This was the daily’s routine. This happened without a break. Everyone was quite submerged in the process and knew whom and what of the schedule. In the night when the Father is back, everyone will sit and have dinner together. And as it was vacation time, the house had the cable connection back again. Initially, the connection was avoided on the grounds that if they’ll have the cable connection then the kids will not study and will sit all day long in front of the idiot box. But vacations were exceptions.
And like in any other household, the father here too, regulated on what is being watched and when.
Fortunately, in recent days there was a new quiz show on TV called – ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. It was a new game show at the prime time and after knowing about it from his office colleagues, the game show was made a must for the entire family during the dinner time.
It was always the Father and Aman who will jump and prompt answers, while Hari usually ran from one corner of the room to other panicking for not knowing the answers. And in this panic, on one night while everyone was dining and watching the show as a ritual, Hari went and stood in front of the TV and started reading, blocking everyone else.
The father smiled first and the asked Hari to be back politely. To which Hari responded, “No father, you and Bhaiya win always. I know the answers too. It’s just that you people read faster than me. Also it’s a little blur for me, this new cable channel.”
The father looked at him strangely and asked Hari, “What do you mean it is blurr for you?”
“Papa the more close I go to the TV, the more clear are the fonts for me. Now let me read the question.”
The father looked at the mother in amazement, and then looked back at Hari, who was busy mumbling the question, with eyes fixated on the TV screen.
Then suddenly the kid in father was replaced by the Hitler in him and he said in a firm tone. “Hari what do you mean that you cannot see from there. What is the problem?”
“Father I cannot read from where Dadi is sitting. It’s all blur for me.”
“But even your brother and mother are sitting next to your grandmother.”
On this Hari had nothing to say. The parents just looked at each other in slight worry.
With the next morning, the schedule was disrupted a little for all. The father and mother sat on the scooter and Hari was made to stand in front, and they all went to see an ophthalmologist.
When they returned, the granny was already ready with the oil. The father dropped Hari and his mother and left for office from the gates itself. It was news for the household. All the women of the locality gathered immediately to enquire on what has happened and why did Hari’s father didn’t go to office instead took these three on the scooter and then dropped them and went now.
While the women caught the mother outside. Hari went in running for the grandmother, screaming, “Dadi, dadi, help me please. Papa took me to the doctor. He says there is some problem in my eyes and hence I have to wear glasses. Papa has even ordered for one. Dadi please help me. I don’t want to wear those glasses. Please, everyone in my class will make fun of me. Everyone in the colony will laugh at me. Please Dadi, please help me. Ask papa to not go for the glasses.” While saying this a feared Hari went and sat in the lap of her grandmother trying to burry himself and hide into her grandmother’s cover.
The grandmother cuddled him and caressed his hairs prompting with her edentulous mouth, “But dear why are you getting so worried, who knows you might look good also in the glasses. I know you’ll be the smartest of all in your group.”
While she didn’t even finish, Hari stood up and started yelling at her. “Dadi, you are also useless. You have no sense of fashion. None of my friends wear glasses. Everyone will make fun of me, esp. Rohit and Lakshay. How will I run and play. From next week only we have our colony tournaments. You tell me does any of your gods wear glasses? Why am I being troubled for being unable to read fonts of TV. You all only want me to not watch TV. I’ll not sit in front of TV, then this problem will not happen only.
“Ok don’t worry, I’ll talk to your mother.”
“Mother will not listen. She said, it’s all in father’s hands. Dadi please, talk to the father no. I’ll get your paan daily from Kishore’s shop. Please talk to papa.” He said sitting back in her granny’s lap once again with teary eyes. “I’ll eat whatever you want me to eat. I’ll put oil also on your head and will never trouble you when you’ll apply oil at noon on the terrace. Please help me.” He said and hugged his granny tightly; a mild sobbing of Hari can be heard.
With the evening father was back and he was quick in getting the frames. Hari already anticipated this and was sitting on the stairs since long, praying to almost all the gods, which her granny told him about. Today he missed all and sat on the stairs whole day long, praying and crying. He didn’t eat, he didn’t talk or played or spoke to anyone. Once he heard the scooter’s ignition turning off; his prayers became more intense and quick. He didn’t want to leave any God, as who knows which god will listen him. Aman, Hari’s brother ran to Hari and summoned him after a while. Hari like a feared sheep emerged in front of his father. Father was sitting in his office attire drinking water. There was a new box of glasses kept on the table in front. Father, with a plain face started, “I know you don’t want to wear the glasses, but its important for you. Its all your mistake. If you had listened to your mother and grandmother this would have never happened. Anyway, now its too late for repentance.”
Mother and Granny looked at the father. They exchanged looks, while Hari’s eyes were fixated on ground. Father without paying any heed to any one of them said, “Its both of yours fault too. You should have taken care of his health and nutrition instead of allowing him and wasting him to do whatever he wants to do.”
He then turned towards Hari and said, “Pick up the glasses and wear them every time, except when you are sleeping. And yaa, Doctor was saying that if you’ll follow the proper diet and have good habits, the glasses will be off in some time.”
He said the last sentence with a milder tone. Hari didn’t look up, but slowly came forward and picked up the glasses from the table.
As soon as he left the room he ran, ran to the grounds behind the house, next to the railway track. There was nobody who was chasing him, there was nobody who called him, but Hari ran, ran for his life. All the negative energy which he had acquired, all the anger, hurt, repentance, anguish, anxiety, he has accumulated; he wanted to get rid of them all. He wanted to dispose them off and vent them out. Hence he ran, ran to his full energy and throttle.
‘Nobody cares for me in the family. Everyone is so mean and selfish. Nobody loves me’
was the only thought which went through his mind nonstop. He ran squeezing the glasses box with utmost capacity, hoping it might break on the way. He ran, ran with open eyes but a blind vision. He ran till the outburst of mixture of bluish tinge in the sky went dark purple.
After reaching a spot, where the railway track was surrounded by the forest, where the tracks seemed to be laid in the tunnel made of lush green trees and weeds around, he stopped realizing how far he has come. He halted and suddenly all the mixture of emotions was reduced to one single strong emotion of fear, fear of the dark. Immediately the few minutes back feelings of hatred and anger were switched to their need and help. He looked around. The entire forest had the loudness of silence. A mix sound of evening birds can be heard. A constant sound of movement of something can be heard through the piled up dried leaves in the forest around the track. Hari again started pleading on no matter what there shouldn’t be any snake or python or god forbid the man eater leopard from the woods.
While he still was shaky, a metallic clinging sound made him to take a sigh of relief. He again ran, ran in the direction of the sound. In no time he could see a tiny mole shaped man in the darkness ahead. He ran, screaming on top of his voice, calling out “Kaka, Kaka, Kaka.”
He could have said a lot more, he could have, but unfortunately he couldn’t.