Swati Pal (Children's World)

Swati Pal
Thou shalt not snitch: Mohan’s story

Once there was a boy called Mohan. He was called Divakar at school and Mohan at home. Divakar means the Sun, and Mohan is one of the many names of Lord Krishna, known for his delightfully mischievous and loving ways as a child. Divakar’s sunny smile could illuminate the world, and he was as loving as Mohan or Lord Krishna.

Mohan was good at studies, better at excitingly communicating things, and best at athletics! He could be so entertaining that everyone smiled when he entered a room! He was quite the centre of attention.

Divakar pursued Engineering and went to Bhubaneswar to study Electronics and Telecommunication. He made friends quickly. He loved to play basketball and football when he found time from his studies.

One early August evening, when his mom was getting ready for a birthday party she got a call from one of   Divakar’s friends. He said, “Aunty, nothing to worry, Divakar has had an accident, and we have brought him to the hospital. It’s very minor, only a cut on his finger.”

She spoke to Divakar, and he repeated the story, saying it was nothing serious, but he added that he wanted to come home to Delhi.

She said, “If it’s only a cut on the finger, why do you want to come home?” She asked to speak to the doctor, who had obviously been instructed not to give her the whole truth.

He hemmed and hawed for a bit and then said, “Well, it’s nothing serious. Just a bit of a bone loss”.

The words ‘bone loss’ completely shook mom. She realized that he needed to come home.

He flew back with a drawn face but with a smile on it. His right hand had a thick bandage around his middle finger. He said he had been given a couple of shots and painkillers.

As they went to the hospital, Divakar had only one instruction for his mother, “You are not to see when the bandage is opened.”

She wondered why he was fussing. A little later, however, when the bandage was opened, and she saw the look on the doctor’s face, she realized it was pretty bad. She saw that the top segment of his finger had been sliced off. It was a bloody mess. She almost fainted but Divakar still had a smile, albeit pained. The effect of the painkillers had obviously worn off. It was decided that the wound would have to be closed with grafting as the exposed bone was liable to be infected. The grafting took place and then followed a harrowing time of constant excruciating pain. Slowly the pain receded.

When everyone asked Divakar how he had managed to injure himself, he said that he had slipped on pigeon poop in the corridor outside his room which he didn’t see as he was trying to open the door. His hand came in between, and his finger got stuck. It was an automatic door and the finger just got sliced off. Everyone was told the same thing. And he got scolded terribly for his carelessness and impatience!

But after this, for some time, Divakar was not the same boy. He would keep looking at his disfigured finger. He lost the chance to join the National Cadet Corps as he missed the trials. He lost the chance to join the basketball team that year as he was not allowed to play with an injured hand.

He lost his laugh too.

His mother tried hard to help him cope and made him learn car driving. That helped a bit. It restored some self-esteem. But he was still depressed.

And then one day when he was wondering aloud what he should do with his time since he was not allowed to play basketball, she suggested two things.

She said, “Why don’t you focus now on football? You would not need to use your hand much. Also, why don’t you try to participate in the Mock UN Parliamentary debate that your university organizes? You are a good speaker and have great political sense.”

Divakar thought for a bit and then said, “Okay, am going to kill this, I am going to be the best speaker and am going to be goalkeeper for the football team.”

Divakar got selected for the University team in a few months. His friends remember to this day how he stubbornly insisted on practicing despite them objecting as they were nervous about his injury. They recall that when the ball would come hurtling, he would save the goal with his head, smiling all the while. It inspired them all to perform well and that’s how Divakar got selected in the team. As for the Mock UN Debate, he was a mesmerizing speaker! He performed fabulously. He was back to being the Divakar everyone knew!

The finger accident became a thing of the past and was only used to warn Divakar when it was feared that he may do something careless.

Divakar had a major accident two years later. His parents rushed to him. Divakar’s friends were all there in the hospital and busy talking about Divakar. Mom and dad only half listened but then, one of them said something that made Divakar’s mom sit up.

He said, “Divakar is the best guy I have ever known. In spite of the fact that I was responsible for the injury to his finger, he has never held a grudge against me and in fact HE would console me.”

Mom walked up to the child and asked him to explain. He said, “Aunty, I mistakenly slammed the door on Divakar’s hand which led to the partial loss of his finger. Divakar used to be depressed and I would try to apologize but he would hear none of it. He would always tell me that it was not my fault.”

It was unbelievable. Through all that pain and depression, through all the scolding that Divakar got, he never ever snitched about his friend. He had been told as a child that we must never snitch about our loved ones. If Divakar’s friend had not inadvertently let slip the truth behind the injury to his finger, it would never have been known.

Divakar’s friends call him Diva in short and yeah, he really is.

 

Bio Note: Swati Pal (known more as Mohan’s Mommy, a title I simply love)

Swati Pal, Professor and Principal, Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi, has been a Charles Wallace and John McGrath Theatre Studies Scholar. Author of several books on theatre, creative and academic writing, her newspaper articles articulate her views on education. Her areas of research interest include performance studies and cultural history. She translates from Hindi to English. She writes poetry and her poems appear in several anthologies as also a collection entitled In Absentia and an edited volume called Living on. She is the Vice Chair of the Indian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies and has been the recipient of several awards.


37 comments :

  1. Divakar was the shining light of Swati Pal. Additionally she is also mother of so many children whose lives are being molded and sculptured to do their best for our society.

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  2. Beautiful and touching story

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  3. Such a wonderful story. Evocative and inspiring.

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  4. This is such an inspiring story told so beautifully. Diwakar shines like a morning sun, glowing soft through the morning sky and comes full bloom to spread light and life. But unlike the naughty Krishna, this Mohan has imbibed the childhood learning of not snitching to an idealistic high by not not revealing about a friend's mistake that destroyed his love of life and dreams. This is what parenting can do in shaping the values and self belief in a child for his life. Mohan will linger on in reader's heart as ever ebulient, determined and forgiving person. I can almost hear him laugh carelessley even though I don't see him. Lovely, poignant and inspiring story, indeed.

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  5. A strong and lovable Mohan ….

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  6. What an amazingly courageous boy! A loyal and kind friend too, and raised by a mom who appreciated and encouraged these values. And such determination! I have read this story before and it gave me goose bumps then, and now again. I wish I had met 'Diva', though in so many ways it feels as if know him... Such young people are rare and special. Mohan's heartwarming idealism, wisdom, goodness and courage, 'live on' as examples and inspiration for all those who knew him, and those who never met him but know him through his equally idealistic and determined mother.

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  7. It’s an incredible story of a very brave boy & a very brave mom. Divakar/ Mohan was named right - bright as the sun god himself and playful as Krishna. But in both roles he shone as a person. The story will be an inspiration to many.

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  8. My eyes could not hold back tears. A mom’s wonderful, caring son’s journey is written from the heart, eloquently. It reminds us life and love are immeasurable. God be with you and thank you for sharing.

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  9. A true and a heart touching story …very well penned down !!!

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  10. A true and a heart touching story …

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  11. Read this story and teared you. Have heard you narrate this incident in one of your poetry reading sessions online. Both moved me and both made me want to hug Mohan. Sending you love and hugs. You raised an evolved soul with the right values.. hugs 🫂 don’t have words

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  12. The deep connection between the mother and son breaks my heart, thinking that they are not together in the physical world. Mohan will remain in the hearts of many. Swati Pal is not just a storyteller, she can simply take over the heart of the reader.

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  13. A thousand splendid suns blaze through your Mohan ❤️

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  14. This is a true story of a human being who actually walked the world. Mohan was always a reason that someone smiles, feels loved. Every parent teach their kid to be a good human being, be kind and love all, but very few actually learns n implement it in their lives. Mohan did. Well taught - parents and well learnt - Mohan. With lots of love Abhi uncle.

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  15. Very beautifully written .Mohan always had an amazing sense of humor and would make everybody laugh . A natural athlete and had stats memorized for almost all the games he would enjoy watching like F1 , Cricket and English premier league. On top of being the amazing person he was , he was a wonderful loving brother and always looked after his loved ones in his own ways . Miss you Mohan !

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  16. Such a heartwarming story, like many other stories of Mohan. I have always known Swati, as Mohan’s mom, and have to say this mother- son duo is super special. More power to you always Mohan’s mom❤️❤️

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  17. Such a touching story....it shows strength of character and integrity which I am sure was inherited....although I never met Mohan I feel I know him through the words of a mother....

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  18. Sangita Marda AgarwalJanuary 8, 2023 at 10:45 PM

    Divakar. The name truly befits Mohan. The glorious sun which shines for all. What a rare story this is of courage and friendship. Thank you Swati for sharing with us.

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  19. Children teach 'life' better than adults and most how-to literature! Diva taught 'life' not by teaching but by living it ❤️ Privileged to know him so well...even if it is through his mother! And how aptly named is this child...Diva fir obvious reasons 🤩 ...but Mohan forever...डाब को मोह लेता है ❤️

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  20. Such an inspiring story of a boy who made his mom proud. Swati is a super strong mom and a beautiful person . Love you Swati 🥰🥰🥰

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  21. Simply beautiful, Mohan, your love for him and the story Swati!!!

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  22. Very inspiring...both Mohan and his Mom....the former for his steadfastness towards his pal and the Mom for dipping into that bottomless pit of grief and yet having the ability to narrate so eloquently.

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  23. Incredible and heart touching....Very well penned down..

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  24. I have no words to describe my emotions after reading this story... I can actually see our dear Diva/Mohan laughing, having fun, loving and lighting up the surroundings, though I had never seen him. ... It pains my heart to realise that he is not around in the physical world. Swati more strength and hugs to you for sharing this story. Love always, CK.

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  25. It is a truly inspiring story of a magnanimous boy who was ready to take up anything in life with a smile …life has so much to offer and we have so much to learn ..beautifully penned by Swati

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  26. Loved your anecdote, dear Swati. Your boy is indeed precious, a real Divakar. Hats off to both of you.

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  27. Heartwarming ! Mohan continues to ‘moh’, forever will! ❤️

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  28. I can just see Mohan smiling at his mom’s heartfelt narration! He was both mischievous and responsible at the same time. A golden boy with a golden heart!

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  29. Moushumi BhattacharjeeJanuary 9, 2023 at 10:08 AM

    Divakar- The Sun of our system-- How can he be weak and delicate? He has gracefully maintained his essence and ruled every heart with love and care. His stories are inspiringand heart touching. Thank you for sharing.

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  30. He was our shinchan. Funny, mischievous, loyal. Miss you bro..
    -Nishant

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  31. Mohan is the wonderful young man we all wanted to grow up to be, and Swati is the strong and true parent we all try to be.

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  32. Beautiful story of a brave mother and her amazing boy! Swati, your words drip with pain and yet they inspire - Mohan's mom you were, are and always will be...

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  33. The best kind of story there can be - simply told with a great deal and depth of feeling. The love and hurt are palpable, as is the gratitude for such a special son.

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  34. I remember Swati sharing this story before . I never ever met Mohan , but Mohan is now real and alive for me , through Swati’s retelling of stories from his life 😍♥️ The story is poignant, heart rending and beautiful .
    The yearning , the incurable pain of a loss of a loving son is immensely palpable . They art and art alone can immortalise life .. so let this story of Mohan remain etched for the posterity.

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  35. Movingly sensitive life story of a dear, brave boy narrated by an equally brave mom. Truly inspirational!
    May Moh live till posterity!

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  36. Movingly sensitive life story of a dear, brave boy told by his equally brave mom.
    Truly inspirational.
    May Moh live to posterity.

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