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During Durga Puja vacation, my mom’s friend and her family came in Kolkata from Daman. It was their 1st time visit in Kolkata. They were equally fascinated and enchanted at the festivity and celebrations of this Puja. After Dashami, as we have the tradition of ‘Bijoya –Dashami’s pranam and kola- kuli’ (hugging each other), they visited our house. The family had a little girl, Sweta, two years younger to me. While introducing her to Choco-Dadu, he became quite nostalgic at the sheer name of Daman. When I enquired him of the fact, he told that an incident happened in his life in Daman which has taught him a life time lesson. After we both insisted him, he promised us to tell after the lunch.


In the noon, when the parents were busy in chatting, we two, the children and two of our grandfathers went in the balcony. He started:-


“Goa, Daman, and Diu was incorporated into the Republic of India on December 19, 1961, by military conquest. I went on January’62 to have coverage of the political summit. It was held in Daman. The city was calm and quite, far away from din and bustle. It had many serene beaches. The place taught me that we should show our love while we can, while people need us. That is something I learnt from an incident in Daman.”


He then turned to Sweta and asked her, “You must know The Somnath Mahadeva Temple.” She told that she knew it very well and that too he has often visited there. Choco-Dadu went on, “The Somnath Mahadeva Temple is an important place of worship in Daman. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is situated in the village Dabhel. It is believed that the Shivalinga was miraculously originated at its present place on the request of a monk who was a true devotee of Shiva. This miraculous incident is believed to have taken place in the19th century, which induced people to hold this place as holy place and they built a small temple.”

“During my stay in Daman for nearly a fortnight for the summit, I saw a little boy daily near the temple, always in a white shirt and black pants, with a small Shiva pendant around his neck.

He sat with a basket of fresh floral garlands. Be it at six in the morning or nine at night, he would try his very hardest to sell his wares. I was a frequent temple goer and each time the boy would beg me earnestly to buy a garland. But somehow I never did. Even when I came out, he would follow me to my car, begging me to buy one at least. Other boys sold flowers too, but none as persistently as he. Somehow, I went back to Delhi after the completion of my job. Again I went there after a gap of some months.”


Choco-Dadu carried on, “The boy was there, seated exactly as before. I tried to avoid his gaze, assuming that he would follow me. But he did not budge. On the other hand, he tried to neglect my presence. I went inside the temple and came back. But the boy made no effort to sell his garlands.

I thought he was angry or just showing his own self-respect. I suddenly missed the communication. I always had with this unknown boy and went to him. He looked at me but did not speak. This was strange. I gathered courage and asked: "Bhaiya, why are you not asking me to buy your garlands?"

He said, "Saab, why should I ask? You are rich but you can't spend five rupees on my garland. Anyway now I am not so desperate. My sister was suffering from tuberculosis and I had to work for her medicines. My father had left us. My mother makes the garlands and I sell them. We used the money for my sister's medicines. She passed away two months ago. You can now take one for free."

“I bought them all. But I felt so small. I still repent that I did not respond then when he tried so hard.” Turning back to us, he gasped, “I still remember the boy’s face. The place taught me a life time lesson. That’s what that happened with me. I am sure you children got what I meant through the incident. I would hope that you will never make this sort of mistake in your life.”