Loosely based and reminiscent of my own schooldays in Ispat English Medium School, Sector-20, Rourkela (Referred to as the Public School in the book), The Next Door Raghu is the story of the extraordinary feats of a very ordinary, reticent, and apparently dull child, by the name of Raghu. Raghu has a lower middle class parental background and is frowned upon by the society as a dimwit who is not going to be of any consequence in his life. The little child and his perceived as unfortunate parents, are often the butt of jokes and snide remarks by an acerbic and sadistic society that has almost written off the disingenuous child. Raghu also starts to believe in his detractors and thinks that he really is inferior and substandard. But, Raghu tries to underplay and overcome all his shortcomings by latching onto children, who he feels can make up for his lacunae. As life goes on for the unassuming, but wily and scheming little child, he discovers a few gifts from God that he is blessed with, that sets him apart from the rest of the world. Although still humble and unassuming, the little child uses his special gifts to save the lives and the property of the people of his town, namely Rourkela in Odisha, India, on two occasions, thereby catapulting the once ugly duckling of the town into superstardom. Raghu becomes a national and international celebrity, much to the joy of his supporters, and much to the chagrin of his detractors and doubters. The rollicking adventure story of the little child and his band of faithful and intrepid friends, is very intriguing, inspirational, entertaining, and also tremendously funny and hilarious, and should appeal to people of all age groups. It should be a treat for children, and also adults interested in some wholesome and entertaining literature.
Here is an excerpt –
An Excerpt from my hilariously funny rollicking adventure story book ‘THE NEXT DOOR RAGHU’
E book @ $0.99 in US and other parts of the world (Rs 63 in India) , available on Amazon.Buy it
Raghu’s parents obviously had some very grand and long term plans and ambitions for little Raghu’s school uniforms, if not for little Raghu himself. His shorts had a waist size that was double his waist. His school uniform half sleeves shirt was long enough to cover him up to his knees, and after donning the shirt, he felt that he did not need to wear any shorts as he was now almost fully covered from head to toe.
Raghu was physically plucked out from the ground by Shanti and lowered into his shorts that were four sizes on the higher side. The shorts flopped down on to the ground immediately. Two and a half Raghus would be required, at the very least, in order to just hold up the shorts onto the waist, let alone prop them up like a proper and normal shorts as would be worn by a normal wearer. Then suddenly, Gopal materialized out of nowhere, brandishing an enormously long leather belt that dwarfed Raghu’s slender and petite waist’s circumference by several times, in comparison. Gopal painstakingly wound the belt again and again and again around Raghu’s slender waist, taking care to finely needle it through the slots in the shorts on its every turn around Raghu’s waist. Finally, after three full revolutions and a half, the buckle fell in place and the belt finally managed to secure and keep the shorts on Raghu’s waist. Raghu now resembled a Disco Dancer, complete with oversized and loose sleeved shirt and flared up bell bottom pants, albeit with bell bottoms that were slightly on the shorter side.
In the meanwhile, Raghu discovered that he could fully retract his arms completely into the half sleeves of his shirt. He thought out a new game where he would scare the shit out of his friends by pretending to be devoid of hands.
Shanti had meanwhile doled out copious amounts of talcum powder into her hands and then proceeded to smother Raghu’s face with it, in a vain effort to make the dark and swarthy Raghu appear to be fair skinned on his first day at school. She labored on, and plastered layer after layer of the talcum powder onto Raghu’s face, to the extent that he now feared asphyxiation. The net result of her efforts was that Raghu’s face had now assumed a shade that was a deathly pale hue and an unearthly grey color. Raghu checked himself out in the mirror and almost jumped out of his skin in sheer terror of the grotesque and hideously disproportionate apparition that glared back at him. He closed his eyes in dismay and dejection. Maybe, his crime of being born into a poor family meant that dejection, dismay, and utter despondency were going to be Raghu’s perpetual destiny and the story of his entire life.