Every Sunday at 9:00 PM sharp Anil visits ‘Icy Spicy’ a restraint near his home where he finds a friend of his Shrey waiting for him. They both have dinner together, pay half of the bill and then go for a little walk in the nearby park. Same was the scene today.
“My last book brought great success to me; I sold 250,000 copies of that book. I think I would become a renowned author soon,” said Shrey as they were walking in the park.
“Oh, that’s great! How many books have you written till now?” asked Anil.
“That was my 10th book titled ‘Monu, my friend’. It was a great book indeed."
“Yeah, the title says it all. Anyways what are you doing nowadays?”
“Right now I am writing a book with Nathu”
“Nathu, who’s Nathu?”
“He is a man just about my age, he called me and said that he had a great story in his mind that he wanted me to write as my new book, so I asked him to come and stay at my home till we complete the book. We have been working on the book since yesterday”
“I would bring him with me when I come next Sunday”
Saying this they both left for their homes. Next Sunday as promised Shrey brought Nathu with him.
“Hello Shrey is this Nathu?” asked Anil.
“Yeah, that’s Nathu!” replied Shrey.
Anil shook hands with Nathu and sat down.
“If you eat with us you pay one-third of the bill okay…” declared Anil.
“I am totally fine with it,” replied Nathu with a smile on his face.
“You see Anil, Nathu and I have made all necessary changes in the story and now all we need to do is to write and send a copy to the publisher,” said Shrey.
“I hope this book would bring you even more success than the last book,” said Anil.
“It surely will!” exclaimed Shrey. “But there is one problem.”
“What problem?” asked Anil.
“Actually my wife would come back home tomorrow and if she finds Nathu at the home she is going to get very angry, she could even shot me for that, that’s what she said last time. So Anil I request you to please keep Nathu at your house for some time. He would not at all disturb you, he would be out in the morning and come only in the evening as he is looking for a house here in Mumbai. Please Anil it is for a little time only, Nathu and I can become a great team please…”
“I am afraid that I cannot keep Nathu in my small house but if what you say is true then I would manage,” said Anil.
“Thanks a lot, Anil!” “Nathu remember to take your bag before I leave”
After the walk, Nathu took his bag from Shrey’s car and left with Anil to his home. Till they reached home it was already 10:30 so Nathu went straight to bed and Anil was reading a book in the dim light of the bulb.
“You live all alone?” asked Nathu suddenly.
“Yes I was never married...” replied Anil.
“Then what about your parents?”
“Oh, they died when I was in class 5th”
“I am sorry to hear that. So how did you survive?”
Anil now kept his book aside and started to say-
“I was in class 5 when my parents died in a car accident, a few days later my aunt took over our house and I was kicked out of my house. Then I wandered all alone in the streets of Mumbai until I found Lal Mohan uncle. He was a shopkeeper and he gave me a job in his shop. He was always very kind to me. He took care of my food, clothes and even studies. I then started to go to a government school near our shop. But I was only able to go to school till 8th class. After that my Lal Mohan uncle fell seriously ill. He became so ill that he was unable to look after the shop anymore. He knew he was dying so one night he called me and showed me a bag full of money. He said – “This is all yours keep it with you and look after the shop well” those were his last words. I then took over the shop and worked there till I was 20 but then my business went in ruins. I was unable to get it stable again, so I sold the shop and wandered for ten years in search of a job. This is a rented home I took when I was 25. Then after 5 years I started to teach tuition to children, I don’t earn much but I am happy with whatever I have, no one who understands me except Shrey, no family no friends but I am always happy with all I have.”
“That’s indeed a story of great struggle,” said Nathu.
“Yeah, but you must sleep now, you need to work hard tomorrow for a house”
Saying this Nathu turned his face the other side and slept. He probably felt sorry for Anil. Anil took his book and began reading again. The next day Anil was up before Nathu. When Nathu got up he got ready and left in search of a home saying he would be back at around 7 PM. All seemed well till then but it was already 10 PM and Nathu wasn’t back. Anil called Shrey to ask whether Nathu is there or not and he found out that he wasn’t there. Anil decided to go and look for Nathu. Just as he opened his door he found a note kept under a stone. Anil picked it up it read –
“If you want Nathu back then come to the loading bay near the New Rippon Lake Street”
Anil got a bit worried and took a cab to the given destination. There he found another note stuck to a board. It read –
“Get inside the bay and get to the right of container number – 58”
Anil did so, he found a letter stuck to the right of container number – 58. Anil began reading it –
My real name is Avi, not Nathu. Avi Singh, 4th D, St. Angels School, Mumbai. I hope you have remembered me by now. You have suffered a lot in your life so have I. My father died while I was in class 2 and my mother married another man who was rather evil. His only goal was to take over the house. I was unable to concentrate on my studies and I failed in class 3. The man then warned me to get the first rank in class 4. I asked you to help but you denied. You were first and I was second. Was it so difficult for you to help a friend of yours? The man then kicked out of my house. I soon got a job with a ragman. He seemed to be a ragman but turned out to be a criminal. When I was about 20 he thought I was mature enough and dragged me into the business. I am also a criminal now. You were the reason for who I am now. I wanted to punish you but yesterday when I heard your story I thought you have already suffered a lot and let you go. This is the place where I used to keep all my stolen items and money and tomorrow police would be raiding this place and I wanted you to get caught with them. I don’t think we would ever be able to meet again as I am going to a very faraway place so that the police doesn’t catch me. Please say thanks to Shrey from my side and ask him to take all the credit of the book.
Anil read the letter and thought –
“I wish Avi was here so that I could tell him that I knew it all from the very beginning”