DIYA Youth Resource & Activity Centre

23 January 2011

'Sunshine'; The Second of Two Short Stories Inspired by an Indian Authors Visit to Deep Griha Society


Sunshine is the second of two short stories written by Indian Author Rakesh A. Bakshi following a visit he made late last year to Deep Griha's DIYA project in the Ramtekadi slum area.

Sunshine

Once there lived a boy called Sunny. He is 7 years young and he lives in Shivalik Hills, which is a hilly region in Chandigarh, a city in India, near the Himalayan Mountains.

Sunny gets up from his bed in the morning and the first thing he does is he goes to his window and looks at the rays of the Sun, and he smiles.  That is why his parents had nicknamed him Sunny.


On his way to school Sunny looks at the rays of the Sun falling through the trees and smiles at them.


On his way back from school he looks at the Sun reflecting from the tall glass windows and he smiles.


Sunny’s Mother who would always take him to school in the car asks him why he smiles so much when he sees the Sun.
He replies that he likes the rays of the Sun because they make everything shine and look beautiful.


One day they hear a strange and loud sound in the distance and wonder what has happened. They see a dark cloud forming in the sky.


They switch on the TV and see in the news that there has been a volcanic eruption at some mountains nearby and fire and smoke is rising from the mountain towards the sky.


Sunny asks his Father what is a Volcano?


His Father explains to him that when hot air and hot rocks from below the ground come out of the mountain it is called a volcanic eruption.


On the news they see that the black smoke from the volcano is rising higher and higher in the sky. Soon the sunlight outside their house gets fainter. Sunny notices it’s beginning to get darker and appears like it is early evening. He looks at the walk clock. It is only 3pm. He scratches his head in puzzlement.


Sunny clings on to his Mother as he is scared by this strange and mysterious development. He has never seen night coming so fast while it is still day. He has never seen so much dust and dark clouds in the sky. The same night he wants to sleep along with his Mother and Father in their bedroom. He falls asleep while he is watching the news and pictures of smoke and fire from the mountain.


The next morning Sunny wakes up and as usual he is smiling and he looks up towards the sky.  But strangely the Sun is not there. He looks at the wall clock and the time is 7 in the morning. He scratches his head in puzzlement.
His father wonders if the school will be open today because of the black clouds in the Sky. He decides to drive Sunny to school.


On their way to school they pass through the best localities of the city and everything is clean and good looking. Sunny looks up towards the trees to look for his best friend, the Sun, but he cannot find a trace of him. He scratches his head in puzzlement. He wonders why he can’t see the beautiful rays of the Sun today.


On the way home from school he looks up at all the tall glass buildings and his best friend the Sun is not seen in a single window. He misses his friend, Sunshine. He turns sad. His smile disappears.


Sunny reaches home and his Mother wonders what’s wrong with him? Why is he looking sad, where has his shining smile disappeared she asks him.


Sunny tells his Mother that he did not see his best friend, the Sun, the whole day.


His Mother explains to him that the Sun has been hidden by the dark dust clouds that came from the angry mountain. But he should not worry. Even though they cannot see the Sun he continues to shine behind the clouds. And soon their friend the wind will blow away the dark clouds, and he will be able to see his friend shine once again. She tells him to give her a smile.  But Sunny remains sad.


His Mother tells him to finish his school homework while she finishes making their dinner.


Sunny goes to his room and brings out his homework books to start his homework for the next day.


A week goes by and Sunny still does not find his best friend in the sky. The family is glued to the TV screen every night. His parents discuss they are worried that Sunny has stopped smiling.


The next day after Sunny’s Mother hands him his Tiffin box for lunch, she tells him today they will leave a bit earlier for school, and take a detour on the way to school.


The unsmiling Son takes his seat in the car without comment. His lunch box is in his hand.


Passing by locations unfamiliar to him, the Mother points out to some children who are walking to school, and some are alone without their parents accompanying them, while many other children are standing at public bus stops to ride in the public buses to reach school.


Sunny looks at the children his Mother pointed out to and then looks ahead and continues to look sad.


Their car stops at a traffic signal opposite Ramtekdi, a low income housing; it’s a location that they never pass on their way to school. Sunny asks his Mother why she has brought him from this longer and dirtier road today?


The Mother points at his Tiffin lunch box and draws his attention to a few poor children on the street and how they are running from car to car asking for food or money.  Soon one poor child arrives at their window too. The Mother gives the poor child a Rs 2 coin.


Sunny scratches his head in puzzlement.  He asks his Mother why did she tell him about those children walking to school, or taking the Public Bus, and who are these poor children begging for food and money,  and why did she ask him what does his Tiffin lunch box contain? Does she know these children? And does his Tiffin box not have his favourite noodles in it today?
The traffic signal turns green. She does not reply and moves ahead and stops the car by the side. She asks him, “Son, did you notice something in those poor children? The ones who were walking to school as they did not have a car to drop them, some walking all by themselves, and the children back there at the Slum begging for food and money? There was something common in all of them. What was it?


Sunny is clueless.


Sunny’s Mother asks him once again, “Sunny, what was common in many of those children we saw this morning?
Sunny thinks harder. He tries to recollect what he saw earlier. He recollects each and every face he saw. He tries to remember what they were wearing.


After a while, Sunny says, “All of them were... Smiling?”


His Mother replies, “Yes my dear Son, they seem happy, even though they did not have a car to take them to school, they were happy even though lived on the streets and did not have a school to go to, they seem happy even though they do not have  enough to eat every day.


Sunny ponders what his Mother is really saying.


Mother – “Sunny, you do not need the Sun for you to Shine. You do not need the Sun for you to smile. Do not be sad for what you do not have, and you will find the reason to smile. The Sun has gone away for these children, some of them have never seen the Sun since they were born, and yet they seem happy so they smile.”


Sunny leans forward and hugs his Mother. He Smiles.


They drive towards school.


The Sun continues to remain hidden behind dark clouds. But Sunny continues to smile ever after.


And he lived happily ever after.

 

@ Rakesh A. Bakshi

Category: Youth Empowerment



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