Its Better To Go

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The problems faced by middle-class Indian boys is no secret. His dreams and passion are often put down by the household duties and responsibilities. And after all this sacrifice, if his parents are not by his side, he breaks down. This story too records the phase of a boy of this kind. He gets depressed when his inner feelings are not understood and accepted by the loved ones.

Submitted: June 06, 2017

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Submitted: June 06, 2017

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Chapter One
Dream’s Base
 
The Sharma family drove from Ahmedabad to Baroda, specially to meet this man who is an acclaimed astrologer and according to people he has never gone wrong with his astrological predictions. So as they met this man and gave their astrological data, he started speaking about the future of each of Sharma family members one by one. As he moved on to the seven years old Akshay Sharma’s astrological data, after studying it for five minutes, “Prakash Ji, your son has an excellent future”, he said. This brought a broad smile on the faces of Prakash and Meena Sharma.
“Guru ji, so what would be the field of career for Akshay?”, asked Prakash with a positive curiosity and gave a quick look to Meena, as if she too wanted to raise the same question.
“Primarily, Akshay has a sports career of around ten to thirteen years and he would choose the engineering field for qualification. He will have some leg injuries but it is fine as those injuries would be treated well outside India”, said Guru ji. These words were probably the best words heard by Prakash and Meena in their entire life. What could a middle-class Indian family ask more than this? So, with the enlightened mood and vibe, the Sharmas took leave of Guru ji and sat into their car to drive off to Ahmedabad again.
This Sharma family consisted of just three members. The reason behind the family being nuclear was the love marriage between Prakash and Meena. Parents of Prakash and  of Meena were against this marriage because of the typical  Indian caste difference issue. Prakash and Meena married each other against their parent’s will and started living an isolated life. Three years after the marriage, Meena gave birth to their only son who was named Akshay. Prakash took a job in Ahmedabad and started living a typical middle-class life with his family.
“Wow!”, exclaimed Meena, ”our son will become a famous sports personality. Wow Prakash, this is so exciting. All our family members who rejected us will accept us for sure. Who wouldn’t like to be associated with a famous sports star?”.
“Yeah,”, Prakash said,”so now we really have to look after his food and other habits so he may get very fit and hit the opportunities well”. This conversation continued till the rest of the journey as well. Hearing all this, Akshay was happy and excited to receive these future predictions. This was the phase where Akshay stoned this belief in his heart and mind of becoming a sportsman. Now, he had that unwavering faith and belief on God, that whatever happens, God will definitely make him a successful sportsperson. Akshay started believing in God very strongly with full faith but he was too young to understand that God is not a simple thing or concept. God may have different plans. But Akshay’s strong belief did not permit his mind and heart to think otherwise.
 
Chapter Two
Going Wise or Otherwise?
 
Each night after that day, Akshay used to think about the fame and all good things attached to a famous sportsperson. He used to make many decisions which he would take after being a celebrity sportsman. He was very fascinated about this and just wanted to fast forward his life so years could be passed and the time comes when he becomes what he is dreaming of.
Years passed away and Akshay was 16 now. He was one of the main players in the school’s cricket team and used to perform really well. Now, he thought it was the right time to attend the practice sessions at the cricket association’s ground to play further levels of professional cricket. So, he started practicing at this ground with skilled coaches and ultimately started to improve his game further. He usually got good and positive comments from the coaches like: “You would definitely go ahead with your bowling”, ”Your bowling has very good control” and “You will definitely make it to the district team”. As a result, he became a known name in the district association.
Selections for the district team were just a month far. Akshay was practicing superbly and became an eye-catcher soon. Days passed and the final eve arrived.
“Dad, I have selections tomorrow, coaches at the stadium say I would make it, but still I am getting nervous”, said Akshay.
“Akshay, there is no need to get nervous, we all know you are so good at your game, you will definitely make it and now the time has probably come for your sports career to kick-start. Son, it is just the matter of time that you would go so far in your cricket career”, said Prakash. ”Yesterday I called Guru ji, he has given you his blessings and said you would definitely get selected”, continued Prakash.
“Yes dad, I know that I will be a successful cricketer one day, I hope this is the year which starts off my career, otherwise I have to hold on my curiosity till the next year as well”, said Akshay smilingly.
“Of course you would be selected this year, son. Just concentrate on your game and pray to God for best results. God is with you, son”, said Prakash. “ You should probably sleep now, good night”, continued Prakash.
“Yes, good night dad”, said Akshay and slept thinking about the next day.
Finally, the day arrived for the selections. It was 4 PM and was a scorching sunny typical day of Ahmedabad. Before Akshay left home, he went to the temple room. Standing in front of the Goddess’ photo, “The day has come, God. Please give me your blessings so that I may go and give my best. I know you are with me and it is your wish to make me a cricketer, so I just want to play, play and play and do nothing else. My talent, my passion is just your gift and I am really thankful for it. God, please maintain this induced passion in me”, said Akshay and left for the ground. 
Few hours later, Akshay came home with a broad smile on his face. As he entered home, “Mom!!! Dad!!! Where are you?”, said Akshay loudly. As Praksh and Meena came out of their bedroom, Akshay ran and hugged both of them. “Mom…Dad…I have been selected in the top 30. Tomorrow we have the selection match, whoever performs in this match would be selected in the final 15.”, said Akshay excitedly. Upon hearing this, Prakash and Meena kissed their beloved son and then Meena straightaway went to the temple room and started to praise their Goddess and thanked for her son’s selection.
Next day again Akshay did his daily puja and went on to get ready as he had to reach the ground at 9 AM for the ultimate selection match. He took the blessings of his parents and went. As Akshay went out of the main door, “Guru ji was so correct with his prediction that Akshay would be so passionate about his game.”, said Prakash in an overwhelming tone.
“Of course Prakash, Guru ji in his 45 years old career have never gone wrong, I have heard this from so many people. He is really famous in Gujarat. So, let us leave aside all the worries and witness the making of a successful sportsperson”, said Meena proudly.
“Yeah!”, exclaimed Prakash in a hopeful tone.
Hours passed away. It was 7 PM and Prakash was doing some office work at home and Meena was cooking. ”Where is Akshay? Hasn’t he come yet?”, asked Prakash.
“How can you forget? Today Akshay had his match and he told the team would be announced just after the match. So he must be on his way right now. Relax Prakash”, informed Meena. Minutes after this, Akshay entered home with a very dull face. Upon his arrival, Prakash and Meena came out excitedly with the facial expressions which asked about the results unspoken.
“No”, uttered Akshay.
  “What do you mean by ‘NO’?”, asked Prakash.
“I am not selected, Dad.”, said Akshay.
“What? How? What were your stats for the game? Did you underperform?”, asked Prakash shockingly.
“No dad, I took 4 wickets and even scored 46 runs, but…”, said Akshay sadly.
“But what? , son”, asked Prakash.
“But while announcing the 15 members squad, my name wasn’t taken. I was really expecting my name to come up, especially with these stats, but it didn’t.”, said Akshay.
“Did you talk to your coaches?”, asked Prakash.
“Yes, I did. They said it is just your first year for the under-19s and we feel you are still raw but continue your game, next year you should be picked up for sure”, said Akshay.
“What is raw? How can they judge you like this? This is absolutely unjustified.”, said Prakash angrily.
“Leave it dad! I just want to sleep right now.”, said Akshay and straightaway went to his room and locked the door.
Meanwhile this conversation, Meena was very shocked that she did not utter even a single word. Prakash got very disturbed. Meena continued with her cooking and Akshay slept without eating. Next day while getting ready for school, Akshay had a sad face, really sad one. Prakash came out of the room and said, “Son, listen. Yesterday after you slept, I called Guru ji to discuss the matter. He told there is nothing to worry, the astrological position of the planets were not in your favour this time, so there is nothing to worry. Next year you should definitely be picked up and you would go further from there”.
 “Yes dad, even I was thinking to have a positive approach and practice harder and come back strongly”, said Akshay with an instilled fresh energy.
“Yes son, that is brilliant, it is good to know that you think this way”, said Prakash. Hearing this, Akshay smiled at Prakash and went to school.
The rejection he faced at the selections had moved Akshay. Still, he was able to instill faith in God and destiny and started to practice with full passion. He increased his practice hours, increased the number of practice matches he played and increased his passion for the game as well. He had no thoughts which did not have cricket in it. He always practiced more than the others and started to concentrate on fitness equally. In the bed every night, his last thoughts before the sleep would be consisted of the mistakes he did that day and self-promised to work on that mistake the following day.
This routine was followed throughout the whole year with high expectations in each of Sharma family members’ heart. This year Akshay had his 12th grade board exams as well. Though Akshay was purely focusing on cricket, he didn’t avoid studies much. Sharma family was so much convinced about Akshay’s success that they never forced him to work hard in studies. They were very happy with his hard work and passion towards the game.
So, the board exams were about to begin and Akshay was confident enough to bring those above average marks. And once the exams were over, Akshay was very happy as now he could dedicate his whole day to cricket, and he did the same. He was very excited but anxious too about the upcoming selections. About a month passed and Akshay had his selections. This time he was again selected for the top 30 players with the selection match pending.
“Dad, I think I have worked enough on my bowling variations to bag some early wickets. Even if I get 3 wickets, I would surely make it up to the top 15 squad as it is my second year in Under 19s as well, so now I may be considered a bit experienced by the selectors, unlike last year”, said Akshay while sitting in the balcony with Prakash.
“Son, this time I am more confident than you are about your selection. You will do very good as an off-spinner. Try to get some runs as well like you did last year”, replied Prakash.
“Yes Dad, an all-round performance would be very convincing but my profile and priority is spin bowling”, said Akshay.
“Definitely Akshay, just give your hundred percent and pray to God for the best happenings. Don’t think too much now. Tomorrow you have the selection match, your sleep is as important as everything else. So, have a relaxing sleep now. Good night son”, said Prakash as he stood up intending to go inside.
“Good night dad. I will keep everything in mind what you said”, said Akshay as he too stood up and went inside with Prakash. Akshay probably had the most crucial day of his life which was the following day. He was very positive but a bit nervous about the next day. Nervousness was justified as his year-long practice and passion along with his strong belief on God and destiny were going to be challenged again.
 
 Chapter Three
 The Next Step
 
The day finally came. Akshay woke up even before the alarm rang. He was ready by 8:15 AM and was just about to leave home after the pending daily puja. Once again, like last year, he started to talk to his Goddess. “Goddess, I know this time you won’t make me unhappy. I have worked really hard and you are its witness. Each day, I remembered and recalled you to give me more physical power so that I can deliver better on the field. Just be with me, Goddess, be with me”, prayed Akshay with a slight smile. Then, he took the best wishes and blessings from his parents and left for the ground to play the final selection match.
“Prakash, this time he will surely make it”, said Meena while peeling some vegetables.
“Meena…Meena…honestly I am very nervous. He has worked very hard. And more importantly, he has never thought of something else other than cricket. I just can’t wait for the evening to arrive”, said Prakash softly.
“Be positive, Prakash. Of course he will make it. After all he is destined to become a famous cricketer. No one gets less or more than his destiny”, said Meena confidently.
“Yes, that is true, Meena, but…”, said Prakash with a hault.
“But nothing, Prakash. Just wait for the evening”, said Meena smilingly.
“Yes Meena, I hope everything goes well”, said Prakash thoughtfully and went on to get ready for his office.
During the whole day, Meena and Prakash were thinking about what would be happening at the ground. How many wickets Akshay must have grabbed? Will he get selected or not? These were the questions which were running through their minds while doing their daily work.
Hours passed away and it was 7:30 PM and Akshay was expected to be on his way to home. ”He should be here within 10 minutes. Right?”, prompted Prakash.
“Yes Prakash. Actually he may take a bit more  because this is the busiest time for the traffic to jam and…”, Meena stopped continuing after hearing the sound of closing of the main door.
“And here he comes”, said Prakash and stood up fast and went to the drawing room. Meena to came with me.
“Akshay, How did it go? How many wickets you took? Are you selected or not? ”, asked Prakash very rapidly.
“Dad! Relax. I got 3 wickets but I am not selected”, said Akshay very softly.
“What!!! Why!!!” , shouted Prakash.
After not getting a reply, Meena said, “Akshay, please answer, what went wrong. You took 3 wickets, still…”, said Meena. The only reply Prakash and Meena could get was the tears in Akshay’s eyes.
“What do the selectors want from you now?”, said Prakash angrily. “Do they want you to take 10 wickets alone?”, continued Prakash.
“It is enough, dad. I don’t think they will ever take me. I gave my heart and soul to this game. I had so many injuries during practice but not a single day I took rest. What for? To cry and end up being rejected.”, said Akshay with tears in his eyes. He said nothing more and went in while Prakash and Meena just sat on the sofa silently.
“Should we call Guru ji and inform him?”, asked Meena.
“No Meena, enough now. He said Akshay’s career would be successfully started when he gets 17 and Akshay is going to be 19 now. After performing good also, he is being avoided. I am sorry to say but Guru ji has gone completely wrong. This is the thing for which I was getting nervous yesterday, because I really had a big doubt. Guru ji must be a legend for others but in our case he has failed”, said Prakash while just managing to stop the tears to come in his eyes.
“Everything seems to be finished, Prakash. I had so many dreams. Dreams of getting back the respect from our parents and relatives who left us because of our marriage and financial unstableness, Dreams of going back to my father’s home just once, with everyone proud of my son’s achievements. Dreams of seeing and enjoying a better life financially”, said Meena with tears in her eyes. Prakash pacified her by putting his hands on her shoulders.
Next morning the Sharmas were sitting on the dining table to have breakfast. No one spoke to each other. Actually, no one felt like speaking. Akshay was smiling but Prakash and Meena knew it was just to make the vibe comfortable. ”Akshay, what do you plan now to do? You have to make a career in something. So what is up to your mind now?”, asked Prakash encouragingly to kill the awkward silence.
“My board results would come out in a couple of days. I am planning to go to Jaipur University, taking admission in Computer Engineering course”, informed Akshay steadily.
“That is good thinking Akshay but what about your game now? You can’t just leave it at this point. You really worked so hard”,  said Prakash.
“And what did the hard work give me, dad. I will be 20 next year. Where is my career heading?”, said Akshay.
“Why don’t you take up computer engineering in Ahmedabad itself?”, asked Prakash.
“Jaipur is an expanding IT hub, dad. Ahmedabad is still struggling when established IT companies are concerned. Also, Jaipur is just 8-9 hours from here, so it is not too far”, said Akshay firmly.
“Son, think with a relaxed mind. I know you are disturbed and angry on what happened at the selections, but I think you should give at least one more year to cricket”, said Prakash with the intent of convincing Akshay to continue playing.
“I cannot afford a year more, dad. For all these years, I was committed to the game with my heart and soul. All I thought was cricket, cricket and cricket. But see, the game has betrayed me. Or no, destiny has betrayed me. I have been following destiny for so long, now, let destiny follow me. I want to go Jaipur, that is all I have decided”, said Akshay as he finished his breakfast and went into his room leaving Prakash and Meena looking at each other.
Akshay’s board results came out, it was not a very good result but enough for getting him admission in Jaipur University. Prakash and Akshay went to Jaipur for completing the formalities. Prakash started noticing changes in Akshay’s behavior. He noticed that Akshay doesn’t talk much like before. He doesn’t call up his friends anymore. He is too focused on going to Jaipur and more importantly, leave home. Akshay even left praying. Prakash was very sad by seeing this change and prayed that Akshay would get normal as the time passes.
Soon the day came when Akshay had to leave for Jaipur. Almost all arrangements were done and final checks were being made.
“Did you pack those jackets? I have heard that Rajasthan gets extreme with its winter”, said Meena caringly.
“Yes Mom, each and every thing is packed. I have double checked everything”, said Akshay while looking over the luggage. Prakash entered the room and informed Akshay that it is the time to leave otherwise they may get late for the train. “Okay mom, it is time to leave. Please take a great care of yourself. I know you would feel alone without me but it is just the matter of 4 years. These years would slip off very fast. Believe me”, said Akshay very lovingly while holding his mother’s cheeks. Seeing him speak in such an affectionate way, tears came out of Meena’s eyes but quickly swiped them off so Akshay won’t feel bad. “Yes my darling son, I will take good care of myself but promise me, you too would take care of yourself. Please eat right and at right time like here”, said Meena smilingly.
“Akshay, I think it is time to catch the cab. We can’t ride through our car as it being serviced”, said Prakash in a lowered voice.
“Yes dad, let us go”, said Akshay and touched his mother’s feet and hugged her. ”God bless you son, love you”, said Meena and kissed his forehead. Then Akshay and Prakash went out of the society main gate and took a ride to the railway station. “The train would come at platform number 4. Let us take the stairs now”, informed Prakash.
“Okay dad”, replied Akshay and they went to take the stairs. While heading towards the platform number 4, Prakash broke his silence and asked the question to Akshay which he wanted to ask all these days, “What about your cricket?” .
“Dad…please…”, replied Akshay uncomfortably.
“Son, please listen to me, why can’t you just try another year? You might get selected this time and don’t have to kill your passion like this”, said Prakash hopefully.
“Dad, it is easy for you to say try for one more year. Do you realize what this one year is? This one year would comprise of each day of hard work and killing myself under the scorching sun. This one year would comprise of giving my heart and soul, blood and sweat each damn day. And this one year would also consist the day when I am told that I am not selected”, replied Akshay angrily as he sees the train reaching the platform. “Dad, the train has settled. I will call you tomorrow morning when I reach Jaipur station. Take care, dad”, said Akshay and touched his father’s feet and went straight to his seat without even looking back once. Prakash was speechless. While he understood the behavior shown by Akshay but doubted that how could Akshay be happy without following his passion? One thing which he dreamt of throughout his childhood was cricket and improving his game. Amidst all this, the train started to move with Prakash just looking at the departing train thoughtfully.
 
 Chapter Four
 Rage
 
Akshay tried to start a new life in Jaipur. He thought he would heal his fate wounds by engaging in other work. Initially, he found everything new and exciting and was happy that finally something good is happening in his life. He decided to complete his engineering with good grades and take a respectable job in the IT field. But it was just the matter of some months. He started missing his cricket, the game which took away everything in him. The classes in the University were no longer engaging and enjoyable. The campus was not that exciting for him as it used to be. Many times he convinced himself that he has to work in studies because his dad is about to retire in 3-4 years and the family doesn’t have too much savings for them. Convincing himself would motivate him for about a week, but then, the images of the cricket field, the images of his kit bag which he threw away and ultimately that awesome feeling which he used to have while playing would get into his mind. Sometimes, during the ongoing lectures as well he would start recalling the amazing wickets he took and how he used to thank God after taking each and every wicket. Honestly, he just wanted to leave those lectures and go to the cricket field and start playing. But he knew that it was a big risk as his studies might get affected and he would need extra money, which surely his dad would provide happily, but that money would be at the cost of something required at home. He was getting depressed day by day. How can we expect a person to forget his passion and start doing something he never wanted to?
The problem with the middle-class kids is that they generally can’t afford to follow their passion as at one point of time in life, duties come in front of them. This is unfortunate, harsh and a bitter reality.
Many times Prakash tried to convince him to start playing again, but he won’t agree. The usual conversations would be:
Prakash – “Akshay, it is high time you should start practicing, time is flowing”.
Akshay – “Dad, how many times will I tell you? My hostel is on the outskirts of the city. The city is about 25 km from here. My college timings are 8 to 4. Please think, dad. I cannot let my studies to get affected. Please”.
And Prakash would stop convincing him further. Akshay would feel good as he did right according to the situation. Akshay would often visit home during vacations but the home just reminded him of the passion he still has but which can’t be followed. He didn’t pray at all. He hardly spoke to anyone. He was always occupied with the thoughts about how has destiny betrayed him. Nothing was going well for the Sharma family. Akshay was depressed about the life he got, Prakash was about to get 60 years old now and wanted to retire but could not as he was the only person who earned.
On the other hand, Meena started feeling very lonely. The childhood she got was into a large family but her marriage had isolated her from closed ones. She was an old woman now, a lone old woman with her husband still struggling financially. The dreams she carried for the past 15 years were not realized a bit. The dream of getting respected again by her parents and relatives who insulted her for getting married to Prakash. Meena started to blame Akshay’s unsuccessful cricket career for her condition. As a result, she started getting frustrated and irritated at very small things. Time and again she would quarrel with Prakash and blame him and Akshay for the below-mediocre conditions. Many times she would stop cooking and demand Prakash a cook, which they clearly couldn’t afford.
“Meena, you know we can’t afford a cook”, said Prakash calmly.
“Why? Why can’t we afford? I have been looking after this house for the past 30 years now. I have been doing all those things which a maid should do. Did you marry me to make me do all this? Prakash, I am not a maid”, shouted Meena.
“Who says you are a maid? We are a family, Meena”, replied Prakash.
“Family? A family? Oh yes…A family of 3 people, out of which one is out of home for 12 hours and just comes to home to eat and sleep, and another one is in Jaipur who is enjoying his independent life and has achieved nothing. The third person, which is me, who is made to do all the things a maid should do. I have given my youth to this family and have got nothing in return. My life is just wasted, Prakash. Do you realize it? Look at my relatives who are enjoying life, who had planned their retirement wisely and have a peaceful life, not like us who are still living a servant’s life”, said Meena very loudly.
Prakash would often walk away from this conversation. He understood that it is not Meena’s fault. Her age, her life and the unfulfilled desires are making her speak like this. Prakash would often discuss this with Akshay. Hearing all this, Akshay would feel more depressed as he too started to blame himself for the family failures. He would often answer as, “Dad, it is all because of me. If I had become a cricketer, mom’s all desires would have been realized. She is really burning from within. I wish I could change things”, and Prakash would always console him as, “Son, don’t blame yourself. It is not your mistake. We only got trapped with too much thoughts and expectations. You just concentrate on your final year and job opportunities now”.
Soon, the year passed and the day came when Akshay had to return home. While driving him home, “Son, what do you plan now? You have successfully completed your engineering with first class grades”, said Prakash proudly with a smile.
“Thank you, dad. Yes, I have thought of some companies in Ahmedabad itself. I have decided to take up a job here as 4 years were enough for all three of us to stay apart. Now we will be happily reunited. Mom would also feel better seeing me around her”, said Akshay.
“Ya, I hope so…”, said Prakash doubtedly.
They reached home in about 15 minutes. Akshay was very excited to see his mother and started running through the steps and quickly rang the door bell. Meena opened the door happily and hugged him instantly. Seeing this, Prakash was very happy and had a broad smile on his face.
“Mom, finally, 4 years have passed. Didn’t I say that it would slip away very fast?”, said Akshay with a smile.
“Yes…Yes…I remember, son. But these years were not as easy as you think. You might have enjoyed staying there but this was not less than a hell for me. A hell in which I was the only punished one”, said Meena giving a sarcastic look to Prakash. Akshay remained silent. To break away the awkwardness, he said, “Mom, I am very hungry, can I just change and come to the dining table?”, and walked inside his room after getting a nod from Meena.
The ongoing week went quiet good for the family in terms of relationship as Meena got a change after 4 years by seeing Akshay so frequently around him. But the burning desires in her never allowed her to remain happy for a long time. Often, she quarreled over less significant things and got offended very easily. Akshay and Prakash tried their best to make her feel better but would end up getting scolded by Meena.
Akshay was getting very irritated with his home’s situation. He was already fighting with his inner passion, and now, the fight to provide a better life to his mother, not just a better life but instill the inner peace which Meena used to possess. But the latter task seems very challenging. Meena was killing herself from within as she disagreed to live such life and saw no scope of her wishes being realized. She was often seen weeping alone, sit quietly for hours and get depressed. Akshay wanted to calm her but Meena was not ready to think beyond. Akshay and Prakash made efforts to convince her to go out for family dinners as well but those efforts always went in vain.
Akshay started applying in the local IT companies of Ahmedabad and even gave interviews as well. He would often get selected but was offered a very low salary as he was a fresher and Ahmedabad wasn’t a primary IT hub. He discussed this with Prakash and he often advised him to get a job in Pune or Bangalore so that his career may get a good start, but Akshay refused to do so as he did not want to leave his mother again, and that too in her current mental position which was getting worse and worse.  
 
Chapter Five
Taking Decisions 
 
Akshay knew that it would be wrong to leave his mother in this position and make his career outside Ahmedabad where there are better job opportunities, and he happily made this decision of not leaving his mother, but always thought of the lesser salaries offered in this city. These thoughts were rejected every time when he used to see his mother and her state of mind. His love for his mother would have never allowed him to leave home and choose career over his mother. 
Meena started disliking everything, she even left all the domestic work including cooking which Akshay happily and responsibly took over. He would cook for the family so that his dad didn’t go empty stomach to the office and his mother can rest and have a ready meal. Akshay did all those work which Meena used to do. From cooking to washing clothes, from buying vegetables to dusting home, all was done by Akshay. He really didn’t enjoy this but was satisfied at the end of the day as his mother got barred from doing it. Opposite to Akshay’s expectations, Meena’s depression even grew by seeing him do all these tasks and forget the most important thing for him, his career. Who would like to see their son sitting at home and do household tasks? The miseries of an ‘unsuccessful’ life and the misery of Akshay’s current condition often transformed her depression to anger, which Prakash and Akshay had to face.
One fine afternoon, when Akshay just finished cooking and washing the vessels, Meena came to the kitchen, served her food and went after giving Akshay a harsh look. Akshay didn’t understand the harsh look and got curious. After washing the vessels he went to Meena, “Mom, how is the food? Does it taste like yours?”, asked Akshay.
“When are you going to take up a job and start your career?”, asked Meena firmly. Now, Akshay understood the harsh look.
“Mom, I will get a job in Ahmedabad, but the payscale is too less here”, said Akshay.
“Oh! Low salary. No worries, son. We are used to low salaries for the past 30 years”, said Meena and smiled sarcastically.
“Mom, I know you are not in a very fine state of mind nowadays, but stop putting blames on dad. Please stop thinking negatively. You condition would not get better like this”, said Akshay slight angrily.
“Okay…Okay…So now dad’s son is speaking and defending him. Son, you don’t know how hard were the early days. I can still remember those days and feel its pain through which I went every single day after my marriage with your unsuccessful father. And I just don’t blame him, this pain, this condition and my sufferings are because of you two. Your dad never earned a penny more and you didn’t have any desire to fulfill your mother’s dreams. Your astrological data was so strong, but you didn’t utilize it. What did you think? Just by practicing for some hours you would become an international cricketer?”, said Meena very angrily.
“Mom, what did you just say? Just few hours? I gave years to improve my game, and more importantly my blood and sweat. How can you even bring my cricket into this? How am I responsible for your miseries?”, said Akshay as he started to get emotional and lose control. As the words from Meena doubted his commitment towards the game and questioned his passion and performance, Akshay started to see those images of years of practice by him and also the images of the day when he was rejected at the selections. This made him very angry. It seemed he was to ready to have the war of words, even with his mother.
“Of course you and your unsuccessful career are as much responsible as your father for my condition. You just wasted precious time. If you must have played good and further, my life would have been different. My parents would have accepted me. I could have again gone to my parents’ home and that too respectfully. But no, my bad fate that I didn’t have capable men with me”, shouted Meena angrily.
“See Mom, you are taking this matter somewhere else because”, argued Akshay but got interrupted by Meena as she shouted, “Somewhere else? Son, the least you could do now is stand silently in front of me, ashamed. But no, how can the qualities of a father go? You are arguing because you can just speak and can do nothing good to your mother”.  
“Why should I be ashamed? Just because I didn’t play further cricket levels? Just because I am not able to take you to your parents?”, asked Akshay angrily.
Hearing this, Meena threw away her lunch plate and with wide open red eyes, started shouting, “You are even worse than your father. He at least walks away shamefully but you, you are the most shameless person I have ever met. Today, I think I have failed as a parent as well. How did I give birth to a shameless person like you? Just look at your college friends who call you up often to inform about their placements, they are not sitting at home like you, instead have started their career. They are not wasting time like you”.
“Yes mom, you are absolutely correct. My friends have started their careers, and look at me, I am just a domestic servant right now who cooks food and wash clothes. But you know why do I do this? Because of the abnormal environment of our home. My friends have started to work happily because their lives are normal with normal people or to be more precise, normal family members”, answered Akshay as his eyes started to get wet.
“How dare you, Akshay. You are calling me an abnormal member of this family?”, asked Meena shockingly.
“Yes!”, shouted Akshay. ”Yes mom, and you have made me abnormal as well. A normal mother would not blame his son for not taking her to her parents. A normal mother would not blame her son for the past sacrifices she made. Instead, a normal mother would encourage her son at each difficulty. And you know what, if you think so much about success and failure, then why did not you think before getting married to dad? Why didn’t you think about your parents at that time? And I am going far better than you, mom. At least I chose to stay with you rather than going to Pune or Bangalore like my other friends and live a free and independent life”, said Akshay on the top of his voice. Hearing this, Meena stood up and slapped him.
“Get out! Get out of my house and never again show me your face. Just get out…”, shouted Meena with eyes full of anger.
“Sure, mom. Now you will come to know how other sons are”, said Akshay and ran into his room and locked the door.
After sometime, the door opened. Akshay came to Meena’s room while dragging the luggage bag. He and Meena looked at each other but didn’t speak a word. As soon as Meena took her eyes off Akshay, he went out of her room and eventually got out of the home with tears in his eyes. Meena too started shedding tears while staring at the front wall of her room.
Prakash was in his office at this time. His phone beeped with an alert tone which notified a message. Upon opening the message, which was from Akshay, he started reading it:
“Dad, I feel that mom is not living with us, instead, she is tolerating us. I no longer feel she needs me or want to see me. Her agony has made her blind. But, I also admit that life has betrayed her as well, like me. The rage, the emotions which I saw in her eyes were the saddest a woman can have. She blames me and you for her miseries, which clearly, I couldn’t believe or stand it. These moments have taken my faith in God, completely, and now I even doubt his existence. I think the time has come for me to leave home, as after hearing her, I don’t find it mine anymore. I know I am leaving you in a tough situation, but please forgive me as I don’t have tolerance like you. She blamed my game for the things she is facing. Father, didn’t I give my life to it? Well, I think she was just concerned with the outcome. Dad, I am low, depressed and empty right now. The only thing I have is distress. Dad, It’s time to make the call, It’s better to go…”. 


© Copyright 2017 Abhishek Navathe. All rights reserved.

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