(First, I'm very sorry that I haven't been able to be active on WL lately. I will get back to reading all the posts soon. Coming to this post, again something different I've tried drifting away from humour. Thank You.)
Darkness engulfed the horizon, enveloped with dull red clouds throwing an impression as though the stars were hibernating behind the red blanket when a small thunder erupted, and the first drop of rain raced on its descent, as it splashed on Mr. Aravind’s forehead. Withdrawing his legs from his recliner, he stood right there in his small garden and threw a pale stare at the red sky which was beginning to cry. He snatched his glasses and his half sampled novel from the rain, and headed back to the door into his simple little home for dinner. His cook, a man in his sixties, the only other person who lived with Aravind, rushed to him to inform- “Sir. You have a call on your phone. It’s from London.” He passed the phone and evaporated into the kitchen.
“London? Shriya! Who else would it be? I don’t know anyone from there. And Shriya would never call, she vowed to never call me again. What the hell is this call for?” he began to disturb his mind. “ Or, maybe it’s Mr. Singh, Shriya’s only family friend and a mentor.” He thought. He unwillingly drew the receiver into his ears and said- “Hello.”
“Hello Aravind. I’m Mr. Singh calling from London.”
“Oh, Mr. Singh! What made you to be reminded of me all of a sudden?”
“Aravind….” With a small pause surrounded by the sounds of heavy breath, he continued- “ Shriya.”
“What about Shriya? She’s gone. It’s been 10 years since our divorce Mr. Singh. What about her now? What’s her problem? Tell her that she doesn't deserve me anymore.”
“Sorry, but she is actually dead Aravind. Last night. Called to inform you that.”
Aravind felt a cold shiver run through his body. He dropped himself onto his bed and mustered his voice and said-“ Okay.”
“One more thing, Aravind.”
“She has a kid, a boy of 9 years old. And more importantly” he paused and continued-“He’s your child too.”
For a moment there was a silence across both sides of the globe. Aravind was stunned beyond speech.
“Aravind, are you still there? Hello.”
“Yeah. What on earth are you talking about?”
“I know you must be shocked by this Aravind. But it’s true. It came to light just after you both separated. Shriya insisted in not letting you know about it. But now, I feel, after being her only confidant, it’s my duty to tell you about this.”
“ Aravind. She’d never had too many known people around here. What I mean to say is- would you like to keep the boy with you Aravind?” Mr. Singh asked shakily.
“Mr. Singh, I’m just hating myself, her and you for this situation. Why should I believe you that he’s my son? Even if I do, I’m not responsible…………..” He stopped without saying anything further. “No thanks Mr. Singh.” He said and cut the line.
One week later, at the Bangalore International airport.
Aravind was pacing back and forth in the Arrivals’ Lounge of the airport waiting for his son’s arrival. After a hard battle between his mind and his heart, he had finally called Mr.Singh to convey his agreement to guard his own son. And here he was, in the airport waiting for his son’s arrival. He was told by Mr. Singh that the boy was never informed about Aravind as his father. “I’ll take care of that. You don’t tell him anything.” He had ordered, replying to Mr. Singh.
The announcement was made that the Air India flight from London had just landed. A crowd began to form around the exit area. And suddenly Aravind felt nervous. He had been too distracted to allow himself to think what he might feel when he would actually see his son in flesh and blood.
He noticed that people began coming out into the exit area as he began craning his head to catch a glimpse of his son. A minute later, he noticed a young lady of ‘Air India’ approaching, along with a small boy, holding his hands, towards the exit area where Aravind was waiting. Aravind approached her, confirmed her that he was that Mr. Aravind and the lady obliged, kissed the little boy on his cheek and walked back. Now, suddenly, the two of them were on their own. Aravind, glanced down the boy. Does he look anything like me, he thought.
“Thank you, Sir, for offering me to stay with you awhile.” He said in a cute, British accent.
Aravind felt his blood rushing. He had just heard his son’s voice. “Yes my dear.” He smiled and tried to carry the little boy but in vain and said with a smile- “oops..You are a strong boy! What’s your name?”
“Sorry sir, forgot to tell you. I’m Aryan.”
Aravind couldn’t help a smile as he clasped the boy’s luggage bag with one hand and held the boy’s, his son’s, little hand with the other and began to walk to the parking bay.
“How far is the Taj Mahal from here, Sir? Can you take me there?” the little boy asked.
Aravind couldn’t control a smile as his eyes began to become moist, said- “ Surely. I’ll take you to all the famous places in India. Alright?”
“Thank You, Sir.”
They reached their car, put the luggage behind and took the front seats. As they were about to leave, the little boy asked- “ Sir, Singh uncle told me, you were my mother’s best friend? She was my best friend too.”
Aravind controlled himself, held his palms on the boy’s little cheeks and said- “ I liked her a lot, Aryan.” He smiled as a drop trickled down his eyes.
“Sir, can I catch some sleep here? I’m sleepy. Would you mind, Sir?” he said again with his cute British accent.
Aravind couldn’t control it anymore, he grabbed and hugged the little boy tightly, kissed him on his forehead, then on both his cheeks and said- “Aryan. Dear, I’m not ‘Sir’. Call me ‘Daddy’”
They headed home, drawing a lovely picture of their rekindled future.