Maiku Prajapati (105) is a character straight out of a story, that too of renowned Hindi litterateur Munshi Premchand. The great writer adroitly turned a real life incident of Maiku's life in a short story, wherein the protagonist beats up a person trying to stop him from entering a liquor shop but ends up attacking the shopkeeper and destroying his vend.
What is more, 74 years ago, it was Maiku Prajapati who served the last drink of water to the writer on his deathbed. Ironically, while the three-day 130th birth anniversary celebrations of Munshi Premchand are underway, Maiku, the only living character of one of his popular stories still awaits an invitation.
Even at the ripe old age of 105, Maiku's memory has not failed him, nor has he lost the zest for life.
"Dono ankhon se andha ho chuka hoon aur sharir mein takat bhi nahi hai magar phir bhi agar mujhe Premchandji ke karyakram mein bulaya jata to main zaroor jata kyon ki unse meri bahut sei yadein judi hain" (Though, I have lost my vision completely, I would have visited the function of Premchandji's birth anniversary if I had been invited), he told Hindustan Times on Friday.
Maiku met Munshi Premchand at Lamhi (native village of the litterateur) in 1934, two years before his death on October 8, 1936.
He said he was present with him at his residence at the time of his death and Premchand drank the last glass of water from his hand.
Trekking down memory lane, Maiku recalled how he bound books at Ramkatora Press owned by Premchand who walked from his village to the press, wearing a dhoti of coarse cloth. According to him Premchand was a good-natured man who had always been a source of inspiration for him.
Small wonder he feels left out at not being invited by the administration and organizing committee of the three-day Lamhi Mahotsav underway. The festival will conclude on Saturday, the birth anniversary day of the writer.
"No one comes to my house now, neither journalists nor government officials. I also do not receive the old age pension though I have applied for it many times," he rues.