Monday 24 July 2017

Short Story 4 : Lucky.

Story Theme : Two sides to a story

Nature is fundamentally chaotic. It has no distinctions of right and wrong. Natural occurrences have no obligation to favor a particular outcome. Only the rules of cause and effect hold ground. Nature is both the creator and the destroyer.

Humans , though a part and product of this very nature, are antithetical to its chaotic foundation. One of our fundamental survival tactics is the imposition of order onto chaos. This results in us viewing our world in a monochromatic manner: the good and the bad.

The characters in our stories, fictional or otherwise, also act as the flag bearers to this line of thought : There’s a protagonist who fights the antagonist and defeats him/her to the delight of many a reader.

Reality however, works its charms upon us in a kaleidoscopic fashion. Many instances in life keep reintroducing us to the most obvious truth, that what we perceive to be polar opposites exist within an entity, and complete it.

Humanity is the very manifestation of scattered seasoning:  a potpourri of qualities in contradiction to one another, all combining to paint the picture called life, each adding its own hue, texture, depth and contrast. The wise of our race recognize this, realizing that our full potential cannot be reached without exploiting them all.

We may be unable to control certain events or situations that occur in our lives, because it is beyond our capacity to do so. However, our beliefs and perceptions determine how we respond or react to them and to the people around us.

This story is based on the premise that sometimes, life allows us to see both the sides of a coin, and gives us a chance to examine our long-held, adamant beliefs and choose to change them.


‘I hate my parents.’

Nikhil turned towards his friend in surprise.

What? What did you say?’

I said, I hate my parents.’  Sujan replied.

‘Oh, so…that’s the problem, is it? Is that why you’ve been down in the dumps from the past month?’ 

‘Yes, and I’m waiting for the day I don’t have to depend on that old man to finance my studies anymore, and not listen to his wife’s droning advice either…’ Sujan’s voice held intense disdain.

Nikhil took a gulp of his scotch and regarded his friend quietly.

‘I’m sick of them. I’m sick of all the rules. I’m tired of all the expectations they thrust on me. I wish I wasn’t even born to such…selfish, miserly people.’ Sujan continued. ‘I mean, look at you! Your parents are so cool! They even let you booze and take your girlfriends home.’

Nikhil detected more than a tinge of envy lacing Sujan’s tone. It wasn’t the first time Sujan had expressed comparison of this nature between them. In fact, Sujan had been at it constantly ever since he had visited Nikhil’s sprawling bungalow, three years ago when they had become friends in the first week of college.

‘So, what exactly is your problem now?’ Nikhil asked, refilling his glass. He poured a top-up for his friend before handing the glass to him.

‘My dad has refused to let me pursue my PG in the John Hopkins University. He says he can’t afford it! And mom! Mom supports his decision. In fact, they want me to find a job, now that my degree is over.’

‘Hmm, so why don’t you just find a job, then?’ Nikhil asked, nonchalantly.

Nikhil’s tone infuriated Sujan even more. He plunked his empty glass on the wooden table-top and glared at his companion.

‘What do you mean, find a job? Easy for you to say, isn’t it, ‘Mr. Industrialist’s son!’ Sujan’s voice held undisguised spite. ‘You don’t have to worry about building a good future, you lucky scoundrel…your dad has laid it out for you in a silver platter, hasn’t he?’

‘Oh, cut the crap, idiot! That’s not fair! I still have to work for my future, I still have to study and pass these useless exams. It isn’t as if those foreign universities offer seats to undeserving people…’ Nikhil argued.

Sujan picked up his backpack and stormed out of the restaurant.

Nikhil didn't know that his parents had gladly allowed and financed his siblings to pursue their dreams, despite all the hardships they’d endured. His dad sold their site in Mysore to fund his elder son’s medical seat. His parents had always loved his brother more, the lucky rascal…

And Ma had sacrificed all her ancestral jewelry as dowry, to get his sister Sona married to the guy she’d fallen in love with. The selfish female was fortunate enough to have had the best of both worlds…

And I’m the scapegoat, destined to pay the price for being the youngest in the family, he thought bitterly. His parents had always been partial to their first born. After all, the elder son would upkeep them during their yesteryears, wouldn’t he? And their daughter was the darling of the family, of course, she’d care for them more than anyone else…

‘Good riddance! Who wants to take up the responsibility of those two, anyways?’ his thoughts were malicious, as he made his way back to the hostel.


Three days later, Sujan was seated on the carved teakwood swing in the enormous balcony of Nikhil’s room, overlooking the expansive swimming pool of their bungalow. He had come to apologize to Nikhil for his behavior the other day.

Nikhil is so lucky to have been born in a stinking rich family. He is so blessed, to live amidst this, this profuse lap of luxury…Sujan’s thoughts were wistful, as he waited for his friend to return from his gym session. What’s taking him so long? He should have been here ages ago…

Just then, he heard loud voices from the lower floor, and then…Crash! He jumped up from the swing in alarm. Maybe someone had fallen and was hurt!

He rushed into the room and crossed over to the half open door, when he stopped short, in shocked confusion.

‘Oh, go to hell, asshole! Yes, I am in love with Edward. I have been with him for over a year now. What are you going to do about it? What have you been doing anyways? Have you ever been there for me? Do you think I don’t know about your affairs with all those harlots when you travel on your so-called business trips?’

Sujan stood rooted to the spot. That was Nikhil’s mom, Raina auntie’s voice!

‘Shut up, bitch! Look at you!’ It was Uncle’s voice. Sujan was appalled at the language between Nikhil’s parents, as much as the nature of the exchange between them.

Nikhil’s father continued, ‘Just look at you! You’re just an ugly, gross, fat shrew who knows nothing about keeping a man happy! Yes, I have been with others on and off, and why not? Haven’t I provided you with all this extravagance? 

     And don’t think I don’t know that Nikhil isn’t my son! I have known the truth about him since a very long time, you slut! You ought to be glad…and grateful, that I’ve provided for that bastard all these years, despite knowing the truth! I even put up with all his drinking and womanizing…’

‘Ha! Provided for him indeed! What choice do you have? The whole world would laugh at you if they got to know that you’re incapable of fathering a child…and don’t pretend you care for Nikhil! You allow him to do as he pleases only because you neither have any control over him, nor do you even care how he ends up…’ Raina auntie’s tone spat venom at her husband.

Sujan felt the earth move beneath his feet. What was he hearing? He shouldn’t even be here, listening to this horrible conversation! He had to leave, without their knowledge…

He tip-toed further back into the room, quietly went through the other door, crossed over beyond the balcony to the spiral steps in the corner that led into the rose garden, and made his escape from the side gate to the back street, hoping no one had noticed his presence there. He returned to his hostel room in a daze and spent the rest of the day pondering over what he overheard at Nikhil’s house.

After tossing and turning through a sleepless night, Sujan went to his usual haunt Shree-Sagar, for breakfast the next morning. For the first time in years, he was unable to enjoy his food. His favorite masala-dosa tasted like leather and the coffee made him nauseous. He finally called his mom, trying to ignore the guilt that ate into his insides.

‘Ma, I’ve decided to start working after my results are out…’ he began.

‘How are you, beta? I was just about to call you!’ His mother’s high pitched voice interrupted him. ‘Your Bhaiyya called from California. He has agreed to sponsor your studies in that university you chose. You know, your dad had sent him an email, reminding him of all the sacrifices we made for him to let him study medicine. We both feel that it is time for him to return the favors he received, as the eldest of the family…’

Sujan was dumb-founded.

Ma continued, ‘And Sona didi has agreed to pitch in too, beta. She  pawned most of the jewelry we gave her during her wedding, without her husband’s knowledge…her in-laws will raise hell if they ever got to know, but she will manage somehow…you can use the money she sends for your other expenses in America, beta…’

‘I’ll call you back, ma…’

Sujan hung up the phone and broke down in tears, unmindful of the curious stares of the people around him.


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