I was recently reading ‘The Mysterious Island‘ by Jules Verne. Published in 1874, the book is about a group of castaways that get washed onto an island in the pacific with weird animals, diverse topography and incidents that have no explanation of any kind. It was so interesting, that I read it on my smartphone for 3 long days!
I always imagined myself to be one of the characters when I read such books. Somehow the tales of survival, bravery and perseverance inspired me. I felt closely associated with them. Similar was the case with TINKLE. As a kid, I believed the real world looked like those pictures. Colorful, adventurous and filled with interesting people. Then there was CHANDAMAMA which had stories that ended with morals and values. These books painted the real world with creativity, awe and fascination and filled my childhood days with fun! As a kid, we don’t worry about anything and live in a world of utopia. We dream dreams which might be impossible. Riding unicorns, tigers mowing lawns, holding on to a flying white elephant’s tail and so on.
There was this particular story I keep sharing with people again and again. It had been published in TINKLE – SUMMER SPECIAL in 1991. Somehow that story had a lasting impact on me. So much that I keep narrating it to family, friends, kids and old people. I don’t remember the title but it goes as follows:
‘A girl was traveling with her disabled father in a bullock cart when the cart’s wheel suddenly breaks. The fellow driving the cart says he has to get it repaired and they could wait in the shade of a tree. As the girl helps her father who cannot walk, to the tree, they see an old man approaching them. Sweating profusely, he too sits beside them under the tree. He asks the dad where they were coming from and whether the little girl was his daughter. Replying in the affirmative, he tells the old man how much he loved her.
This reminds the old man of another guy and he starts narrating this story to the father-daughter duo:
” Back in those days, I was a doctor in a nearby village. One night, as I was just about to close my clinic, a soldier came running in with blood all over him. I immediately rushed to his aid and laid him on the table and questioned him as to what was wrong? He told me that he had been mauled by a tiger. Reacting immediately, I ripped open his shirt and found a big gash on his chest. I sent for my assistant and asked him to fetch a bottle of chloroform from the stock at the back. Suddenly, I heard glass shatter and ran to check out to find the chloroform leaking heavily and my assistant unconscious. I covered my nose with a kerchief and locked the store so as to not let the chloroform escape!
I ran back to the army man and told him that there was no anesthetic and I couldn’t operate on him. The man held me by my hand and pleaded to operate on him immediately as he had to go back home for his son’s birthday. I said he would not be able to bear the pain. He insisted that I do and that he could not break his promise to his son. I hesitantly agreed and started stitching up his wound while he laid still taking all the pain without a cry of any sort. I was amazed at his strength. Within 30 minutes, I was able to stitch up and dress the wound. I told him I understood how much he loved his son that he took such pain! He thanked me a lot and left.”
Ending thus, he told the girl that he was sure her dad was no less and lover her a lot. The father having calmly listened to the story replied like this, ” That night, I was stubbornly waiting for my dad, upon whose arrival only I would cut the cake. Finally, he arrived, with a blood stain on his shirt. He held me in his arms and made me cut the cake while I could sense he was in pain. His eyes were blood shot but he managed to smile all the while. Only after the entire party was over and putting me to sleep, did he retire to bed. The man you were talking about was my dad!”
Astonished at the reply, the old man smiled and hugged the father, “I am glad to meet his son, my son!” Amazed at the story, the little girl in return hugged her father too.’
Such stories and more have had a profound impact on the way I think and behave. They are responsible for the person I am now. That is the reason why I still have a kid left in me! Reading is the best thing that can happen to anyone and it is highly recommended. If any of you have read any interesting stories, please do let me know!
P.S. The story that I had picked up from TINKLE – SUMMER SPECIAL was based on a true story!