Dad And Son
Dad And Son
"Hey Mom, I will land early morning on the 10th. You guys don't need to make any efforts. I'll reach home by myself" said Jay. "OK dear, but your brothers will come to receive you, waiting to see you soon," she said in a joyous tone.
Jay was in the USA for last the 11 years and was going to come to Mumbai for the first time since he had left Indian shores. Eldest among 3 brothers, he was always more practical and less emotional towards everything in life.
"Bro!!!! Finally! You've changed so much!!!" Said his brother at the airport. "I know dude, long time isn't it?" Jay smiled. It was an hour's drive to his house and the brothers chatted to their heart's content.
"Son", said his mother while hugging him in an ecstatic tone "11 years Jay, 11 years!!! Look at you. You have changed so much!! You have thinned and what is it with this bald look?" She continued with tears in her eyes and happiness in her heart.
"Ahh Maa, that's fashion," he said. "Where's Dad?" He asked while trying to look for him.
"He is in his room. Go and meet him" she said. Jay and his father, Sanjay Gupta had a very difficult relationship. Sanjay was a teacher and had always had a very strict and disciplined regime to follow. He was never ever happy with the life he had lived and had looked upon his children to rectify that. Jay, being the eldest had to always strive to fulfill his father's dreams, often leading to arguments. They both had hardly spoken in these 11 years and prior to that too.
"Hi Dad, how are you, " asked Jay while entering his room and touching his feet. "Hey son, I am fine, so you are finally here" he said. "How's your health dad?" Jay asked. "All is well son" came the reply.
"Are you sure you want to go on a Road trip with him? I mean you both...?" Asked his mother in a worrying tone while serving him food. "Yes Mom, I know what you are thinking, but relax. I am a grown-up man now. I'll handle him" he said. "You are indeed a grown-up man son. Hence the Balding!!" Said she while caressing his hair..oops the bald head!!! "Stop it, mom, that's fashion, you won't understand," Jay said while slurping on the homemade meal.
Jay had planned a road trip with his dad a couple of months ago which had taken the entire family by surprise. The equation that the father-son duo shared was well known to them and this request from Jay had everyone pondering.
"Have you taken your pills?" Asked Jay while adjusting his seat belt. "Have you checked the Oil?" Came the reply. Off they headed for Goa. "This government is good for nothing. Look at the condition of the roads" cribbed Sanjay while Jay was trying to maneuver the car amidst the Ghats. "I swear Dad, the USA is way better, be it in terms of roads or life" came his reply. "I know, but we have emotions here, relatives here and a genuine bond" came a stern and immediate reply.
The 10-hour drive was filled with such sarcasm and a few patches of bad roads. Finally, they were in their hotel room.
"What will you have? Whiskey or Rum?" Asked Sanjay. "Dad, I ..... I... " Jay couldn't answer and the reason was their equation. "Come on, let me make a peg for you. Come sit and hey no need to lie to me" said Sanjay.
The night was still young and the father-son duo had a decent time chatting and..well drinking as well. "You remember Jay, you did not hug me when you were leaving for the USA" said Sanjay, drunk and emotional. "I tried dad, just could not. And I am sorry " he said being a bit emotional.
"I know son what you feel for me, but trust me I have always loved you more than your brothers. Just that I expected you to do a lot more than a normal son would. Now that you were not around for 11 years, I have missed you every single day" he said while being extremely emotional. "Son, I am glad we did this road trip together and took out our time" he continued while making pegs for both of them.
"Thanks, dad, even I wanted to do this for a long long time and I am glad that we are here today," he said.
"I always knew what you expected out of me and trust me, Dad, I did try my best to not let you down. But.." he said with teary eyes. "That's the OK son. I am proud of what you have achieved in the last 11 years. Just that this balding makes you look too old" Sanjay said wiping his tears.
The pegs continued till the wee hours and they both talked their hearts out. Emotions continued to burst and tears flowed forever. It was a Moment of truth, a moment of realization, a Moment that perhaps every father and his Son Has!!
"I love you, son," Sanjay said, now visibly in high spirits. "We should have done this much earlier Son. I hope it isn't too late" he continued.
"Why too late dad?" came an immediate concerning response.
"I am an old son. I do not know how long will I be around. " came the reply.
"Nothing is going to happen to you dad. In fact, I am sorry." Said Jay while hugging his dad for perhaps the first time in his life.
"But yes Dad. It is too late!!! And I am sorry" he said. "I have been detected with Throat Cancer and have a very short time left," he said looking straight into his Dad's eyes. "Dad, I just wanted you to know that I love you a lot," he said while sleeping in his Lap.
Sanjay was stunned and visibly shaken. He had no words to say as tears rolled down. "And Dad, Balding isn't a fashion," said Jay while closing his eyes for one final time in his Dad's Lap.