1.Choice: A short story about a decision
Its still dark, the sun’s rays haven’t still dispersed the darkness as he rubs his eyes and looks out of the window by his bedside, it’s time to leave. The silence outside captivates him for a moment it feels like yesterday. Was it last month or was it last year, the memory has surely blurred maybe he should really go back to his old habit of having walnuts regularly. It seems age has really caught up with him or is it the memory so blurred and nascent that he shudders to think about the times gone by.
He takes a deep breath and rises from the bed. It has been his routine for the past few years, the first thought in the morning isn’t about the meetings, work or children, it’s a question that is as unanswerable as “the life on mars” it’s the question “What if he had made a different choice 20 years back?”
For him life was not about relaxing, waiting or looking at nature. These were the things he used to scoff at, he wanted to reach the pinnacle, run as fast as he could, grasp every laurel and cherish every success. Yes he wanted to be a tycoon.
He wears his “chappals” and gets ready for his morning chores. By the time it’s 5 he is already in his running gear. This habit of running is more of an addiction for him. At first he used to run ahead of life, that was a run for marks, concepts and big scores, then he ran from choices he made be it choosing career over love or the choice of shifting to USA the place of his dreams away from his parents and the past that reminded him of her, and ultimately after 20 years that run has become an addiction that coaxes him to run until his legs can take no more.
The run gives him a high, a high that addicts crave for and smokers smoke for, something that makes you drift away towards a mirage of bliss. After one hour he comes back home does some yoga. Yoga gives him a feeling of completeness, that was forged and knitted in a cocoon of success and aspirations, long back, and it gives him some time with himself. After a quick shower, he eats his cereal and starts to leave.
Just when he is about to embark on another of those long days of work, his wife gives him a kiss on the cheek and his children give him a hug, he surely has a nice beautiful family for whom they have so much to offer but for them he has so much less. He ,makes his mind to take them on a holiday this summer, but he falls short of translating this thought into words lest he fails once more like he always had thus breaking their hearts partly because of his work and partly because he has a habit of never taking a leave from work. Marriage was a pact he had entered into at his mother’s behest 15 years back, he doesn’t remember the conditions of the pact but this bond a result of that pact has given him two little kids and a life to look forward to. If being a husband was all about being a companion and a supporter and being a father was about being a protector, he was a good husband and may be a good father too but when it came to sharing the proximity with his wife he found himself escaping. He had never imagined anyone sharing his private space with him other than her old love because he had promised ‘her’ that, and maybe ‘she’ had done the vice versa, but he still adheres to the commitment. This way he still prides in his devotion to something that was never desired in the first place, he fails to understand that true love does not have desires nor is it a choice, he is somehow clinging onto the past waiting for something that is long lost and gone, a relation that always had perforated contours that he failed to see or realize.
His wife whispers ‘congrats ‘ in his ear and hands him an envelope with the seal of the business committee of the city. With a wry face he opens it and reads , he takes a deep breath and says ‘thank you’, he has won the businessman of the year award and he has been invited to collect it with his family at a function this weekend. With this he turns to leave.
But while opening the door of his car he looks back, his wife helping his daughter with something she has picked up from the garden, and waving at him, they are happy for him. This makes sense may be this is the only thing that makes sense, for the past years while he has been elusive of them, they had been always there for him. He turns back and walks towards them, today he won’t go to office, he picks up his daughter in his arms and walks back inside. He had made a choice 20 years back and he has made a choice today, the only difference is he is sure of the choice made today. Be it 20 years back or now, surely choices do matter in life.