Struggler (English Novel) [4]


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No-one knows about speed of time. Time is master of all. Time doesn’t wait for anyone but people wait for time. Time always keep moving. A wise man is the one who does correct work on right time. The one who respects time, earn respect from society, but those who don’t understand value of Time, his existence get dissolved slowly in mud.

Shikhar is sitting on last seat in bus number four hundred and twenty-two, which is going towards Bandra and thinking about glory and importance of time. He kept waiting for his shoot throw out the day in shift of two to ten. Today many senior tv artists was available on set, that’s why their shooting work was getting done before others shoot. Since afternoon Director Ashok Sagar had given script of three pages in which two scenes was written and ordered him to prepare it. He got bored of waiting for his shoot throw out the day. And then somehow his two scene was shot quickly at nine thirty pm. Shikhar couldn’t have perform well because of director’s hastening. Each of his shot was considered to be ok only after two takes. He caught bus around ten forty five pm from sakinaka. First he thought to have dinner at hotel. But then he feel Bihari or Vishal must have cooked rice and pulse for him.. Then why should he waste money? Rupees 100 of convince was kept carefully in his pocket. Shikhar was lost in himself and was thinking about those days when even after running for months he use to get only one day or one-two episode work….and he worked as a character artist in almost twenty-five episodes. Shikhar was upset about not getting chance of acting work into film in last three to four years. He has worked in serials but have not got identification. Ya, he was satisfied about a serial “You all are one”, in which he got chance to work in continuity for almost ten to twelve episodes and perform a brilliant character of a Momedian man Ali Hasan who saves Navin Nishchal life during war and offer him to stay at his home. With a turning time, Shikhar was feeling happy about working with Navin Nishchal which will give him new identity. After getting down at station after two stations of Khar, he walk towards bandra railway colony. He was very happy today and his happiness accuses him to miss his wife Poonam. Beautiful face of Poonam started appearing before his eyes. He takes out his wallet, look if someone is around him and kiss Poonam’s photo. One kiss wasn’t enough for him so he kissed four-five times. He decide to write a letter to Poonam at night so that he would let her know about his great achievement. When he reached to the gate of colony, he see Abdul brother is cleaning his shop along with his wife. Shikhar goes to shop. Abdul brother was busy in cleaning freeze.

“Brother, where are you coming from now? ” Fatima speak just after she see Shikhar.

“Yes, it was shoot today, pack up was get done at night. ” After Shikhar finish his talk, Abdul brother start looking at back side. He is habitual of asking questions “And Shikhar brother, everything alright? ” He stamp a question.

Shikhar ask for an Inland letter. Fatima handover to him. Abdul clean his hand and turn pages of diary. “Shikhar brother, there was a call for you. He introduced himself someone crazy…ya it is here…. Crazy Niranjan.. He asked you to call him on this number before twelve at night.”

“Lemme do it now. ” Shikhar makes a call. Crazy Niranjan was on call. They talk about this and that for five minutes. Shikhar didn’t forget to tell him about his character of Ali Hasan in serial “You all are one” which is going to be telecast on doordarashan. After finishing talk he give rupees one hundred to Abdul Brother, “Deduct rupees fifty for Inland letter, call and telephone, else I’ll pay you two months bill soon.”

“Nothing to worry, nothing to worry.” he start counting change money while speaking. Fatima tell her about Shekhar and Vishal have gone to watch film in Gatey with their Friends. Shikhar understood that food must not be prepared. He buy a packet of bread, pickle of rupees two, and two fifty milliliter milk.


Sometimes Shikhar think if he won’t become successful actor then he will choose to be a philosopher. He is trying his luck for last three years. Financial insecurities and fear of not getting success provoke him to think again and again ‘what is life?’ This question is incomplete and horrible in itself….

What is life? Every person bear his life and think ‘what is life? ‘on the basis of self experience. Someone has said living life is like winning a war. Someone has given analogy of life to music. Someone has called life is just craziness and someone has called it art of living and feel proud on it. Self definition….self identification….what is life?

There are so many people who dedicate themselves in ‘jugaad’ of fulfilling small requirements to just spend life, but only few people knows the real value of life. Life can’t be use for trading in any market of the world…..and last truth of life is…, death!!! For normal man it is great shocking subject. If metaphase of birth and death is life, then what is the significance of life?

After noon time in month of May and June make swelter. An unbearable humidity permeates with environment. It arise a wish to sit in air conditioner room and drink a lot of watery buttermilk. But struggler Shikhar isn’t enough lucky to sit in air conditioner room to have buttermilk. This struggle of everyday bring grouch feeling in him. Roaming from one Producer’s cabin to another, meeting with one director in a studio and then move to meet another in another studio, that is also not one or two days matter, he has to follow this everyday. Shikhar get fully swelter while crossing from iskon temple lane to Juhu church bus depot. “Summer in Bombay make your body sweat smelly and in Allahabad no matter how fervour climate is but sweat doesn’t smell. May be this is because of sea in Bombay and river ganga in Allahabad. “

Shikhar was extremely thirsty. He was not capable of walking to hotel Sea Princess and meet Director Ashok Sagar in opposite building. Already he was assuming that he will not get anything there. Before this, he met him almost nine times in last three months. His one serial “You all are one” is telecasting on doordarshan channel. During every meet he ask to meet after next ten days. During every meeting he use to express cordiality as after ten days, he will going to offer brilliant character like Amitabh Bachchan played in “Chain”. Ten days like mountains are used to be pass somehow swinging between hopes and trust. And when meeting occur after ten days, it get postpone to next ten days. That time Shikhar feels like thousands of beater are beating him one by one. After bearing this insult also hundreds & thousand of stragglers like Shikhar use to meet him at every tenth day in hope of getting work because his serial was broadcasting on doordarshan channel. If the shoot is on going then Artists will be also required. When Ashok Sagar will need artists, he won’t be able to produce them by chanting mantras. He will cast either prominent artists or will cast someone from stragglers. Some day my name will be selected. In hope of his selection Shikhar wanted to go inside the building opposite to Hotel Sea Princess but he was out of control due to extreme fervour. Shikhar occupies a corner table to take rest in Mishra dairy form. He was watching people coming and going on road. His eyes follows to the laughing girls passing from there. Many stragglers are also walking there. He try hide himself from those struggler so that no-one can disturb him. Ten or twelve stragglers was standing under the shade of bus depot office. He knows name of some of them and rest among was stragglers for him. Labour square near Mansarovar talkies get live in Shikhar’s heart suddenly. Daily wage Labours from Allahabad use to gather in early morning at Mansarovar square, in hope of getting some work so that they can earn rupees fifty or hundred till evening. Hundreds of labours along with group of their wife and children use to buzz there like bees. If somebody need services like tap fitting, land digging, carriage, Repairing uprooted plaster, painting walls, and other small works in same category, they fix wages according to the vaccine and go with owner. It’s not sure if everyone of them will get work. Unlucky Labours, who don’t get work sit holding their heads till eleven or twelve’o clock in the noon because they won’t get work that day. They leave the place till mid noon and stay lost in habit of trance and gambling. And next day again they get ready and arrive at the same place in the morning to present themselves.

Just like Labour square of Mansarovar Juhu bus depot is also square of stragglers. Crowd of stragglers gather at Sahkar Bhandar in Bandra And at a turn or Aadarsh Nagar also. This square of stragglers is different in many sense from other Labour square. Like stragglers crowd gather from noon to evening instead of morning. Non of director or producer come to these squares to  fix wages or work with stragglers. Struggler from film industry who use to roam here and there for work come here for a while to do rest and move in search of work. Purpose of stopping at these type of squares is to get information from each other about mohrot updates of upcoming films, which film shoot is ongoing and where? Who is casting in which production? where is scope of getting work? Which film is hit and if flop then what’s the reason? Which unit is going outdoor? Which banner pays better? Which production manager used how much money of whom?Which theater drama play practice is going on and where? It’s easy to get Answers for this types of questions here.

Actually all the stragglers visit this square to meet and share their experience with each other. New informations and messages used to exchange with each other. Shikhar is also a struggler of this square for last four years, who get scared after listening self-experience of other stragglers like him. After visiting these type of squares, Shikhar perceive himself a labour class person…..Labour just like a labour from Mansarovar Square.

After doing rest for sometime he think to go and meet Ashok Sagar now. Just like nine meetings let tenth meeting also done. There was no other option then meeting. What’s the problem in meeting? He has to go by walk, and no need to pay for bus ticket. If nothing will be done then Ashok Sagar will call him to meet again after ten days….. And if things will be done then may be he will get small character. Shikhar keep daring and go towards his destination.

After reaching to the office he come to know that Ashok Sagar is doing shooting at Mayur bungalow. Mayur bungalow is only one kilometer far away from there. Generator van standing out of bungalow is producing sound of gggghhhhrrrrr…… Light shifting work is going on inside the lawn. Ashok Sagar is sitting on chair with some people under a tree. Again a question arise in Shikhar mind – shall I meet or not? Because meeting him in front of people sitting with him will be little awkward. But still there was a fear if he will get busy in shooting once again he won’t get chance to meet him. Whirl of his thinking was about to take shape of a hard substance but he ruin it. Shikhar joint his both the hands to greet Ashok Sagar. He shows him hand gesture to wait for five minutes. This waiting sign start pumping air in Shikhar’s lungs. He feel like he is lifting up slowly from land like air balloon. Ashok Sagar will may say that, there is nothing special going on and ask to come and meet in office after ten days. May be there is some character for me, that’s why he asked me to wait. Shikhar was busy in trying to justify reason for waiting. A hopeless thought arrive in his mind…….. may be he gestured me to wait because he didn’t want to get disturbed while talking. But I didn’t found any irritating expressions on his face that my greeting cause disturbance to him. Shikhar was getting indulge in whirl of his own and Ashok Sagar move inside the bungalow from lawn. He also go inside the bungalow when he get out of his somnolence. Ashok Sagar was narrating his cameraman from where will Mithilesh Chaturvedi take entry and where will Supriya Vinod sit? Cameraman declares to arrange twelve feet track. All the crew members start finishing their work with speed. Shikhar remember his room partner Swami after watching slim-trim setting man Abdul standing near by trolley. The one who has died, has gone. What to think about him? He has to meet Ashok Sagar who is alive and doing shooting. He wants to get a character which should be alive. What about Swami.. He has died.. Story finished. If he would be alive he must have been pulling trolley, otherwise he would be calling someone to ask “when is shooting sir?” His eyes started searching for Director. He was sitting on sofa placed in corner and was busy in explaining mood of character to Mithilesh Chaturvedi. Shikhar doesn’t look here and there and go straight to him.

“Oh yes! I aa$$..what is your name?


“There is a character of momedian young man. It’s work of ten to twelve episodes. Will you do?”

“Why not sir? I’ll do for sure.”

He turn towards Mithilesh Chaturvedi and tell him after pointing Shikhar “His face cut is like momedian. Will he be fit in character of Boy who saves your life during war?” Ashok Sagar ask in such a way that he wants to know suggestion of Mithilesh Chaturvedi.

Mithilesh Chaturvedi shrink his lips while speaking, “Yes. If size of his side hair locks get trimmed. He will look exactly momedian after getting into get up.”

Shikhar checks size of his side hair locks and smile.

“Tomorrow is morning shift in Chandivali studio. Normal. Go and meet Suresh. Suresh Pillai. He is Production manager. Fix your per day with him.” After listening Ashok Sagar order he greet both of them with joint hands and while saying thank you he walk four steps back even without turning. Then he come before Suresh Pillai after three hours. Suresh Pillai went out for some work. After listening Shikhar talk Pillai ask him quickly “How much will you charge per day? “

“What should I say now? “

“You will do work. So you will only demand.”

“I’ll not speak about money. You only give confirmation.”

“It’s work of eight to ten episodes. In duration of three to four months, shooting will be done in twenty or twenty-five days. I’ll give you rupees three hundred per day and shooting convince rupees one hundred per day.”

“Ok” Shikhar accept it without wasting a single minute time. What a blind man need? Only two eyes. Either it is black or brown, cockeyed or squint. Who cares?

Suresh Pillai take out a visiting card from his pocket and speak while giving it to Shikhar, “Well, it will be normal shift in Chandiwali tomorrow but still do confirm with a call at nine or nine thirty pm. Ok. “

“Ok. Should I leave now? Thank you. ” After shaking hand he get directly out of bungalow. God gives result for hard work….Ok if it  gets late.



“Smile.. Life is a struggle.” Beer was showing it’s impact on Bihari. “We don’t get anything if we loose hope. “

“What should I do then? I am badly tensed.” Smile is normal due to tension even after he has finished three pegs.

“Do struggle, what else? If you will search you will get some work somehow.”

“I am searching for a year….but now I am scared.” Smile drink a sip slowly.

“You are going in wrong direction. First you were searching work in acting. You got work in standing crowd in two -three serials. Then no work for two-three months,” Bihari kept speaking, “Then someone suggested to become assistant director. You become assistant director. Shoot doesn’t happen daily so that you will get per day income and convince.” “That’s why I am thinking if I want to stay in same industry then I’ll have to do some other work through which I can maintain daily expenses.” Smile doesn’t wanted to express but it comes out automatically.

“Oh! Daily expenses? Bihari laugh so loud that people sitting around him in bar start staring him. He controlled his laugh. Then he look around him, everyone was busy in drinking. He shift his head little forward and say “So Mr., you work in this industry to maintain your daily expenses?”

Smile get hesitated. He perceive that he spoke extra about his poorness.

“This is truth that industry has a lot of money….and outsiders think that people working in film industry earns a lot of money.” After rolling his eyes and straightening his neck Bihari exhale a long breath, “But what people knows about stragglers life style?” He suck up a strong peg. He bring both of his hands on his cheeks like he want to pray something to god, “But one thing is sure, if struggler luck works then no-one can stop him from getting two cars, two bungalows, twenty films.” he speak after winking his left eye “Today you don’t have single but after hit you will get two-two wives Smile.” He laugh after saying this but this time his laugh stopped because of cough in throat.

Smile also laugh for togetherness.When he notice emptiness of glass, he pour alcohol in it from bottle. Alcohol stream was brightening in dim light of beer bar.

“Well. Tell me one thing? This time Bihari get little serious. “I am not joking. Except acting and direction what else will you do in this industry for maintaining your daily expenses?”

Smile kept quiet. He keep looking his glass continuously. “Common speak, did you mind what I said?” Bihari tilt up his chin.

“Bihari brother I was fond of working in film industry to make myself famous. I would have a lot of money.” May be alcohol is showing it’s impact, “You already know about my father, he was fight man in film industry earlier. But he has left industry for last five -seven years. He use to sell pav and snacks but can’t produce enough money to maintain daily expenses. It causes a lot of tension.” He is unable to speak anything more.

“Who else is there in your family?” Bihari has understand the matter.

“Other then mother – father, three sisters and we two brothers are there. I am eldest one……that’s it.” he wanted to say something more but couldn’t say. He finish remaining one sip in glass.

“So what would you like to do?” Bihari asks a simple question.

Smile kept silent. Sometimes he see empty glass and sometimes stare Bihari.

“Now speak. Why are you getting serious like Dilip Kumar?”

After keeping silence for few seconds, Smile express his wish, “I think I should start working in dress or makeup department. At least I’ll get work on daily basis. And if I’ll get chance later.. Then will see.”

“Well, tell me one thing.” Bihari start picking again, “How many makeup man and dressman are there in film industry who have got chance to become hero?”

“Not hero”, Smile reply instantly, “I am not able to remember name, there is a makeup man who is an older makeup man of Amitabh Bachchan, he had produced a marathi film. Michel Desouza was a spot boy but now see he has become great director after getting chance.” Bihari was listening carefully, “Mr. Prakash Mehra, he has also bear many troubles, but chance…….

“Now leave.” Bihari interrupt in between, “He is Prakash Mehra, Prakash Mehra, and you are Smile.” Bihari was doing weak argument, “That was different time Smile, when Yusuf brother used to sell fruits and become actor, Rajnikant became hero from conductor, Mumtaz became actress from extra, Rajkumar became hero from inspector. That was different time…..and that time industry has many connoisseur. But time has been changed now.” Bihari feel like still his argument is weaker.  He speak more strongly “Look at the speed of industry now. We will get chance only when we will be progressing. We will not get any offer by degrading ourselves…ya that is different case, that you will become a pillar in your family.” Bihari get quiet.

Smile also lost in thinking something. Watch also strick eleven thirty pm twang. Both of them look at watch. Bar was about to close after half an hour. Bihari felt again that he didn’t express properly what he wanted to say. After closing his eyes for sometime he opens his eyes with trouble. Red lines was occurred in his eyes. Bihari fix something in his mind, he snap his fingers and start speaking, “Smile, have you seen seller of Rat kill on road? How much do poor fellows earn?…. Only Rupees twenty-five or fifty in a day. And you must have heard about killing occupation in Bombay.” Smile hasn’t understand anything.

“The same occupation goons get money for killing someone. Rupees Ten lakh for killing one and twenty lakh for killing another.”

Smile start understanding little. Bihari was in his queue. “Killing Rat gives only Rupees twenty  or twenty-five and killing man gives Rupees twenty to twenty-five lakh. Now listen carefully. Can rat killer kill someone? No?

Smile also feel it right to nod his head.

“You know why?” Bihari was caught by Trace of alcohol completely, “That is because he doesn’t have enough guts. He spend his whole life in Rupees twenty or twenty-five. My father used to say, Bihari’s tongue start twisting, “If you wish to kill, kill lion, and if you want to rob, rob treasure. God helps, daring man. Don’t loose hope dear. Don’t loose hope.” Bihari start speaking more loudly, “I said what all I wanted to say. Now you think about next.” After this Bihari’s tongue and neck stop supporting him. Smile has understood that sitting here anymore is not good. Smile gestures and waiter bring cash memo. Bihari get active after Smile shaken him. He put rupees hundred in plate after checking cash memo. They get out of the beer bar while matching step Two one, one two.


Smile father Nazeer brother used to put stall at last corner of Mahim signal Turn. He escape from his house at the age of twenty and came to Mumbai to become hero…….mumbai wasn’t mumbai that time, it was Bombay. Boy from Muradabad city caught without ticket in local train and stay in jail for seven days. While turning omelet on flat black pan, Nazeer brother use to narrate his past days stories to his customers, Like…incidents happened in jail, how had he entered in film line, why he didn’t become hero and why he started working as fight man. But a pile of sadness is placed somewhere deep inside his heart. Even After doing fighting in thousands of films for thirty-five years he is so helpless to run omelet pav stall to fulfill basic necessities of family. He spent all his life in breaking glass walls, now he is suffering from Arthritis diseases because when he used to did fake fighting with heroes and fall down it causes injuries to him, but Today he is aware of not letting omelet get burnt as he is doing fighting in real life to fulfill basic necessities. Today also his eyes come full with tears. He still regret of not becoming hero. If not hero he might had become a character artist at least. He didn’t become that also. If not fight master, but if he would have earn a lot of money after doing fight man work then he doesn’t need to run this stall. Life kept passing, Nazeer brother stayed busy in fulfilling basic necessities of family…..may be it was his fate…. And now his son Smile… He is finding his fate in film industry.


It takes two hours in reaching Versova from sea corner of Santacruz. This area of sea corner is an important visiting place for tourists. It is useless to visit Mumbai If somebody comes to Mumbai and do not visit Juhu Chopati. The  tourists who visit Mumbai from other cities have strong desire to visit Juhu beach. It’s compulsory to eat “bhel-puri” at juhu chopati. “Will go chopati and eat bhel-puri.” this filmy song has made Chopati and bhel-puri complementary for each other. And yes one more thing… If a mumbaikar has taken you to visit Juhu chopati, then at the time of coming or going he will not forget to show you superstar Amitabh Bachchan bungalow “Pratiksha”. Whether it’s morning or evening, noon or mid night-Juhu chopati always look colourful. At evening Time, joyfulness is at it’s high. Morning, noon, evening and mid-night keep changing, tourists visiting chopati also keep changing. During day time lovers use to sit behind wall and make love to each other. At evening people use to visit here with wife and children. After ten’o clock at mid night game of lust played behind bushes. Girls who are into prostitution business use to do prostitution work with their customers.


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