A Real Hero

English कथा साहित्य
  • Kartikeya Ghimire

It is not a fictitious story that took place once upon a time. Nor is it a story that anyone has heard from others, or has read anywhere. It is based on a real story.
It was nine o’clock in the morning. I was sitting in the park by the side of the Nagpokhari Pond, searching for an idea out of which I could weave a story. It was at that time that I saw a boy of around ten, stretching his hands in front of the passers-by, asking for a rupee or twenty.
With his hands stretched, he approached me. I stood, staring at his eyes vacantly. For a few seconds, he looked quite afraid, but when I smiled, placing a five hundred-rupee note in his hand, he smiled back. He looked quite surprised and kept on looking straight at my face. He did not believe that I had indeed given the money to him.
“The money is yours, my friend! But remember, I have earned it after hard labor. Use it in a good work,” I said.
Shoving the note into this pocket, the boy ran out of the park. I followed him without giving him the slightest clue of my presence.
The boy hurried to a medical store. I sat there, observing him. In a few minutes, he came out with a vial of medicine. He held only a fifty-rupee note in his hand now.
I continued following him. He entered an underground room of an old, ancient building of the Rana period, almost broke. I could see an old woman, rising from the bed, coughing badly. The boy spoke out with enthusiasm, “Mamma, I have brought medicine for you. Come on! Get up. Take the syrup.”
The old woman woke up and lighted the lamp. The oil lamp made with a wick dipped in a bottle, scattered faint light in the room that usually remained in darkness even at noon.
I could clearly see the condition of the interior of the room in the dim light. There was an aluminium cup by the side of the old woman. It contained sputum that had traces of thick blood. In the other corner was an old stove, on which an aluminium pot had been placed and a frying pan lay by its side. Fried popcorn could be seen on an uncovered plate. The woman seemed to be of around sixty.
“Would you have some popcorn?” she asked.
The question brought a glow on the boy’s face. He fed her two spoonfuls of the syrup. He looked happy, serving his mother. A glow appeared on his countenance.
Fixing his eyes straight on the old woman who lay in her sick bed, the boy stood up at once and said, “Mamma, you can’t have popcorn, right? Let me fetch you some bread. We will then sit together and eat.” Having said this much, the boy went out of the house.
He returned within a few minute with a packet of bread. As soon as he got in, he made the old woman sit on her bed with her back rested against the back wall. Slowly, he started feeding her bread and water.
After she was fed bread and water, the woman went back to deep sleep. I was really moved by the sight of love a child bore for his mother. I could not hold my tears any longer.
After his mother had slept, the boy started eating popcorns. I thought I should not withhold my feelings about him.
“Brother, do you see? I have come to your house.”
“Oh! Aren’t you the same man who gave me a fifty rupees note at Nagpokhari?” the boy said with curiosity. I nodded my head. He quickly moved to his mother, shook her back to senses and said, “Mamma, see! He is the man who gave me money for your medicine.”
The woman looked at me. There was a glow on her face in spite of sickness. I greeted her with my hands joined. I said to her, “Your son is a real hero. One day, he will be a great man.”
Krishna indeed grew up to be a great man.

[Kartikeya is a story writer, who has more than hundred books for children to his credit including those originally written, edited and translated works. Many of his books have been translated into English. His stories have found a place in school textbooks, and a couple of theses have been written on his works at the Departments of Nepali and English at Tribhuvan University. He is also a child-right activist. President of Children’s Literature Foundation Nepal, Kartikeya has traveled extensively and had trained several children to write their voices. He is the founder of Kartikeya Child Talent Trust that identifies and awards talented but underprivileged children every year.]

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