By Aman Chawla
There isn’t a better moment in a man’s life, than holding a girl in his arms, and if the girl is a 6 years old baby, words fail to confine his feelings. It was the same feeling for him when Navya was in his arms. She was not sleepy, or maybe she was, but was definitely in no mood to go to bed. Which daughter in the world would want to miss the joy of staying in the arms of her father?
“Dad, what does an adopted child mean?” she asked in a husky voice.
He paused for a moment and asked “Where did you hear this?”
“Today grandma was telling mumma that I am just an adopted child. Tell daddy, what does it mean?”
Looking into her eyes he said, “OK. I will tell you, but promise me that after I tell you the meaning, you would never speak this word again. Do you promise?”
“Hmm” she nodded.
He started to explain “There are two types of children. The first ones are born to their parents and the second ones are the special ones, they are not born to their parents but are brought to them by angels. Those are the ones we call adopted children. They are very very special children of God and God loves them so much that he himself instructs the parents to take care of the child or they’ll be punished. So my child, you are one special child of God. That’s why grandma called you adopted.”
“Did God instruct even you to take care of me ?” Navya questioned.
“Yes of course he did.” , He answered.
A godly smile appeared of Navya’s face .
“So what will you tell God if he comes and asks you whether I am taking good care of you or not? ”, he questioned this time.
“I’ll tell him that you are the best papa one could ever have.” She answered planting a kiss on his cheek.
“What if he disagrees and punishes papa?” he questioned again looking into her eyes.
I guess she wasn’t expressive enough to react in words. So, she started sobbing.
“Aww my shweetu baby, God loves us all. He would never ever punish us. After all, we all are his children, aren’t we?” he tried to console her.
“But I am one of the special ones”, she exclaimed wiping her tears.
He chuckled and kissed her on her forehead and said, “Yes you are special, my child, yes you are. Shall we go to the bed now?” he asked.
Placing her on the bed he waited for her to sleep, as was his routine from the past 5 years.
The man in the story is Ramachandra Singh Prajapati, a man of a few words, a man I respect from the bottom of my heart. A man, the society would never know existed and for a few people Prajapati is the society itself. It was back then when we passed out from college, I still remember that final day of our college. We sat on a bench outside the campus, holding glasses, his contained sprite and mine contained vodka.
“What next Sharma? College is over now, any plans ahead?”, he asked me.
“Yes of course Satyawaadi Harishchandra Prajapati ji, I am gonna marry Mansi. Yes, I am gonna make her my wife.” I replied with a wobbling tongue due to the effect of vodka.
“Sharma! Go get a life first and then think about getting a wife or you will end up losing both.” He advised as usual.
“Oh come-on Ramu Kaka! Ain’t I supposed to fulfill the promises I made to her? It’s just you who has a phobia of girls, not me! So, you get a life man! Or a wife.” I uttered in my drunk tone and laughed on my own bad joke.
I further mocked, “You know what? The kind of boring person you are, I am damn sure that there would be no honeymoon in your life.”
“I already have a life waiting for me. I am flying to Mumbai tomorrow morning. Got a job there. I wish if you could come along and look for a job too.” He said looking into my eyes.
“Job? Me? No way man! I am a wild lion that cannot be tamed. I’ll better tie a rope and hang myself rather than wearing a tie and kill myself the slower way.” I laughed again.
I guess it wasn’t me who was talking back then, it was the vodka. As per his plan, he flew to Mumbai the next morning. I joined my dad’s business and we almost lost touch. 3 years later, when I proposed Mansi and we were getting married, Prajapati was one person I couldn’t miss inviting. He promised to come and as always, he kept his words and came to bless me and Mansi. I was busy all day and night receiving congratulations from friends and families from both sides and attending never ending marriage ceremonies. All me and Prajapati had were several eye contacts. Through them, we exchanged all the unsaid and untold feelings.
He had to fly back to Mumbai the very next day and I drove him to the airport. On our way to the airport, he told me about Deepshikha. A girl he met in Mumbai and was sincerely in love with. I don’t know why but I felt really happy for him that day. He was getting married to Deepshikha a year and a half later and I was so very excited to attend the marriage.
On our way to Mumbai, we met with an accident. Luckily, Navya was not with us.
Prajapati got the news the next day, but by then it was too late. We were departed souls. My words, spoken years ago, came out to be true. He never had a honeymoon. He cancelled all his prior arrangements and against all odds, adopted Navya.
I believe that there is not a bit more of a humanism one can show than loving a child who is not born to him. People like Prajapati are the reason of solace for souls like us. I actually doubt if I could have cared for Navya the way he cares for her. I watch Navya laughing in her fathers’ arms every day. I saw her walking her first step, uttering her first word and Prajapati was there for her all the time. I feel proud to know that my daughter is named Navya Ramachandra Prajapati.
I feel like dying a thousand times for that man, but I am afraid, I am not in a position to DIE anymore. May god bless him and many others like him.
On a lighter note, I am still looking for Abhishek Bachchan here in heaven, who I hear is endorsing a 3G plan. Let’s see if I could make a call to Mr. Prajapati.