I reached at ‘Raju Tea Corner‘ near Mont Bolt Play School and waited for Anurag. After a while, I saw a man slowing his bike near the school. I assumed him to be Anurag.
“Anurag?” I called his name.
“Shaurya?” he said getting off his bike and moving towards me. “Where is Payal?”
We shook hands. He looked for Payal.
“Actually she is coming from Delhi. Yesterday, after she’d talked to you, she told me to be with you by the time she reaches here,” I said offering him to sit on a chair that Raju had arranged near his shop.
“So did Payal tell you anything else too? Like why were we meeting?” He asked as we sat.
“No. She just told me to be with you.”
“That’s fine then,” He said as I offered him to have a tea.
“Thanks. I don’t drink tea,” he said.
“I have one for me then.”
I was feeling too sad for him. I met him for the first time yet it took no time for me to realize how much pain he had in his eyes.
“You know Shaurya, I studied in this school,” Anurag said indicating at Mont Bolt.
“That’s great! It reminded your childhood days. Didn’t it?” I said as I finished my tea.
“Hmm. Then I used to play in the life and now life plays with me. Anyways it feels good to have my childhood memories back,” he said.
We kept sitting for a while. I thought if I should talk him about Payal but then I avoided the topic as it could have hurt him more.
“If you have no problem, can we both spend our time at some other place by the time Payal comes here?” I asked. I wanted to take him to weCARE.
“Of course,” he said standing up.
We started our respective bikes and in a few minutes, we reached weCARE.
While we were entering weCARE, I told Anurag what it was all about. It was also the Foundation day of weCARE. We celebrate this day as a common Birthday for all the children living in weCARE. The children feel very happy this day and therefore this is an important day for us.
“Shaurya Bhaiya,” A cute little girl Sneha, as we entered weCARE, came out running. “Bhaiya, where is my gift?”
I lifted her in my arms giving her a kiss on her forehead. “That I will give you in the evening.”
“Okay,” she said looking to Anurag, “Bhaiya, would you gift me too?”
“Yes. I will gift you. Tell me what you want?” Anurag took her in his arms. “I want a doll,” she demanded innocently.
“Sure, I will gift you a doll like you,” Anurag said as Sneha got off to play.
We moved further, a few children were busy decorating the party hall while a few were busy in playing indoor games.
“Shaurya, I can see music instruments kept on the stage. Do these children play them?” Anurag asked.
“Harsh and Neha, they both play the Musical Drums and Keyboard well and other children love music. We’ve called ‘Rock Safari’ a famous musical band of Dehradun to perform today for these children. You won’t believe these children are very crazy for music,” I replied.
“Wow! It’s good to see you guys doing so much for these children,” Anurag said.
“We aren’t doing it for the children, we do it for us. Seeing them happy makes us happier,” I said as he nodded.
“Well, when is Payal supposed to come here? Any Idea?” Anurag inquired after a while.
“Umm…I called her. She’d left Dehradun Airport so she must be coming in three hours,” I said as Shantanu, a 10 year boy, came to us and held Anurag’s hand.
“Uncle, will you play carrom with me,” Shantanu requested Anurag to play with him while still holding his hand.
“I will play only if you do something,” Anurag said. I thought what he wanted from him.
“What?” Shantanu said perplexed.
“If you call me Bhaiya instead of Uncle,” Anurag said as it brought smile to everyone’s face.
He went to accompany Shantanu. While he was playing carrom, I was thinking if I was able to make him forget what he wanted through the fake story of Payal coming here or would he still stick to what he had planned.
As we kept spending time in weCARE, I realized that children were becoming more comfortable with Anurag (vice versa, too)
Later, at 4 pm, Someone informed me that ‘Rock Safari’ had cancelled its show here. I talked with Band over the phone and they said they had to go for another show. I was very worried for the children, especially for Harsh and Neha. They had been practicing for two weeks. Now in this short period, another band couldn’t be arranged either. The children would feel very bad; I didn’t know what to do.
“Bhaiya, our band is not coming?” Harsh came out running. .
“I don’t know why they cancelled the program at the last moment,” I said.
He became very upset. He wanted to perform for his fellow friends.
“Don’t be upset Harsh,” all I could say.
“Hmm,” he said leaving the place.
I thought of an alternate way to soothe them; I went out of weCARE and found an ice-cream rickshaw. I asked him to come in and sell the ice-cream to children without asking for money from them. I would pay him instead..
I called the children, “Sneha, Gaurav, Chintu, Harsh, Bittu…everyone come here.”