Monday, April 13, 2015

I prefer to have my desk by the window side. This helps me to think. May be I am thinking for a story, may be for my research work, or may be just thinking about something abstract. I love to sit back and just think about something randomly. Sitting by the window helps me. I recently got an opportunity to work as an intern at Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, to work on development of Iterative Dichotomizer Algorithm. Jhunuk da, the lab assistant here is an elderly person. He has helped me a lot to get my desk settled. I was being offered the cabin along with other interns, but I preferred to sit in a silent corner of the computer lab. And Jhunuk da helped me get my request approved from officials. There are a lot of rules here. I forget many, but Jhunuk da is always here to remind me about them and do my things accordingly.

The window by my desk has a frame which reminds of British days in India, and these are quite common in Kolkata. Through the closed window too, sun rays penetrate and fall at my desk in the morning. The window is east facing. When I am struck at my code, I peep through the window, and it amazes me with the vintage look of the city in hustle. I and Jhunuk da, we love to sit together by the window and enjoy our evening tea. The chai wallah who comes with tea for us has his shop outside the institute, and he has very good friendship with Jhunuk da. Jhunuk da has always helped him in his needs; he discussed these with me during our chai breaks. Jhunuk da is very sensitive guy. He actually feels for him, and tries his best to do all which he can.

‘He has to marry his girl child. She is nineteen now.’

‘I see. So he needs to find a groom for her?’ I inquired.

‘He has already found one. He is just arranging enough money for the marriage.’ Jhunuk da replied.

‘Dowry?’

‘No No. The family of groom has not asked for dowry. He is worried for the marriage costs. You see everything is so costly now. He hardly earns anything…’ The anxiety was easily visible on his face.

These conversations homed inside my head, and echoed from time to time. It was two or three days later that in one of my tea breaks with Jhunuk da, I suggested something.

‘Dada, why not collect some funds for the marriage?’

‘Whose marriage, chai wallah’s daughter’s?

 ‘Yes’ I said.

‘Umm. Yes we can… But who will agree to pay?’ he asked me.

‘See. I will go to other interns and ask them to pay as per their wish, for the marriage. I am sure they will contribute something.’

‘We can try…’ Jhunuk da replied.
...

The chai wallah came to my desk few weeks later. He handed me the wedding invitation. He was very happy. He shaked hands with me. His happiness was beyond any explanation. It made me think that I will be a father too. I will have to marry my daughter, may be then I would be feeling the same as he is feeling today. From my desk he moved to Jhunuk Da’s desk. He did not know that we had contributed funds for the wedding of his daughter. Jhunuk da did not want him to know this. He trusted Jhunuk da, and would take his help only. He had a lot of self-respect. What he knew was that Jhunuk da gave sufficient funds for the marriage.


I unfolded the wedding card, and felt contented to read the scheduled wedding date. I felt satisfied of having done something good. I never came to know what was the name of that chai wallah, until I read his name on the card. His name was ‘Dhani Chandra Ghosh’.  



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