Arjun loved going to the beach. He was fascinated with the things he could collect. And then one day, he found someone who thought he had a great hobby! "You have a good hobby," said the old man with a white beard. Arjun warmed to him immediately.
Arjun lagged behind the rest of the family. Why were they always in a hurry when they walked on this lovely stretch of beach? Couldn't they linger awhile, check out the shells and stones and other things that the waves brought in around their feet?
"Hurry up! We're going to eat!" Anamika yelled, but he ignored her. He sat down on a dune with his bucket of treasures. Let them go and eat breakfast. He'd rather sort out his collection. He laid out what he'd found so far, took out his notebook and began to sketch them.
He was suddenly aware of someone standing beside him. "I'm not coming now, I have to finish this," he muttered, willing Anamika to go away. When the figure didn't move, he looked up. It was an old man with a white beard.
"You have a good hobby," the man said,
Arjun warmed to him immediately. "Everyone laughs at me, but I like collecting things."
"So do I. What are you collecting?"
"I don't really know yet," said Arjun. "I thought if I collect lots of different things, then I can decide what I like best and collect only that afterwards."
"That's a good idea," said the man. "I did that when I was young and I learnt a lot about different species."
"Do you think collecting shells and stones is okay?" asked Arjun. "I kind of like that, but what will I learn?"
"The age of rocks, the earth, molluscs, oysters, pearls, one thing follows another, you know."
"What did you learn?" asked Arjun.
"About the origin of species, how they developed and adapted in different environments."
"I want to do that too. I want to find something that no one else has found in the sea."
"May be you will. May be one day everyone will know your name. Wouldn't that be wonderful?"
"Do they know yours?" asked Arjun.
"My names is Charles — that's common enough." The man began to walk away slowly as Anamika came looking for Arjun.
"Who was that?" asked Anamika. "He looked familiar."
Arjun shrugged. "He collects things too, so you needn't laugh at my boxes full of stuff — you just don't understand it, that's all. And he said his name is Charles."
"Omigod — he's on the cover of my science textbook! Charles Darwin — but how can it be?"
Both of them looked in the direction the old man had gone, but he had disappeared.