Polymorphism6 mins 337 6 mins 337
The hot summer day was nearing an end as the snickering wind started to blow softly. The cacophony of the heated afternoon produced by the suburban sounds- the man-paddled rikshaw, the sales-pitch of the flower-woman at the side of the road and the gossiping bikers sitting on their two-wheeled carriages was only rivalled by that of the birds flying low in the sky, chattering away their day while returning to their humble abodes. The distant whistle from the train running through the old town was like an alarm clock; indicating the end of business for some, for some the start of it. Amit fell in the later one.
Tired of his day at school and afternoon at the ground, Amit was limping towards his home, thinking of the cold glass of Glucon-D that was awaiting him in his mother’s hands. The comfort and warmth of his mother’s voice was enough for the little guy to ignore the hard, scrutinising look of his father, who would have returned from work only recently and settled down, bare-bodied with only a pair of trousers, under the fan with a paper and a cup of tea and a bucketful of complaints against the world. Amit never thought his father was capable of much, except of course the art of complaining. He could complain about his colleagues, his boss, his subordinates, the post, the mailman even the rail-worker whose job was to close the railway crossing gates while a train was passing. And of course, his favourite criticising topic was his son; whether he was returning from school or the ground, whether he passed with average marks or failed a test…it was relentless. And Amit hated him for every bit of it.
Before he knew it, he was at his home premises. There was his mother in the kitchen, as predicted, stirring the health-powder in a big glass of water; water she had to pump manually out of the borewell herself. And there was his father, Mr Ajay Kumar Chowdhury, immersed in the Times but still somehow managing a quick little scanning glance towards Amit and his little scrap in the knee, along with the mud-stains in his uniform.
‘I suppose that detergents are free now’, said a deep timbre of vocal cords from behind the newspaper. Amit ignored it, as he was used to doing.
‘Do something worthwhile in life’, the voice continued, ‘Is this a time to return home? The sun has set an hour ago’.
‘Let him be, he’s tired’, argued the tender motherhood.
‘Do you have any idea how much time he wastes?’, said the deep voice again, this time at his mother, ‘He’s got board exam in few months. He should be studying, shouldn’t he? Do you know what I had to do in his age? How many chores I had to complete before I even got the chance to study? This guy here is just wasting money… spending the whole day chasing balls while I run around the whole damn day earning to feed him…and our parents!!’
Burning hot rage mixed with a bucketful of revolt rose up to Amit’s throat. Only a few hours back a groundful of people clapped after he took a marvellous catch, scraping his knees. Even the batsman was impressed as he was shaking his head in disbelief. But not his own father! Never his father!! For as long as he could remember, it was always silent judging and hurtful comments. And for what? For the roof over his head? The health drink he was swallowing? Amit doesn’t need them, he doesn’t care. Lots of people have grown up without a roof or health drinks…so can he.
It took everything he had to keep himself silent. Instead, he got up, pushed the Glucon-D glass down with as much force he could muster and sprinted upstairs…to his sanctuary.
‘See what he thinks of himself!!’, flew in the words from down below, ‘You tell him. You tell him that I’ll be leaving soon. And he gets to enjoy all that I’ve built while I keep providing more for him ——‘
And Amit slammed the door tight upstairs, drowning the whining below. The sanctuary at last. Here he is the king….
Twenty-five years worth of water has flown through the Ganges since we last saw Amit. The current address for Amit is a lavish penthouse in the heart of the human-ocean known as Kolkata. The hot summer day was nearing an end as he walked into the 12th-storied balcony to inhale some non-conditioned air. Gazing at the sunset, amidst the brilliant brushstrokes of red and yellow, Amit suddenly realised his cellphone was vibrating. He placed his hand in his ear, activating the tiny Bluetooth device, which connected with the cellphone in his pocket and together, brought in the voice from some fifty kilometres away.
‘Babu…! How are you?’, said a seventy-odd male voice, broken, totally devoid of confidence and hungry for some attention, ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while, son. Is everything all right?’
‘Yes dad, of course. How’re you? How’s mom? Sorry I’ve been so busy the last few days. It’s 24/7 work, dad’, said Mr Chowdhury to the senior Chowdhury.
‘I understand, son. That’s life! How’s Sikha?’
‘She’s getting well dad. It was a minor cold. She’s recovering.’
‘And how’s my grandson?’
‘Aryan is fine. Actually, he’s supposed to get back any moment now from the park. I don’t know what keeps him out so long. That little guy is always just wasting my money… Told him so many times to get back before dark…’
‘It’s normal for a boy his age, Babu. Before you know it, you’ll be my age and you’ll wonder where the days went…’
Bullshit, Amit thought to himself, that boy would be the end of me. I’m working here all day and night to make ends meet, and here he goes around without an ounce of concentration towards studying….
‘Here, talk to your mother’, said Ajay, ‘She’s worried about Sikha…’
‘Hey Babu’, out poured the sound of his mother’s voice from the Bluetooth, ‘Did the maid come in today?’
‘I don’t know mom, I was really busy working….’
In a nearby park few blocks away, where all the local boys go to try their hands on imitating their favourite cricket heroes, a 12-year old called Aryan had just jumped to his right and fell into the ground, side-first, scraping his knee and covering himself with mud all over his favourite jersey while catching the ball just in time before it touched the ground. There were applauds everywhere as he got up, holding his hand high above his head clutching the ball. An innocent bicycle drove by the park to the sunset…its wheels forever turning, touching new points in space with the same points of rubber again and again…while the rider just heads forward.