Mr. Ranodip Ganguly sighed. It would be a long day. Business was slow as most overseas projects were temporarily adjourned after the Corona outbreak. But it was not business issues which was engaging his thoughts. It was the emptiness that he was feeling inside for a long time.
At 57, Ranodip could boast of a robust body and an extremely active mind. Through his hard work and business acumen he had built a thriving business, in fact an empire, which had almost three lakh employees – a very impressive achievement for a farmer’s son. But the quarantine period had again opened those wounds which he was trying to heal for a long time. In this lazy afternoon, while sipping tea on his balcony, he remembered Kabita, his divorced wife with whom he had two sons. They were currently staying at U.S with their mother. The divorce was, well, to say the least, not amicable. How did the impossible happened? What had gone so wrong that it destroyed his perfect family? He wondered as the afternoon sun hovered around the canopy which shaded his face.
Kabita was always the vocal one in their relationship. Once, in the middle of an argument, she told him point blank, “How can I spend the rest of my life with someone who is no longer human? You have destroyed everything that I cared for.” This outburst occurred when he returned home after remaining out of country for months to build new connections for his business. He was a busy bee then and it was a part of his job. Exasperated, he shouted back with equal fervor, “Then leave. You are not a bonded labor. You can leave anytime you feel so. I provide for you all – if you cannot appreciate what I am doing for you people, then you cease to exist for me. And I am assuring you all that you will not be missed.”
What a lie! Time had proved that he was a bad liar. He missed them every day, every minute. And the boys? Well, it broke his heart when both took their mother’s side throughout the divorce proceedings. They even willingly chose to stay with kabita. Ranjan, his first born quite arrogantly pointed out to him, “Why everything else is important in your life except us? Why you never volunteered to drive me to school or showed interest to meet my friends? Do you even know that I have represented my club this year at Junior Football League? His younger one, Ranjit, didn’t say anything but simply displayed his fondness for Kabita by tightly holding her hands. Ranodip was an excellent tennis player but he had felt then as if he had lost all the sets to Kabita. He couldn’t refute any argument as they were true. Yes, he was busy in his world and yes, he had failed to keep the balance. He had taken their love for granted and continued to do so until the cracks in his relationships became so humongous that they were beyond repair.
Even after the ordeal, Kabita always had encouraged the boys to connect with their father. Yes, he would give her that. There was anger from both sides but she was still playing the role of peacemaker between them. But Ranodip had always felt awkward to communicate with his own sons. And he knew for sure that the boys had felt the same.
His reverie was broken by the sound of quick footsteps of Amar Singh, one of his favorite housekeeping staff. As Singh came closer, he greeted his employer and handed a letter to him. After he left, Ranodip minutely examined it. Itwas, by all standards, not an official letter. The sender’s name was some Mayank Joshi. Very few things could surprise Ranodip at this point of life. He was genuinely surprised to identify a child’s handwriting in it. The sender’s address revealed the name of an impoverished locality which was situated at the far end of the city. He could no longer contain his curiosity and quickly opened the letter. It read thus:
Good Morning! My name is Mayank Joshi. I am ten years old. My father’s name is Mohan Joshi. My mother’s name is Mira Joshi. I read in class V standard at Guru Nanak Public School.
Sir, my father works for you. Some days back you had punished him because he was sleeping during work. You told him not to come anymore. But Sir, I want to tell you something. He fell asleep then because he could not sleep for some nights as I had fever. I caught fever as I had played football when it was raining.
Sir, my father loves me a lot. After my mother’s death, he looks after everything. Moreover, everyone says that I am a naughty child. I always want to play with Sushil, Paramjit and Adarsh and do not like to do my homework. If he is not around, I play at my study time. I also do not like to eat veggies which he makes for me. I just like chicken, mutton and eggs. So, he also hasto look whether I am eating properly or not. And I do not sleep if he does not read to me. So even if he is tired, he has to do it. Even after all this, he never gets angry at me.
Sir, please keep him at work. I would not be naughty again. I love him very much.
Ranodip sat motionless for some minutes after reading Mayank’s letter. He remembered Mohan, the day watchman of his villa whom he had expelled from work for the above-mentionedreason. Ranodip could not subdue the deep emotional turmoil that he was feeling inside after reading the letter. He had to try harder to win his folks back because someday, he would love to get a similar letter from his boys.
Photo By: Debby Hudson
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