A Fool's Flashback

A Fool's Flashback

Status: Finished

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Literary Fiction

Houses:

Summary

A flashback of an old man, the flashback which suddenly flashes in front of him when he gets slapped by his own son.
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Summary

A flashback of an old man, the flashback which suddenly flashes in front of him when he gets slapped by his own son.

Content

Submitted: June 06, 2017

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Content

Submitted: June 06, 2017

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“Today, I had to take up the pen. Believe me, I am not a writer kind of a man, never have been. Why would I start writing at this age of 68? Most of my life, I have been a modern practical man who saw life as just as an opportunity for gathering and enjoying materials. Yes, I cared for my family, I still do, but at that time it was more of a social thing. A wife, kids, parents and relatives, money, status, I had everything, ego as well. This minute, when I am writing all this, this very minute, is so different from the life I had. Age, life, sufferings, were just phases for me which I experienced but never understood, this minute made me do that too. I hardly believe it is me who is thinking this way. But this is logical as well, every sudden has reason with it, I have my own.

My son slapped me today. Yes, he did. Why? Because he was too drunk and I started scolding him loud : “What are you doing with your life? How can you come before your own kids in this condition?”, and there it was, a drunken slap which shattered all my ego and the pride with which I lived, and even reminded me of something I did, something in my days. Can I be honest here? I want to cry, shed some tears silently, but I am not able to. Why are the tears not making their way out? Are they too egoistic as well? Like me? But my eagerness to cry is not because of getting slapped by my own son, no, absolutely not. The reason is different, it is something which has left no meaning of my life, and I realize it now, this moment. This reason is…”

 

 

a fool’s flashback…

 

 

 

I was watching myself in the mirror, the tie, the blazer and the creases. My wife came in the room and said, “The dinner is ready, when is he coming?”. I turned to her to reply, but after running my eyes through her dress, I shouted, “Are you going to wear this crap? I am going to propose a deal worth crores to him. Gosh! Please don’t let me down. Go and wear that red one which we bought the previous month” and started making my hair again. She started to leave the room but stopped as I said, “What about father? Make sure he doesn’t come out”.

“I can’t do that, please”, said my wife.

“See, I don’t know how to make you realize, but this deal is a big step for me and the company, I don’t want the investor to see him”, I said adamantly.

Looking at me sternly, she said, “Are you ashamed of your father? Just because he is old fashioned and cultured?”

“Yes, I am”, I shouted, “Just look at him. What would that global investor think if father comes and have his food with no table-manners at all. Do you think his chewing sound is going to help me with my deal. And forget all this, you clearly know he doesn’t have control now, his pants often get wet without himself realizing it”, I continued shouting.

“He is 77 now. These things do happen in old age. Old people are like kids, why don’t you understand?”, said my wife severely.

Just when I was going to reply, the door bell rang. Getting excited, I said, “The investor has come. I will open it”. Realizing my wife is still stuck over my father’s thoughts, I said, “You are right, they are like kids. He is sleeping like a kid right now, please lock his door. He won’t know anything of this. Once the investor is gone, we will wake him up for his dinner. Please hurry up now and change“, and I went to welcome the investor. I received him well and made him sit on the sofa.

“So, Mr. Roy, Why didn’t you bring your wife and kids, it would have been a pleasure to meet them too”, I said with a wide smile, just managing to make it look real.

“I admire your thought, Mr. Singh, but my wife is in Africa for some charity function and kids are in Australia with their grandparents, but next time I will bring them for sure”, said Mr. Roy elegantly.

“Of course, Mr. Roy. It would be very nice to host all of you”, I said.

“Well, Mr. Singh, as you know I have already seen your company’s proposal presentation, I must say that I am impressed. Just wish that other companies, which I will be meeting in the next couple of days, won’t have a better business plan”, said Mr. Roy with a grin.

“Other companies? Which ones?”, I asked confusingly.

“Mr. Singh, look. Even I have to follow my companies’ orders. I was asked to attend the presentations of other companies as well, alongside yours. But do not worry, your presentation is the first one I have attended and I have liked it”, said Mr. Roy.

“Oh! Yes sure. I totally understand it”, I said thoughtfully, as I wasn’t aware that the investor is considering other companies as well. I started getting cautious. The thoughts of any other company bagging this deal was very frightening for me, as it would mean that another couple of years would be spent in reaching and convincing any other international investor. Though I was in constant conversation with Mr. Roy, I was preoccupied with the worried thoughts.

Mr. Roy and I got seated for having dinner. The best of the crockery was placed in front of us, especially to impress the big man. My wife started serving those spaghettis and macaronis with a variety of sauces. We started having the dinner and continued our business talks. I left no chance to promote my business plan and kept on promising better returns to his company.

“Mr. Roy, there is even a third-stage plan which my company staff has prepared, specially considering the needs of your company”, I said with a show-off smile.

“That is interesting, Mr. Singh. Actually, I was aware of it. That is the reason I decided to meet you first, ahead of other companies. Otherwise, you and your contemporary companies must have a similar primary plan. So, when can I see the demo and the presentation?”, said Mr. Roy.

“Just after the dinner, sir. My manager is just outside the gate, ready to come and deliver the presentation and take you through the demo. It would be conducted in the presentation room of this bungalow”, I said.

“Very well, Mr. Singh, but what about the…”, Mr. Roy started saying but got interrupted with the sound of the loud door knocks. “What is this, Mr. Singh?”, asked Mr. Roy furiously.

“Don’t worry, it is my father, my wife must have locked his room by mistake”, I said, trying to relax him. “Madhu…”, I called out to my wife, “Please go to father’s room, he must be needing something”, to which my wife came from the kitchen and after looking me with a pale face, she ran towards my father’s room. Upon opening the door, Madhu saw that my father was very much frightened, his eyes containing some fear. He straightaway hugged her and started crying while continuously saying, “Why was I locked up? It was all black in there. I just woke up, I thought I was somewhere else”, to which my wife firmly replied, “Dad, why don’t you go and ask your beloved son? He himself told me to lock you up”.

My father came out to the dining room, in his white vest and pajamas. He looked very much frightened and literally ran towards me and hugged me tight. I carried that fake smile again and looked at Mr. Roy, who was looking at my father disgracefully.

“Why did you lock me up, son?”, asked my father, having some tears in his eyes.

Just to balance the matter, I had a forceful fake laugh and said, “No one locked you, father. Madhu must have done it by mistake”.

“I was frightened, son. I thought you left me somewhere, somewhere in like black vacuum. I fear that feeling”, said my father still hugging me.

“Mr. Singh”, said Mr. Roy, “from where is this strong smell coming? I am sorry but I am allergic to such smells, please find out”, he said while putting his palm over his nose.

I knew exactly from where the bad smell came. My father’s pajama was wet. Along with it, his whole body was stinking out of urination and sweating, probably due to the fright. Realizing this, I panicked and said to my father, “Please stop hugging. You go inside your room now, I will see you in some time”.

“No, son, please. I don’t want to go in that room again. Please don’t leave me alone right now”, said my father, tightening the hug.

Mr. Roy stood up quickly, keeping his hand over his mouth now, indicating the vomiting sensations. Madhu quickly took him to the washroom. His vomiting sounds could be heard from outside as well. My father was still hugging me out of fright. I forcefully pushed him away to stop the hug and looked at him disrespectfully. I ran towards the washroom and called out, “Mr. Roy, is everything alright? Should I call the doctor?” but Mr. Roy was still busy washing. After sometime, he came out of the washroom and straightaway started advancing his steps towards the gate of the house.

“What happened, Mr. Roy. Where are you going? Do you need something?”, I asked while following him, showing my concern.

“Shut up! Just forget everything. I have to go now. I cannot take more of this rotten smell, it just gets into my head”, shouted Mr. Roy, looking at my father with a weird expression.

“Sir, I am sorry for the smell. Actually it was from the kitchen and…”, I said, convincing him to stay.

 “Really! You want me to believe that. Can’t I see your father’s wet pajama and the sweat all over his body”, Mr. Roy replied.

My wife was standing there, seeing all this happen. Hearing those latest words from the investor, she couldn’t resist more and said, almost shouted, “Mr. Roy, his pajamas and hid body odor are none of your concern, that is our personal family thing. Your purpose was business, please keep it to that only”.

Turning to my wife, Mr. Roy said, “Yes, that is absolutely true. But ask your husband, what were the conditions of my visit. My secretary gave a full list of things to him, which must have been followed during the meeting. It had every condition, from the food I eat to the allergies I have. Isn’t that right, Mr. Singh?”.

“Absolutely, Sir. I am totally aware of it. My wife just got carried away. I apologize for it, please let it go”, I begged shamefully.

“Let go what? Just look at the condition of your father, if you cannot take a good care of him, how can I trust you with my company’s future business plans. Some other time, Mr. Singh”, said Mr. Roy as he took his coat off the hook and fastened his steps towards the door. I helplessly saw Mr. Roy getting out of the gate. I looked down in disappointment, picked up the glass of water from the table and smashed it on the floor, leaving my wife and father scared.

 "Are you happy now?", I said, turning to him and looking with angered eyes.

"Son, I am sorry, actually I didnt know...", my father started saying very apologetically but I countered with a shout, "You didn’t know? What the hell didn’t u know? Were you blind to see a man with whom I was talking?"

"I was very frightened, my room was locked and I thought that you all have left me, left me in an unknown place, which is all black. I am so sorry, son, please forgive me", said father very softly, with his sorry eyes. Before I could further take on my father, my wife said, "No, father. Please don’t feel guilty. If anyone is responsible for this, it is your son".

Looking at her sarcastically, I said, "Ohh! Here the mindless speaks. How could you even take my name in this? How is it my fault?"

My wife said, "Mindless? Okay then, let me now dig into you. Yes, I am mindless when it comes to your business and its deals, but, Mr. Singh, remember one thing, a wise person would never lock up his own father for whatsoever crores or billions. You get that?" with wide stern eyes.

 "Wow! So now my own wife is questioning my character and intentions", I said. "And you", turning to father, "just look at the things you have done. First, making my big investor run away, behind whom my three years of hard work got wasted, and second, making my wife stand against me", I continued shouting.

"No!  No!", father spoke as some tears came out of his eyes as a sense of guilt.

Seeing those tears, my wife ran to him and held his hand, she said, "Father, I am sorry on behalf of him. Please don’t cry, please", then looking at me with disgust, she said, "A home cannot sustain where the elders are disrespected. Remember, Mr. Singh, your father is facing all this because of the fact that he is totally dependent on you, but that, listen carefully, that does not mean you are doing a favor on him".

Unable to resist her words, I shouted, "Enough, both of you, enough", looking at her, I continued, "What do you think this man did for me? Absolutely nothing. All my youth was without money, even my college expense was paid by the tuition I conducted. Remember, Madhu, this man has done nothing for me. Just look at him now, what a filth he is, stinking every day. And now he has started ruining my business too and...", I was continuing but my father interrupted gently, "Son, I am sorry to do all this to you. I am sorry that I did not do anything for you in life. I am sorry that I wet my pants. Dear, I am almost 78 now, unable to handle my body well, I am sorry that you feel shameful when I stink. As you said that you already have done so much for me, can I ask for one more thing?" and he joined his palms. My wife could not take more, she wanted to say something, but father put his hand on her shoulder and said, “Madhu, please could you go inside for some time. I need to talk to him”.

“Father, but…”, said my wife.

“Madhu, please, believe me, I will settle everything, just let me talk to him once”, my father said smilingly. Hearing this, my wife looked at me with an unpleasant repulsive face for a while and went inside.

Holding my forehead and turning away from him, I said, "Did you see that, father? The way she went. Everything is finished, everything, my family, my work, my respect. Are you fool enough to realize all this? Instead of asking me for a favor you should go and talk to Madhu and make her feel that it was not my fault, it was yours. This is the least you could do for me now".

My father, still his palms joined, said, "No, son. Please don’t ask me for anything. I am incapable, just incapable of anything. But please do the thing I say, I promise that this is the last thing I am asking from you, after this I won’t bother you".

"What is it?", I said while turning to him.

Looking at me, straight into the eyes, palms still together, he requested with a gentle smile, "Please take me to an old-age home".

Thinking it as beneficial step, I did that the very next morning.

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Abhishek Navathe. All rights reserved.

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