation.

Four precious lives were restored, all for the compassion of one woman who realised that she had been raised up from the pit and she needs to do that for someone as well!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

RAISED FROM THE PIT – XIII

The next morning Binoy woke up in the same old ramshackle and dilapidated hut that was home to the four boys. He saw all the other three boys sleeping and didn’t disturb them; it was a li’l too early to start the day. He went through his old morning routine and then went to the shopkeeper who used to give him roses to sell.

“Kaka, Roses?” Binoy asked in an accustomed tone.

The shopkeeper looked up and did a double take. “Binoy??!!! You? Here?” Kaka’s face was like a picture that changed emotions with realisation and Binoy’s head hung.

“What are you doing back here? I was told you had been taken up to live with some rich and educated couple to their home.” Kaka’s tone was part accusatory and part melancholic. He took one glimpse at Binoy’s fallen face and nodded with lowered eyes. “Ohhh!!! So it was the same old story this time as well. They had taken you to make a domestic help and were mistreating you.” He heaved and went on “It is good that you came back then, better to be amongst your own than to be a servant to the affluent society.” He spoke with bitterness of some past experiences and added “I was so happy for you, you know. I thought they had taken you to give you a bright future, but Alas! Reality is a harsh and a bitter pill to swallow.” He concluded.

Binoy was silent, but he choked at Kaka’s words and tears welled up in his eyes. Kaka took it to be a sign of dejection and patted his back “It’s alright boy, it’s alright. You study under the lamp like you used to do. I will buy you some books.” Kaka said with a genial smile in hope to cheer Binoy up, but his compassionate tone made Binoy hug him and sob like a baby. The young boy who was trying hard to be a man turned into a little boy and cried as Kaka messed his hair lovingly with soothing words.

Binoy looked up and said in a broken voice, “No Kaka, they were not trying to make me a servant. They were magnanimous people. Aru Di, she reminded me of Maa…..” Kaka heard him perplexed.

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“Binoy! If they were good then why are you back?” Saying this Kaka pulled Binoy back a little sternly. “Tell me, tell me boy, have you come back in fear after some wrongdoing or are you trying to hide some sin you committed to that couple?” Kaka was patronising Binoy with a rough hand.

Binoy couldn’t keep it to himself and told Kaka everything that transpired last night. He wiped his eyes on his sleeve and pleaded absolution “I had to come back Kaka, I just had to come back. I couldn’t let Bablu steal from them, be it at the cost of my future.” Binoy said earnestly, and Kaka’s eyes welled up at the young boy’s tenacity and grit. He patted his shoulder and gave him a bunch of roses to sell.

“Binoy I am proud of you son. Be careful at signal today, it’s raining.” Kaka said prudently looking at the dark sky.

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“I won’t go the regular signal today Kaka. I will go to the other red light at the back of the petrol pump. I know Aru Di, and Arnab Bhaiyya will come looking for me at the signal. I don’t want them to find me. They don’t take the road behind the Petrol pump on their way to work. So, I will go there from today.” Binoy told and took the bunch of roses from Kaka’s hand and ran like the wind.

Kaka watched his retreating back with blurred eyes as he dried his eyes on his shoulder cloth. He was sorry at the atrocities of life; he was helpless to see Binoy’s plight, he was furious at Bablu and his friends. He decided it was not the time to mind his beeswax and sit tight. He had to do something.

———————————————————————-

In the Roy household Arunima was sitting on the edge of the bed with her head in her hands as Arnab sifted through the house to make sure nothing was missing.

“He took nothing. He went empty-handed.” Arnab told Arunima, and she looked away.

“I already told you Arnab; he wasn’t a thief. He must have felt your apathy towards him and taken it as a sign to leave.” Arunima cited Arnab as he stood on the threshold, leaning on the doorframe with crossed arms.

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Arnab hadn’t told Arunima that he had seen Binoy let three boys get into the house and had left with them willingly. He didn’t want to break her heart, even if he had to take the blame for it. He wanted her to remain kind and helpful. Her goodness was her essence, and he didn’t want it to be lost to the chicanery of the world. Though the fact that Binoy took nothing with him left him amazed. He was sure Binoy had stolen something, but he was getting late for office.

“Arunima happened is happened. Let’s go to work. We will talk about this at night.” Arnab tried to distract her.

Arunima looked at Arnab stunned and spat, “A kid is missing, and all you can think about is to go to work?” She questioned his intentions.

Arnab sighed with open palms and shrugged his shoulder, giving up.

“You can go where you want, but I am going to look for Binoy, find him and bring him back,” Arunima said determinedly. Arnab knew she was stubborn and he let her have her way. Maybe she will come across the truth and then come to terms with the facts.

RAISED FROM THE PIT- XII

“Bhaiya, I want to tell you something.” Binoy bit his lower lip contemplating if to spill the truth or fabricate a new lie. The facts might let Aru Di believe him, but Arnab Bhaiya would surely go back to being dubious and apathetic towards him and that too when they had just bonded. He couldn’t risk it. If he had to leave this place, then he would not be thrown out like a thief but go quietly letting them believe he was just a good-for-nothing boy.

He must have looked silly standing there thinking because Arnab stood up and came to Binoy placing a hand on his shoulder and shaking him hard.

“Binoy! You wanted to me something?” Asked Arnab and Binoy gulped, nodding.

“Three….I…I saw…..” Binoy was sweating now “I saw three rats creating racquet in the kitchen!!!” He lied.

Arunima got up at once, “NO! Not the rats again, last time they spoiled all the sweets and the food in the kitchen.” She hurried out of the door to the kitchens but Arnab stayed back a moment longer to give Binoy a once over, and Binoy tried to look impassive, which settled Arnab, and he left after Arunima.

As soon as the couple was out of earshot, Binoy pulled the curtains back and held all three boys by their arms, dragging and urging them back into his room. The trio didn’t want to get caught either and do juvenile jail time and complied. After them ushering into his bedroom, Binoy told them to keep quiet till he was back and he ran to the kitchen.

Arunima was crouching on her toes and checking each shelf under the kitchen counter while Arnab was checking over the racks on the wall. They both looked at Binoy and gave a look that told him their search wasn’t fruitful.

“Di, I guess they are into hiding. Let me set some rat traps, you two have looked enough. You are tired; you sleep, I will take care of the rest.” Binoy said with a helpful smile, and Arunima nodded with her hands on her hips, something made her smile, and Arnab too laughed, which in turn made Binoy chuckle as well. In that one moment, the doubt that they will mistreat him vanished from his heart, and he was glad he didn’t let his friends steal anything from the house.

All of them went back to their respective rooms. Binoy got his friends out from under his bed and gave them an annoyed look.

“Friends, please, never try to do this again. These are good people. If I do this to them, then they will never have mercy on any orphaned, poor kid ever again.” Binoy told sitting on his bed.

“Next time you feel like visiting me, come in the daytime, from the front door.” He told with a smile and a finality to his tone, forwarding his hand to Bablu in a handshake. Bablu knew it was goodbye.

“You think you are high and mighty to live in this palace while we, ‘The Rats’ go back to living in that hell-hole?” Bablu asked in a caustic tone. Binoy blinked.

“No!!! This won’t happen. You want us not to steal from these fine people? Okay, Fine! We won’t! But you, you have to come back with us, only then do we leave or we take you down with us, let them think you’re a thief and a lecher. We don’t care.” Bablu spat at Binoy, and his two friends stepped forward ominously as they rolled their sleeved up.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Binoy’s eyes widened, he understood what Bablu meant to say, he wouldn’t let him stay here in any case. He considered everything and decided his fate was to leave this place, with their money as a thief or without it as a bitter memory. He chose the latter one, and his head bowed. Bablu smiled and sneaked back out of the same window from which he came; his two alleys stood on either side of Binoy as he too climbed out of the window taking nothing with him except the clothes on his person.

In the master bedroom, Arunima was fast asleep while Arnab was standing by the curtain at his window watching the four boys retreating backs. His phone in his hand, his thumb hovering over the Police’s number but he closed his phone and sighed as he went back to bed.

RAISED FROM THE PIT- XI

Binoy’s heart skipped a beat. “Are they inside Aru di and bhaiya’s room?“, he panicked. “No, no. They are very good people. I don’t want them to suffer because of me. I don’t want to take their wealth. I can’t let it happen“, he thought.  “I have to check, where they are.” He tip-toed to the door. His hand were shaking and he was sweating profusely. He didn’t want Bablu and his friends to be inside and was praying for the same. He gave the door a slight push, just to have a clear view. He could see Aru Di and bhaiya sleeping peacefully. But, he couldn’t get the full view of the room. So, he pushed the door a little more. He saw some flash lights inside. “Oh My! They are inside! What can be done now? What if, bhaiya finds out about this? Will he trust me again? What if, i break my friends trust? Will they accept me ever again? How will I bring them out of that room, without making noise? What if, didi saw me calling them? What ever I do, I have to do it quick. Either I have to send them away, or will go off with them and would take their things. What will I do? Should I stay or go? What will my Maa would wanted me to do? Study or steal? I have to get them out anyways.” These thoughts raced again and again in his mind making him panic and feel tensed. He was more agitated and sloppy.
 
Before he could give the door a little more push, he lost balance, his hand hit the door hard. He fell and the door opened fully with a loud noise. Arunima and Arnab woke up with a jolt. Binoy was petrified and he froze. He could not even move his eyes to see where his friends were? Arunima hit the lights on. The room was lit and she saw Binoy at the door and asked him, “What happened? What are you doing here? Do you want something? How did you open the door 

Binoy quickly looked around to locate his friends. He fumbled, “N n nno noo!” He could not see his friends in the room and gave a sigh of relief. He explained that he was returning from the bathroom and he was feeling restless and when he saw the door was open he thought of just knocking at their door to feel safe but he slipped and fell down.

Arunima smiled gently and asked, “Oh! Are you hurt? Did you hit anything?

Binoy said, “Yes didi! Just my hand. But I am okay.” He added, “I will now go to my room didi. I am sorry for the noise. You both please go back to sleep.

Arunima nodded and asked him to close the door while going back and they both wished him Good Night. He wished them back and bent a little to get the knob. Before his eyes could reach the knob, it fell on the feet hiding behind the curtains. He stopped. He started panicking. He couldn’t think what he was going to do or what would happen if they came out. His brain was failing to give him any good ideas. He then stood there.

Arnab asked, “What happened Binoy? You want to tell us something?

Binoy didn’t have the courage to look at Arnab and reply him back. He didn’t know what to answer.

Dear, are you scared?” asked Arunima.

Yes didi, I am“, Binoy said.

He then thought about his mother and her humility, love and her lessons. He looked at Arnab and said, “Bhaiya, I want to tell you something.

RAISED FROM THE PIT- X

He bolted down the garden path, like an Olympic champion at the start gun, waving his hands in the air. The slapping noise of his flip-flops made a few heads turn yet that didn’t stop him. He took another five running steps and threw himself in his mother’s arms, the only place where he felt home. His mother caressed his face and smiled at him. “Don’t let this opportunity go down the drain”, she said.

Binoy woke up from his dream with a jerk as he heard Bablu and two other boys rummaging through the room. “What are you all doing? Go away, I will come to meet you later.” Bablu laughed as the other two continued their search. He knew the boys from Bablu’s brawl supporters. One was thin yet strong enough to pin down a beast. The other one had a mind of a fox, clever as ever. They heard footsteps approaching the room. Binoy did some quick thinking and hid Bablu and the others under the bed and pretended to sleep when Arnab peeped in. Arnab looked at the boy’s innocent face and felt guilty. “I am sorry”, he muttered more to himself than to Binoy. Without making any noise, Arnab went back to his room. “Now Mr. Goody two shoes, help us get the money and jewellery or keep shut.” Bablu ordered. Binoy was shocked to see this turn of events along with his friend’s behaviour. “They are nice people, Bablu. They won’t hurt me. They will in fact put me into hostel so that I can study hard and fulfill my dream.” Binoy protested. The three boys ignored him and slowly turned the knob to go out of their friend’s cozy room. Binoy sat up in bed wondering for the right thing to do but he was trapped in all the chaos. He pondered over what his mother wanted to convey in his dream. He looked outside the window, at the stars trying to feel the connection with his mother. Stars filled the sky like pale corn into freshly turned ground. It was the promise of life in darkness, a sense of warmth springing from the cold. It was a vastness to bring humbleness and an eternal space to bring gratitude for the coziness of the house.

He exited his room to stop his friends from doing the wrong thing. They were nowhere to be seen. He went to the kitchen but found no one except the bottle of Coca-Cola. He gulped all of it in one go. He stopped in his tracks as he wondered about helping his friends. “No, that’s not the right way”, he thought. Even though he knew how wrong this option was yet he kept going back to it, wondering about the positive consequences. Checking the main entrance, he thought maybe they left. While going back to his room, he saw Aru didi and Arnab’s door was ajar.

RAISED FROM THE PIT – IX

Three months, 90 days, they were someone’s vacation, someone’s honeymoon, someone’s first trimester, someone’s school term but for Binoy, the three months on the roads were a harsh teacher, an experience that taught him some hard driven lessons that would stay with him one lifetime. To sleep on an empty stomach, to be towed from one place to another by the police at night, to be shooed away by the people in posh cars like a stray dog and to live alone, all alone, and no one to call his own.

Binoy was not a kid. He was a boy of 14, a teenager as indecisive, rebellious and confused as any other boy of his age. His body was changing, and so were his thought process, his beliefs and his ideals. A time when boys need a mother to help shape her son’s future and a father to guide him to be a man. They say beggars are not choosers and until this point, he never had a choice. The first opportunity to choose was whether to stay with his stepmother and abusive father or leave and try his luck. He chose the latter, he savoured the freedom, but it came at a cost. And now again he was presented with an opportunity, whether to stay with these people who came as his saviours or to up and leave or as he thought, to up and leave with just enough money that would last him some good time on the outside, helping him keep off the streets.

He got up and paced the room, rubbing his hands together, contemplating the ramifications of his choice when he felt parched and went to the kitchen to fetch himself a glass of water. He opened the kitchen fridge and poured himself a glass of water when a hand on his shoulder startled him. He turned around in panic and was scared to see it was Arnab.

“I…..I was…..I was taking water.” Binoy said defensively, backing into the kitchen counter.

Arnab smiled and made him sit on a high chair in the kitchen “Why are you scared of me boy? I am no scary monster from your childhood fairytale.” He told while he opened the fridge and got out some Coca-Cola and Vanilla Ice-Cream. Binoy looked at Arnab with a peripheral view, his heart pounding, his guilt was clawing at him, and that made him get wary of Arnab.

Arnab removed two Highball glasses from the shelf and filled them with ice cream scoops, and then he filled those glasses with Coke. A smile on his lips as a perfect foam head crowned both glasses, and he came to Binoy with the glasses, placing one in front of him. “Here you go, my favourite midnight snack. You might enjoy it.” Saying this he added a long spoon to Binoy’s glass and took a sip from his own.

Binoy murmured a polite “Thank You” and took a sip. It cooled his insides at once, and the taste was enough to put him in a compatible silence with Arnab as they both ate.

“You know I used to eat these with a friend, his name was Vicky,” Arnab said, and Binoy looked up. Arnab placed one hand on Binoy’s shoulder and said in an easy tone “Look Binoy, I know I am not your fathers’ age, nor you are my son’s age. I don’t want to patronise you but be a friend and guide to you. I know you have seen dark days, tough times, but…..” Arnab paused to make sure he chose the correct set of words, and Binoy’s back stiffened thinking here comes the bitter pill under all the sugar coating “But Arunima is a woman, and woman are born mothers. She hasn’t thought of asking you, what do you want, so I want to do it. I want you to tell me what way you want this to go?” Arnab looked straight into Binoy’s eyes, not with any hostility but with concern.

Binoy swallowed and gave a nervous chortle “I thought you were going to ask me to leave.” It was Arnab’s turn to chuckle. “I….don’t know what I want,” Binoy said introspecting. A while later he said in a broken voice “When I was a little boy, I wanted to be an AirForce Pilot and serve my country. But that was before my mother’s death when I still had a future.” He added and tears welled up in his eyes.

Arnab messed Binoy’s hair playfully and scooted closer to him, “What makes you think now you don’t have a future?” He asked sincerely.

Binoy sniffed and gave a sarcastic laugh, wiping his eyes on his sleeve, “I know, you and Di, you won’t have me here for long, and even if you do, you will always doubt me, and then one day you will have a baby, and I would become a hindrance and I will end up being your baby’s caretaker.” He said as more tears came unbidden from his eyes. Arnab could understand his doubts, a boy who had been mistreated by his biological father can think no better.

“You know Binoy; I think you would be a great writer than you would an Airforce pilot,” Arnab said cheekily, and Binoy snapped his eyes up but burst to laugh when he saw Arnab had been kidding. They both laughed it, and later Arnab told him his plans to get him admission in a good school with the hostel, and he would be welcome home in every vacation, and they too would visit him now and then. Binoy liked the idea and nodded, thinking what a fool he had been to even think of looting them.

After an hour of hanging together, connecting and making a bond they both went to bed and decided to tell their decision to Arunima. Binoy was sleeping with a smile on his lips and a dream in his eyes on his bed when he missed the thudding sound that came from his window.

Bablu had entered his room with two other boys that were from the streets. One moment can change lives, and Binoy would take this lesson tonight.