Life Is About Making Choices
Life Is About Making Choices10 mins 16.5K 10 mins 16.5K
It was 4:00 am, and Raghav came running to the railway station and sat on the bench holding his bag tightly. His sweat rolled down from his forehead as he gasped for a while. He regularly checked towards his right to see if the train was arriving.
After some time, a girl came running through the entrance with her backpack and sat beside him. He looked at her and admired her beauty. She was in her early twenties, wearing dungarees and a T-shirt with her big headphones on her ears and the cable plugged into her mobile, her spectacles tucked in the front of her T-shirt. She grooved with the music and sat next to him.
She looked at him, removed her headphones and said, ‘Hi! I am Saraswathi.’ Moved her right hand offering a handshake and continued, ‘What time does the train usually come? Isn’t it late today?’
Raghav shook hands with her and said, ‘Ya. It is. Hi! I am Raghav.’
‘So, even you are going to Bengaluru?’
‘Ya. I am.’
‘Great! I thought I would be alone to travel. Now I have a company.' She giggled and continued, ‘So, Raghav, what do you do? Do you work in Bengaluru?'
‘Ya. Currently, I am. But soon, I will be travelling to the UK for work.'
‘UK? Wow! So, when are you traveling?’
‘Not yet. I need to complete a few formalities.'
‘Hmmm. Good for you.’
‘So, what do you do Saraswathi?’
‘I am a teacher.’
‘A young teacher?’
She chuckled and said, ‘Ya. I guess. I love teaching. It's my passion.'
‘So, you teach in schools?’
‘I have both young kids as well as adults as my students. Sometimes even oldies.'
They spoke for some time regarding family, education and future aspirations etc. Soon, Raghav got impatient and walked near the railway line and said, ‘Why is the train so late today?’
‘It's okay. Why are you in a hurry? Don't you know how Indian trains work?' She made faces.
‘I wanted to leave from here as quickly as possible.’
‘Just wanted to.’
‘Okay come here, let me tell you a story until the train arrives. We can pass the time faster.’
So, she sat comfortably and called him to sit beside her. ‘Come on. Don't be a crying baby. I'll tell you an interesting story which I heard recently.'
Raghav sat beside her and Saraswathi began to tell the story;
There was a young man Manav who had just completed his engineering and joined an IT company as a software engineer. He was happy with his first job, and he was full of life, very active. He always liked to live his life to the fullest and his girlfriend Khushi, completed him. She was beautiful and a kindhearted person. Both lived together and enjoyed their life without any disagreements or fights. They were happy until Aishwarya came into their life.
Aishwarya was his boss's daughter. She joined the office to support her father and to understand the office work so as to take over in few years. Her father had appointed few employees under her, and Manav was one of them.
Aishwarya was beautiful, glamorous and straightforward. She lived all her life on the edges and never thought back on her decisions. She always followed her instincts. She was casual and very friendly with her team. The team loved her and followed her instructions without any questions.
As everybody, Manav also followed her instructions. He felt her extra care and attention towards him and even noticed her smile and flirtatious behavior towards him. He too liked being in her company. She made him do a lot of work, but he did it without objecting as he got more time to spend with her in office. As a result, his relationship slowed down with Khushi. He used to come home late every day and also worked on weekends.
Khushi felt terrible, and one day she confronted him, ‘What are you doing? Nowadays, you don't spend time with me at all. You are always working. Don't you want a break? Please take a few days off; we can go on a road trip.' She requested excitedly.
‘A trip? Are you mad? I have so much of work to do. I don’t have time to waste.’
‘Waste? I am asking for some time for us to…'
‘Enough Khushi! I thought you are very understanding but even you are also like everybody else. I need to focus on my career now. Do you know that I might even get a promotion this year?’
‘Promotion? You are working with this company only for six months. How can anyone promote you so early?'
‘So, you don't have any trust in my caliber? You think I am a fool?'
‘No! I didn’t mean that. I was just…’
‘Stop it. Let’s give some time to each other. I need my space to decide on our relationship.’
‘Please, I want to focus on my career right now. I don’t want to be distracted by anything. So, give me at least a year, I will come back to you. I am doing this only for us, baby.’
After a lengthy discussion, Khushi said, ‘Fine. I'll go, and I'll not come until you call me back.'
‘Trust me, I will call you soon.’
Khushi left to her hometown and Manav continued his work. He worked hard, harder than his capacity. He enjoyed Aishwarya’s company whenever she was around and also helped her in shopping or taking her to nearby places for her meetings with clients or casual parties and clubs. She utterly hypnotized him.
It had been a year and a half, and he had already forgotten about Khushi and started living with Aishwarya. Now he was 24/7 with her. Office and house. He never had time for himself. She always kept personal and official work separate. Soon, she promoted him. Now, he had more work and hardly slept at nights. She took him to parties and clubs at night and made him work in the morning. Ultimately, he worked few overtimes in a month to finish his work before the deadlines and fell sick very often. He lost his charm and felt very weak. His stamina went down day by day. He started feeling ill but Aishwarya was growing beautiful day by day and gradually he was not able to accompany her to few parties or client meeting. She frowned and started taking her other employees from her team to her regular parties.
One day, she decided to move out of his place and said, ‘I think I should move out now. You are no use for me anymore. You look terrible, get help.'
‘Won’t you take care of me?’
‘Me! I am not your servant. You enjoyed as much as I did. So, don't expect anything from me hereafter. I never took any vows to take care of you, so don't complain.'
‘But, we lived together for so long. Don’t you have any feelings towards me?’
‘Our relationship was never based on commitments or promises, so don’t nag. Chill and let’s move on.’
Manav got angry and tried to stop her. She kicked him hard and walked out from his house.
Manav tried to find Khushi but she was out of his reach. He slowly got bedridden, and ultimately one day he died with no people around.
‘What a crap story it was?' said Raghav.
‘Crap? Why do you think so?' questioned Saraswathi.
‘How can anyone be so foolish to lose his life on a girl?'
‘What would you have done, if you were in his place?’
‘I wouldn’t have left Khushi in the first place. She was kind and I was enjoying life to the fullest. Then why go to someone else?'
‘Everybody does that. It is a true story, and this is the reality of everyone.'
‘Oh! Come on Saraswathi. You are exaggerating it now.'
‘No! I am not.’
‘OK, tell me one thing, who was telling the story? And whose story was it anyway?’
The words fluttered and flew in the wind as she said, ‘Yours…’
‘What are you saying? What do you know about me?’
‘I know everything about you, Raghav. Your parents are farmers, and you have a younger sister. Tomorrow is her marriage. You are a software engineer and recently got an offer to go to the UK for work only if you paid the agent ten lakhs rupees. So, you stole all your parent's hard earned savings and your mother's & sister's jewelry and ran away from home.'
Raghav got off from the chair with shock and hugged his bag tightly and asked, ‘Who are you? How do you know all these?'
‘I know. Now you tell me, are you not that Manav (human being) who betrayed the abundant happiness(Khushi) with which you were living with your family till date? You stole all your parent's savings and their jewelry kept for your sister's marriage and now you are running away in search of more money (Aishwarya). Have you ever thought about how your parents would handle the situation when they come to know about you running away with everything that they had?’
Raghav stood still speechless.
‘What is more important in life Raghav, money or happiness? Your father sold one of his properties to help you in your education but now, even that is not proving enough for you. Your sister couldn't study further because your education was more important for your parents. She sacrificed her education for you and what did you do? You neither stood for her education nor took any responsibility for her sacrifice and now that she is engaged and getting married tomorrow, you are ready to spoil her marriage by stealing all the money and jewelry saved for her marriage, just for your selfishness.'
‘Stop! Stop it.’
‘Why? Is it difficult to digest the truth?’
‘No! I will earn well and send them back all the money soon. I promise.'
‘What about her marriage?’
‘I know my father will take care of it.’
‘Really? Just think about the situation, where your father is falling on the groom's feet to apologize and what if they cancel the marriage? What is the use of such money which comes at a cost? Is it worth becoming rich by sacrificing so many lives?'
Raghav broke his silence, fell to his knees and started crying loudly.
‘I am only here to give you the knowledge, but you are the one who needs to take the decision, Raghav. The train will arrive in 2 minutes. So, you must take a call.'
The train arrived, and Saraswathi stepped inside the train and called Raghav, ‘Hey! The train is here. Won’t you come in?’
Raghav looked at her, and a breeze gently blew on his face taking him to his flashback, where he spent happy times with his family, his bonding between him and his sister. His parents spent all their time and money only on their children and how his sister was happy to sacrifice her education for him and how much delighted the whole family was on fixing his sister's marriage. Now he thought of his fights with his father to arrange the money somehow, and how he tiptoed to his parent's room and stole all the cash and the jewelry kept for the marriage early in the morning and ran away from there.
The train engine screamed and brought him back to the reality. Saraswathi was still waiting on the train door and looking at him and asked, ‘So, what did you decide?’
Raghav held his bag tightly and walked up to her and said, ‘Thanks for making me realize how stupid I was. I don't know who you are, but you are an angel for me who came to guide me. I agree I don’t have to run behind Aishwarya. Instead, I need to find something which I could do to improve this village and live with Khushi along with my family.’
Saraswathi smiled, and the train moved. He saw a glimpse of Saraswathi vanishing, and soon Raghav turned and ran back to his house and apologized.
After a few days, he found a person who can invest for him to start a bio-gas plant in his village and soon he flourished in his work.