He says he possesses extra powers since childhood. He is a brilliant student and only talks in English. He lives in a world of his own, and people shower praises on him. Now if you think it to be the epilogue of the Harry Potter saga, think again. This is no boy wizard, but a 14-year-old lad from a small village in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh who turned into a Yankee…overnight!
Rajesh shot to fame when he forgot everything about his mother tongue and started conversing in English with his village folk. Impressed and perplexed, people thought him to be the reincarnation of some American scientist, backing their claims with the fact that Rajesh does extremely well in studies. But Zee News came out with the truth behind this boy wonder, misunderstood by the society.
How it happened, no one knew. It was being said that the boy acquired this skill out of the blue. Some thought that Rajesh all of a sudden started speaking fluent English well accentuated with an American accent. People found amusement in his manner and language. For the illiterate it was surely a miracle, and theories of reincarnation emerged.
But doubts surfaced when it was discovered that the English he spoke had grammatical errors. Also, the boy could not actually figure out the questions asked in English, and rather gave vague answers.
However, all the claims went down the drain, when after 5 hours of grilling, Rajesh confessed it on-air at the Zee News studio that the theories doing the rounds were not really correct. It was a Hollywood movie, Total Recall, and the constant exposure to Western culture that gave him a cursory knowledge of English. Further, it was discovered that Rajesh could very well understand Hindi, for he could answer the questions which were put up before him in the language. And the big surprise came when he actually spoke before the camera, though with a broken accent “Main apni zindagi badalna chahta hoon” (I want to change my life).
With Zee News’ constant perusal for truth, the cat was out of the bag when Rajesh finally revealed the secret behind the ‘miracle’. In 2005 on the eve of 26th January, Rajesh was insulted by his teacher when he failed to read out a speech in English. The incident left a scar on his mind, and a humiliated Rajesh vowed revenge. He took up this challenge, and set out on a spree of watching English movies and listening to English songs.
Few months down the line, Rajesh became a celebrity amongst his people. His English and, especially, his accent won him accolades when stories of reincarnation started doing the rounds. Rajesh too, got bitten by the fame bug, and seemingly enjoyed this new-found publicity.
Soon, he was seen on the national television, with media backing the “reincarnation” theory. But sadly for him, things did not turn out well at the Zee News studio when his secret got unearthed. This villager turned ‘American’ seemed unhappy and displeased when, while in the studio, he asked the anchor why his reputation was being damaged.
Rajesh’s father is mentally retarded and the expert at the studio pointed that it could be a cause behind such behaviour – odd pauses in speech, incorrect English and Hindi, being lost in his own thoughts…Rajesh is sure a mystery. He claims that he evolved into what he is after a period of self-learning. That sure is a sign of talent, albeit channelised in the wrong direction.
Despite the exposure to flashbulbs, Rajesh is still a simpleton rustic at heart, for he now says that he wants to go back. He is tired of faking it out, and wishes to switch back to his old lifestyle. He says he wants support. His path ahead is unknown to him, but he wants appropriate backing to lead a normal life, to be what he used to be, a 14 year old boy from a small village in Saharanpur with dreams in his eyes.
Zee News Bureau