By Siddharth Sharma
We live. We laugh. We learn. We love. And we dream. All of us do. Whether it is a child dreaming of the day he’ll touch the stars, to an old woman who dreams of holding her grandchildren in her arms, our dreams are our own.
Need and position never really affects how we dream. Big or small, our dreams mean the world to us, despite what anyone would say. Which is why, it is perhaps understandable when we dream the same for our children too.
Dharmendra, isn’t one of them.
Q: Hello bhaiya, what is your name?
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I come in the morning to hydrate the court and sprinkle water all over. Then after 2 hours or so, I coarse grain it using a net. Then I level the court with the roller, and finally I draw the out-bound lines. Other than this, I do help the caretakers in the cricket field, cricket nets and volleyball and the football ground.
Q: How much do you earn with this job?
A: Around Rs. 6500, but with overtime I make close to 10000.
Q: Does it suffice?
A: *smiles* Kahaan sir, he says, My father works at a tailor shop. With his income and mine own, we do our best to run the family. But yes, it is hard.
Q: How did you get this job?
A: My father used to work here before me. When he left, I took this job.
Q: Have you ever wanted to do anything else?
A: Earlier I used to work at a tailor shop. Both that and this job were offered by a contractor. When I got bored of working at the tailor, I came here.
Q: No, I meant did you ever dream of doing something else with your life, other than such small jobs? Maybe as a child?
A: *Drops eyes* No, I never received any education. So I never dreamed of doing anything.
Q: Do you have a family?
A: Yes. I have three kids. 2 daughters, 1 boy. *smiling proudly*
Q: Are they studying?
A: Yes. My daughters are 10 and 5. They’re both in a govt. run primary school, while my son is just 2 and a half years old.
Q: Do you have any dreams for them? What do you want them to become when they grow up? Definitely not what you’re doing?
A: *laughs softly* No, of course not. I trust them to have their own dreams and fulfil them.
*And I think to myself, this guy is more liberal than my parents*
No dreams? I ask incredulously. Even my parents wanted me to become an engineer.
No, he says. And it doesn’t bother me what they do, as long as they complete their education, go to college, or study until they want to. They’re independent.
Q: And your daughters, you must be saving for their weddings?
A: Nah! I worry only about their education. We’ll see when the time comes.
*Wow, I think. Mindsets are definitely changing*
Q: Do you believe in God?
A: *Smiles* “Yes, of course I do. He is everything to me. My faith in him is what runs my life. God is everything to me, he says as if it was plainly obvious.
Q: So bhaiya, if you meet lord Vishnu one day and he offers to fulfil any one wish you make, what would you wish for?
A: What would I wish for, he repeats laughing. Nothing, I’d thank him for everything he has given me, and touch his feet perhaps.
His reply surprised me deeply. For a moment, I almost couldn’t believe what he said. Most of us, curse and blame God for the smallest slight against us. And here was this kind man, who in the face of his difficult life, was humble enough to demand nothing from God himself.
As I was walking back to my classroom for the next lecture, thinking about this, I realized I forgot one question. Rushing back, I asked,
Q: Bhaiya, have you ever played tennis?
He looked up and said, No, it’s not my type of sport, I like cricket. I laughed hearing this, and so did he.
All day, all I could imagine was him playing cricket with his family, with a cloth beater and a plastic ball, and no worries in life whatsoever, safe and happy in the world he has made for his children.
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