Life is Like That

 

The day I saw off my eighteen years old son at the airport for his higher studies
in US, I crossed the Rubicon for remaining young and became old.
I plunged into the nearby chair as the plane took off. I kept my eyes fixed on
the ascending plane through the glass window till it disappeared from my eye
sight.
I lost my strength to get to my feet. As if life stopped for me.
He is our second child. We call him Sky. He was born ten years after our first
born daughter. He has a forty years age gap with me. As I was coiling into a
relaxing life physically and mentally, Sky was born. To be true when Sky was
born, we almost forgot the experience of begetting and rearing a child. We
had to prepare for everything afresh.
Then we lived in separate bungalow as I was in the senior post in service. This
is the way of govt. service.
Bungalows are normally located in solitary places away from flats. Our
bungalow was located in hilly area connecting other bungalows by narrow
metaled roads cutting through jungle and hills.
That did not create any inconvenience for our grown up daughter. But it
created a big problem for Sky. He always grumbled for not having friends
around.
It was Sky’s quotidian complaint from his early boyhood for not having
friends nearby. He always whined citing about his flat living friends and
complaining why our house is not in the flats.
He was very lonely boy after school hour. I was the only one to give him
company.
His sister being ten years older than him remains busy with her own studies.
Besides, owing to age gap their relation remains rather formal. My wife does
not have time to give to Sky and Sky also does not enjoy company of his
mother that much. As such, Sky has chosen me as his only companion for
pastime.
I did everything within my ability to dispel the sense of loneliness from Sky.
I arranged a lot of games gear and other play materials for him. In house, I
arranged scrabble, chess and building blocks for Sky to make imaginary
figures. His day would invariably end with playing football and cricket with
me in our lawn.
Gradually Sky chose me as his play mate.

At time, if I beg to cease the game referring some of my commitment, Sky
would show emotional outburst.
– ‘I sulk and won’t talk to you ever. I would get lost in the jungle, fox would
come and eat me. I would never come back to you’. Sky would be very angry
and would express his sentiment like this if I ever expressed any iota of
annoyance.
Though those were his childish behavior but it used to cut me to the quick and
made me even weaker towards him and I used to increase my care taking
towards him manifold as compensation.
Sky is very lonely at home. His loneliness used to hurt me very acutely. To
keep pace with him I could not become old indeed.
As Sky started growing up, I clearly understood the difference between
rearing up a girl and a boy child.
I don’t exactly remember his age at that time but he grew enough to run
around. One day I was strolling on our spacious patio distrait with my hands
clasped at the back. That was my habit once I used to ruminate over something
seriously. But I could know about my habit only that day when I saw that Sky
was also trying to stroll following me with his hands clasped at my back
copying me.
Sky tries to copy everything of mine. The way I talk to his mother, sister or
with servant boy, Sky tries to talk the same way with them.
I could indeed discover myself by seeing Sky. I see my mirror reflection in
him.
I am a bit short tempered, which was pointed out many a times by my wife
and friends. But did not pay much heed to that. But the day I heard Sky
scolding my boy servant imitating me- you rogue, talk too much, next time
I’ll slap you. That day I clearly realized how ugly I look when I lose my
patience and I eschewed my bad habit of losing patience that day.
I really discovered myself by seeing my boy.
Sky’s school is located in front of my office complex just across the road. His
class starts at the same time of my office. As such, I give him a drop to his
school everyday morning. His class ends two hours before my office closing
time. Driver brings him to my office after his class is over. Sky spends rest of
his time in my office complex with me and my colleagues. Then we return
home together.
After office hour my main job is to give time to Sky. We play in our lawn in
the afternoon and then help him prepare for his next day school. By that I had
to cut a lot of social commitments.

Sky and me are together all through indeed, less his school hours and while
he is asleep.
This is the way Sky grew up. We built a unique world of ourselves where only
Sky and I live.
Being the youngest, whole family including his sister adores him and allows
his indulgence. Sometimes as a fun, his sister used to ask Sky –where do the
family members stay in his body as sign of closeness? Sky used to indicate
different places of his body showing the location of different family members.
Like sometimes his sister stayed at his palm or a bit up near his navel.
Invariably the boy servant stayed varying between his feet and knee because
he obeyed more to all less him, so, Sky was always angry on him. The location
of his mother also changed frequently but whenever he showed the location
of his father, he would invariably showed his heart with a very sweet esoteric
smile.
As Sky was growing up I pursued him to go to the children park along with
our boy servant to play with other boys. Gradually I got him used to play with
his friends. But come what may, on return in the evening he won’t call it a day
till we participated in a race competition in our lawn.
Sky sleeps with me on the same bed almost ever since he recognized me. He
would cling as close as possible to my bosom till he falls asleep. But as he
rose to class six he chose to sleep separately.
Gradually he started building up his own domain with his priorities.
Our bungalow had a pretty spacious lawn about fifty yards lengthwise, located
on the slope of about hundred feet high hillock having our bungalow built on
it.
I could comfortably defeat him in race in our lawn till he was in class six or
seven but I always made him win to give him a taste of win. I enjoyed seeing
him win.
But as he grew up to be a boy I realized that I could not really keep step with
him in race. I couldn’t believe that my little son, Sky was defeating me in race!
But the first day when I realized that baby Sky who took his first step of life
holding my finger was overtaking me in race, a sense of heavenly satisfaction
overtook me.
What a pleasure in defeat, only those would realize who are defeated every
day to himself in a race of going forward in life.
Now a days, I get tired while racing with Sky. But I race regardless just to get
the taste of defeat from my own.

After race is over, I invariably have to flop down on the grass in exhaustion
and literally pant to cool me down and get back to breath. Sky laughs at my
sight, thinking that I am feigning. He asked me – why I was doing like that.
-I’m aging you know. I said.
– I’m also aging, baba. Sky answered bursting into laughter. I also burst into
laughter at the innocence of Sky. Then both of us burst into laughter in
concert.
These sort of laughter spell after race caused me gasping. Sky used to gaze at
me in astonishment.
Sky was in eighth standard then. Having taken evening walk, I was waiting in
our lawn for him to come from his play and finish our day with the last race.
It was well after evening but Sky did not turn up. That was very unlike of Sky.
It was an unexpected break of our routine, I felt very uneasy.
I was thinking over, reclining my body into the garden chair.
Our servant boy brought the remote of our telephone. My heart sank.
-Baba, today onward there won’t be any more race on our lawn. It was Sky
on the phone. He told smiling.
-You know that you get tired now a days. After a game of football, I’ll play
table tennis in the club before I come back home. He hung up in a hurry.
I realized that my Sky is growing up and building up his own world bit by bit.
A stark realization came in me that I was no more a race partner for my son.
He has attained a height much above me.
-I exactly want this, all parents want this in effect. All parents want that their
children rise much above them in all respect.
Today my little Sky has flown to a new world of his dream. He would be
having much commitment, obligations. He would be gradually engulfed in his
own business. He won’t even get scope of thinking about us.
This is what life is. Old must be set aside to accommodate the new.
-It’s already late, let’s go home now. I got back to the present as my wife
called me. I don’t know how long I was distrait. Having seen off Sky, my wife
got busy talking with some known people.
I felt much difficulty to get up.
I almost hate telling that I’m sick. Sky also never liked his father falling sick.
But then as my wife inquired about my health, I said flatly first time in
my life – Yes, I don’t feel good.

My wife called the driver to come from home as she thought “it won’t be wise
for me to drive our car in this health condition’.
Airport is a busy place and I sat totally non-committal among all hustle and
bustle.
-I’ve nothing to do today, no one need me anymore. I’ve done everything what
I had to do, I’ve given all what I had to give. But I’ve not quite understood
that I’ve also taken so much from Sky while exhausting myself.
-How do I bear this, at this end of my journey, how do I bear the burden of
love. All my thought used to orbit surrounding Sky and now he is no more
within my touch. He would trek in his own world now onward. He won’t need
me anymore be that as play mate or for anything.
-For last eighteen years we built a world for us where only Sky and I resided.
Now I’m alone in that world. How my days will pass!
-It’s nothing new that everybody’s Sky would go. I tried to assuage myself.
-But I don’t care about others whether their sons are gone or not. That’s the
work of God. How do I run my life without Sky! My inner self revolted.
I feel that darkness is enshrouding me in this sparkling lighted space. I feed
suffocated in this airy space. I’m sweating in this air conditioned room.
We started as driver arrived.
-Baba what would happen to me, why I’m having so much pain?
Sky fell on some piece of broken glass one day having dashed against me
while playing in our lawn. He sustained a cut near his right hand elbow and
blood squirted out. Sky got puzzled seeing the blood and started crying in
pain.
-My son, Sky fell and sustained injury having dashed by me, he is bleeding
and crying in pain. He wants to know why is it paining, what would happen
next? He has a conviction that his father has answer for everything.
I’ve no word to express the blunt pain I felt. I was almost out of my head.
Despite having car in our garage, I ran clasping Sky in my bosom to a clinic
about a km distance.
Today I lost him. I lost him forever. Now, he will have so many commitments,
so many promises to keep. He will have so many friend and companions. He
won’t find any trouble passing his days without me.

Life is like that. All parents have to lose their Sky like me one way or the
other. The worldly world progress in this way.
I felt tremendous pain in my chest.
-Baba what would happen to me, why I’m having so much pain? I looked to
the sky through the glass window.

You know for sure, my ruler    I’m only land and you are tiller
Whatever seed you sow            I sprout same plant you know.
You are Lord, owner of all              I’m only servant at beck and call.
You will take your harvest            land only gives nutrition at best
You reap all harvest         rendering the land bare.
It cuts me to the core       do I say that! I don’t dare.
Land not grow fruit only                 also grow attachment willy-nilly
Fruit you take away                       but attachment pester day after day.

It’s a game of give and take  none understands till it end.
I begot my son so soft so nimble, ambrosia from heaven
As he grows strong does that mean memory is gone by then?

To a father does really a boy ever grow a man!
You tell me my Baron.
Son on father’s shoulder over weigh as he is older!
If this is your verdict final
Then tell me my Earl.
How with the weight of mountain saving mortal thirst
The desert stand still nonchalant and don’t burst!
I’m pipe and you are piper, I sing your song, my ruler
What you play and what tunes are they
None but you know, and only to you I owe.
I know you would say, this is life’s way in my bay
New day will break with new sun, and all move as you want but none.
I know you would say my commander, I was also a son of my father
As the time came, I did my own and left them.
What do you get playing this game of sky and earth?
In your trap I’ll fall as I’m the earthly father mortal.
Time will fly and my Sky will also be in same trap falling race
This the way of the world and all are to keep pace.

I have to accept your decree good or dud

but alas! I’m a father in flesh and blood

It’s your domain and you are the king, I only obey as mortal being
Oh Lord, I ask you, as throbbing mortal
Is there any dearth of stone totally innate and dull!
You play your game as your fond meme with the stone hill
But why this game, putting the sky in earth in human name
And take away at your will.
You don’t care   if some life cord is severed bare.
You will say, oh omniscient,  you have all accounts present
All these are needed though     to run the show.
I’m no God    and I don’t care oh Lord
The show will go or not your look-out is that.
You play your game most high    I’m marionette well-nigh
I would play your tune and none, and only keep looking for the sun.
Hoping all ends    as the sun goes to its den
Lest dream pops up in my sleep and wake me up again!
Your gift, you keep in your berth     but finish the game of sky and earth.
You are master and I’m your slave     if you take all you gave
Then why did thee give to me?
Through weal and woes; I am bold to bear my son baby or old
Let my boy, sit on my lap like toy, for ever
Else get rid of me my Lord I won’t curse thee never.

Category: English, Short Story

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