29 March 2021

Have you ever heard the story of a kidnapping victim?

“Sir, you probably realized this – I am a very shy guy. I cannot talk to people much. I can’t believe you spent one and a half hours listening to me.”
“Vivek, I am going to take that as a compliment of the highest sort”, I replied.

Frankly, I had not realized that it was one and a half hours already. And it was barely 4:30 am in the morning!!

I had gone to sleep at around 10 pm in the ITC hotel in Durgapur. The jet lag was writ large over me when I woke up at 2:30 and could not go back to sleep. Instead of disturbing my brother who was fast asleep, I simply grabbed my laptop, iPad, phone and headed downstairs to the lobby. The idea was to try and catch up on some posting of blogs.

The lobby was fairly dark and warm. I guess the lights and the air condition had been turned down. There was this one thin lanky guy at the counter who was poring over his phone. Not ever shy of chatting up strangers, I went ahead and talked to the young gentleman. Vivek Thakur, he said was his name.

But it was clear that he was not comfortable talking. I was equally determined to get to know him. And I am so glad that I prevailed.

By all accounts, Vivek is a rising young gentleman. But somebody who has faced a few challenges in life. Not the least of it was that he was once kidnapped by gangsters.

“You mean, you were actually abducted?”
“Yes, sir!”
“Why?”
“For money, I guess.”
“Are you comfortable talking about it?”
“Sure. You can google it up too”
Which I did. Here is a newspaper report from that day…

He took me through some scary details of how a car came and hit him on his bike gently enough to throw him out in a dark evening. And then how he was roughed up into a car where there were a few other miscreants. He was made unconscious with some chemicals.

Apparently, the cops on the highway smelt a rat with the vehicle and asked it to stop. When it did not, they gave a chase. After a few miles, in a construction zone, the driver lost control and the car tumbled over. The miscreants high tailed it and fortunately Vivek was rescued – badly shaken up.

As you can imagine – my jaw dropped as I heard the story.

If that was not enough, found out that his best friend – who was an amazing artist and musician (in fact, he took me thru some of his work) had committed suicide the previous year. Apparently that also came in the local newspaper.

He also talked about how when his dad moved the family to Durgapur, it was a very rough transition for him.

By this time, for a very shy guy, he was certainly talking his mind – although haltingly (almost like he was thinking and weighing in before saying anything). We talked a lot about his aspirations. He loves the service industry. Someday he want to open his own business – perhaps a hotel.

“Vivek, you have a fascinating story. Can I write about you in my blog?”
“You have a blog, sir?”
“Yes, www.rajibroy.com. You will see stories of many people like you that I meet on the road”.
“Sure!”
“Let’s take a picture together. I will feature it in the post”.

After we took the picture, I asked him – “By the way, what is your birthday? I will make sure I call you on your birthday.”
“March 4th, sir!”
“No way!”
“Why?”
“That is my younger daughter’s birthday!!!”

And we left as he mentioned about how he could not believe that we had been talking for one and a half hours.

The following day, before checking out, I saw him for another few minutes…
“Sir, we have another coincidence!”
“Wo do?”
“Sir, my nickname at home is Nicky”
Apparently, he had been reading up my blog and figured out that it was Niki whose birthday I was referring to.

We had a great laugh.

Vivek “Nicky” Thakur, I have no doubt that you will be reading this blog too. I just wanted you to know that you are an amazing person. The mental strength you have shown in overcoming life’s obstacles so early in your life will only take you from success to success.

I will surely be around to cheer you up!



Posted March 29, 2021 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points", "Vacations

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