The Perfect Son
The Perfect Son
Pranoy was a lovable child. Not only was he sweet in appearance, but also in his behavior. He had a mop of jet black curly hair, which became tousled all the time. His cheeks were like peaches. They looked so tempting, that whoever saw him, could not resist pinching them, to the little lad’s discomfort. Whenever he spoke, everyone around him became attentive, as whatever he said, did not seem to come out from a little child’s mouth. That is why it lent charm to his conversations, and it endeared him to the adults around him. They said he was a ‘precocious’ child.
He was called by another name. He was termed to be a “prodigy”. At five years of age, without any formal education, he could calculate difficult sums in Mathematics. He knew all the difficult formulas and was an enigma to everyone around him.
But he was not a very normal child. He used to sit silently for long hours meditating. He would say that he actually did not belong there, his home was somewhere else. When he said these things, his parents became very upset. They felt miserable that their child did not acknowledge that their family was his, despite the fact that loved him so much.
The father Shoilen, and Mother Veronica, did everything possible to make him happy. They had kept on trying to become parents for five years, and then after running up and down to various Fertility Clinics, they had got their precious son. They felt heart-broken when their son said that he did not belong with them.
Their son would dreamily recount of his life before he was born. He said he missed his wife very much. He used to love her intensely. He could not do without her. Then because she misunderstood him, because she did not have so much trust and confidence in him, that, she had nothing to do with him and left him with a broken heart. Her name was Sipra. He spoke of his parents, Rajat and Lakshmi. All this seemed so strange, and Shoilen and Veronica could only think of consulting a Psychiatrist. It was at the suggestion of the Doctor that they took the child to Jamshedpur, where Pranoy said it was his real home. They were amazed at how the boy started giving them directions about the route to take and was absolutely familiar with the landmarks.
As the car sped down Rose Avenue, Pranoy abruptly told the driver to stop. He pointed to a massive steel gate, colored red with Rajat Bose written in gold. He explained that his father was a big shot. He was the leader of the NCR Party, and there was a likelihood of his donning the Chief Minister’s mantle in the next election. As they entered the gate, Pranoy showed them two, three houses in the same line belonging to other prominent individuals, all holding high positions.
When they pressed the bell an aged lady opened the door. Presumably, she was an old maid. When she was told that they had come to see the lady of the house, she went back hobbling. The visitors waited with bated breath, as a lot was at stake. After about five minutes, a lady walked in. She had a slim figure. Her hair was silvery grey which came down to her shoulders. Her features were soft but her face was lined with deep furrows, indicating that she had gone through much. As soon as she came into view, Pranoy jumped up and rushed to her and gave her one big hug. The lady reciprocated but was startled because of she in her wildest dreams, had not imagined that she would become the recipient of so much affection.
It was then that Veronica came out with the whole story, how their son had been insisting that his real family lived in Jamshedpur. Pranoy had also told them that if he could just meet his mother and his wife, he would get mental peace. Then he would be able to live with his new family without looking back.
He asked his mother to call his wife. When Nandita came to the sitting room, Pranoy’s entire face expressed his undying love. Sipra looked on perplexed, not understanding what was happening. He told her that he was her husband, and if she had any doubts, to go and check whether she has a black beauty spot on her breast. Then Pranoy told her that he had come back, just to tell her that she had done an injustice to him, in believing what others said. After all, he loved her so much, she should have trusted him. He only wanted to let her know the truth so that she would not carry a poor impression of him to the grave. Then his father appeared, equally puzzled as to who the visitors were, and what their business was.
As Rajat Bose entered, Pranoy became visibly very disturbed. He introduced him to his present parents, as being his father from his past life. He then asked his father whether he had kept the orange Tee-shirt that he had given him. He reminded him that when he could not fit into it and it had become tight, as he had put on weight, he had told his father that he could have it. His father seemed to be ill at ease and started stammering. He admitted that he still had it with him. Then Pranoy asked his father to show it to him and his father did as was asked to do, with trembling hands. From the sleeve, a big patch was missing. Then he asked his mother, Lakshmi, why she had aged so much in five years, why all her hair had turned grey and why were there so many furrows on her face, indicating worries. His mother then confessed that she did not get a night’s rest since her son, a renowned professor in Mathematics, in the prime of his life, was hanged on a charge of rape.
Pranoy’s parents were visibly shocked. Then Pranoy went on with the story of his past life. Though he was absolutely innocent, he was falsely implicated in the rape case. One evening he heard a woman screaming. It was very loud and he heard it twice, then there was the sound of somebody getting throttled, and hardly being able to say anything, only the broken syllables. He had rushed down to the place from where the sound had emanated and had found Pratima gasping for breath. Pratima’s parents also came down rushing and saw their daughter was in the last pangs of death. She could only utter the last name of the culprit.
Immediately the police had been called. As he happened to be at that spot, when the parents came in, and the last name tallied with his, they took it for granted that he was the culprit. There was a torn piece of an orange tee-shirt in the hand of the deceased, which must have got torn in the scuffle. It also happened totally with his shirt. It was presumed to be circumstantial evidence. The color was so bright, that it had attracted everyone’s notice when he used to wear it almost daily. The last hurdle was when his Father approached him, and asked him on the strength of his love and gratitude to his father, not to divulge to anyone what he, as his son, must have deduced. As he held a very high status in society, Shoilen had to seal the girl’s mouth by killing her, or else she had threatened to advertise to the world about the crime. The father had been always attracted to her, and could not control himself. He wanted his son not to expose him and made him take an oath on that.
As Shoilen’s son, his mouth was sealed, but after rebirth being free of that obligation, he wanted to clear his name. Lakshmi collapsed on hearing all the details, but her daughter-in-law quickly moved up to give her a supporting hand. Rajat Bose pleaded like a coward that he was, “Don’t let this come out in the open, I will be ruined”!
Pranoy took the hands of his present parents and waved his past parents a ‘good-bye’. Before he left, he said, “I had come only to clear my name in front of my wife, and my mother, two people whose good estimation of me mattered. Now that my object has been fulfilled, I have no other interest.” It seemed then that for him his past life, which was troubling him, got obliterated forever.