The light

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
It is a short story about a father and his daughter

Submitted: May 01, 2016

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Submitted: May 01, 2016

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The light

 

Disappointments are natural life occurrences dear.  Their lifespan depends on how long they dominate your thought. The shorter … the better your life will be.”  Radhika clearly remembers those soothing words from her Baba, even after eight  years. She used to call  her father as Baba as per the tradition that time. It was a Sunday afternoon in the month of July and she was scheduled to travel back to the USA next week for continuing her studies. It was pouring heavily in Mumbai and the two of them had finished lunch with exchange of only few words. Her two year old marriage was on the verge of breaking.  Before few minutes she has conceded to Baba that she is going to sign the divorce papers and courier it to the  lawyer by the next day. It was the case of divorce by mutual consent. Radhika  was feeling sad and hurt but strangely she was having  a sigh of relief. Baba was not his usual self. She knew him very well or at least she thought so. She secretly believed that the bad news was not a surprise for Baba as he was able to understand the difficulties of his daughter from thousands of miles even without her telling it. She knew what Baba was thinking at the moment.  He was silently aware that it would be very difficult for Radhika to get married again with a boy of their choice in their community. Baba spoke the above words after breaking silence of nearly half an hour. She hugged him and cried silently.

 

She felt sorry for her Baba.  It was difficult to believe that the gray haired dark complexioned man with soft voice was once upon a time terror in his office. He came from a village in Maharashtra, got a degree in Engineering from a college in Pune and joined a private engineering company in Mumbai. He rose from trainee engineer to executive director by a rare combination of hard work, intelligence and humility for something like 35 years. The turnover of the company has literally got multiplied hundred times during this period and her Baba was the chief contributor. She remembered  all the praises staff sang in his honor on the  day of his retirement. She had lost her mother when she was in the tenth class due to breast cancer, hence she was the only with Baba on that day.  Baba was two in one in many occasions. He was an engineer and a singer, a voracious reader and an excellent storey teller. He was a strict father and a kind mother same time. 

 

Radhika was 26 at the time of her wedding. Her marriage with Rajeev has taken her to the USA. It was an arranged marriage in the same  community and she was on cloud 9. He would be husband was liked by her as well as her Baba.  Rajeev was having a degree in Engineering from  India followed by an MBA in the USA. He was one of those smart outgoing men. After the first meeting between the two families on a pleasant winter evening, they tied the knot within a couple of months. A month after her marriage, she was in the USA to stay with  Rajeev. She was all so excited on the plane journey. She was travelling out of India for the first time and she was eager to meet Rajeev. Rajeev picked her up from the Air port and dropped her in their apartment. He drove to work after ten minutes of  giving her the basic information about the utilities in the house and security and his phone number etc. It was as if a vacuum cleaner salesman is  providing information about his product. She felt little nervous but got engrossed in having a look at the house. There were two bed rooms, kitchen and a drawing room. She was lost looking out of the window, a vast green lawn was covered with snow on and off and the sky was dull gray. The other side was a parking lot and unlike the open car park in her building in Mumbai, all the cars were in covered parking lot. There was no yellow and white dog in the parking lot. On that day evening when Rajeev returned from his office, desperate to start the conversation she asked him about his job, about his education in the USA and his likes and dislikes of food etc. He answered all questions in yes or no fashion, as if he is thinking of something else all the time they conversed. For a couple of things he told to get information  from the Internet and thanked her for making the coffee. She prepared dinner of rice, vegetable curry and dal thinking he will like it and also served some Indian sweets Baba had given her. He ate it but without a word. As he went inside the bed room first time he called her by her name. In the darkness of night his hands went all over her body, undressing her, he finished the act. Radhika has lost her virginity quicker than she thought. Radhika could not apprehend what was happening  to her. Next day she felt  out of place  and could not gather her wits tomake a breakfast. Rajeev woke up first and prepared a break fast of egg and bread for himself. That day evening they met some Indian friends of Rajeev and had dinner outside. They moved around the place on the week ends. They talked about work and higher education and politics but when it came to personal lives, Rajeev was silent. She knew there was something Rajeev was hiding from her.

 

Within one month she could gather the reason for his behavior. From the discrete hints dropped by the wife of one of the Rajeev’s friends and  from the closer examination of the house, she came to knew it. Rajeev was having live in relationship with  his office colleague, Irene and they were staying together in the very same flat till one month ago. With news of arrival of Radhika, Irene has shifted in a nearby locality. Apparently they  werea happy couple and shared the common belief of enjoying life without responsibility  of running a family. Radhika’s dreams were shattered. When she demanded an explanation from Rajeev, he said it was his parents pressure to get married and start a family. Irene  was an affair before marriage and Radhika is his current reality. He casually remarked that even in India affairs in colleges is a pretty common things and people bury it after they are married. Radhika did not know how to react but her intuition made her to wait and watch. She was careful not to give her body to Rajeev again. The days were painful but she decided not to speak to Baba  on this subject. Only silver lining was she got herself enrolled for doing her graduation – master of science (MS) in the University. Rajeev helped her in getting the admission and also paid for the fees without any fuss. She wondered whether he is doing it out of the  feeling of guilt or he really wants to help her.  Radhika being a rank holder from her Engineering college, had no difficulty in getting along with her MS studies  in the USA. In the first semester, she was topper in three subjects out of six and got a CGPA of 8.2  on the scale of 10. On one Friday night  Rajeev came home drunk and Irene was with him. They went to bedroom without acknowledging her presence as if she was another piece of furniture. Next morning after Irene left, Rajeev apologized to Radhika, but it repeated twice in the next month and worst second time there was another lady. Radhika had taken some decision on that day but she was going to stay with Rajeev till competition of her MS and then apply for divorce. She was herself surprised about how her soft nature became so firm and calculative. After doing MS, she was offered  a scholarship and her professor persuaded her to join Doctorate pregame. She was in high spirits as she was now financially independent and could stay in the USA without any support from Rajeev. One Sunday morning she declared her decision to shift to university hostel where she was going to share the flat with another PhD student. This was not surprising from both. The foreign lad has offered  this freedom quite naturally. For parents of both in India, she had shifted to the university  campus for the purpose of convenience in higher studies. The most difficult thing was to break the news to her Baba and this she has done today.

.? .?

 

The dimension of time being irreversible the life moved on and Radhika completed her doctorate in Artificial Intelligence. She took up a teaching cum research assignment. She was happy with her work but one corner of her heart was always bleeding for her Baba. Every night on her bed before going to sleep she will be phoning or writing an e-mail to Baba for which she always got quick replies with positive strokes. How cleverly he was  covering up his loneliness so that his daughter  does not feel it. Once she proposed that she will quit her job in the USA and settle down in India. He replied smilingly that his poor country can not afford the salary of a doctorate like her. The company appointed her Baba as executive director even after his retirement and once again he became busy after a break of a year.

 

He offered to come to stay with Radhika for 3 months. Those three months were golden period of her life. What fun she used to do together with Baba on week ends. How quickly he learnt to drive on American roads and how come he was more aware about the USA politics and movies than her. She thought that the three months period got over in one week time.

 

Golden period in her life shown signs of continuation when Sanjay entered her life.  Sanjay was a staff in the university like her and they had worked on one project together. He was two years younger than her. He came from a village in Madhya Pradesh. She found him understanding and humble man devoted to his work. When she reflected on Sanjay, she could tell how he was like her Baba in more than one ways. They were seeing each other for a year  and both of them realized that they need each other. Both of them wanted to go to India on vacation together to meet Sanjay’s mother and Radhika’s father. Still somewhere in her mind she was weighing the option of continuing alone due to bitter experience of first marriage.

 One morning when she was presenting a paper in a seminar, her phone shuddered  as she has kept it on vibrating mode. It was her cousin from Mumbai who was living in another suburb far away from her house in Mumbai. He had called her only once before in last eight  years when he wanted some information about MBA admissions in the USA for his son. She excused herself and came out of the conference room. Her cousin informed the news of her Baba’s demise due to heart attack. It was 4 am in Mumbai that time. She became dumb for five minutes and then her mind calculated how quickly she can reach India. In half an hour she sent the SMS to her cousin.

 

 .? .?

 

She reached her house in Mumbai five days later at 3 am in the morning and the watchman handed over the keys to her. She went to sleep straightway.

 

It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever. it was the feeling of loss of something so vital and so sudden that her mind was not ready to accept it. Although she knew it for sure, her conscious was telling her that it was happening to a protagonist in some story book far away and not in her life. She thought Baba has gone out on his morning walk and he will be back any moment. The next moment Baba was in. He said smilingly “I thought you will bring Sanjay with you this time to show him our house and this wild old man”.  She was stunned to hear that. Although she had informed Baba about Sanjay, she never thought Baba knew her special feelings for Sanjay. Baba continued “My dear child, do not trap yourself in the labyrinth of loneliness. Nobody knows loneliness better than me. Get married with Sanjay and I bless both of you to be happy forever.” Listening this she got goose bumps all over her body as her mind became doubtless. She lifted her body with the newly found energy and went ahead to hug her Baba. There was a bright light with which she united. Her Baba was the lamp that gave her light even after it was exhausted. It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever.It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever.It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever.It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up.It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up.It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up.It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up.

 

.? .?

 

 


© Copyright 2020 Vijay 2016. All rights reserved.

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