THIS INDIA, ONE INDIA
Despite our varied cultural plurality and many known – unknown sectarian identity, at the core of us we ARE ONE, JUST ONE INDIA. No amount of difference, be it religion, region or language can break our tolerance. I have planned to pen down a series on this very bondage that makes us One … ONE INDIA.
This is the first in the series….. “Sunny Sahib” !
There was a festive mood in the air, at least till this morning. Since one month every youth in the locality, in this end part of Ballygunge, was engrossed and busy. The reason – “Mahanisha”. This is the name of the play or drama that the local youth planned to stage. Those days, it was very much in vogue to stage a drama in the locality with a large number of youth participating and there were regular rehearsals in the evenings. The local youth caught hold of Shambhu Uncle, a veteran drama director of the locality and the drama selected was Mahanisha. Shambhu Uncle also agreed to spare his sitting room for the rehearsals.
This roughly is the spot for stage… Shambhu uncle’s house at the backdrp
Everything was going on as per schedule. That evening was the show ! The day before the tent-wallahs brought in a lot of bamboo poles, tarpaulins, bundle of ropes, and, they promised to put up the tent this morning…. And…. Then…. There was this thick black cloud visible on the sky since morning.
Everyone said it is just a matter of minutes….. there would be heavy down pour of rain and it would surely ruin the drama show ! Everyone wore a gloomy look, and, at this juncture someone suggested “How about asking Jhantuda for some kind of err….. way out?”. Jhantuda was the local thakurmoshai (priest) for all puja functions.
When approached, Jhantuda thought for a while and suggested a way out. “ There is a way out…. That is if you all have faith ….. and I am sure we will have the blessings of Devimaa”. What Jhantuda suggested was this “ We must find out a person in the locality who is the only child – a son. He should dig a deep hole, all by himself, and then place a small metal bowl in the hole… then fill up the hole with sand and lose soil..”. And now there was some cheer in the gloomy faces – every one went on different directions to fetch someone as per order…. Only child….. Only son. But the cheer was short lived… they could come up with some names, but most of them had one or two sisters….and none was the only son.
At this juncture some one yelled “Jhantu da, there is one, at the very next door. But if I spell the name you may not agree…. He is Sunny Sahib, our anglo-Indian neighbour.I mean after all he is not an er…er..”. At this point Jhantuda rebuked him quite loudly “Shut up.You are talking non-sense….. what is important is how sincere the person is in seeking from the heart that rain must not ruin our drama show”.
When the youth group reached Sunny Sahib’s house, he was busy in doing push up. He was a fitness freak,a good horse rider ! He was all thrilled at the idea of digging and came out in no time with his own sets of crow-bar and shovel . Soon he dug up quite a large hole -more than what was needed. Someone brought in an old aluminium bowl.Sunny Sahib neatly placed it in the middle of the hole and in no time replaced the loose soil to fill-up the hole….. all along he wore his signature cap on his head.
That evening there was a full house show of Mahanisha – a large number of people from neighbourhood gathered, under the clear sky.They said some of the local youth performed very well, much like the professional actors. I, for one, remember a bit. Our neighbour Kumar Uncle was in the lead role! He was a good looking hero. But perhaps, the actual hero of the day was Sunny Sahib – an anglo-Indian Christian who gave all his time and might to please Devi Maa!
Sunny Saahib’s Bungalow still stands tall in the locality !