Two weeks later Chandan’s Uncle Birju Chacha had come, bag and baggage, wife and four kids in tow and plunked himself in Chandan’s house.
“As soon as I came to know of the terrible tragedy I decided I’ll leave everything I have in the village and come to the city to take care of Chandan. After all, poor orphan, he has no one else to call his own,” Birju Chacha went around telling everyone who cared to listen.
Chandan could stand neither Birju Chacha nor his wife and their brood. Chacha had always been the black sheep of the family. He was a good for nothing rogue and an incorrigible parasite. But Chandan had no choice.
Birju Chacha and his family simply took over the entire house. Within six months Chandan’s status was that of a servant. The entire family delighted in torturing him. Whatever savings his father had as well as his mother’s jewelry were all siphoned off by his Chacha and Chachi. While his cousins lorded over him, Chandan had to do most of the work on the house as well as run errands for everyone. Unable to bear the torture Chandan ran away and boarding the first train he left Ahmedabad and came to Baroda. Here after roaming the streets for three months he managed to get a job in Bakshi’s dhaba.
He would slog the whole day, serving water, food and cleaning tables. At night he was allowed to sleep in the dhaba. The dhaba had now become his work place as well as his home.
After that fateful Diwali Chandan had had to bear the ordeal of two more Diwalis. This was the third. While the world celebrated the Festival of Lights, Chandan mourned for his family and his little world of happiness which had been so cruelly destroyed.