“The Gift” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Debmalya Mukhopadhyay, Delhi Public School, Kalyanpur, India.
My name is Rajang Tiwari. I am a senior doctor in a prominent medical college. I earn a handsome amount from my patients. This money is used up by my parents and me to spend a happy and settled life. But the path of my life was not always straight and smooth. I had to struggle too much for becoming a doctor. There were lots of miseries in my life. But the biggest credit for spending a settled life goes to my father who had struggled so much during tough situations and also to a boy named Suresh. Some twenty years ago, I was born in a very poor and lower class family. My father was a servant of the president of a big company. My mother was a maid in a house. I spent my childhood in poverty and never got an opportunity to go to school, so I remained illiterate.
One day, my father told that he was employed as a servant for the birthday party of his master’s child. So he went early morning to lend a helping hand to the organizer of the party. My mother went for work as usual. The day started like an ordinary day but for me, it was the most significant day of my life. My mother had ordered me to help my father at the party and I followed her commands. When I reached the venue of the party, I was astonished to see the decorations and arrangements. It was the biggest party I had ever seen in my life. But I was ashamed of entering into the party because only prosperous people were invited. So I stood outside and stared at the delicious dishes.
After sometime, a boy came out and asked me what I was doing outside. I came to know that he was the birthday boy named Suresh. I told him that I was the child of a servant who worked in his house. I also told him that he was very lucky because his parents gave him all the happiness and comfort that he wanted but I was born in an underprivileged family and had never got an opportunity to even enjoy a party. Suresh felt very sorry for me and asked me to enjoy the party but I was ashamed to do so. Then Suresh went inside and I kept on watching the party from outside. From that day onwards my father got some more money and was saving it. Then after two years my father helped me to take admission in one of the big schools of the city. I was overjoyed as I would get an opportunity to study. I worked very hard and became educated. After graduating I gave a medical examination and became a doctor. From that day onwards I earned money and spent a settled life. Now there is no more sorrow in my life and I lead a happy and peaceful life.
But there are many ups and downs in my life and the most devastating day came when my father died because of a severe heart attack. I was greatly moved by the death of my father. I felt as if I was detached from my helping hand. But my father gave me a letter as the last remembrance of him. When I read the letter I came to know that my father worked in the house of Mr Sharma. Mr Sharma was the president of a company. This responsibility was handed over to him by his father. Although it was not a big company but Mr Sharma with his hard work and intelligence earned a huge amount of money and made his company one of the biggest companies in the city. He was a man of this world with all virtues of a worldly-wise businessman. His intelligence and presence of mind makes him a good businessman which allows him to earn a good profit for his family. On the other hand, Mrs Sharma was a housewife. She was a loving and caring woman who had set her family as her priority. She worked untiringly for the happiness of all. She was no doubt a cool, calm and hardworking woman. This family earned a good social status within a few years. Everybody respected this family because it had earned a good name, fame and money within a short period of time which was a near impossible task for an ordinary family.
Mr and Mrs Sharma had a son named Suresh. Since he was the only son of them, they wanted to give him all the happiness and comfort that they are capable of giving him. Suresh took admission in one of the biggest schools of the city as his parents kept in mind that education was the first priority of a child. They employed a number of servants including my father for their and their child’s comfort. Suresh was a studious boy as well as a good sportsman. He always topped in class and earned medals in sports.
When he was ten years old, his parents thought that it was time to make their child’s birthday party even bigger than a wedding. They spent a huge sum of money for their child’s birthday party. Suresh was very happy and also thanked his parents for spending such a huge amount of money only for his birth anniversary. Mr and Mrs Sharma were also very happy by watching the happiness of their child. They invited almost all people in the city in the birthday of their child and also employed many servants for serving the guests. Everybody was astonished by seeing the decorations and arrangements of the party. My father knew that I was standing outside and met with the birthday boy but my father never complained about that. My father came to know that Suresh felt very sorry for me as I could not fulfil my wishes. When the party came to an end, Suresh told his parents that he did not want such a big party again. He told his parents about me and demanded that the leftover food along with some money should be donated to the servants after any party. Mr and Mrs Sharma decided to do whatever their child wanted because their only objective was to see Suresh happy.
After some years, I formed a group in my society who would donate some amount of money so that the underprivileged children could be educated and earn some money for their living. Then I demanded that a get-together should be organized for the poor children who do not get an opportunity to enjoy a party because I was inspired by Suresh and I had also experienced the sad condition of being poor and wanted that the boredom and sorrow should not pass to the next generation. One member of my group advised that we should call the president of any big company to come and join us as an honourable Chief Guest. Everybody including me agreed to it and decided to send an invitation to the president of one of the biggest companies of the city. The invitation not only gave the date, venue and time but also gave the purpose of organizing the get-together.
We all were eagerly waiting for the chief guest. As soon as he entered into the get-together, I recognized him. He was Suresh Sharma. He too recognized me and asked what I was doing here. I told him the whole story that how his little contribution had proved to be a turning point in my life. Had he not convinced his father to donate some money, I would never be educated and become a successful person in life. I was very thankful to him for his gesture and asked him to enjoy the get-together.
Therefore a big part of the credit of enjoying a peaceful and successful life goes to Suresh Sharma. The irony of my story of life was that I went to the birthday party of Suresh, so I should have given him a gift. Instead of that, he gave me a memorable gift which entirely changed my life.
The story conveys a definite message to the readers that “a new tomorrow always starts from today”.