August 30, 2012 12:57 pm

Famous, what first comes to your mind when you see this word? Let me guess—Rupert Sanders, Kristen Stewart, Tom Cruise, or perhaps even Taylor Lautner? For all those Bollywood fans out there (definitely not me), perhaps for you famous means Katina Kaif, Salman Khan, Sunil Shetty, and of course, SRK (aka Shah Rukh Khan). Once upon a time, I too believed the equation famous = Robert Pattinson. But recently, I have started to realize the real meaning of famous, and mind you, it isn’t the one in the English dictionary!

Being famous is not about popularity or publicizing yourself. Being famous is also not cheap publicity. According to my books, being famous is having a big heart and being known for something good. For me, famous is Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Gandhi Ji, and many other inspirational personalities who made a difference. Here is an incident that taught me a very important lesson—yes; you guessed it, the true meaning of famous.

“Oof!” I grunted as I caught the ball… and went flying into the mud. I was playing baseball with my friends Avi, Nandini, and Abhivyakti. Nandini had passed an extremely high shot to me and while catching it, I fell in the mud. This is the result of playing ball with your friends after a rainy day. Throughout the game, Avi had her mouth shut. Usually she was so active and full of life, so I wondered what had suddenly happened to her.

What’s wrong Vi? I asked her (we tend to call Avi ‘Vi’). She burst into tears. We were all taken aback. Usually she doesn’t break down like this, especially in front of everyone.
“Purrs is missing!” she sobbed. Purrs is Vi’s Siamese and a member of our Poochi Pets Club, which officially consists of my guinea pigs Shondesh (that Benhgali for sweet) and Po (from Kung Fu Panda), Abhivyakti’s dog Toby (actually Theodore) and Nandini’s pet fish, Pea and Za ( if you put them together you get Pizza!).

“Since exactly when is Purrs missing?” Nandini asked.
“Today is the third day.” Vi replied. By now we were all very worried. Purrs keeps going on her errands but they usually last a day. Three days was a long time…something was very wrong.
“Why didn’t you tell us before?” I asked.
“Let’s look for her” Abhivyakti chimed in. So it was settled. Abhivyakti was looking in the west (we weren’t sure if that really was the west; we didn’t have a compass), Avi was looking in the east, Nandini was looking in the south, and I was looking in the north. Gee, finding a creamy cat with a black face in 18.5 acres of residential area was harder than I thought.
“Maaaddy!” I heard someone call. I spun around. It was Abhivyakti.
“Great, are you practicing for the auditions in opera?” I said sarcastically.
“No silly,” she panted. “We found Purrs.”
That was music to my ears. “You found Purrs!” I cried.
“Yeah…but, but” Abhivyakti stammered.
“What?” I said breathlessly. Then it occurred to me. Purrs was in danger. With much difficulty, I managed to say, “Is Purrs dead?”
“No silly!” Abhivyakti laughed. Her face grew serious. “Purrs is in the forbidden area.”
“What!” I screamed.
“Now look who is practicing for the opera.” Abhivyakti murmured.
The forbidden area is our state’s old power plant, located in our colony. There are quite a few bore wells dug in there too. Ever since lightning struck it in 2010, all that is left of that place are dangerous hanging wires which can give you a terrible, terrible shock if you touch them. The government does not even bother to repair it—as a matter of fact, it might not even know about it. Abhivyakti and I rushed to the power plant. Vi and Nandini were already there, with Purr’s mewing providing the backgrounf music.
“Here my Purrsy, Wursy Pie!” Avi called, tapping a spoon on a dish filled with milk and sardines.
“That is mushy and sickening.” Abhivyakti said, pointing towards the smelly plate of milk mixed with sardines.
“Can I help it?” Vi said, obviously exasperated. “That is Purrs’s favourite food.” “Hisssssssss!” We all turned towards Purrs. She had just hissed, that could only mean one thing: Purrs was scared. And when Purrs is scared…
“Don’t be scared Purrs, come to mama!” Vi cried.
“You’re her mama?” I asked.
“Yeah, well, I can’t be her grandmother, can I?” Vi said.
“Hissssssssss!” We all turned around to see Purrs caught badly in a hanging wire. “Purrs!” By now Vi was in tears. One wrong move from Purrs’s side and she could get a bad shock.
“Hold on!” I said, and ran to the barbed wire…and crawled in through a small gap. What was I doing? I was risking my life for a cat? Was I insane? No, I wasn’t. Even though Purrs had “accidentally” almost swallowed my guinea pigs once, I had to do this. I didn’t know why, but I had to. I pulled on my wool sweater (wool is an insulator of electricity). Just three wires above me were little Purrs struggling, and in front of me was Kala Kuan, the deepest, darkest, and widest bore well in the whole of sector ninety three. If Purrs made one mistake then her dead body would go right into the well. I wondered what I should do. I climbed up the loose lamppost, which could have fallen any minute. I climbed up till I could go no more. I looked over the barbed fence. There were hordes of people gathered there, including my parents. Suddenly, I felt a jerk—the lamppost was breaking! It couldn’t sustain my weight. If that old piece of wood had broken, then I would be in the bore well, dead. I had to act fast now or else…
Then I knew exactly what to do. Purrs liked to play with ribbons and yarn, didn’t she? Well, she would get it. “It’s now or never!” I thought. I pulled out the ribbon in my hair, put it between my teeth, and undid my belt. I put the belt around me and the lamppost and buckled in tightly. Now there was no danger of falling. Snap! One of the wires holding the lamppost into place had snapped. Only five more wires to go and then…
I took out the ribbon from my mouth and waved it towards Purrs. Purrs immediately stopped struggling. Her blue eyes fell on the ribbon. “Mew, mew,” she mewed gently.
“That’s it, good girl.” I said, encouraging her. Snap! Another wire had snapped. Four more to go.
“Quick!” I cried to Purrs. In the corner of my eye, I saw her slowly freeing herself in order to get to the ribbon. I waved it more wildly.
“Get it, girl!” I shouted. Snap! Three more to go. Purrs mewed loudly. She had got herself out!
“Great!” I said, beginning to see some scope for doing all that. I reached out and tied Purrs’s legs with the ribbon as best as I could. I pulled her by the tail, unwound the belt around me, and used that to pin Purrs to my back.

Snap! Two left. I was still fifteen feet above the ground. I would never make it…unless…
I rummaged in my jeans pocket for the super moisturizing mini pack of Dove for dry skin. Dry skin moisturizers are always super oily. For once I was glad to have dry skin. “My plan might just end up working and saving us both!” I thought.
I squirted half the pack on my shirt and hands and half of it on the lamppost. Almost instantly I started sliding down. Snap! One more! I was just a few feet above the ground. I landed my feet on the ground and the lamppost fell into the bore well. Purrs scrambled off my back and ran to Vi.

I’ll describe the rest of the tale in short: my parents hugged me and took me to the hospital, just in case. It turned out that I had an extremely high fever. Vi and all my friends stayed at the hospital as long as I was there, for a week. When I came back, I was still weak, but I was a hero—or should I say heroine! My story and pictures came in the local newspaper and local reporters came to my house for interviews.
So do we see now that famous is not only Jennifer Lopez? Famous is what you can do to make a difference, to be known for something good. So what are you waiting for? Go out and do something; there are so many ways to be famous! It’s just up to you which one you choose!

Madirekshana Chakraborty

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