Indeed there was dawn at ‘The Dusk,’ the home for the aged. The residents were filled with fresh energy. They had now something to look forward to every month. Many of them could be heard humming, singing and talking of many pleasant things in life. ‘The Naad’ had given them the impetus to want to live their lives again, to the best of their capacity. Each one of them would dress up nicely on the second Saturday of every month, as they waited for Yuvaan and his band mates to arrive.
On one such Saturday, when Yuvaan had arrived to perform with his band, a certain Mr. Dilip was waiting at the gate of ‘The Dusk’ for him. Mr. Dilip ran an orphanage, ‘Ashraya,’ in the same town, barely a kilometer away from that place. He had a request to make to Yuvaan.
“ I have heard so much about you and your band that I would like to ask you if my children too can see you perform? They never get an opportunity of any such entertainment in this small town.” Mr. Dilip stood there with folded hands. Yuvaan was choked with emotions. He said that he didn’t have any objections and that the children could come for sure. Mr. Dilip’s joy knew no bounds. Thanking Yuvaan profusely he ran out of the premises. By the time everything was set up and things were in place, it was dark. Everyone was just finishing off with their tea when suddenly a few children opened the gate and walked in. They were panting. Some others followed, mostly all were out of breath. The children from ‘Ashraya’ had arrived. They had come as fast as they could, so that they did not miss any part of the program. Their faces were glowing with eagerness and excitement.
‘The Naad’ started its performance and it turned out to be one of the most memorable evenings for them. The children seemed to be on fire; jumping, singing along and dancing. They had never had such an experience before.Their exuberant faces kept Yuvaan awake all night. Could something be done to ensure that this happiness would not be such a rare thing in their lives? He went to the kitchen and made a cup of coffee for himself and went and sat out in the garden. His mind was fully awake. All of a sudden, a thought flashed in his mind and he could not wait for dawn. He had to share his idea. He went inside and was pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Sujoy up. He always felt a special connect with Mr Sujoy, may be because he was the person who had brought Yuvaan to ‘The Dusk’ and was instrumental to this beautiful exploration of a world, that Yuvaan was completely oblivious to. Yuvaan offered to make some tea for both of them and while sipping tea, Yuvaan told Mr Sujoy about his idea. Yuvaan was overjoyed to see a gleam slowly creeping into his eyes. The gleam spread over his face and he clasped Yuvaan’s hand tightly.
The whole of Sunday morning went in talks, discussions with the residents of ‘The Dusk,’ ‘The Naad’ and Mr. Dilip. Everyone agreed to the idea unanimously, and plunged into action. The children from ‘Ashraya,’ after school, would come to ‘The Dusk’. The whole afternoon, the residents of ‘The Dusk’ would help the children with their studies. Evenings were play time, when the elders would supervise and also join them in play. Mr. Vipul became their chess coach, Mr Dharmendra started taking football classes, Mr Sujoy became hugely popular with his harmonica and the list was endless. Children became deeply interested and involved in all these activities and the excitement of the aged knew no bounds. This was such a beautiful symbiosis.
Every month, when ‘The Naad’ would come to perform, they would be greeted with wonderful news of various achievements of the children. There was a marked improvement in their academics as well. ‘The Dusk’ too was glowing with joy with their new found purpose of giving love and help to the homeless children of ‘Ashraya.’ The children too had found family. The aged were like the grandparents they had never known before and for the aged, these children were like their grandchildren they had a long time ago.
Five years thus passed by. There was a tremendous change for the better in both ‘The Dusk’ and ‘Ashraya.’ Both the places had been able to get rid of a lot of gloom and sadness. They were replaced by cheer, hope and love.The day the aged and the children were brought together, was celebrated with a lot of merriment, every year. This year too, the children had decorated ‘The Dusk’ with flowers and balloons. Yuvaan with his band was expected any time, not to perform but as an audience to the new band, ‘Josh’. The children had formed a band of their own and in such a short span, it already had made its name. They were getting impatient to perform in front of ‘The Naad’ but they were no where in sight. To everybody’s dismay, there was no sign of Yuvaan or his band mates that evening. In all these five years, this had never happened before.
Next morning, Mr Sujoy called up Yuvaan. To his surprise his phone was switched off. He had Vipin’s number but to his disappointment, could not get through that too. He then left a message asking to be contacted as soon as possible.He was getting worried. He could do nothing, though.The next morning, as he sat in the garden , he saw Vipin coming through the gate. Mr Sujoy stood up and was taken aback when Vipin came and hugged him tight. He could feel his sobs shaking him to the core. At last, somehow Vipin managed to say, “Yuvaan was diagnosed with blood cancer just three weeks back. He died yesterday morning.”
Mr Sujoy stood there with blank eyes. He did not know how to react to this unexpected tragedy. The news spread like wild fire. Everyone seemed to have been hit by a thunderbolt. There was crying, howling, by many, some stopped eating, talking and no one knew how to come to terms with this terrible loss. No one could imagine that they would see Yuvaan no more. Yuvaan, the charismatic person who had changed lives as if touching them with his magical wand, had gone forever.
Almost all activities had come to a stop at ‘The Dusk,’ since Yuvaan’s sudden demise. It was a week now and the children from ‘Ashraya’ had come as usual but none of the regular activities were taking place. The evening was setting in. Suddenly, Mr. Sujoy got up from his armchair, where he was sitting for a few hours and went to his room. He came out and sat in the garden and started playing his harmonica. It was one of Yuvaan’s favorite. Everyone sat still listening to the soulful music. Mr. Sujoy kept on playing tunes one after the other, till he could play no more. He stopped and tears kept streaming uninhibitedly from his eyes.
After a while he said, “ My dear friends and my dear children, it is very difficult to accept the bitter truth that Yuvaan is no more. Yuvaan had brought us all together with his love and had rekindled the flame of love for life. We can not let him down by extinguishing that flame. We have to get hold of ourselves and live for what Yuvaan spent his five years of life; our happiness. We have to make Yuvaan proud by living life as best as we can and that is the least we can do to repay what he has done for us, selflessly.Tomorrow being the second Saturday of the month, can we please have ‘Josh’ to perform for us?”
Everyone was crying and clapping together the next day when ‘Josh’ came up on stage and gave a wonderful performance.Yes, life had to be lived to the fullest!!