"Kar raha tha gham-e-jahaan ka hisaab
Aaj tum yaad behisaab aaye
Na gayi tere gham ki sardari
Dil mein yun roz inqelaab aaye
"Today I was counting the sorrows given to me by the world
and therefore I remembered you a countless times
The pain of your love still reigns supreme in my heart
though every day my heart revolts against this reign"
Tiny hands gripped the edges of the mahogany door so firmly, that the whitened knuckles and tender fingers ached in protest. Yet, unmindful of the pain, the child has his eyes set firmly on what was playing out before him, his focused concentration shuttling between the two participants. Eyes, that were covered with a sheen of water threatening to spill over any moment now, and lips that quivered ever so gently.
In one swift motion of his arm, his father had swept the delicate crystals placed over the mantle off and onto the floor where they smashed into a hundred smithereens. The noise echoed across the huge hall and Arnav blocked his ears with tiny palms. He saw his mother flinch and shut her eyes, only to open them with unveiled contempt and hatred reflecting off her large beautiful orbs. He saw her step towards his father, and for a moment it seemed that she was going to repeat the events of a few seconds before. As if in anticipation, Arnav quickly covered his ears again, not wanting to be subject again to the horrifying shatter of glass on solid marble as it splintered into a thousand pointed shards.
"Do not come near me Nandini," his father breathed fire as he shut his eyes in uncontrollable range, reflected in the rhythmic convulsions of his body. "Or I do not trust myself right now."
His mother smiled, not the gentle smile she gave him when he ran to her to show the differently colored pebbles he had managed to procure from the garden. Her smile was contemptuous, almost malicious. He did not want to see his mother like this. He did not want to be here at all. His legs were transfixed to the ground, incapable of movement, almost paralyzed.
"You are a weak, weak, man, Shaurya Singh Raizada. And I swear to Almighty, I hate you."
The words hung in the air and echoed across the hall. His mother turned around and stormed out of the hall, her heels stepping forcefully, deliberately upon the glass shards along the way. When the last traces of the flowing silver of her saree were out of sight, Arnav dared to glance at his father's face.
Sensing his presence, Shaurya Singh Raizada looked at his son with bloodshot eyes. "Arnav!" He shouted, and the child finally had tested his own resilience to capacity. Large drops fell across his cheeks that he wiped with the back of his hand. "How many times have I told you to not spy on your parents' conversation? Do you not understand?" Arnav did not have the courage to tell him that he had no need to spy, the screaming had reverberated across the entire mansion that was their house.
Shaurya Singh Raizada fisted his palms and forced himself to take in a huge breath to rein control over himself. He then walked towards his son and slowly knelt down before him till he was at eye level with the six year old. Arnav looked into the tired, weighed down and distressed eyes of his father and fear was suddenly replaced with confused concern. These were not the same laughing, determined, trustworthy eyes that held him captive while his father used to pull him in his arms and throw him up in the air ever so lightly and tightly catch him right back. Not the same man who would give him rides on his shoulder around the corridors of the huge house. He did not want to see his father his handsome, strong father like this.
"Don't be sad", he muttered after a while in a choked voice.
Traces of a forlorn smile tugged around the corners of Shaurya's lips. He patted his son's cheeks lightly. "Who said I am sad Arnav? I am fine, look?"
Arnav was a child, but a child could sense a lie too. Shaurya knew his son did not buy the assurance.
"I just made a mistake a few years ago and I am paying for it very bad" he explained.
Arnav looked at his father with confusion etched across his dampened face. What mistake could be so horrible?
"Your mother... was the biggest mistake of my life". His father said, almost in a whisper.
His mother? Why would his mother be a mistake to anyone? She was so pretty, and warm, and sang so beautifully. And would dust dirty mud off his clothes when he came back from playing in the fields. And hit the floor when he fell on it to avenge his hurt. How could she be a mistake?
"But" his father continued "I am proud of you son. I love you. You remember that. And I don't want you spying on us like this anymore, am I clear?"
Arnav nodded as if he understood, when in fact, he did not understand at all.
That night, Arnav lay upon his mother's lap, her fingers gently combing through his soft hair. She was humming his favorite tune in her beautiful voice. So beautiful. How was she capable of that contemptuous hatred he had witnessed in the afternoon? How could this be the same woman?
"Arnav", she said softly "Did you hurt your feet on the glass pieces today?" He thought he heard a slight quiver in her voice although her face did not reflect anything at all.
He shook his head quietly in negation.
"Maa?" he said after a while of deliberation.
"Yes?" She continued to play her fingers with the locks of his hair.
"Do you really hate him?"
Her fingers froze in their place and the humming stopped.
"Yes, Arnav... " she spoke after a moment's silence. " Your father is perhaps the worst choice of my life." She said nothing for the next five minutes after which she added "But don't you for a moment think that I regret you. I love you very, very much."
Arnav said nothing. After a while his mother resumed the humming. It did not work that way. You did not tell a child you did not regret him while informing that you regretted the entire cause of his existence, his being. You did not let him know, that the two people who he thought the Sun set upon everyday were despicable human beings in each other's eyes and manipulate him, to somehow choose who to believe. A six year old did not understand hatred, or emotional manipulation. What he understood however, was the feeling of tears stinging the eyes, and fear that had caused a lump to settle comfortably in his throat.
And so, Arnav Singh Raizada of six years old, had decided upon two things.
One, that he would never let himself become slave to the devil's weapon that was anger.
And another, that he would never, never, get married or fall for the farce that was love.
Now as he stood in the middle of the huge grounds that encompassed the lavish Raizada mansion and gazed emptily into the darkness of the midnight clouds, he questioned whether he had failed his childhood self. As if triggered by the visual of the dancing fireflies in the garden at a distance, that symbolized 'happiness' or 'Khushi', her face floated once again in his memory, not for the first time that night, certainly not the last.
"You are a weak man, Arnav Singh Raizada."
The words stabbed him in the chest, even more painfully than they had when he had heard them from his mother's mouth for his father some twenty years back. The fear they infused within his entire being, the paralyzing gripping panic, was however familiar.
Except here, now, everything was different.
Edited by Whats-in-a-name - 1 years ago
Arnav is facing the demons of his past. How does he know Khushi? Where are his parents now?
Thank you so much for your interest :)
Interesting plot n a very different concept plz continue I would like to read more.
Thank you so much.
Different starting.waiting to read more.
Topic started by Whats-in-a-name
Last replied by pakpearl