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The ambience was replete with rosy splendor of nostalgia. Handsome men in their shiny blazers and beautiful women clad in elegant sarees, were recollecting their old memories with each other. The fervor was at the hilt in the alumni party of their old school in Mumbai.
“Do you remember how Saurabh used to bring those Marvel comics, and we used to fight over who was the best superhero?” asked Priyanka, the renowned lawyer of Delhi.
“But of course, that’s Iron man!” Mohit, the CEO of eCommerce ShopNow, contended.
“Oh please, how can you forget the mighty Hulk?”
“Hey guys,” intervened Saurabh, the successful surgeon and the merry andrew of their three’s group, “if you are talking about superheroes, how can you forgot our Shaktiman!” All of them guffawed at his jape.
“But, those are mere childish things, aren’t they?” Rajesh, an old nosy classmate poked in their three’s group. “I mean, they are fiction! Superheroes don’t exist in real world.”
Priyanka, Mohit and Saurabh – the three of them – looked at each other ponderously, grinned for a split second and whopped, “We don’t think so!” The baffled Rajesh stared at the three weirdos and walked away yattering to himself, unaware of the three’s story of life.
It was late midnight, and being a solitary pedestrian in this new city, my heart was thumping hard inside my chest. I was returning from my boss’ office after researching for some case law as a paralegal. All of a sudden, my feet came to a halt. Four despicable ruffians were standing in the middle of the road as if waiting for someone, or worse, most likely me. What chance did one girl have against four hooligans!
“Hey, sweetheart,” one of them bellowed sleazily, “why don’t you come here?”
I ignored the squalid hoot, but the fear that I felt was ineffable, when they started walking towards me slowly. But never before did I sigh a more assuasive relief, when I heard the blaring siren of a police car.
All four of them took to their heels, as a well-built officer climbed down. “Is everything okay, madam…?”
“It’s Priyanka. Yes, it is now.” A superhero in police’s disguise had come to my rescue.
900 miles away – Mumbai (Mohit’s House)
My bedroom door clicked open and my elder brother walked in. “You want your start-up to flourish by brooding, Mohit?â€�
“C’mon, bro,” I whined. “Don’t apply salt on my wounds. Already, I am tired.”
“Oh, then take rest,” he said puckishly, “I thought you’ll jump on your feet now that you’ve got your funding.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your brother has broken his fixed deposit for your funding,” my brother’s wife smiled as she entered the room.
“Get up, Mohit” he urged me up, “I want to see your name in Time magazine.”
Blurred by joyous tears, my eyes met his and I flung my arms to embrace him. As a parent-less child, I had found my superhero in my brother.
5 miles away – Mumbai (Saurabh’s House)
I was watching TV with my mom at night, when I switched over to news. The channel had been changed, but it took a minute for me to sink in the breaking news.
Immediately my landline blared; with moist eyes I picked up the receiver. “Hello?”
“Saurabh? I have something to tell you. But, I don’t know how to…”
“I just saw the news, uncle.”
“Then, you must know that he was our major,” the voice sobbed, “and I owe my life to him!”
“No need to have guilty conscience, uncle. My father was a great man.”
“Yes son, he was! If there’s anything I can do, do let me know, Saurabh.”
“Sure, uncle!” I hung up the phone.
Dumbfounded, I stood watching the detailed news report and my grief-stricken Mom. When the enemy had loomed over their unit as the cease-fire broke, he had leaped in himself, without caring for his life! My father had helped the unit which was in peril and saved lives. My tears mingled with pride, as they fell. My personal hero had martyred himself as the nation’s superhero.
I entered my lawyer’s office mirthfully. â€œThank you so much, Priyanka lawyer madam!”
She looked up from her work and beamed at me. “Roy uncle?”
“You won my case! I don’t know how I can ever repay you…”
“Oh uncle, you know that I had taken the case pro bono.”
“And that makes you even great. I owe you my life!” Had Priyanka madam not been there, where in my poor seventies would have I gone alone!
“The only thing you owe me is a box of sweets, uncle!” She chuckled.
The cherubic madam was as sweet as the rasgulla I offered her. She had saved me from becoming homeless, by stopping my house’s demolition. I would be in eternal debt of this benignant lady.
ShopNow Headquarters â€“ Mumbai
After trying for so many weeks, I had finally got an appointment with Mr. Mohit. “Sir, it’s a great pleasure to meet you again!”
“Have a seat. My secretary told me you wanted to meet me quite eagerly. Sorry, I couldn’t get the time to look through personally.”
“Not a problem, sir. After all, the owner of a multi-million dollar company is bound to have a busy schedule.”
He smiled modestly. “So, how’s the business going?”
“Oh, it’s blooming, sir! All credit goes to you!”
“No, it’s all your efforts! So, any special reason to meet me?”
“Sir, it’s just that since you have done so much for people like us, we want to…”
“Hey, I have done nothing,” he dissented.
“Oh sir, you have always been so humble. But, you believed in our ideas and funded a dozen of start-ups like us, sir. For the least, we have thrown a party in your honor, sir!”
“I know how it feels to get funding for your idea! But why do I deserve such deference?”
“Oh sir, could you please spare your precious time and be our guest of honour? The whole industry knows about your philanthropy!”
“But my funding was done with quite anonymity. Unless,” his smile widened, “I reckon all you diverse CEOs met each other and unravelled my discreet funding, isn’t it?”
“Superheroes are public figures,” I beamed at the esteemed man, “And you are our superhero, Mohit sir!”
Fortis Hospital â€“ Mumbai
Trepidation had benumbed me and my wife’s senses. It had been 6 hours since the accident. Suddenly, the doctor emerged out of the operation theater, and we ran towards him.
“Doctor Saurabh, how’s she? Is everything okay? She’ll be alright, won’t she?”
“Calm down, sir. She’s being kept in ICU, but nothing to worry about. She’ll be fine.”
“Oh thank god, doctor!” My wife whimpered softly. “Actually, thank YOU! You’re our real god!”
“No madam! It was just a coincidence that I was passing by that highway, when I witnessed the accident!”
“Almighty is so great to have sent us a doctor at the right time!”
“Well, He’s great but I was just doing my duty!”
Last night, my daughter was returning from her friend’s house, when a truck had brutally dashed into her car. Doctor Saurabh had not only brought her to the hospital but had operated her.
“You helped a person in peril and saved her life, doctor Saurabh. You are an angel, a savior or can I say, a superhero for us?”
Priyanka, Mohit and Saurabh were confounded by sudden departure of the baffled Rajesh in the alumni party, because despite whatever others might say, the three of them knew superheroes do exist. But Destiny was coquettishly smiling at the enigma of Time. Who knew once who used to be charmed by superheroes would someday become somebody else’s superheroes themselves!
Â© Story by Manas Madrecha