City Moment – Two Dreams, Jacobpura, Gurgaon
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s just a small pavement tea stall at Gurgaon’s Jacobpura in the greater Delhi region, but it is home to at least two dreams — one that did not materialise, the other that might or might not materialise.
The stall is manned by Munna Prasad and Azad Kumar. Mr Prasad is 40 and Mr Kumar is 18. The former is “chacha” (uncle) to the latter, who is his “bhatija”.
The older gentleman says he had a dream when he was of his nephew’s age. “I wanted to be a pilot …. I wanted to learn to fly planes.” Mr Prasad then lived at his remote village in Rohtas, Bihar, and while working in his father’s meagre farm fields, he would occasionally spot a plane flying high above in the sunny sky “moving with the pace of an ant.”
Mr Prasad’s father died early and he could not continue his school education due to financial problems at home. Shrugging his shoulders, he laughs and says, “I have long forgotten the sky. I haven’t even been able to set my feet firmly on the ground.”
The nephew, who is visiting from the village, is hopeful about his prospects. “I want to be a police officer,” he says confidently. Mr Kumar is in the 10th standard. “I should have been in 11th but I failed in maths, so I’m repeating the year.” Nevertheless, he says, he is working hard. As proof, he takes out a diary, opens it to a densely filled page, revealing, “I do all the hisaab (chai stall account) here.”
When he reaches his uncle’s age, the boy calmly says, “I will most probably be a sub-inspector taking care of my district.” It’s a touching moment.
Uncle’s yesterday, nephew’s tomorrow