“Thengaa, Maanga, Pattani Sundalllllll” the little boy’s voice was reverberating in his head while he woke up. The time was 4 pm when this voice woke him up from his weekend midnoon nap. He quickly got ready, put on his jogging shoes and headed towards the beach. He loved the sea breeze and everything else about the sea. Familiar territory though, he would generally only jog around the periphery and stayed off from venturing into the sands or the water. Today was different. He headed straight to the sands, took a deep breath and sat down. He closed his eyes, shutting off the world surrounding him.
He envisioned hectic activities happening around him. He could see scores of people like scattered islands. There was horse riding, balloon shooting and even a molaga bajji stall. Amidst the packed crowd, he spotted an young boy about 6 years old finding his way through the crowds. This boy stopped near a group of children who were animatedly reciting rhymes. The boy paused for sometime watching them and longed to be a part of this group. He yearned to be able to go to school and read books. With an invisible sigh he picked up his snack tin meant to be sold and had just started to scurry along, when all of a sudden he tripped on a bag and fell down while his tin of snacks scattered all over the sand. His humble earning for the day for his family was gone and this was happening for the second day in a row. His dad would beat him. His mom would scream and cry. He found himself surrounded now by the same group of children who were watching him with curiosity. He broke down.
“Here child, its alright. Have this” thundered a voice. He looked up to see a tall young man in a green shirt with a remarkable moustache thrusting him a 200 rupee note. “I understand. Give this to your parents”. He asked the children around to leave and sat down with this boy. “Whats your name child?” he asked. “Mani” said the little boy in a meek voice. He spoke to the boy for some time and made a decision.
The green shirt man approached Mani’s parents and offered to pay them Rs.3000\- every month in exchange for having Mani to go a school, his friend manages. This was too good an offer for the parents to refuse. Mani proved to be very earnest and progressed in studies. He moved on to a boarding school the very same year. The man in the green shirt was his mentor and guide all through – supporting , motivating and most importantly funding him till it was required. Finally this boy graduated from a prestigious management institute and found his way into a well paying job in a Fortune 500 company.
“Thengaa, mangaa, pattani sundallllllll!” “Do you want some sundal sir?” spoke a little voice. He zapped out of his trance instantly, and noticed a boy in front of him holding a tin of snacks, like he did, years back. Miracles do happen and he was fortunate to witness it. Good Samaritans do exist and the man in the green shirt proved it. Now it was payback time, to the world, that made him what he was. “Sit down child. I will buy this whole tin from you.” “Let’s talk” said he to the little boy. He started making his first move towards making his world a better place.(PS: Thengaa, mangaa, pattani, sundal – a lip smacking snack sold in beaches in south india)