The sun is shining brightly, and I have to squint my eyes to see my path ahead. There is no sign on the road that there was a heavy rain yesterday night.
I walk merrily into the shop. It is a bookshop as you can see very clearly. I work here, and welcome to my workplace.
I am 14 years old. When I first wanted a job to support my family’s meagre income, I roamed about the streets. I actually didn’t intend to join here, but fate had me do it. Everyday I come early, clean the floors, dust the books, and wait for customers to come.
You are the first customer today.
I am actually surprised at how people flock to the bookstores always. Don’t they have jobs to do? Mouths to feed? I am not jealous. Just saying!
Don’t say this to the person sitting over there. He owns this shop. He is very old, and after his retirement, just to while away his time, he has opened this shop. But, it came as a blessing to me, right? I earn what I can, and I am not suffering much as a worker here. I must be happy. But, I am not.
I am here at the bookshop from the time sun shines the best to when it diminishes in the west. I am always surrounded by books.
And, I love books.
( Who doesn't?)
I love how they smell, and how they feel. When there is no customer around, I lazily walk around the shelves, looking at the covers, and looking at the words in it.
I am saying looking at the words, because I cannot read them.
This is an English bookstore, and I know nothing. Now, I must request you not to say about this to the owner there. He thinks I can read and write English. But, I certainly can't. He might not keep me in this bookshop if he knew. I can search for some other job, but I don't want to leave here. I like to dream about some day in future; some day that I could read them all. May be.
Actually, the only hindrance that I have in not knowing the language is when some customers come and ask me about a book. I usually don’t disturb the customers by asking them what they want. Most of them usually enjoy their shopping when left alone among the aisles of books. They select their own, read a few lines, smile, grunt and make their decision. If I am going to stand and watch them over like a hawk, they usually don’t like that.
Oh! One moment.I have to see what the customer in the blue shirt wants.
(I start to wander around the shelves. They do have a good collection. The customer in the blue shirt seems to want something)
(After a good 15 minutes)
I told you. I hate customers like these. He wanted a particular edition of a book. It really made me afraid. In panic I didn’t know what to do. Then he took his mobile and showed me a picture. Then I knew. You see I am always roaming among them, and I can find them by just seeing them once. He called it some ‘Agaathaa’. What is it? Do you know?
( Agatha Christie? The mystery/detective story writer?)
Oh! A mystery writer? Fantastic stories? You must have read them, right?
I really love mysteries. But what better mystery than a life?
I used to pester my grandma to tell stories always. She used to tell a lot. Even now I would love to hear new stories. Those stories teach you a lot than many classes at school. But, once you grow up you have to read your own stories, right. I hope I can do that one day. Hopefully!
(and he gives me a laugh)
Also, if I am unable to sleep, I weave my own stories in my mind. I don’t tell them to anyone. Just for me. If I can do something and by some miracle, if I get to read all these books, that day I will be happy. I want to do something. But, I don’t know how I can.
Do you want to hear my stories?
(I would like to read them)
Not everyone has a chance at achieving what they want in life. Some do not pursue their wants beyond a certain limit. Some are thirsty enough for opportunities, but they do not get the timely help that could be offered to them.
Do you know someone who is eager to know and learn English? Yearning for it, but with no possibility of achieving it. You might be of help to them.
If we can do something to someone, that something might be more than anything for them.
This is Nihar Shanti Amla's Pathshala Funwala's toll free number 8055667788.
They have a fun way to learn English!
Do check them out, and share it so many people could achieve their dreams or may be to start a new dream.
Because dreams are the way of life! Always dream!
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