Most Prized Possession
Most Prized Possession6 mins 16.8K 6 mins 16.8K
Vishal and Deepti visited their father’s ancestral home in their native place. After their father’s death, they planned on selling the property. It had been two years since their last visit. The last two years for their family had been nothing but traumatic. Cancer had taken away their father’s life two months ago. For both of them, their father had been a constant pillar of support. Their lifeline. Without him, they were incomplete. Their mother had passed away when they were too young. Since then, he had successfully fulfilled his responsibilities as a mother, a father and a friend. Tears welled up in their eyes as they remembered the memorable moments spent with their father at this place. Almost every summer vacation, their father made it a point to visit his ancestral home and spend time with his close relatives.
Now that he was gone, he had taken away those days of laughter, fun and frolic with him. They felt incomplete in this place without him. He had always been their home and their safe haven. Deepti and Vishal checked all the cupboards and drawers; dividing all their belongings between things that they actually needed, things they needed to dispose off and things that could be given to the poor. Their old wooden furniture had completely worn out and they mutually decided to let it go at scrap value. While checking one of the cupboards, Vishal’s eyes fell on a large old trunk. He immediately called out to his sister.
“ Hey Deepti! Do you remember this trunk?” Deepti had a good look at it and nodded her head.
“ Of Course, I do. Dad’s most prized possession.”
“ I wonder what’s in it. And why he never really told us what he kept inside.”
On many occasions in the past, they had asked their father what he kept in his old trunk. His response would always be the same. He smiled warmly, and using both his hands; one vertically and one horizontally, indicating a ‘T’, shouted out to them. “ It’s a top secret!”
No matter how much they coaxed and pressurized him, he never spilled the beans. The contents of the trunk had always been a mystery to them since they were kids. As they grew up, they considered the trunk to be a joke and stopped asking him as he never gave a proper answer.
Deepti smiled as she recollected her father’s behavior. “ Who knows? Dad remained a good custodian till his death.” After years of suspense, they broke the lock and opened it. Before they could actually see what was inside, a yellow envelope fell from it. In it, was a letter written in their father’s handwriting. The letter read:
To my two little eyes,
No matter how old you grow, whether you have any teeth remaining or not; you shall always be kids for me. The suspense I successfully maintained for all these years must be killing you from inside. Had I been in your place, I would have retaliated and revolted. You have been good kids always, just like your Mom. Trust me, if it weren’t for you both, I would have died years ago. I never told you, but I suffered from depression after your mother was gone. She was the only woman I ever loved and the only woman I continue to love even today. I was alone and felt abandoned by the world. You not only made my world worth living but you filled it with your love, your innocence and your beautiful presence.
I started living with you and for you. I am indeed indebted to both of you for taking good care of me during my bad days. Never, for once, did you make me realize that my wife is no more or as if I am a burden to you. I don’t how long I shall live. One day, I will have to go. But I will always be a part of you within you whenever you remember me. Just as your mother is and has always been with us.
I have always been a simple man with simple needs. I have no treasure as Deepti had once imagined or no gold as Vishal had once asked. Some of my life’s best and worst memories are stored in this trunk. Whenever I felt lonely, I opened this trunk and the moments would play right in front of me. They are special for me but they may not be special to you. That’s why I never really told you about it. You may or may not have taken me seriously. When I go from this world, that’s the only thing I shall be taking with me, and so will you. The thought had crossed my mind more than once, though.
By the time you read this letter and open this trunk, I may or may not be with you. But I will always be alive in your memories as we three have created many beautiful ones. I will be alive in all the decisions you take in your life ahead, good as well as bad. I have a request though. Please don’t repeat my mistakes. Make some new ones and learn from it. Maybe I can learn something from you when me and your Mom keep a watch on you both from heaven. Be inseparable and love and support each other through thick and thin. It’s going to be just the two of you, maybe a few days from now. Keep us alive by being the best versions of yourself and staying happy always.
With lots of love,
Vishal and Deepti looked at each other and smiled, even though tears continued flowing through their eyes. They hugged each other, promising to be inseparable as their father wanted them to be. As they removed the items from the trunk, both brother and sister were amused at the suspense that unfolded in front of their eyes. Not only were they shocked, but also they were laughing. Some of the items were:
- his wedding photos
- some black and white childhood photos with his friends and family
- Deepti’s 1st Barbie doll
- Vishal’s favorite ball
- their mother’s medical report
- her favorite sari
- his stamp book
- an old Walkman along with cassettes of gazals and classical Indian music
- an old book of poems written by him
- some candid pictures of their mother from their college days
- Vishal’s school medal when he won the three legged race
- Deepti’s 1st landscape painting
- ‘ EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR’ award he received from one of his former organizations
By now, they had realized one thing. Even though their father left the world empty handed, he didn’t really go empty handed.