Group of children were playing in the street. Tan animated discussion was taking place, where young egos were busy being thrown trying to decide the winner of the game they were playing.
Chintu leapt from the fence on the street. The noise of his slippers screeching to a halt brought the discussion to an abrupt halt. 'Let’s start a new game', Chintu sneered. No one dared say no to Chintu! Not because they were scared of Chintu but because of what the wind had just bought to their ears. Just a little while ago, the wind had carried the fight between Chintu and his father into the streets. They had fought and Chintu hurled abuses at his father.This screaming is what the children had heard, which made them vary of him. And they accepted his suggestion without a murmur.
Chintu was not one of them. He didn't live in the same building as them. His house was a small hut, near the building. But he always managed to play with them. How it all started nobody remembers! He was the eldest amongst the boys and usually used to boss them all. They all called him 'bhai'. And yet there was something about their bond. If there was trouble with boys outside the locality, Chintu would be the first to stand and defend them. He was an enigma for them! On one hand he was fiercely loyal to them and at the same time he bossed them around! And the rumours didn't help! He was supposed to have dropped out of school; some believed that he was rusticated for thieving. Parents worried about their children being spoilt in his company. They used to warn their kids against playing with Chintu. But none paid heed.
He was master of all the games. It could be Marbles or cricket or lagori or hide-n-seek; he was always the one who used to win. He led the society kids to victory in the inter society tournaments and also in the inter society fights. This was the reason they never wanted him to go. But as times fly things change! The society kids were not kids anymore! Chintu was grown up too!
Everybody was busy in their chosen careers. But Chintu remained an enigma as ever! Nobody knew where he had disappeared. He went away suddenly just like he entered their life. His hut had undergone changes; physical and emotional. His 89 years old Babuji passed away but Chintu was nowhere to be found.
As suddenly as he had disappeared he entered their lives again unexpectedly! The kids now, men of the old, we're discussing politics and national issues! The familiar crunch of the slippers made their heads turn! They turned in surprise to find Chintu's familiar face staring into theirs! Everybody welcomed him warmly. "But where have you been for so many years?' inquired a kid who had done his MBA and earned a hefty pay packet.
Chintu replied disdainfully, "Running a business in Dubai"