Friday, August 3, 2012
Three years old Iru woke up to a misty morning with a broad grin on his face. He was completely oblivious to the world around him. The world which was tattering away in pieces and innocent Iru was still trying to join the pieces together as he did with his animal puzzle set. For him life was just about making and breaking the puzzle. He spent hours juggling the pieces and joining them correctly. With each piece into its place, Iru would elate with happiness.
But that morning was different. He was not able to find his puzzle set and was petrified to see his house full of people. People he could not recognize. People who were sighing looking at Iru. Some embraced him, some began to sob and some handed him notes rupee 10 and 20. Iru felt perturbed. His eyes were restlessly moving through the crowd to find his father but he was nowhere to be found. He felt his heartbeats hard and feared not seeing his father again. A moment later he saw his father coming through the crowd towards him.
Iru said,”I thought you went away with mother”
His father gave him a smile and said,” I can’t. Not till you want me to go.”
“I would never want you to go.”
“Do you love me?”
“More than baba?”
Iru didn’t answer and Adil felt his heart in his mouth.
Adil was a man in his early 30s. Leaving his native village where he lived since he was born was more than just difficult. He had made a conscious decision of leaving the village after his wife passed away due to a prolonged illness. There was no hospital in the vicinity of the village and the dispensary doctors kept asking Adil to take his wife to the city. But he had no money. He never had. He worked for the village Sarpanch and was dependent on his charity which was just not enough to keep his wife alive.
Sarpanch was the richest man of the village and lived with his wife in the haveli which was big enough to accommodate more 30 people. But he had no children. He once asked Adil to give him his son but Adil refused vehemently and threatened to leave the job to which Sarpanch pacified him and said it was all in humour.
But it was not in humour.Whole of the village talked between the sheets of the Sarpanch’s desire to adopt Iru. He was always buying gifts for him asked Adil to get Iru along with him to work.
After Adil’s wife died, Sarpanch started visiting Iru more and more and the deep down desire was coming out loud and clear. Adil was always sceptical of his visits and tried to keep Iru away from him but the effort was futile. Iru developed a liking for Sarpanch and would ask for him on days he could not visit. Iru’s inclination towards the old man was becoming more and more profound which made Adil anxious and one day he decided to end it all.
He bid farewell to his village mates of 30 years and put Iru on his shoulders. It was 5 AM in the morning but he decided against waiting and set out. He had spent only an hour packing his home of 30 years and was taking only few meagre things with him. He started to walk towards the bus stop in a fast pace so that Iru would not notice sarpanch’s house. He had not allowed Iru to take any of the presents Sarpanch has given him including his favourite jigsaw puzzle. Iru spotted the house and pointed at the balcony where he and Sarpanch sat for hours and played.
“Can I play with Baba one last time? I promise I would not love him more than you”
A tear fell from Adil’s eyes and he continued to walk but not to the bus stop. He has now solved his own jigsaw puzzle.