An Aborted Tomorrow by Mahesh Paudyal

“Sir, my mother has sent some money. Will you keep it for me? I may lose it.”

It was already dark and the stars were twinkling outside. Everyone was happy except I, I thought. I turned to the child. Austere was his face and innocent were his looks. How much belief he had in me!

I could not answer him right away. I lifted him up and pointed towards the sky.

“My king, can you see the bright moon up there in the sky? ”

“Yes sir!”

“One day you will shine like the moon. I will make you shine.”

The child did not speak for a long time. Most probably he was wondering what the black spots in the moon were.

“Sir, my money. Will you keep it for me? ”

I was trapped again. I had to reply.

“Tomorrow is Tuesday my child. On Tuesdays, we don’t give money to anyone. Keep it for a night, and tomorrow, I will surely take it.”

“Thank you sir!”

The hostel was a big building. We had a fine top, from which we could feel the cool evening breeze. Two of us were only there. An ocean of true love was taking to its full tides.

Tring Tring rang my cell, and lo there was his mother. It was a smart coincidence. It was almost like a fairy tale.

“Sir Namaskar! I think my son reached well. ”

“Yes madam, please don’t worry. I am here.”

“Yes, my son has mentioned your name time and again. He has told me, you love him so much.”

“Ya, a sort like that. I cannot feel like staying without him.”

“We are ‘janma dine’ parents and you are ‘karma dine’ parents.”

She meant that they were the progenitors, and we the teachers were the acculturating parents.

“Let me pass the phone to him!”

I passed the cell to him, and I heard a son and a mother talk in the great resonance of love. I could not help remembering my own mother. On the day I left home, she had advised me, “Always love mankind. This is our culture!”

They talked many things. The memory of my mother came floating in the air. He passed the phone to me once again.

“Sir, I rely on you. Please take care of my son.”
“He is my son too. Please be sure. I will not allow any hardship to touch him.”

“Thanks. May I take leave?”

“Namaste.”

Slowly it was getting colder. We thought it better to move into the dormitory. We started descending the stairs. He held my hand, and I held his heart. What warmth! I bet you can never experience it for a million dollar.

“Sir, the dial of my watch is broken. Will you help me mend it? If my father sees, he will scold. He will come soon, I think.”

I knew, that was a new watch. I too knew that he was a small child and it was quite natural for him to break it. I could not promise.

“Sir please. I am afraid”

“Sure my child. It is dark you know. Tomorrow, you and I shall go to Kaushaltar and get a new dial. Is that okay?”

“Ok sir!”

By then, we had reached the threshold of the dormitory. There was nobody around. All had moved to their study rooms for the evening tutorials.

“Sir, I have problems with biology. I have not understood anything about the root system. Will you explain us? ”

“Sure my child. Tomorrow!”

He started hurrying up for the class. The teacher would not allow the late comers to sit. He knew this.

“Babu!” I said, catching his hand.

“I will not leave you till you pass your SLC. You will be a great doctor one day, and I will help you.

“I know you have some problems. I will correct them. One day you will shine out. You are my king and my life. ”

He did not say anything. What could he say? He was too young to understand the total world of my rippling emotions.

This way, we reached the study room, and I ushered him in. The teacher said nothing, because I was there. He started doing his works and I returned to the dormitory.

At midnight I woke up and inserted something inside his pillows.

It was five and I woke up. I remembered all the promises I had made the previous night. When they all woke up and went to the top floor for ablution, I went too. I saw him; he was brushing his teeth. He looked austere and innocent. I felt like going to him and picking him up like the previous evening. But something inside me prevented. I paid him a squinted look. He didn’t see me. Quickly I came down.

When he came down after the wash, I was not there. The last time I saw him was with a brush in his mouth. He looked austere and innocent.

Where did the promise go?

After around fifteen days, I visited them. The moment I was inside the gate, he came running caught my arms and said, “Sir, you told me that you would mend my watch. Take, and do it today. That money too! You have to keep,” and before I had said anything, he ran to get his watch and the money. I stood there speechless.

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