Almost the whole of the village was gathered at the District hospital since morning.The Zamindar, Chaudhary Maan Singh was in the intensive care unit. He was very critical. He had slipped from his horseback and had hurt his head.There had been excessive internal bleeding and a blood transfusion was required urgently. The doctors were all waiting, helplessly. The zamindar had the rarest blood group, AB negative and hence finding a donor was a big challenge. Time was running out. His family stood there, praying fervently for a miracle donor. The hospital had tried all possible resources, but in vain.
Suddenly, someone came running and headed straight to the reception. He told them there that he wanted to donate his blood for the zamindar. Ajay and Viraj, the two sons of zamindar, rushed to the reception to meet the donor. On reaching there, they stopped short. It was Raghu. Raghu greeted them with folded hands and quickly told them that he was a Universal donor with the blood group O negative. He urged for the necessary actions to be taken, without wasting any time. Everyone seemed to spring to life. Raghu’s arrival had infused hope in everyone. Everything was arranged and in no time Raghu’s blood was running into the zamindar’s veins. The doctors were a lot hopeful now of the zamindar’s recovery. The zamindar’s family felt in short of words to express their gratitude to Raghu but Raghu was gone.
In the next 48 hours the zamindar regained his senses. He had become very weak. He was now, out of danger. The doctors and the family, heaved a sigh of relief. He still needed a lot of nursing and care. After a prolonged hospital stay, the zamindar returned home. One day, Kusum, his wife, suggested that they have a puja at home, to offer their thanks and gratitude to God. The zamindar readily agreed but he too had a suggestion.
“Kusum, I’ve been thinking about the noble soul, because of whom I am living today. I want to meet the kind soul, who donated his blood, selflessly, to save my life. Is he from our village? Do I know him?”asked the zamindar.
Kusum fell silent. She did not know what to say. She dreaded giving the answer but she had no choice.
“It is Raghu. He is the miracle donor, who saved your life,”she replied softly, looking into her husband’s eyes.
The zamindar seemed to be shell shocked.He did not know how to react to this revelation. Not a word escaped his lips. He just kept sitting there, staring blankly, into the garden. Kusum came and sat gently beside him, holding his hand. The zamindar kept staring out.
That bright, sunny day, about ten years ago, became vivid in front of the zamindar’s eyes. He was sitting at the same place, looking into some important papers, when his younger son Viraj, then almost at the verge of stepping out of his teens, came across the garden. A boy, all skin and bones, about ten years old was following him. The boy was very shabbily dressed, or rather hardly had clothes on his self. He had marks of, what seemed like beatings, all over his body. Viraj came and stood in front his father and the boy, stood behind him, with folded hands. The zamindar distinctly remembered the bright, shiny, black eyes on that bony face.
“ Who is this boy, Viraj? And why have you brought him here?” asked the zamindar.
“ Father, on my way home from college, I found this boy sitting alone by the roadside. His name is Raghu. On enquiring , he pointed out to his village, saying that his parents had been beaten to death, by the villagers, accusing them to be evil souls, who had brought famine in their village. Both of them being deaf and dumb, were the reason, to be thus accused. Raghu has been spared because he can speak. He tried his best to save his parents but all that he got, are these beatings. Not knowing where to go, he left the village and came to sit by the roadside. He belonging to the lowest caste, was the reason that nobody gave him shelter. I have brought him here, to stay with us,” said Viraj, putting a hand on the boy’s head.
“Is this a shelter home, Viraj?” boomed the zamindar. “ This boy, belonging to the lowest of castes, thrown out of his own village, will stay with us? How can you dare think so?He is an untouchable. At best, give him something to eat and I don’t want to see him any more. You better concentrate on your studies and don’t try to act a saint.”
Viraj was adamant that Raghu will stay there. The zamindar was in a rage. He could not stand Viraj’s disobedience. Kusum had come from inside and was a witness to the whole thing. She pleaded on her son’s behalf,to let the boy stay with the servants and kept trying to calm down her husband. At last, the zamindar had to give in but he ordered that Raghu should never be seen by him. He looked at Raghu with disgust and stormed inside.
Since then Raghu stayed there. Viraj got him admitted to a school. Raghu had a very sharp mind. He worked hard and did very well for himself in school and college. He was very popular among both students as well as the teachers. Everybody around him liked his pleasant nature, except one, the zamindar. He never ever spoke a word to him. Even if Raghu would accidentally cross his path, the zamindar would just turn his face away. He simply hated the boy, for making his own son, take a stand against his father. He never forgave him for that.
The zamindar looked at Kusum. “I want to see Raghu , now” said he. Kusum asked for Raghu to be called immediately. The servant came back with the news that Raghu had gone to the town for some job interview.
Night fell. Dinner was done but the zamindar was pacing up and down, in the garden.
“ It’s pretty late, you must go to bed,” said Kusum to her husband.
“ Leave me alone please,” the zamindar replied. He then went and sat in the armchair on the terrace. It was around midnight, when Raghu walked across the garden to go to his room. Suddenly, he saw someone standing in front . It was the zamindar. Raghu held his head down and tried walking past him. The zamindar blocked his way. Raghu was taken aback. He looked up to see tears rolling down the zamindar’s face and heard a feeble trembling voice say, “Son, will you ever be able to forgive me?”