ORGANIZED STUDENT LIFE: STRIVING FOR GOOD MARKS AMIDST FUN

People say student life is the best. Being a student was never a hard time for me. I have had enjoyed my academic life always. During school life, I managed to have a good student image but that doesn’t mean I never had fun. People say a student’s life should be organized and student should make the best of it. This is because student life is the phase where we grasp things quickly. Parents always ask their children to focus on their studies and to befriend the intelligent ones in their classes. At times it may happen that we get envious of intelligent children and would try to compete them. In that case we might end up getting our routine upside down. So how can we achieve an organized student life?

If I talk about myself, for me my academic life was always organized. I knew my caliber and strengths. Instead of being envious of toppers I used to work on my interest areas and tried to improve my grey areas. When I was in school my routine was fixed. It was my habit to wake up early, get fresh and start my day. I would go to school and there I would engage myself in whatever was being taught. However, I was never a studious girl. I just studied to learn new things and not more than that. Apart from studies, I used to participate in some of the extra-curricular activities but that was limited. When exams approached I would turn into a book worm and fortunately I got good marks. During college life too I was never so studious. I would attend classes and would study to learn what was being taught.

After I have passed out from college I feel I should have been more studious. It’s not that I slept late, woke up late and didn’t study appropriately. I mean to say the way I was organized during my school life was way better than my college life. Though I was a fun loving girl in college, I knew study is what I have to do on regular basis. During my entire student life, one formula that helped me a lot is- setting up goals. I remember when I was in my 10th standard, the short term goal was to work hard for final exams. I used to study for long hours. I did this, not because of the fear of exam but because I knew this is the only way that will help me to study for my exams. Despite of studying for hours I never forgot to enjoy my days and take rest. I had made a schedule and I followed it. In college, few more things got added up to the study schedule, they were: study buddies, watching short movies and taking up the notes. Every morning I would wake up and would start my day. No matter what happened I ensured I read atleast a page, not just for the sake of reading. This helped me in learning so many things. However I was never a topper. Honestly speaking, I never studied for getting good marks.

I enjoyed every single day. I went for partying with my friends but I ensured that study and party never gets mixed up. I feel proud that I never had an issue of low attendance. A good student is the one who knows what they have to do and plans accordingly. Whether you are in school or college, your focus should be on grasping things, utilizing the resources provided to you. Setting short term goals and striding towards the long term goals can really help us in making the best of our student life. When we study in groups then we learn things quickly. Apart from this, one must focus on keeping student life away from other things. I am not saying we should not get indulged in some other activities but having a balance between everything can really be helpful in making the best of our student life.

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COME WALK IN MY SHOES FOR ONCE!

Waiter: How would you like your coffee, Ma’am?

Me: With kids tucked in their beds.

And the next scene, waiter scratching his head, “What does that mean?” 🤔.

Ok, that was just an exaggeration, nothing of that sort has happened so far.  But trust me parenting is never an easy job. And unlike any other job it doesn’t come with a manual.  So the foot is always on the pressure pedal.  From healthy eating habits to good etiquette; from studies to extracurricular activities; from explaining them about their bodies to respecting their privacies  – we have much more to look after and we can’t  take up fancied portfolios as per our ease.  I repeat parenting isn’t easy!

And the pressure of parenting a child with special needs is altogether a different ball game. Ask me!

In the year 2014 when it was finally established that my son is Autistic, I went blank.  I sensed it, yet wished it not to be.  Since then to this day it’s always been a run – from pole to post.  With such a diagnosis tag, an entire army of questions spurt up in front you. Though I don’t belong to that school of parents who decide a career for their offspring even before naming them but I must confess that at this point of time I worry about his future. ” What would happen to him after us?”, “Who would take care of him?”, “What would be his future like?”, ” Will he ever be able to take up some formal education?” And the questions  continue to infinity.  The fear and pressure, looking at the world around is immense.

Soon after, the school was informed about the diagnosis and they took no time to ask us to take him out of the school as they were not equipped with the expertise to work with an Autistic child. I don’t blame them for that, trust me.  It was the first jolt as he had no place to go by then and was still on the waiting list of the day care section of the hospital. But my prayers were soon answered and things kept rolling since then as far as his schooling was concerned as he later got a place in special school and he is continuing.

So where’s the pressure?  Pressure churns when he is unable to express himself about the intangible things like pain for example,  for he is still non-verbal (though now he has started uttering single words about the things he likes, for example: pasta, park, school bus 😁 etc.).  And it’s equally difficult for him to comprehend “NO“.  If he wants something badly he just wants it and won’t take a ‘No’ for an answer.  I can’t explain the consequences to him as I could do to my daughter.   He simply shuts himself down, though unintentionally.  And that causes major meltdowns – could be a result of many factors, sometimes without any apparent reason. And when meltdowns strike, he goes all violent, shouts, cries, taps hands and legs on the floor vehemently, simply lies down on ground and that ground can be of a bus stop, pavement, supermarket, literally anywhere.  And with people oblivious to your situation watching you with a judgmental overview, shivers are sent down the spine and the voice chokes while hands go numb and cold.  While handling and calming him (which sometimes take really long and sometimes I am clueless about what to do) along with keeping an eye on the second child is enough pressure to take, explaining the onlookers “Why and What” is equally painful.  I simply hate telling people about the issue, about why he is behaving absurdly.  Few People tend to understand, few come forward to lend a helping hand but few make faces (really few so far, shall I care about them🤔?). Whatsoever maybe the reaction I always have a bated breath and watch of an eagle when out with him. Going to stay this way, at least for a while😟.

Also searching and booking a place for him in the activities during long vacations (Belgian calendar has too many for kids 😁) is nothing less than pressure cooker situation for me.  With really limited number of places available, his constant need for individual attention makes it real tough for me to have one place ready for him.  I usually start working three to four months in advance for he enjoys his activities, he enjoys discovering and I want him to.  There are instances when I was rejected straightaway.  Bearing it all and to be on a look out constantly is my job now. By the way, his autumn break is busy!😁

Who helps me out? Family and friends – too obvious, isn’t it?  But I have an elongated list here:

  • Surprised you will be to learn that I owe Facebook too a thanks.  When you read a lot of stories from all around the world from people sailing in the same boat on one page it definitely refills the depleting levels of confidence.  It reminds me, “You are not alone and we are together, let’s make it a better place“. So many motivational and inspiring stories kicks in the positivism I need.
  • Organisations working for and with my son including his school.  Their innovative ideas, patience and moral support have gone a long way in making things a bit better and every bit matters. They told me that “You Are Strong” and that helps, period!
  • A lady, my friend whom I am unable to meet often but we do have long conversations often (that’s technology for you 😁) and she is full of wisdom. Always gives a positive perspective of looking at things and instills courage in me. I can’t name her here since no permission taken but I would drop a hint to her – an experienced trainer of English language/ business communications. Thank you dear.
  • And last but not the least – my kids themselves.  My daughter – just three of age but acts like my shadow to her brother, gives me a ray of hope.  And when my son laughs with me, plays with me, embraces me, it seems he is giving me a message “mamma, you, me and God will set things straight“. By the way I forgot to tell you that he seems to be more inclined towards the supreme power as at home he spends a great amount of time singing devotional songs 😁😁.

 

Did I tell you that sometimes my son gets up at 3 or 4AM in the morning and demands a breakfast – that’s also a pressure – 😂😂😂.

And for all those who have free advise on what shall I do to raise my kids prim and proper I request, “Come walk in my shoes for once”.

 

 

 

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.