"Cool down mam, I will manage it in the public exam. You not worry." Arun was all smiles without the slightest feel of remorse or fear.
We girls were giggling at his words. "Hey, dont laugh. This is abroad english. you not understand."
This time, Arun was serious and Jenny mam had to try hard controlling herself from smiling.
Abroad Arun, as we fondly call him, was my classmate in 12th standard (PUC). He joined our school after his SSLC from a government school. This cool guy never got tensed. And he knew the knack of handling anybody at any point of time. I was a fan of his sense of humor and timely wit.
On the last day of school, we were exchanging slam books. Arun returned mine and I found the 'ambition in life' column left empty. I pointed it to him. In a hushed tone, he said, "you know what, dont share future plan with others. It wont happen. Because you are one of my best friends, I tell you. My ambition is to go abroad." He smiled. Amateur kid, I pitied.
Seven years later, I was busy with my marriage preparations. To all those not so close, I had sent the invite through orkut, the social networking site that was popular, then. On the eve of my wedding, I got a call from an unknown number.
"Congrats Vaishnavi! I reached India yesterday. I will be coming there in a few minutes". The voice sounded familiar. But I could not remember. "Hey, dont remember still? This is abroad Arun", came the response. I was surprised. Being in the midst of the photo session, his words did not sink into my head.
After a few hours, my school friends came and along came Arun with a big gift and a broader smile.
He told he was working in a pizza outlet in London. Still the same naughty fellow, I thought. Nasira interrupted me. He was right. I was perplexed. How did he go to London? He could not speak a sentence in English correctly. His father, a simple cloth bag manufacturer could not have afforded it either.
Nasira explained it to me. During his college days, he had worked part-time, involving himself in a range of activities such as delivering newspapers, selling insurance policies, typing assignments and even going for election rallies. He had saved the money earned, attended spoken English class and had gone to London, his life ambition.
He might not have studied hard and earned a great job. He might not have purchased properties in his name. But for a person like Arun, going abroad in itself was a dream and he had realized it.
Today, his facebook status was updated.
'Promoted as a branch manager. Am very happy".
His profile picture was changed. Arun was standing near the Big Ben with his wife and one-year-old daughter, and yes, with a big broad smile as usual. I smiled.
I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with BlogAdda.com