This chapter starts right where chapter 1 ends. So if you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here.
1. Responsibility for wrong doing.
2. Awareness of having done wrong.
Four Weeks Later….
“What are you up to these days?” asked Aksh’s dad.
“Finishing my EVS project.”Aksh replied coldly.
“How long will it take?”he asked, desperately trying to have a proper conversation with his son.
“About 5 minutes if you stop interrupting me” Aksh said.
His dad kept quiet for the next 5 minutes.
“So is it mom’s report that you want to talk about?” Aksh broke the silence.
“No. Reports as similar to last time. I just thought we could have a normal talk, “ he said.
“We are not normal dad. And I guess this talk can wait. I have my test tomorrow” Aksh said as he left.
Aksh walked back into his room. He turned off the lights and tried to catch onto some sleep. But he couldn’t.
‘Maybe I was rude’ Aksh thought to himself. ‘But isn’t that how he is with everyone? Shouldn’t he get a taste of his own medicine?’ he thought closing his eyes harder.
Ten minutes later he was still laying in his bed, wide awake. A mysterious weird feeling kept troubling him. Aksh walked into his Dad’s room. His dad was holding Aksh’s mother Aakriti’s photo and talking with it.
“Every time I look at him, it reminds me of myself 21 years back.How strange it is that all these years you raised him and he turns out to be like me. I know we never talked Aakriti, and that I was not even around all these years, but one of the main reasons was that I didn’t want Aksh and Siya to be like me.”
‘This hospital thing is screwing up his brain’ Aksh thought to himself.
He had never seen his dad talk so much. Infact he had hardly seen his dad talk.
“I wish I could let you know how much you mean to me. I know I never worked on this relationship as much as you did. Hardly made you feel loved. You had every right to leave. But you stayed. Even having Aksh and Siya was your decision. I cannot forget your reaction. You said you would love to have more people like me around.”
Aksh was standing a few feet away from his dad with the door half open. But he could sense the moistness in his dad’s eyes. This side of his dad was new to him.
‘Mom’s coma has changed him’ Aksh thought.
“You made me feel perfect. I knew you would be with me no matter what happened. May be it doesn’t matter now. You may not be able to hear it. But if changing myself is all it takes to get you back, I am ready. I will give you everything you want. Everything you longed for. I will always be there for my children. I will attend all of Siya’s parent-teacher meets, make both of them believe that they can count on me and so can you Aakriti. Your coma is killing me. Comeback” he said talking to the photo. His dad then burst out crying like a small child. Aksh had never seen him cry.
He went to his room. All this was bizarre for Aksh.
‘Even though dad was not around most of the time, I always wanted to be like him. Mom always talked about him as our superhero working tirelessly to provide us with every comfort, something both mom and dad were deprived of.’ Aksh’s mind rippled. He could see something odd in his eyes. The usual pride was replaced with something else, something rare. Aksh didn’t know what. He never felt so creepy. Infact, he hardly identified with feelings. His mind was always as calm as a millpond.
A week after that unusual incident, Aksh was busy with his JEE preparations. But Siya kept on disturbing him. The maid appointed to take care of her, had taken a day off. And hence Aksh was bestowed upon the responsibility to take care of her.
Unhappy with the responsibility, when asked if she could go out and skate with her friends, Aksh happily allowed her.
‘Trouble headed to parking-lot’ he thought to himself.
His mom had warned him not to allow her skate in her absence. But that was almost a month ago. He assumed that she could skate well by now and got back to work.
A loud knock on the door like hailstones banging on roof interrupted him. Agitated Aksh opened the door. It was Mrs. Sharma at the door. She seemed tensed. Catching her breath, she said “Aksh, Siya fell while skating over the parking slot. She dashed into the car and is bleeding. Hurry up! We need to take her to hospital.” Aksh tried to maintain his calm, collected his wallet and locking the main door he started running towards the parking lot.
Siya was crying out of pain. Her knees kept bleeding. Mr. Sharma got his car till then and Aksh lifted Siya into his arms. Siya’s cries grew louder with every passing second. She kept on saying “Bhaiyya it’s paining a lot. I need mumma bhaiyya” and wept.
Aksh just couldn’t hear her weep. It was different than how she would usually weep when Aksh didn’t get her a toffee or hide her favorite doll. Blood kept on oozing out of her knees. And she continued crying. Normally Aksh would ask her to shut-up. But today something stopped him. Something uncanny.
They reached the hospital and pretty soon a doctor attended her.
“Her left hand is fractured. It might take 2–3 months “, the doctor said. Aksh was terrified. Siya was only 7 years old. And a plaster. Hesitantly, Aksh informed his dad about it.
Aksh felt eerie. He wasn’t feeling his usual self. Something was troubling him. Something was eating him on the inside.
‘Was it my fault?’ Aksh wondered.
He looked into the door glass and he could see something different in his eyes. The look in his eyes was similar to his dad’s eyes a week ago when he witnessed his dad’s breakdown. Suddenly, it hit him.
He was feeling guilty
Guilt- A feeling that sucks and eats you up from inside.
You can read the next chapter here
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