Life is Like That

meherhossain1752@gmail.com

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
relaxed 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 remained busy with her own studies.
Besides, owing to age gap their relation remained rather formal. My wife did not have time to give for Sky and Sky also did not enjoy company of his
mother that much. As such, Sky chose 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. But 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 begged 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 was 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 his back copying me.

Sky used to copy everything of mine. The way I talked to his mother, sister or with servant boy, Sky tried to talk the same way with them.
I could indeed discover myself by seeing Sky. I found my mirror reflection in him.
I was 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 looked when I lost my
patience and I eschewed my bad habit of losing patience that day.
I really discovered myself by seeing my boy.

Sky’s school was located in front of my office complex just across the road. His class started at the same time of my office. As such, I used to give him a drop to his
school everyday morning. His class ended two hours before my office closing time. Driver used to bring him to my office after his class. Sky used to spend rest of
his time in my office complex with me and my colleagues. Then we used to return home together.
After office hour my main job was to give time to Sky. We played in our lawn in the afternoon and then helped him prepare for his next day school. By that I had
to cut a lot of social commitments.
Sky and me used to be together all through indeed, less his school hours and while he was asleep.

That’s how Sky grew up. We built a unique world of ourselves where only Sky and I lived.

Being the youngest, whole family including his sister adored and indulged him. Sometimes as a fun, his sister used to ask Sky –where do the
family members stay in his body as a measure 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 knee 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 slept with me on the same bed almost ever since he could recognize me. He would cling as close as possible to my bosom till he fell 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 gradually 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.
While racing, I used to get tired. But I raced regardless just to get the taste of defeat from my own.

After race was over, I invariably used to flop down on the grass in exhaustion and literally pant to cool me down and to get back to breath. Sky used to laugh at my
sight, thinking that I was 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 joined at the innocence of Sky. Then both of us burst into laughter in concert.
Those 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 out the remote of our house 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 was 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. Whatever 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 un-hesitantly 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 juncture of my life, 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 exclusive for us where only Sky and I resided. 
Now I’m alone in that world. How my days would 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 feel 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?
One day Sky fell on some piece of broken glass 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 friends 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 must 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, the most high       I’m marionette well-nigh
I would play your tune and none      and only keep looking for the sun.

Hoping all end        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 well and woes; I am bold to bear my son baby or old.

Let my boy, sit on my lap like a toy, for ever
Else get rid of me, my Lord, I won’t curse thee never.

Category: English, Short Story

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