I met Akash on a cold winter morning and, his eyes were red, like someone returning from a long night shift. He was wearing a Hawai chappal and, minuscule clothes were on his body. He was sitting outside our main gate. I used to live in Muniraka Gaon those days, a buzzing ghetto in south Delhi.

Kya naam hai bhai aur yahan aise kahe baithe ho? (why are you sitting outside like this?)
Sir Akash. Kaam dhund rahe hai sir, Delhi abhi abhi aaye hain. (looking for a job, moved to Delhi recently)

After talking a little more over hot chai and butter rusk, I got to know he took a train from Saharanpur and landed here two days back. His father beat him for failing in exams. He started crying uncontrollably. Later on, he told me that he had not eaten for the past 20 hours. I was wondering if he was missing his parents or morning paratha over chai.

Akash was lost. Either it was the traffic noise or his thoughts. We walked around the galli, like walking in a mini cosmopolitan, that is Munirka Village for you.

Later on, with a small face, he requested if he can get cleaned up at my place. Who was I to say no? I invited him to my RatHole.

Time flew by, grown up in a small town In Bihar, many of his stories were relatable. From mango, amrood, borewell, and stopping the train. I asked Akash what he wants to be, and he replied: Jo likha hoga, ho zaiga. (whatever is in fate, I will get that).

We headed to Ber Sarai for breakfast: poori, jalebi, and sabzi. I asked Akash if he is missing his parents, sister, and would like to go back home. He said he would but has no money. He was also scared of his father.

We took an auto, headed to the New Delhi Railway Station. I got a Tatkal ticket for the evening train and big my farewell to Akash.

It’s been over 17 years now. I hope Akash would have gotten what fate had in store for him. I still get nostalgic about the Delhi winters and random encounters with Akash.

I leave this for you readers to decide if it is a fiction or real incident. 🙂