A Short Story
When he was young he had liked silence more than anything else. He treated it as though it was his best friend. But now, it had become his best foe. He had reached his old age before he could even think how he was going to spend it. He lost his loving and caring wife, who had embraced death before him. His only son, Rohit treated him as though he was responsibility rather than love, love which he had given to him in abundance. While his daughter-in-law treated him as though he was a burden to her. His grandson, Sanjay liked him.
His table was filled with medicine bottles. When his wife was there she took good care of him. She made sure that he took his medication at regular intervals as prescribed by the doctor. Now, no one bothered. Only his grandson asked him about it.
Old age seemed to be a curse as well as a punishment to him. All his friends except Mohan had left for the other world. His close friend, Mohan came to see him once in a while. He couldn’t bear to see his friend suffer like this. His left side was paralysed. And it seemed as though the death was teasing him, by killing only the half of him, a half that belonged to him and once was active, was now dead. Suddenly, the door opened and Mohan came in. Then:-
“How are you doing?” He asked.
“Well, I’m still half alive,” He replied. “Tell me, Mohan, what fun does God get by killing only a side of me? He should’ve killed me completely instead. This life has become more worse than death, my friend.”
“Nandu, I don’t have any words,” said Mohan sadly looking at him. “All I can say is have some patience and hopefully things should get better.”
“When? After my death for sure, but even death doesn’t want to take me with him. How could he take a paralysed man like me. I would become a burden to him just like my daughter-in-law.”
“Okay, I shall take leave now,” He said. “I have to go to the market.”
“Before you go, can you do me a favour?” He asked.
“Sure, tell me?”
“Please move my bed over to that wall near the window.”
“Okay.” He said and started pushing the bed with all his might. His daughter-in-law came into the room.
“Arey! What are you doing?” She cried rather annoyed.
“I’m moving the bed to that corner.” He replied.
“No, no. what if he catches cold and fever? Also it’s rainy season,” She said, “Who will bear the additional expenditure?”
“At least let me die catching cold and fever.” Nanda Gopal cried annoyed.
“Okay, I shall take leave.” Said Mohan leaving.
Later, Sanjay came into his room. Then:-
“Grandpa, whose umbrella is this?” He asked picking and showing it to him.
“Oh, it should be Mohan’s. He had come sometime back. Sanju, will you do me a favour?” He said.
“Will you move the bed to that wall near the window, son?”
That night he stared out of his window. It started raining. He remembered those days of his childhood days when he went out and played in the rain. Now, he looked at the sky. It was dark and cloudy. Just like his own life. His life too was filled with darkness. The old clock on the wall became silent. He turned and saw that the pendulum wasn’t swinging anymore. The clock on the wall showed 12.30 AM. He saw a dark shadow before his bed.
“So you have finally come to take me,” He said looking at the shadow. “Its really very nice of you for coming at least now. I’m so much eager to go with you. Please hurry..”
The darkness crept upon him and his heart too stopped beating like the pendulum of that old clock on the wall. The last breath he had taken in got lost somewhere. His eyes kept staring towards the door.
Next day early morning:-
“Did you hear? Mohan chacha had passed away last night in his sleep?” said Rohit to his wife.
“He was so active in this age. I wish your paralysed father had gone instead of him. At least I would have had some peace of mind.” His wife said.
“Shhhh! Keep your voice low. He may hear it.” He said.