Opportunities were scarce in Ranipura, the small town where Samsher Singh was born and raised. Sunburnt and dusty landscape did not allow anything to grow, except thorny bushes. State highway that ran from north to south touched Ranipura. The highway seemed to be the only connection with the world outside. Ranipura town, with a population of five thousand, boasted a police station, a public health center, a post office and a cinema hall.
A dilapidated building, which was neither high nor a school in its appearance, was where Samsher’s father was the head master. School building , which also served unofficially a goat shed, was in need of repair. No one cared because in bone dry Ranipura, a leaking roof was least of anyone’s problem.
Not many students attended the school which was perennially short on staff. Serious students, travelled to distric head quarter for proper training. Teachers ran coaching centers and private tuition to bolster income and showed up at month’s end to collect their salary paid by government. Not Samsher’s father, though, who attended school religiously through out the year. An honest man who worked very hard to run a school that no one cared about.
After completing his high school, Samsher had worked as a sidekick for a small time enforcer of a small time loan shark. He would accompany muscle man to collect principle and/or interest and protection money from business men operating between district head quarter and his native town. There were not many business’s operating in this part of the state. Income was low, income from the job was not worth the risk. One day it dawned upon Sameer that he should do something better.
“I want to work and be independent, father. How do I land a government job?”
“Son, I am happy that you want to be independent. With your kind of academic qualification and lack of experience, I am not hopeful. Go meet inspector Hukum Singh in the district HQ. He may help.”
“I owe my life to your father,” Hukum Singh, a tall, thin man with an impressive moustache, did not look as imposing as his name suggested but what he said was promising, “CID is looking for young trainees. Salary is not much; If you do well things will change; we may even help you with further studies. Are you ready to move to a bigger city?”
For the first time Samsher thanked his father for his sincerity towards imparting education, as he gratefully grabbed the first break of his life; he remembered his father’s teaching, “ Want to be something in life, son, be like the thorny desert plant and extract the last drop.”
This post is written as part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2019
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