The Little Boy
The Little Boy
Shimla - 31st December 2011
It was New Year’s Eve. The weather outside was biting cold. The snow for the last two days was incessant. Sekhar was his usually peppy self. He was busy making all the arrangements. He made welcoming the new year a big deal. He looked forward to it even more than any religious events or birthdays. Actually, it was more like a family tradition for him. He did this over the years.
Swati found it silly. She liked his silly ways. Dinner table was laid and Shekhar was busy with the decorations. Swati phone kept on vibrating. Sekhar picked up the phone to give it to Swati who is busy in the kitchen. The phone was vibrating in such a continuous fashion, Sekhar though it must a call coming in. Most likely from Swati’s parents. But when he looked at the screen, his feet did not move. As the notifications lit up on the screen, he saw a barrage of messages. He did not know Swati’s passcode and never even asked. But the trimmed messages in the notifications were enough for him to realize that Swati was having an affair. Swati walked in and the look on Sekhar’s face told her everything. She wanted to talk to him and he wanted to talk to her – but none took the first step.
There was an eerier silence on that New Year’s Eve. Swati did not know what to say. She had a great relationship with Sekhar. Something so special that her friends envied.
Yet it did happen. She regretted it but she could not undo it. Sekhar did not want Swati to apologize. He just wanted her to tell him that she still loved only him. But they could not read each other mind. Life is not a fairy tale. The food was left as is and the decorations half done. They both went to bed but neither of them could sleep. There was just the sound of clock ticking and the snow falling outside. It was 6:10 AM and it was still dark outside. Sekhar realized he may have dozed off. He actually felt better. He thought he should talk to Swati. Swati was not there in bed. He walked slowly into the living room. He stood still for the second time in two days. Swati hung herself from the fan in the living room. When the cops came, they took down her body. She had a small note clenched in her hands – “I love you, Sekhar”.
Shimla - 31st December 2014
It was three years since Swati left him. Sekhar has changed a lot since then. He shunned all his family and her family. He quit his job in IT and pursued his passion. He travelled the world and became a vlogger. And boy did he become famous. He sometimes laughed at his own success. Concerned neighbors and family members thought he is losing it. But he knew he is gaining something much more – a deeper appreciation for life, a deeper understanding of love. The world was his home now.
But every 31st December he came back to his home and made elaborate preparations. Every year he cooked an elaborate meal and did fancy decorations. Some of these decorations he would pick from different parts of the world. Then he would sit in the living room and wait – wait for Swati to come back.
But she never came back until that day.
He rushed to the door. But there was no Swati. Instead a little boy, barely 3-4 years old. Neatly dressed. But shivering. Sekhar really did not know what to do. He got him in. He asked him about his parents. The little boy did not respond. He saw the food laid out and sat on the table. He started eating, he did not even ask. He was just a little boy and manners were not a part of him yet. Sekhar looked in utter amazement. After having some food, he looked slightly better. Sekhar asked again about his parents, eager to help the boy. But maybe he was too little to understand. He slept on Sekhar’s bed and he keeping looking at the little boy.
Next day when he took the little boy to the police station, they laughed at him. There was no kid that they saw with him. This drove Sekhar crazy. Neighbours saw him walking and talking to some imaginary person. They informed his family. The more they said the little boy was a figment of his imagination, the angrier it would make Sekhar. Any attempt to take Sekhar to get some help, would turn him violent. He needed the world to trust him and yet the concerned world did not see his ways.
Sekhar now stays locked up in his house, with just the little boy. He makes Sekhar happy and somehow he gets his eccentric ways.
Shimla - 31st December 2015
Another year passed. Sekhar was awfully silent this time. He did not make any elaborate decorations. He prepared a simple meal. All he said was “Go to sleep, tomorrow morning we leave”. He did not pack anything. He would leave this place and go to a better place.
On New Year’s Day, he woke up early and got ready. He held the hands of the little boy, who was still sleepy and left leaving all baggage behind him. As they were leaving, they turned back to see the commotion at their house. Cops were bringing out the lifeless body of Sekhar.