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'Fat in Hope' - The Story of Sariful

I stealthily jarred the door behind me. I felt that huge lump in my throat. I had tricked my little girl to the bedroom. She was at the door just till then. But I called her in to distract her. As all the other family members kept her attention through empty words, I slipped out unnoticed. As I walked away I thought about the numerous ‘white’ lies I have told people; the trickster of a father I am. I am guilty. But my daughter will grow, and she will grow among greater tricksters. She will behold wickedness, perhaps what my generation will never witness. I felt the lump in my throat thicken up. There is only a dismayed picture before me. But then why do I have her growing up? What is the point in this little one growing up in this terrible world? Will there be faith anymore in this world, when she becomes a woman? I could see no light in any direction. I looked up and down, left and right and saw nothing. Where is God’s light? Why is it not shining?

But I felt God telling me that I am looking in the wrong direction. Then where I should I look? Then as if out of an epiphany, I felt my daughter pulling my chin and saying: Look here, Appa!

That is when I saw it for the first time. That hope is there in her! That is where God is working! That is where you find the hope to this world: through mighty deeds of God in the lives of little insignificant humans, like my infant daughter. Surely when God wants to work and cast a ray of hope, he rarely uses the sky as the medium. He uses each of us! Now just as I am the hope for many, even when I go amongst the children in the slums. I see them looking at me as if they behold something they were looking for.

Now for my hero, I have to introduce Sariful. Sariful was a little boy, plum with extraneously large eyes. He popped up as one little fish looking at me strangely for no obvious reasons. When I had retaliated with my own stare, he would blush away, waking from a daydream. What was he looking at? What was he looking for in this ‘fat’ man (The kids still call me ‘Mota Sir’, since I was the bulkiest of all). All the kids whom we had rescued from the streets were eager to know what these ‘fat’ people were going to give. Soon the learning began. Some were fast learners. Though Sariful was not the smartest of all, he had the willingness and the determination. As time passed by, we realised that keeping Sariful along with the other kids is not fair at all. So we shifted him to a nearby school. JP sponsored all we could: his clothes, books, means to travel and fees. Sariful was a quick learner. He started excelling in his studies and he proved his worth among the other kids. Sariful still had to help his father collect garbage. He had to sweep the verandas and streets still. This he would do in the mornings and then he would rush to school. We were a bit worried about this routine. But Sariful was a fighter. He would fight all odds to come up as a smart kid.

Today Sariful’s principal called us to school, as we are his parents. Mr. Vinay went to meet the principal. The principal praised the young man’s academics as well as his behaviour! Mr. Vinay beamed with pride. Sariful is in Grade VII now. He is looking forward for a bright future, where his parents will not have to collect garbage anymore.

Sariful is now where he is, because he saw hope in the darkness. That hope came through a teacher, and sure in this ‘fat’ guy too...



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