Harsh was extremely happy. He was about to go to Delhi for a chess championship. He had been selected for the next level. The basic competition had been held in his school. He was 16, a normal teen. But he felt that he was experienced and skilled. A typical teen.
But somewhere he was unhappy. Well, he had been. Now he had grown used to it. His parents. They always kept fighting with each other. Well, not exactly fighting, a domestic quarrel. No violence, but their irritating voices. He hated it. He felt that they didn't love each other at all. He had never seen his parents talking lovingly with each other like they do in the movies.
His thoughts were harshly interrupted by the announcement of the airlines. The flight had been delayed by 1 hour. He sighed. He thought about his parents. They were perfect examples of mismatched couples. He felt they were a match made in hell. While mom was modern, his dad was from an educated middle-class farmer's family. It had been a love marriage, he never believed it. He recalled how his dad loved to hate when mom used the English accent in her talking. While mom loved to hate when dad used to talk about the vegetables and how they were grown. He loved to hate when mom ordered the latest modern things online. She called them 'exquisite'. Mom loved to hate how dad kept arguing with the news anchor on the TV.
1 hour passed. He boarded the flight. He sat on his economic class seat and soon, dozed off. He woke up during mealtime. Well, he knew mealtime wasn't the right word, but his mom always said ' mealtime ' when it was time for lunch. He ordered a sandwich for himself. He wanted to wash his hands, so he got up to go to the toilet. There were two people waiting there. One of them was his friend.
"Hi! Met you for a long time." They kept talking. Harsh didn't like talking so much and secretly waited for the line to get over soon.
After the toilet business, he came back to his seat and ate his cold sandwich. "What horrible service! He fumed. "They are as cold as Antarctica!" After 1and a half-hour, the flight landed. He went to the assigned place. As it was a national level, a secretary from the government was supposed to come. With Harsh, there were ten other people. The secretary came late and without apologizing, started talking." You are going to be here for five days. The government will take care of your expenses. You will be given a daily allowance of....."
He kept talking. Finally, he distributed the forms and everyone signed it. Actually all the children had come by train, cause the government would only bear the expense of train, but since Harsh could afford the flight, he had traveled in it.
They were given a place to stay. The competition went off well, and Harsh got the third prize. He was happy. The next day they returned, it was a late night. Harsh was not in the mood to listen to his parents quarreling again. He had peace these days in Delhi. He opened the door using the duplicate key he had and crashed in his bed.
Then something woke him up. A voice. A soothing, loving voice. It was coming from his parent's room. He quietly went in and saw something. His dad had a headache. And his mother was soothing him. She lovingly caressed his face. She gave him medicine. Harsh couldn't believe his eyes. He went back to bed. The next morning, he woke up and saw mom shouting at his dad again. Dad shouted back. They kept arguing. But Harsh smiled. That is love. You won't see it always, but you have to believe it is there.