What happens when life gives you an opportunity to repent for your actions, but takes it away at the very next moment…
As I entered through the door, I saw that all had remained the way I had left it. The turmeric colored walls, the white of the bedspread reflected by the roof and the peace and quiet of the Buddhist chants reverberated in the house.
Innumerable memories hit the shores of my being. My childhood could be seen hidden under the darkness and emptiness of the cupboards. My youth was dangling from the tip of the beautiful chime decorating my mother’s doorway.
What always passes had passed- time. My father’s reprimanding eyes stared at me (as usual) from behind the photo frame. My sister’s resplendent beauty tugged at emotions buried deep within my soul. My home coming was different. I had come not to bid farewell but to rekindle the bonds of intimacy.
How could they forget me? How? How?
“But that’s not fair?” my sister had screamed.” How can he be sent for a trip when…….?”
“Why don’t you understand beta? This trip will teach him a lot of things. You are already so good at everything you do. Let him go. This might do him little good.” My mother had tried to reason with her.
I smirked inwardly at the suggestion of having to learn something from the trip. I was just looking forward to having a blast.
We had gotten into the car together- dad with complete nonchalance. Sometimes I felt I had been instrumental in his disillusionment with the ideals of a father son rapport. My mother as usual worried about her only son going astray. She was constantly nagged at, by her conscience that she did nothing to fill up the void created between her husband and her only son.
Like any other Indian mother, she had a problem deciding who should bear the onus of this defunct family-her Children or the couple responsible for their creation.
My sister was a repository of mixed emotions; sometimes loving, at times “a partner in crime”, at others the goddess of envy and very rarely offering to sermonize over my formidable way of life.
The car was filled with discomfort, anger, disgust, anxiety – all at the same time.
We were heading towards the airport which seemed to be our last journey before salvation (even if it only lasted for the time I was away). At that time I had failed to realize that I had been the source of ignominy for my family.
My father drove that day. They felt, if I drive the memories of the accident that I had caused and which had killed seven innocents would come rushing back at me. What they didn’t realize was that I was very deeply anguished by the fact that I will not be allowed to drive again before I’m eighteen. What the hell!!
We drove in silence. Each one lost in their own thoughts. I was thinking about the things I would do at the rehabilitation juvenile camp. I was to interact with all sorts of people and learn as the judge said “the value of life”. At the thought of those words and the leniency showed to me, I grinned from ear to ear.
There wasn’t much traffic on the road except for the huge trucks and containers. My father was a careful driver. He had driven us into life with all the caution and restraint any father can. Now he considered himself to be quite a failure with his bank balance, his goodwill and his social status mocking at him.
At a sharp turn I was blinded by the headlights of a gigantic shadow. “Dad”!! I had screamed, which seemed like the first time in my life. The car was speeding into the bushes propelled unstoppably by the huge container. There were screams and confusion everywhere. Each one was trying to fathom his reality and truth in order to give semblance to what was happening to us. There was a loud explosion and I found myself thrown out of the car about fifteen feet in the air.
I could hear voices, not understand them, only heard as if they came from some other world. “I am sorry. We did whatever we could to save him but he did not respond to our endeavors”.
No! I screamed inwardly. Nothing could happen to dad, ever, I had thrived on this belief since time immemorial. I tried to get up, to rush to my source of complacency and tell him that now at this moment I had understood his importance and why his? Probably the importance of all the things in life. Tears streamed down my face and I screamed with all the energy I had “Dad!!! I have understood the value of life. Please give me one more chance”.
As I stood up with a jerk, I found myself looking into my father’s eyes filled with tears. He was sobbing uncontrollably. My mother was hysterical and my sister lay unconscious on the cold steel stretcher.
I looked around, my father was very much there, and then who was the doctor talking about? As I stretched my hand to touch my father’s shoulder, I realized I could not feel him. I tried to speak to him but my voice did not reach him.
I was debarred of all repentance at the very moment I realized the importance of it. I was deprived of life at the moment I realized its value.
YES, I WAS TOO LATE!!!
About Gitanjali Dhasmana
An accidental teacher who discovered her calling surreptitiously, Gitanjali Dhasmana is a language enthusiast, spent all her early years with her nose in the books. She shares her love for words and life with the hundreds of young adults she interacts with. A traveler at heart, she favours the journey within.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.