A beginning!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


"I will call Dad", said the young man as he held the door ajar. Though scars crumpled his smile, there was an air of pleasantness as he beckoned her towards sofa.

She must have been her thirties, but looked much older with those wrinkles. Last week's unfortunate events had left impression on her face. She walked slowly and uncertainly across the living room and finally sank into the sofa.

Few minutes passed before the young man came back with his father. He was an old man with a slightly stooped posture. But he walked in rather briskly for a man supporting himself with a cane.

"We talked over phone", she began rather impatiently.

"Are you sure you called the right guy?", the old man interjected, "how could I possibly help?". He was as puzzled as you would be if a complete stranger called and sought your help in her family matters.

She shifted uneasily, crossed and uncrossed her legs before finally reaching for her purse. She fiddled for a while before finally pulling out a diary. "Does this diary mean anything to you?", her tone almost expressionless, but her face betraying the anxiety underneath.

The old man bent over to take the diary from her outstretched arm, took a quick look, and looked even more perplexed than before. She has my old personal diary? When did I stop writing dairy? 10 years ago? 20 years ago? more? I thought this was lost when we moved out of that house.

"Where did you find th...", But before his son could finish the question, she broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.

Confused, the father and son sat motionless, not knowing how to appease her. They weren't even sure why she was crying.

"It matches, it matches in every detail", she finally spoke, with her eyes still fixated on the diary. "our little family, our little world, my husband, his education, job, even his interests, our little kid, everything, everything that has happened to us is exactly like what you describe in this diary. Even to minutest of the detail".

She paused, drew a breath and then rumbled on, "our destiny is exactly as your family lived some 20 years ago...
until... until... last week."

"My husband picked our kid from school gathering and was driving home late that evening. And then it happened.", She continued, in a tone that was now frequently punctured by sobs, "They say a truck jumped red light and rammed into the car.... My husband and kid are lying... in ICU. Doctors say they will try.... this diary, this diary.. talks about picking kid from school gathering tomorrow.. and then.. then... blank pages.. not a single entry after that... ".

"Oh my dear lady", the old man jumped up from his armchair, "don't you worry at all, this is indeed my diary! and this is my son! We were operated but we saw through that phase all right. I escaped with this little arc, he gestured towards his back, "and my son has to live with these facial scars, but it turned out all right. I had a successful career before happily retiring, my son graduated. He is now working for MNC and drawing handsome salary. "

For next half an hour, the old man spoke. Answering her questions, soothing her. She felt like tonnes of weight being lifted off her mind. Relieved and still thanking profusely, she finally got up to leave. "I must rush to hospital now, and share this with all my relatives", she said.

Happy and cheerful she waved goodbye, but not before she looked painstakingly at the permanent scars on the young man's face.

"Dad, you have not been completely honest", said the young man after he closed the door behind her. "What do you mean? We saw it through all right, didn't we?", The old man's voice sounded hoarse and tense.

He turned around and looked at the photo hanging right above the sofa as he spoke softly, barely audible to himself, "Mom had heart-attack just before our operation".

Disclaimer: I do not take credit for the originality of this concept, but the treatment is solely mine. I came across this theme several years ago through a Marathi serial. Would be glad to give credit for conceptualization if anybody points me to appropriate source. Would also pull out this entry if need be.
Also, special thanks to Devendra.