From the lost and found book

  • Neela Sood, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 06, 2014 09:39 IST

At one of the halts during our travel from Rajkot to Junagadh, we were joined by an elderly gentleman called Manohar Diwadkar. As generally happens, initial talk centered on knowing about each other. My husband was doing most of the talking, while I gave him a stern look for the conversation was interfering with my sleep. But, when Mr Diwadkar mentioned that he was busy writing a book titled 'Lost and Found', I felt jolted from my half slumber and turned a serious listener.

"Mr Diwadkar, the title sounds interesting. It has sent my imagination vaulting," I said keen to be a part of the conversation. He also looked keen to share his views and said, "Ma'am the title of the book will leave nothing to imagination when you get to know that for the best part of my career before retirement, I was handling lost and found cases in the police department. In fact, that gave me an opportunity to study human behaviour. My book throws light on the good and bad side of man based on such experiences."

"If you feel comfortable then please narrate to us a few experiences that motivated you to pen your memories," my husband requested. "Sure, since the train will be touching Junagadh shortly, I'll narrate one such anecdote which shows both the good and bad side of an individual," he replied.

He narrated an incident pertaining to the Kumbh fair. Having been separated from their only son, a middle-aged couple was weeping inconsolably in his office. Just then a constable brought a 12-year-old boy. "Sir, he has been separated from his parents but is acting funny. He looks least interested in finding them," the constable told Mr Diwadkar.

"I called out to the couple in the adjoining room. The mother, in a fit ecstasy, ran to embrace her son but the boy showed indifference. Shocked at his behaviour, I told him in a threatening tone, 'We'll send you to an orphanage if you behave like this'." To this, Mr Diwadkar recalled, the boy retorted, "I don't mind. If my grandfather can live in an old age home, I can also stay in an orphanage."

The couple was ashamed and crestfallen. They left immediately to bring back the boy's grandfather from the old age home. The boy went home the next day when his grandfather came to receive him.
Our train chugged into Junagadh station by then. We were convinced that this world has had both good and bad people at all times. But good with their conduct have shown the right path to the bad.

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