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Tapas Das



Tapas Das


Father And Son

Father And Son

11 mins

Chapter 1

My days are never so special and particularly Sundays when I have nothing special to do, I sit around the house and procrastinate- and do some errands for Pa, the day starts with a cup of tea and breakfast, I don’t eat much unless papa is home- he ensures I eat a lot and become fat, but that never occurred to me. I aim to become an athlete and run faster than other, it’s not my only ambition- running makes me feel ahead of everyone else, Sunday ends with a movie which is playing as per his wish, he will play a movie because any other movie he says its only words and melodrama

I get distracted watching this so-called Bollywood movie, I sit at my room and play video games until I fall asleep, that’s what I did, I extricate myself from the movie and veered straight to my room, Pa was half asleep.

I don’t get to sleep well especially after playing video games, the strain in my eyes makes it harder for the eyes to rest, sometimes I miss mom at night I remember when she used to put the blanket on me, she used to put her hand on my chest- even though I was not cold I still liked the blanket, I remember the day when I called to reach home early from school- that dreadful day till date I shudder , I came home my hands were shaking, ma was lying on the floor and pa sobbing in the corner- no one comforted me I did comforted myself, I cried alone at night, I still do, not every time but sometimes I can actually see her, hiding behind the curtains waiting for me - one night I stared at the window, it’s a big window with two sides and curtains covering, it was a chilly night – I heard a rustling of wood as if someone is approaching - I waited till it will come closer, the curtains were swaying in wind, someone is breathing – it must have been a wolf, I got scared and put the blankets on me , the noise became more hoarse and I heard the clanking , I shuddered with fear, with audacity I removed the blanket and the window was open and there was no trace of anyone, wind howling in the distance.

With my constant palpitation, I went to the kitchen to drink water, the fridge door was ajar and the water bottle was empty, with sheer terror I called dad who came in haste with eyes half-closed, it took him few seconds to gauge the situation.

After seeing the bottles and vegetables scattered around the kitchen, he too panicked- the burglar came inside to drink water and remove all the vegetables, it was a peculiar thing to do.

The next morning, I skipped school and pa lodged a complaint, the police came and searched the area and inquired to the neighbour if they saw any unidentified man loitering around, and someone who looked menacing, the neighbours denied of seeing any. There was neither sign of forced entry nor any valuables stolen, but I was sure someone bolted in.

The cops mentioned must be the cat, he reassured- there is nothing dangerous and we should forget about this, and in case the CCTV footage shows anyone entering the premises they will let us know, they left half smiling.

Pa bought a new security device

And did not sleep that night, in hindsight I did, the whole neighborhood became aware of this queer sight, Pa being a respectable man in the society people came to see the hearsay, Few weeks passed and the mayhem settled and everyone forgot about it, including pa, one night while he comes late after 8 pm, I was alone at home- staring the hands of the clock ticking away.

Tiny noise made me shiver from head to toe, I got petrified that anytime some thief will enter the house and eat my innards, the increased volume of the television filled with silence, I heard a ring in the door, and I tiptoed and peeped through the small security screen in which you can see the person standing outside,

I sighed with relief- it was pa, smiling at me, he bought fish and we ate watching the television, pa was happy that day he got a promotion which he never discussed with me, sometimes what kind of person he is outside the house– but lately pa is not been sharing much and he stopped questioning about my studies and why I sleep so late, my teacher mentioned about the grief of losing someone you love makes you deal with things, I believed her, be became reclusive- that’s what I understood.

That night pa had more than one glasses of wine and he went straight to his room, he scurried reaching there and closed the door with force, anyways I sat for a while to gawk at the television and began thinking something different

I skip to discovery channel and saw a tiger chasing a deer, and the poor deer running directionless to be alive after the run, the amount of pain that tiger will inflict, Poor deer, sighed with pity, I moved to the next channel by the time it was 1 o clock at night, the house was quiet and pa made no noise while dozing off,

I engulfed in a stupor, I opened my eyes to a screeching noise-I looked around half asleep and the background noise of the television amplified in the house. I took a few steps towards the window and peeped into the security footage- I saw nothing. I kept looking outside the window and veered towards the bedroom, I saw father looking at the tree, I yelled for him to come inside he was wearing his pajamas, and he stood there with no movement whatsoever-the very sight gave me a shrill down the spine, I groaned with frustration and fear- he still didn’t move.

I summoned the courage to go outside - I walked out and touched his shoulder he didn’t budge- I held his hand to shake him up he kept gawking at the tree, I pulled him and he had no sign of consciousness- he was sleepwalking when exactly he sauntered out I had no clue.

He was cold, and I took him to bed.

Chapter 2

Next morning, he has no recollection of what happened last night, he thought I had a nightmare, I came back from school and the house was the way I left it- father was at work. I had my dinner and I keep thinking he does not behave like before, there is some change in him- the changes which do not have words but you feel it’s there. That afternoon I sat to do my homework, after completing I took a nap and woke up with a sudden thud, which was audible all over the house, I walked to the kitchen to see him sharpening the knife,

Pa you are early, I asked out of curiosity,

Yes, beta, he replied tersely- I saw a delicious chicken while passing the market, but you don’t eat meat pa, I replied with a cautious tone,

I do, he retorted- and beckoned me to complete my homework.

The sound of the butchering chicken was loud and amplified all over the house, like someone chopping a tree, I couldn’t concentrate

I wondered what might be the reason, it was 8 pm- he asked me to come and eat the lunch, I kept aside my homework and joined him to eat, there was a stench in the house, which was low but due to my nasal capacity I can sense that.

Don’t you smell that rotten odor all over the house? I inquired.

That’s chicken smell beta, he gave a perfunctory nod and concentrated on eating- after washing the plates I saw the blood on the knife, also few drops all over the basin, I placed the plates and went back to my room.

The photo frame of my mom broke loose and the pieces of shards scattered all over,

I accumulated the pieces, and made my bed to sleep, kept my ma’s photo underneath my pillow, I heard a feeble whistling sound like a hum followed by a song; it was surprising because pa never had a predilection for whistling, and he hated music.

I smiled went back to sleep, I realized the stench grew stronger during the night.

I woke up early, and went straight to he’s the bedroom- the bed was not made and it looked untidy this is not his habit, I heard the water gushing from the tap, I went back to the kitchen and the stain of the chicken blood dried up,

I put tea on the gas and smeared butter on the bread, right after that I brushed my teeth and saw him reading a paper wearing a short pant.

I greeted good morning pa,

He dismissed by saying morning, with an uninterested look.

You look tired pa, didn’t you sleep well, I murmured!

No beta, I have a headache.

I believed him and ate my breakfast.

There was an uncomfortable silence when I was finishing my breakfast, which again was rare he usually questioned me about my school, and I endured his garrulity that’s how adult deals with sadness, I gaze at him- and leave for the school.

I was not interested in science, but I’ll have to gape at the blackboard without learning anything, Miss Poona saw me daydreaming and hurled the chalk at me, and it hit my face and left a red mark.

I saw her approaching me; I was dumbstruck and couldn’t answer why I am so lost?

You are not paying attention and she wrenched my left ear off, I wriggled in pain.

I am sorry to miss, I responded in pain- you better be, she retorted and advanced back to teaching

After reaching home, I was not particularly happy for the rough methods of Miss Ponna,

Pa arrived home in the evening; I explained my ordeal to him,

He responded she can’t do this- let me go ahead and talk to her, we will have to reprimand her by brazenly bashing my kid that’s unacceptable

I got amused with his sudden outburst, he hardly agreed to me.

He saw the red mark on my face that made him furious

The next morning pa arrived in the school wearing a blazer and a tie-

He looked agitated like he is entering the school premises for the first time in his life,

I motioned him towards the principal’s office, after few minutes our peon, Kutti summoned me to the same room, the office had a huge pile of books kept in order and one big photo frame of mahatma Gandhi, half smiling and a big plant close to the window, the air conditioner was mild, I reached when the main discussion was over,

Come, principal Mahesh requested me to stand close to miss Ponna, she was carrying books under her arm, she was saving face- I called here to tell you, the misdemeanor she acted upon you is not good for the kids and the school, although I am absentminded whilst she was teaching, the punishment was not acceptable, we have requested your father not to take any further action which could tarnish our reputation.

It came as shock to me, pa never rationalizes for me- he, lashed me several times in front of the teachers as he believed I am the culprit. Somewhere I felt proud to have a father like him, I sauntered to my class with haughty disdain, I espied Kutti smiling at me

That evening father taught me how to box, I wondered where he learned that- he was wearing the boxing gloves when reached home, he was also sweating.

Come- let me teach you, he began mimicking by swinging his hands,

I was aghast to see, I put on the gloves hit him on his face, which hit him hard.

He instructed me to hit him in the belly, but it was hard – and he didn’t budge.

After suppressing his pain, I saw him grinning and smiling at the same time.

We had dinner together, pa- didn’t cook we ordered it from a nearby restaurant and

We discussed how Miss Poona apologized for hitting me, he began speaking how mischievous they were during school and made a mess on every period but the teachers made them stand outside the class the whole period which is an incentive to the punishment 

He mentioned, they should not discipline kids without reason

I went back to sleep and wondered- during the initial days of the school he reprimanded for my comeuppance, how did the change bring about is it because of the sudden demise of ma,

I slipped into a dream.

It was Saturday, I slept longer than expected, the alarm kept ringing – and I still didn’t hear anything, I checked pa’s room he was not home neither the breakfast was ready, he dashed out for work without informing me, that’s abrupt and strange, I had a headache so I decided to stay indoors and take care of the turtle, I ate and my turtle was also fed, it was 10 am.

I called several times to Pa, it all went unanswered he is in a meeting or commuting far.

I have one of the colleague numbers so I called,

May I speak to papa uncle, I inquired with a tone of concern,

Yes beta, how are you- your father not been coming to work from the last week,

He called in sick, I wanted to come and see him at home, and he answered.

I disconnected the call without letting him complete

It took me some time to digest the truth, and all kinds of thoughts surfaced my head, I sat on the sofa and the phone slipped from my hand.

It was ringing, the screen displayed an unknown number, and my hands were shaking,

I received the call,

Hi beta sorry, I left early I came outside the town due to important work.

I will be home after 6; did you eat your food? He asked perturbed

I said yes, and disconnected the call without giving any finality.

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