Friday, May 28, 2010

He returned to silence...

He awoke, startled from a nightmare. His mouth felt salty from the tears that had flowed in.

"What happened? You look worried!", asked wife dearest.

"Dad, why do you keep worrying. Of all days, today! Its my wedding... please! Your ministry and its affairs can wait", said Hari.

That worsened the dark circles under his eyes.

*************************************************************************
Ooty, was cold. Not like Chennai.

"She's only 16. Looks like she was kept waiting for you."

Her pretty eyes were welled with tears.

Kumar, his confidant in every sphere of life, beamed proudly at his new catch for his boss.

Once in a while, he would go on a long 'business trip' which usually started and ended in the estate bungalow, in Ooty.

Rum.

The fireplace.

And something to lay one's mind off business and politics.

That something waited in his bedroom. Terrified.

He downed the last glass and walked in.

*************************************************************************

"Dad, this is Ramya, I told you about. My junior from B-shcool. Why dont you have a look at her credentials. She's quite efficient. I'm sure we can fit her in somewhere."

Yes, he could easily employ her. He had a fairly large office. His business empire had grown over the years. The Anand Group was among the largest business conglomerates in the country.

Whatever he touched turned gold.

It dint take him long to plunge into politics.

It was an easy field for him.

*************************************************************************

The old man had wrinkles all over. He smiled and stood like an obedient servant.

"He takes care of the girl, her only distant relative. He says she is pregnant."

He threw a bundle of notes into the drunkard's greedy palms.

"Get her married. I dont want to see you again. Else both of you will be gone. You know about Kumar..."

The old man smiled again, obediently nodding his head.

*************************************************************************

"Dad, that Ramya girl is really good. She seems to have got into the good books of mom too! I mean, not bad knowing mom and her eccentricities!", Hari seemed exceptionally happy.

It took him time to figure out why.

*************************************************************************

"Happy Birthday! You turn four today!"

They were cutting the cake through the icing which read Hari Anand, when the phone rung.

"Sir, Sir!", Kumar gasped.

"Kumar, haven't I told you never call home until urgent?"

"Aama Sir, but this is urgent. That girl died ..."

"Which girl? What are you talking about? Listen, I dont have time for this nonsense"

"Sir, please listen. That girl Lalitha. She delivered last night. And she died on spot. The old man dint take her to the hospital...."

'Papa, come cut the cake with me!'

"Yes Hari, Papa is coming.
Shut up! I was talking to my son. I cant talk to you now!"

"Sir, but the baby...the old man disapperead when she died. The baby was left at our doorstep this morning..."

"What baby? Throw it somewhere. Where is the old man? Bastard. I will kill him."

"Sir, but what will I do?"

'Anand, come fast. We are all waiting! Can't you keep the phone down for a minute!'

"Yes Suji. Coming.
Kumar, listen I dont know what you do! You are responible for this mess. Kill it. I dont want you to call me ever again!"

"But sir...."

Beep.

The cake sucked. Dint taste as sweet as it looked.

*************************************************************************

"Dad, mom, I need to talk. I think I.... no. I know that I love Ramya. She is the girl in my life."

Now, that was a tough one. Accepting into his family a girl with modest or rather no roots.

Especially when businesss magnets awaited with proposals promising dowry of crores and joint venture deals that valued more.

But the PR almost made up for all the losses.

"The minister's way of guiding the society."

"Philanthropy starts at home."

"Business men are not always business minded."

The couple became a smash hit. The ministers son and the orphaned girl.

Couldnt help but bless them. After all, the empire he had built, was for his son.

*************************************************************************
Kumar never called. Until yesterday.

"Sir, Kumar here. Your old servant..."

"Oh! what a pleasure Kumar. I was hoping you heard about the wedding. It's only a day away. I want you to..."

"Listen to me first...!"

Arrogance. With years, he has got the guts to interrupt as I speak!

"Sir, this is important. That girl Ramya. Who do you think she is? An angel who will make up for all the evil you did? She will be the cause for all your distress..."

"What do you mean?"

"She is your blood. Sir, she is your child!"

"KUMAR!"

"Dont scream at me. Its the truth!"

"I thought you killed the baby. Was it a girl?"

"I couldn't kill her. For all the sin I did, this was the only way I..."

"No. You killed the baby. You told me you killed the baby..."

"No. I put her in school. I sponsored her education with your money. I knew you would never let her live if you knew. So I kept it a secert. But now..."

"This cant happen...."

"Sir! You need to stop the wedding..."

He couldnt hear anymore.

*************************************************************************

"Where's Dad?"

"Anand... Anand.. where are you?"

He tried to hide inside the palatial house.

"Minister calls off son's wedding to sibling - Exclusive coverage."

"The blood thirsty Minsiter's appaling past"

"The Anand Group of industries - A blackmark for India"

He awoke, startled from a nightmare. His mouth felt salty from the tears that had flowed in.

"What happened? You look worried!", asked wife dearest.

"Dad, why do you keep worrying. Of all days, today! Its my wedding... please! Your ministry and its affairs can wait", said Hari, his son.

*************************************************************************

Ramya looked beautiful in her red sari. Hari looked handsome as ever!

The priest announced that the auspicious time had come to tie the knot. Everyone rushed out.

He was dragged along.

Tears welled up.

His inner voice screamed.

His conscience hit him. Hard.

Yet,

he returned to silence...


Trivia: This story won me the first prize for English Short Story - University level, way back in 2000.

6 comments:

  1. Nice! Do you still write? Why don't you put up some more of your stuff?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also, this reminds me of one of those 90s tamil movies. It had the same pair who acted in Eeramana Rojave, and it was about this couple who love each other, and later on realise they're brother and sister.

    And I think Balachander's Vaaname Ellai also had a similar situation where this rich guy likes this girl who's poor and has a widowed mother. His father strongly objects to the wedding but they keep protesting and rebelling and what not. In the end, the father, being a widower himself, gets married to the widow, thus symbolically giving his son the finger. :P

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  3. hehe! :D

    incidentally, i read somethin on incestuous relationship in the papers this morning. it was abt this siblings who were married and had a kid. they dint find out until they did a dna test recently, that their father was the same. however, they hav decided to stay together inspite being half-bro n sis.

    donno abt the right or wrong here...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good story. But as Guru said if you still write, would like to read.

    ReplyDelete