Murugesan was surprised to see a photo of a plain clothed person in the pooja room adorned with garland and vermillion dots. He asked Mohini. He already knew who he was. But what made him to be in the special puja room was only a matter of suspense.
“Oh! Uncle he is Rajneesh. We hold him in high esteem. He happened to save our lives and also helped us in getting married. He is not alive. Otherwise we will be falling at his feet daily.”
“Strange. I found his photo adorned in Ramani’s house also. They also glorified him to a status of a godman and adored him. A lucky fellow I would say! What miracles did he perform to attain this status?”
“Uncle, you please do not underestimate him. He had saved us by giving up his own life. I will tell you about him from the beginning. Then only you will get an idea of his sacrifice. He was really a superstar in real life. Had it not been for him, my husband Mohanasundaram and I would be separated and who knows in what miserable condition I would be.”
She started telling the anecdote that changed their very life. It was really a turning point for them. It happened a few months ago.
Both Mohini and Sundaram were quite worried about their future. Parents from both sides did not agree to their marriage. But Mohini and Sundaram were bent upon tying the knot. Since they wanted that it should be with the blessings from both the parents, it was becoming a tough struggle. They were even prepared to wait for a longer period, if only their parents would come around. The parents had their own complex feelings and were adamant on having different partners for their wards. The tug of war went on and on.
According to Mohini’s parents, Sundaram was not properly employed and certainly it was not advisable to have him as a life partner for his dear daughter. Mohini’s argument was her secured job would take care of their needs. With better days in future, they could tide over their crisis. Her parents tried to make her see practically, but could not convince her.
Similarly, Sundaram’s parents were of the opinion that a girl from upper middleclass would not fit into their family. She was brought up in a lavish lifestyle and would not adjust in their family. They had high hopes on Sundaram’s getting a handsome job, which would go a long way in improving their status. If at all both Sundaram and Mohini got married and Mohini took Sundaram away to lead an independent life, his parents would have to continue to struggle in meeting their ends. There was another problem also ... more vital.
The biggest hurdle was that Sundaram’s father was working under Mohini’s father. The son of a subordinate colleague was not acceptable to him as a son-in-law. He would be a laughing stock amongst his circle of friends and relatives. To avoid such a delicate situation, he was keen on fixing Mohini to a fellow with better prospects.
Not contented with all these problems churning constantly in his head, Sundaram got a call from one of the companies where he had already undertaken an interview that they were willing to offer the job provided he came up with a deposit of fifty thousand rupees. This earnest deposit of fifty thousand was too big a sum to manage, that too within a short period. Had it not been for his affair with Mohini, Sundaram’s father would have straight away asked his boss at office for a loan of fifty thousand. In the estranged circumstances how could he ask him for money? Sundaram also did not have any contact with influential people who could readily offer the huge amount.
He wanted to discuss with Mohini in detail about their future which was now hanging clearly on this deposit amount. If only she could help, it would be better. So, they went out on a long walk towards a small hillock from where a panoramic view of the area would be enchanting. The open sky above and lonely atmosphere could help them to think better and devise some workable idea.
He told Mohini that he was contemplating if any miracles happened and he could get the amount required then it would be so nice. He was telling her about the childhood story of how a dove was saved by a tiny ant. The dove had plucked a leaf and let it fall near the ant so that it could hop on to the leaf and swim to safety. The ant saw that a hunter was targeting the dove with his arrow. The dove should have actually flown away from the tree to a safer place. But there was a hawk hovering in the sky and preying upon the dove. The dove was caught between the two life threatening dangers. The hunter right here and the hawk up in the sky… The ant did a miraculous job. It drifted towards the hunter and pricked his foot hard such that, the arrow got misfired and not only that, the arrow went straight towards the hawk and shot the bird. Thus, in one shot two benefits --- a miracle indeed for the dove. It escaped the hunter’s arrow and also hovering hawk.
Sundaram was pining for a similar miracle. He must get the deposit money immediately and then get the coveted job. Once this hurdle was crossed, he could easily ask for Mohini’s hands. All dreams are sweet ok! But from where would he get deposit amount? It was then Mohini pointed out towards a boy running into a hut with a brief case. It looked very odd. Either the boy was a thief with a brief case in hand or a thief was behind him chasing to grab the brief case. It was anybody’s guess that the brief case was very-very valuable. Or else why the chase and run? Oh! God. The hut was on fire from the other side which was now clearly visible. When the boy entered then itself it must have caught fire, but was not visible from the front side. Both Mohini and Sundaram were sure the boy was caught in the fire. They ran as fast as they could. Mohini wanted to go into the hut, but Sundaram stopped her and he plunged inside.
He pulled the boy who was caught in the flames. He was still clinging the briefcase to himself. Just then a log from the beam fell on Sundaram and he screamed in pain. Neither boy, nor Sundaram could come out. Mohini hearing his cry, ushered into the raging flames. At that very moment, a strong hand pushed her aside and she fell out somewhere on the ground outside the hut. Her nylon chiffon saree too caught the heat of the fire and stuck to her body. Her loud cries of Sundaram-Sundaram were heard by some distant passer-by people who came towards the hut. Before coming, one of them phoned and summoned the firefighters.
The strong man who pushed Mohini to the ground, went right into the fire, took all brunt upon himself, lifted both Sundaram and the boy from burning log of beam, dragged them to safety and kicked them out of the hut. The boy fainted and his briefcase was intact with Sundaram. The kick from the strongman was a very crucial one. Because, that forceful kick only threw the two out of the hut and by then hut came almost crumbling down. With great difficulty, Mohini dragged herself to Sundaram and the helpless boy. Meantime people had assembled there. Many of them were onlookers as they did not know how to help the victims of fire caught in that remote area. Some threw mud and sand and some went for water.
The fire did not distinguish between rich or poor, nor between good or bad folks. The worst tragedy was all the three victims --- the boy, Sundararam and Mohini were pre-occupied with their own burns and injuries and they totally ignored one more victim --- the saviour of these three people. He was Rajneesh. First of all, they were not in a position to know what was going on around them. Much less to talk of saving Rajneesh.
While salvage actions were going on, the fire engine came with its unique bell ringing all the while. Actually, they were the people who rescued Rajneesh and then only Mohini and Sundaram realised that they had not bothered to care about him. The person who saved them! By then, the damage was already done. When he lifted Sundaram and the young boy from under the log of wood, another log from the beam fell on him. Before he would be hit by the wooden beam, he kicked the two victims forcefully that they were thrown out of the burning hut and in that process, he fell under the fumes of fire. The billowing smoke also damaged the eyesight and its visibility, it also choked him leading to breathlessness. He was falling almost unconscious. Then at the nick of the moment, firefighters rushed in and rescued him. Policemen also arrived on the spot. They started their routine investigations.
Before it was too late, all four fire victims were taken to hospital. Mohini was the only one with less burns and injury. It was her saree that proved harmful. The boy regained conscience but was still under grip of rude shock. The flames were still dancing in front of him. Slowly and steadily he regained his conscience and memory. The Police was waiting for him. They wanted to know what caused the fire and how he got trapped.
Mohini was worried about Sundaram. He was badly wounded by the burning log of wood that fell upon him. Had it not been for Rajneesh and his mad kick, surely, he would have been half dead. Now that he was saved by Rajneesh, he wanted to see him and know how he was getting on. Rajneesh was the worst affected person. He felt that he would not survive. With difficulty he spoke. He took an oath from Sundaram that if he lost in his battle for life, then Sundaram must go ahead without hesitation for harvesting as much organs as possible from his dead body. Both Mohini and Sundaram were in tears. Their own lives were the gift of his mercy. And now he was talking about organ donation! The doctors and nurses also were amazed at his shocking revelations.
The young boy was wondering how a person could be of two distinct natures. Earlier Rajneesh was the one who engaged him to steal and lift the brief case from a millionaire’s house where he was working as a random helper. When the boy opened the brief case and saw that it was stacked with crisp currency notes, he had a change of mind. In stead of handing over the briefcase to Rajneesh, he fled away with the bounty. He at first, thought of hiding the brief case in the hut under some hay stock and sneak and hide somewhere. The least he expected was that the hut would be on fire. Some one who had lit his cigarette had thrown the match stick without realising that it was not extinguished. What followed was the biggest punishment for his very first crime. He was caught in the fire and quite likely he would be burnt alive. Thank God! First Sundaram then very Rajneesh saved him.
Mohini on hearing everything from the boy, advised him to twist the story and say that he was only trying to save the brief case from thieves and Rajneesh also helped him in doing so. They both were running from thieves who were behind them. This helped the boy to maintain his image as a good boy and also that of his saviour Rajneesh.
The young boy’s boss came running to the spot. He was worried if something happened to the boy, the boss would be answerable to his parents. Luckily, he was spared. Thanks to Rajneesh. His dying wish of organ donation was carried out with as much honours as possible. Rajneesh was hurt below the belly. His heart, lungs, and whatever organs possible were carefully harvested and arranged for immediate transplantation. Everyone offered silent prayers, “Rajneesh is dead. Long live Rajneesh.”
Mohini gathered guts and approached the millionaire for help. She told him about Sundaram’s dilemma. In a few days’ time, he would be fully recovered. But he was in dire need of fifty thousand … not a rupee more, not a rupee less. If only the millionaire could spare the amount as a soft loan, they would be very grateful. The young boy also emphasized that Sundaram was selfless and courageous in saving his life. The boss laughed aloud and said,
“If the fire spared you people and took away my money, what can I do? Now all of you together saved my money. I can never excuse myself if I do not lend anything to you people. Happily, I am giving this to you. Don’t worry. I am with you both and will convince your parents also to proceed further. Rajneesh has taught all of us to be of useful to needy ones.”
Mohini was telling Murugesan, “To cut the story short, Rajneesh helped us in getting the deposit money and Sundaram in getting his coveted job. He also helped in getting us married. More than our getting married, he helped our parents to come on same platform and bless us. Is not that great? He was much more than that tiny ant which saved the dove. Don’t you agree he was a real superstar? He is our real Rajanikant.”
She continued. “Maybe you wanted to say that he was a thief or a fallen guy. I do not agree. Even if he be so. Why bother now? The very superstar Rajanikant started his film career as a villain. But who remembers his past? He is a superstar and that is it. You please tell me who will call the sage Valmiki as a crude hunter or roadside robber. Everyone remembers and revers him as a holy sage and nothing else. When great things are achieved by erstwhile small people, all of us are bound to glorify them as superstars only. They are Rajanikant , they are Valmiki. Don’t bother about their past.”
She just wanted to say, “Am I talking too much? For me Rajneesh is our Rajneeshkant. Simply said as superstar Rajanikant. Any contradictions?”
Murugesan agreed. “I fully agree with you. Ant is small but its timely help is marvellous. So is your Rajneesh. A Real Superstar. Long live Rajanikant. Hail Rajanikant. Jai Ho.”
Chorus sounds of Rajanikant Jai Ho filled the air and kept echoing.