Asha, a twenty-four-year-old woman, thanked God when she obtained her appointment in a state government concern nearby. Soon a proposal for an alliance combating their fiscal as well as social status approached them and it got nodded from both the sides. The fiancé was a guy working in a public sector undertaking. Nuptials went on smoothly without any hitches or hindrances. After a year they also yearned for the most precious gift, which every couple desires subsequent to the nuptials.
Deepak and Asha rejoiced and were on cloud nine because they succeeded in their venture of obtaining the parenthood. The venture passed through a series of prolonged struggles for about eight years. The trouble of pecuniary aspects also was not less since the treatment incurred a sizeable amount as it was in a high-tech hospital. Eventually, God extended his altruistic hand and helped them grow a zygote in Asha’s womb. At each developmental stage of the fetus, the prospective parents were much anxious and excited. Seemingly the days seemed to be months and years because their patience waiting for two hundred seventy days between the conception and confinement exhausted every so often.
Aha! The most cheery day dawned with the enthusing news, the news of emergence of a baby from Asha into this wide world of light and sound. The neonate was a male which they had yearned for much. The parents and grandparents found no bound to their delight, as the home was blessed with the tender one’s advent.
The baby passed through the metamorphic stages of toddling, prattling, speaking, walking, running and so on. In between the naming ceremony, the first intake of cereal food, the first birthday celebration etc. climbed the pinnacles of pomp and show with a large gathering of near and dear. His every action filled their dwelling with joviality. As the toddler’s body and mind attained progress in growth, the parents’ greed also grew in progression. It seemed that their aspiration for a child was totally for their status-exhibition. They wanted to get accomplished through him, whatever they couldn’t achieve in their young age days. So they turned to be hard taskmasters and on such occasions, on no account, they recalled the plight of obtaining this highly prized beloved dear.
The outcome was a tough and rough life for Nitin, which led him to be a wee lazy. He had to go for classical as well as instrumental music classes that fell in two days a week. Another day was earmarked for the visit of an artist that engaged him in painting. And the rest of the time home, he had to obey the orders of his textbooks and notebooks and thereby the teachers. As a result, the cheer-rendering free time went on diminishing for him along with the rotation of the Earth.
While his peers were at play in their own courtyards, Nitin had to meddle his head with incomprehensible art and music. He couldn’t enjoy the daylight or moonlight in a full-fledged manner. He had a large headed Jack tree in his compound which though, fell into his eyes, couldn’t grab his attention. Near the gate of his house stood on either side zinnia plants in rows. The flowers lurked to smile at him, but he didn’t heed to mind them. The butterflies hummed melodious tunes and nothing that sort attracted Nitin’s attention, as his day to day affairs started littering his sense. No dreams of his own were spun and he performed things on the script devised by his parents, just as the time in a clock that moves when the cell is charged.
Exams were true nightmares for him, for he knew he couldn’t satiate his parents with his grades that never transcend the level of ‘C’ or at the most ‘B’. All the ensuing exams used to spoil his sleep and quiet. He remained on the trial of achieving the best, keeping aside his laziness. But despite his hard work, his tensed mind did not act in his favour. And moreover, his anxiety too did not allow him to fare well in any of the exams.
Prior to the pre-boards, for days and nights together he used to keep his books open. So also long lay his bed without its master, for the master had to remain in the scary company of lessons. The first pre-board however took its track of exit after its destined stay in the school.
At the arrival of his teachers, his eyes scrutinized their hands well to see if any answer bundles entered the class along with them. For him, each bundle looked like a bomb, from which a slice would explode in his domicile at any time. As expected his grades took a stance of defaming him rather earning censures from his parents. The parents were the sort of people that never opened their coffer to expose their love. And moreover, their lingual organ was frequently in exercise, reproofing Nitin at his poor performance. One’s tongue can build and break relations and make or crack health spoiling the calm around. The entire thing used to stain the atmosphere. So naturally, Nitin found in his parents two foes, who, he was scared of, to a larger extent.
A liar, who invented newer and newer methods, took birth in him for an escape from his parents’ situation-tarnishing tongue. His answer papers that came within his reach lurked between the recto and verso of his book leaves. They waited there for many days expecting an endorsement from Nitin’s parents.
The teachers had touched the lowest step of tolerance, for they were not given the chance of viewing his parents’ sign. Hence they had to continue threatening him to be taken before the Principal. However, the distribution date of the progress report landed on the anvil. Once it was at hand, he knew that there was no way to break away from the punishment.
“Rebuke from the parents and reprimand from the teachers will make my day then,” was his thought.
He had not shown his answer scripts, which were still at slumber stage in his bag, “I am sure my parents won’t sign the progress report or papers. The answer papers the teachers are not so strict about. But the report card, umm, what can I do?” he pondered over the situation for a way to a flight from punishment.
“I will. sign… myself. O! No,… my class ma’am will …catch me. She..she is very clever. I cannot delay further…..O, Not only that, my parents may go to the teachers.” Nitin touched the zenith of his fret and fell in utter confusion.
“ Nitin, ‘yes ma’am’, what have you done in the exam? A fifth-grade child will do better than this,” the card came to his hand with that comment from the class madam, as anticipated.
All the thirty-nine pairs of eyes rapidly turned to him to read his face. He put his head down in shame and stood without looking at anyone.
“No shame on your part, no trial to improve. Going down? The principal won’t allow you to write the exam. We don’t want to spoil our school’s name.” the class teacher’s share of remarks further.
“The rest I will get from Amma (mom) and Achan(pop),” he knew that turn by turn they would shower words of heavy weight on him.
“If I don’t show the report card, they will reach the school,” said he to himself.
Anyway, the card didn’t see the light in front of his parents that day. A couple of days passed and the third day he escaped with an excuse that his father was on tour. The teacher pardoned him for one more day with a warning to return it the next day itself with his mother’s acknowledgment.
“What to do! Further delay is difficult. The school may inform them over the phone,” Nitin was baffled.
Every day Nitin is home by three, three-thirty or so and then after snacks and tea he strides to the tuition class. But that day the time trekked through four, five, six and seven o’ clock. Anxiety conquered the calm of his home, though the parents guessed that he might be in one of the friends’ house. A big commotion took place in that house; phoning repeatedly to school, the individual teachers, friends and other contemporaries, all in vain. Phone calls from dear and near also flew to all the possible places. But none knew his whereabouts of that day and eventually keeping the prestige apart, the parents stretched their arms for the police aid. Immediately the complaint was registered and the police reciprocated. Two men from the force arrived at his house and questioned everybody around and no clue emerged out of anybody. The time, waiting for none climbed the step of nine at night. The policemen charily studied the situation, hunting for some clues.
At last inside a dictionary between the cover-bind and the first leaf, they came across a scribbled sheet, “ Dear Achchan and Amma, pardon me. I cannot get grades as you expect. I tried a lot, but impossible. I am not good at studies. I am not a good son. I can do only this much. I don’t know if I will pass. So I am leaving the place forever. Don’t inquire about me. Don’t worry also. Somewhere we will meet, I don’t know where.”
Nobody had any idea, as to his elope was purposeful and planned. The police could extract from his friends the fact that he had distributed his belongings like the pen, colour pencil, geometry box etc- his parents used to buy costly showy study articles for him- to his peers, who were scared to open the mouth in the beginning.
The police could understand that a couple of days before he had mentioned about the depth of the backwater nearby. The friends used to quite often visit the bridge which was only one kilometer away from the school. They found pleasure at the sight of the water and sailors in the water.
“How deep the backwater would be. If we jump into it, can we come back?” once Nitin had asked his pals. They thought he was joking.
The police made scrutiny of all the incidents, taken place prior to his flight and they arrived at an inference. He might have jumped into the water, unable to bear the stress and strain of studies, loaded by the parents and the school.
The time kept on skipping from lower ranges to the higher and reached 11 o’ clock on the clock. The hour of six onwards the parents’ condition was becoming dismal, though they had mechanically allowed their phones to enter all the pathways.
The mother’s consciousness was at the edge of fading; a sort of melancholy reined fully the home. Father’s throat became reluctant to produce sounds and as a whole, a silence with some whispers and sighs heard around.
Then all of a sudden one of the police officers got a phone call which said a boy around fifteen years has been saved from drowning and admitted in an unconscious stage in the I C U of the hospital. The police and a relative of Nitin rushed to the hospital, where they identified the guy as Nitin.
Nitin after the admonition from the teacher went with one of his friends to the latter’s residence on the pretext that his parents’ would arrive late that day. At the same time, he had informed his own parents that he had a special class in the school. At about 6:30 his lower limbs pulled him to the bridge, where he stood rating his calibre,” Why should I be alive? I am good for nothing, getting rebukes from all sides. Nobody wants me here. No, I shouldn’t live anymore.”
The decision of concluding and continuing his reside here debated with each other, the upshot was that in a half-minded mode he turned back. At that moment the signature and the report card reported to him his plight. He resumed position and again an uncertainty of ‘to do or not to do’ haunted him, but at last, he chose his own last, the ultimate step and jumped into the backwater.
A fishing boat with some fishermen sailed that way and sighted the boy sinking and rising in the water. They rowed the boat to the spot and risking their lives, they jumped and pulled the person. Without wasting any moment, he was given the required first aid and taken to the hospital.
The police people ushered the parents to their son who had not till then attained normalcy. With heavy hearts and angst-stricken minds, waited and waited the parents in the room. The time went on performing its duty with no delay and arrived at eight in the next morning. No expectant news penetrated through their auditory organ and hence losing the hope, Amma’s sense turned dim in spite of the succor extended by the clan. Achan somehow managed to save his self from collapsing. Anyway the intense nursing attention brought mother back to sense, but was very weak.
Agony and anxiety stuffed the minds and they found it tough to kill time. Time seemed to crawl slower than a snail.
Unexpectedly an announcement “Nitin’s parents wanted in ICU”, turned people lend their ears for keen attention and quickly the parents were escorted to the ICU.
“Amma,Achcha,” whispered Nitin’s lips. His conscious condition, which was not expected at all, soothed the parents, wiping off their bottomless grief.
The parents very emotionally after one week,“O! Dear darling, you have taught a very high moral lesson not only to your cruel parents, but to numerous other parents like us. “