The Runaway Boy
Suraj, Age 13, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India

Rahul is a fourteen-year-old boy. He lives in Bandra, Mumbai. His parents work as lawyers in the court. He studies in New India Public School. He tops his class and is a champion in tennis too. Every day after school his caretaker, Abu Mama, picks him up from school and takes him home. He attends his tuition. After that he goes home daily. He finishes his homework, plays with his friends, eats dinner and sleeps. His parents return only around midnight everyday. In the morning also he has to leave later than his parents so he gets up only when his parents are eating breakfast. Sundays are even worse. His mother and father drive to the outskirts of the city as they are also professors at a big law university. In short his mother and father hardly ever spend time with him. Rahul is hurt by this but Abu Mama, his best friend, always takes care of and comforts him.

One day Abu Mama has to go to his village near Ajmer for one of his relatives' marriage. That evening after Rahulís tuition he is at home. Now that even Abu Mama is not there, he has no one to talk to. The sounds of trains race in his ear since his house is opposite the Bandra Terminus. Just then a superb idea comes into his mind. He quickly packs up some books, some clothes, his phone, some blankets, some medicines, some money and some food in a suitcase and bag. He also takes his fatherís credit card which is on top of the table. He knows his fatherís ATM pin.

He then writes a note to his parents: "Dear Mummy and Papa, Iím running away. Goodbye. Love, Rahul." Rahul runs towards the back entrance of the house which leads to a service lane so that he can escape from the security guards. He then walks down to the station. He has travelled a lot but never on a train. He sees the next train is leaving at 9:10 pm and heading towards Amritsar. He goes and buys a ticket first. He then uses his fatherís card to take Rs 10,000. He then boards the train.

In the morning, he gets up to find himself in New Delhi Railway Station. He gets out of the station and has breakfast- some chapatti and tea at a small tea stall which costs Rs. 20. He then finds himself a temporary residence in an old shed. Everyday he goes to a government school, studies, and then comes back to his shed. It is very small and dusty. But Rahul cleans it. Now Rahul has no use for his phone. To make sure no one will find out about it, he dismantles the phone. In the meantime, in Mumbai, matters are worse. His parents have done everything possible to search for him. Now the news has gone about nationally. Rahul also quickly finds out about this. Also the credit card gets blocked. So he takes a bus towards Dehradun. Here he started a small dhaba with the money he inherited from his fatherís bank account. He made a fake identity as Ashwin- an orphan. He tells the villagers that his father only left behind this small dhaba which is on the highway. Every morning he goes to the government school and after afternoon he starts the dhaba. Rahul is able to run this dhaba only because of his love and passion for food, which his parents never understood.

This goes on for two months. One night, a highway official eats his dinner at Rahulís dhaba. He remembers seeing a photo of a boy who looks similar to Rahul in the newspaper. He then realizes that he is the missing Rahul Sharma, son of Vikrant Sharma, the famous lawyer. He calls Rahulís father and he flies in to Dehradun on the 1st flight. He checks at the dhaba and finds his Rahul. He takes Rahul back to Mumbai. There he meets his mother and tells both of them why he did all this. They realize their mistake and they vow to spend lots of time with Rahul.

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