Lokesh was searching for a document which he thought he had kept in the drawer. It was needed urgently in connection with approval of his plans for widening of his Lottery Ticket shop. While pulling out things from the drawer, he got an old letter folded into four flaps. He knew what it was. Still, out of curiosity he opened the letter and ran a cursory glance over the contents. It was a letter written by him to a cinema star Sonu Sood, though he did not post it. Thank God! He did not send it to the star. He felt quite ashamed now to have written it on that day but it aroused a flash back of sweet memories attached to that funny letter seeking help from the star.
Sometime during last year, he along his family went to see a popular Hindi movie by name Dabangg. Salman Khan was already a popular star and this film made him all the more popular. Another interesting feature of this film was that as much the hero was important in the film, so much was the villain also. The villain was given equal space and scope for acting. The villain Sonu Sood was noticed by the audience and he shot to popularity. His market also picked up very fast. He had then itself got a rich crowd of fans.
Dabangg was released sometime in 2010. But Lokesh did not go to see the movie when it was running in packed houses. In its second or third round now, he went to see the same old movie with his family. Even today there was a good rush in theatres whenever it was screened. Best part of the film shown now, was that people were eager to see the villain of the film than the popular hero of the film. Salman was side-lined whereas Sood stole the show. Because, the villain Sonu Sood was no more a villain but came to be known as a new Godman doing great things, particularly for the poor people. The villain of the film was seen as a hero in real life. As soon as Sonu Sood appeared on screen, the operator stopped the ongoing film. He screened another slide depicting Sonu Sood who had emerged as hero in his real life.
The theatre owner had prepared a card specially in the name Sonu Sood highlighting his recent noble deeds and his manifold silent offers to the needy people. Glimpses of cheering crowd and words of praises showered on him for his good social works were also shown on the screen. People seeing this newly added feature to the film about the real hero Sonu Sood and his real image in recent years, they simply whistled, cheered, applauded and hailed him. The theatre owner was doubly happy on seeing the response from the mob. His theatre was drawing more people to see this newly added feature with the result, shows were running in full packed house. At the same time the theatre owner as well as the operator felt very nice in highlighting the virtues of a worthy person. Sonu Sood was a sudden craze not only for the film fanatics. Even ordinary people liked him very much. They simply admired what he did for less fortunate people …. An adorable man! The slide card was worth seeing. It mainly covered his generosity towards migrant labourers.
Sonu Sood had gone out of the way to help more than fifteen thousand migrant workers during the Lockdown period. He had been organising buses for the migrant labourers to travel from Mumbai to their respective hometowns in Bihar UP etc. He arranged food and shelter for more than 45000 of such migrants stuck in Lockdown. He kept open his hotel free for them to stay till they could be sent home safely. He was known as Messiah of Migrant workers. The card also depicted that he was honoured by United Nations. There was a rumour afloat that some people were building a temple for him – thus raising him to a status of God.
Moved by his greatness, somebody in the hall clapped and soon others too followed. Someone stood up and others too stood up as a mark of respect and appreciation. Lokesh, his wife and children also joined them. Lokesh’s wife whispered. “I wish we too were migrants. Then we too would have got his benefaction.” It was then a freak thought as a spark struck in his mind. He must write a letter to this Messiah for favours. In the wake of same stretch of seeking help, he wrote this letter. But his firm nature of not stretching out hands for alms and his own natural shyness, he neither completed the letter nor sent it to star Sonu Sood.
Today on seeing that unsent letter, his memories sprang up afresh. Today’s Lokesh was far different from what he was last year, when he was writing the unsent letter. Present day Lokesh was in many ways similar to his mentor Sonu Sood himself. He too shot to fame after having exhibited an extraordinary stint of honesty, at the time when he passed on the entire prize money to his friend cum school teacher. He was after all a small-time lottery ticket vendor and his friend a school teacher was a regular client. Actually, the school teacher wanted to buy lottery tickets and did not have money. So, Lokesh purchased the tickets on his behalf and from own money. Wonder of wonders! One of the tickets earmarked for his friend was the lucky ticket which turned out to be a jackpot ticket offering a prize money of --- a whopping amount of two crores. Lottery tickets did not carry the name of person who purchased or when they were purchased. So, anyone holding the prize-winning ticket could become the prize winner.
Lokesh was by his very nature, honest to the core. So obviously, he gave the tickets to his friend along with the glad news of the year. People hailed Lokesh as good Samaritan for his exemplary show of honesty. His very image in his home town got changed. More so, when a film-producer came to see him and honoured him in a public meeting. He too became a celebrity. Lokesh thought it was all due to his Guru, Sonu Sood. His blessings!
From then on, he had been doing his bit of noble deeds to his kith and kin. An honest vendor like Lokesh was getting his recognition in a humble way.
Recently he read a news item saying Sonu Sood went to a shooting spot in Andhra Pradesh where a super star Chiranjeevi was performing. With blessings of Chiranjeevi, Sonu Sood gave away smart mobile phones to some cine-field workers whose children could not take up online educational courses. This piece of news stirred Lokesh.
“If my Guru could offer mobile phones for some unknown students then why should I not replicate the same in my town? This will help my friend who is otherwise also a teacher.”
Lokesh went to meet his friend. Earlier he was living in a small house in a nearby locality. Now that he had become a crorepathi, a multi-millionaire, he had moved to a big palatial house in a posh locality. He discussed with him about purchase of smart phones for the benefit of students for their online classes. Because of lockdown there was no school and no work for the teacher. Though the teacher did not like Lokesh spending on phones for few students, he agreed to the idea of sharing the cost of some more phones. This arrangement helped them to bring more students under their scheme. In this manner, total number of phones they both purchased had exceeded what Sonu Sood did. The phone dealer who suddenly got an offer of purchase of too many smart phones, readily gave one extra phone free for their personal use. Thus, in one stroke, three philanthropists shot up. All of them thanked Sonu Sood for paving the path.
Lokesh who was till last year a seeker of help, today stands tall as one who is helping others. Help-Seeker to Help-Provider. This is the story of one Lokesh. But there are so many like him unseen and unknown.
Sonu Sood, are you watching? Truly, you are an inspiration to many in India. Big salute to you.
Long live Sonu Sood with your helping hands!