Alok pulled a novel from the shelf and a chair from the living room. He walked towards the corridor of his house. Though it was the access way he chose a corner, so that the passers-by’s attention would not fall on him. Amma( mother) was in the kitchen engaged in her routine cuisine. While her hands were performing the formal works of chopping vegetables, grating and grinding coconut etc in a mechanical way, her mind carried a melancholic mood. She seemed to be nervous or worried about something. And so was the reason why her dishes turned to be over-spicy sometimes.
Alok opened the first page of the first chapter and fixed both his vision and view in it .He felt that the author was very much acquainted with the conflict that used to take place in his own family. The novel’s prelude consisted of the story of a wrangling couple. The husband unloaded his anger on the wife using abusive words, whereas the wife emptied her ire in loud voice.
“That was exactly a picture of my house(I don’t even call it a home which I feel should be made of hearts),” thought he.
“Of course both achhan(father) and amma together used to go out, walk, travel, shop, purchase households and execute all such things together without fail.” When they begin their journey, amma would be instructing achhan about taking out the car out of the gate as an expert. Achhan would follow her suggestions as an obedient husband.But that happiness or togetherness was short-lived, for no reason they engaged themselves into word-battle. When they were back home , the very entry itself marked a bomb-blast splashing hot and bombastic words around,” continued his feelings. He closed his book and kept it back where it was.
Exchange of hot words was the couple’s hobby which never ended up in any child’s play. Both the spouses owned ’EGO’ and therefore both the egos quite often entered into clashes resulting in frowned faces. Numerous situations had attained startling states, as one could witness within their easy approach, flight and free flow of household articles from both the sides.
“One day Achhan grabbed one of his favourite shirts from the almirah for moving out somewhere urgently. A spot of stain on the shirt was staring at him with a giggle on the lips as if to deride him. That was more than enough for a twin fight between them. The shirt flew from his hand and fell on the ground. A sign of a glimpse of oversight or a glance of regret on Amma’s face would have solved the problem. Instead Amma went on arguing and so was achhan. Amma took a ninety degree turn and walked away stamping on the floor uploading her rage in words,” recalled his mind many an incident.
Even at the slightest fault the couple arose in dense fury. None evicted the ire from the mind. After an hour or so they behaved as if nothing had occurred. The impression that fell in the tiny minds was indelible. Arguable nature is condemnable as argument wins you nothing. Both the persons engaged in argument feel that they are right and they only are right. None wins and none loses. The only achievement is spoiling people’s peace of mind..
Alok and his younger brother, who were neglected at the fullest amount, used to keep themselves away from the front line during their parents’ tongue-exercises. And thus they could protect their bodies from injuries. The parents never cared or bothered about the two little ones. Conflicts and confusions mastered the minds of those two young lads-one in early ‘teens’ and the other in late teens. Both had to pass through thorns of fight. And above that both had reached the den of stress and strain, the adolescence. The younger one Anuroop sank deeper and deeper into himself, rather he turned more and more reticent. His face always reflected a look of weighty worries and heavy thoughts.
The elder brother Alok spent most of his time amongst his friends like butterflies, grasshoppers etc. Those insect-friends played with him games such as ‘hide and seek’ and ‘race’. The flies were only at the winning end where he couldn’t reach them at all. He spoke to them softly about his plight. Many a time he sensed that they had identified his melancholy and they sympathized with him.
Then one day, which was perhaps a dull day due to black clouds in the sky, gloominess surrounded the couple. Action faded, words lessened and food items diminished. And this was infrequent, as argument always got seated on the hot seat. The youngsters could find reason nothing for this change.
Fever quite often visited Alok and that was neglected by the couple amidst the tug of words. Nevertheless one day his condition worsened and hence he was taken to the hospital. And to his surprise in place of usual quarrelsome countenances, two dull faces only reached the portico. Alok’s interrogative eyes watched tears about to roll down from both the pairs of eyes. Neither he understood nor did the parents uncover what the matter was. Alok’s amma directly went to the bed and lay down there. Achhan mechanically lay back on the settee, rested his head in the right palm and slipped into deep thoughts. Though gladness was rare in that family, sadness too was not found much. But now grief found its place and words once triumphed became feeble.
Alok’s search for the cause bore fruit through the medical report that happened to be in his view. The test result was not in the affirmative. His survival had become a question mark at present. Sorrow crept to everybody’s heart spreading silence everywhere in the house. Alok realized the fact that count-down had started in his life. He had fallen into the clutches of kidney-failure. In his case a kidney-transplantation was impossible for reasons fiscal and renal. “I don’t know if there would be any in-pour of money and any source of kidney. My parents are worried if their kidney would match me, even if we can find means to meat the expenditure,” whispered Alok .
He went out for awhile. He fixed his vision at the sky for a sign of consolation. He could see only black clouds. He watched the clouds keenly for silver lining. No, there was not even a trace. The couple spent sleepless nights and consumed food only for survival. The entire time son’s health stiffened them with strain. People wouldn’t believe their tightness for money, as the husband drew a handsome remuneration for the job. Under the rule of ego and pride, savings had vanished from the scene.
That grave situation sowed the seeds of unity and binding between the parents. They had understood the insignificance of battle between couples. They forgot their once conspicous egos. Pride(ego) goes before a fall. “Where can I obtain money from? Who can I go to? What can I do?” Such thoughts hindered the activities Alok’s father.
A phone-call alerted from the nap that stroked him. “Why didn’t you inform me about the illness of our darling? If you won’t share your difficulties with your own brother ,how will you find a solution?” Alok’s paternal uncle scolded his brother. A cool breeze of comfort blew in.
The doctor’s positive nod of kidney-compatibility brought in a smile of glory to all and they heaved a sigh of relief. The parents learned a lesson and they would never enter into unwanted debate. The darkness of conflict disappeared for a new dawn of contentment. Yes ,Alok could view silver linings with all the clouds. He borrowed the words of John Milton and said, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”