A Short Story: Baap-Beti
It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batchmates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.
I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.
Suddenly announced Flight Delhi-Bengaluru is delayed for 2 hours. Everybody exclaimed, “Oh Shit!” But I was like “Oh Yes!”
They were struck panic and unusualness prevailed among them, she was obviously the one among them. She came to me and said “Oh my God, Bhusan!”
Her voice was same I reckon and went low before she could speak more. I felt nostalgic to the euphony of her coquettish looks. I knew that she must be reminded of what happened at the college farewell. I asked her without wasting a second, “Are you going in Sushant’s wedding?” She replied affirmatively.
The more I was overwhelmed the less she seemed enthusiastic. It was obvious as she married just after the graduation and our sudden break up absolutely changed my life. To my surprise, she said, “Let’s go grab a cup of hot coffee nearby.” I smirked and there was no chance I could resist to that favor. I started following her and midway called a boy of age 5 to pinch me & when he did it, I howled, ”Ah, it’s real!” She turned back and said, “Yes, it’s real, now come on.”
She didn’t obviously miss me as she was happy with her hubby Parthik. Parthik, tall and smart, kind hearted and wise, loving and benefactor, was a gentlemen and a dream guy for any girl. He came from nowhere and demolished my destiny and screwed me up. Before I could say anything, she looked at me saying, “Oh I know whenever you get confused you don’t have words right, Mr.author? Or should I say ‘Script Writer’ or other designations you have been honored with recently?”
I was stunned as I felt like she had been observing my life since last 4 years. I felt relaxed when she put her hand on my shoulder. I, then taunted, “Durga, do you recall how dumb I was when I entered into the college?”
“Yea, your roll no.6 proved to be the curse for you to add insult to your injury as you were called Mr. Six….”
“SHHHHH”, I interrupted her “Ya, ya, I know that, it was not a big deal, you should remember that because this was the only thing that led to …”
“Ok Ok..” she stopped me by placing her finger on my lips. She kept quiet as she exactly knew what I was feeling at that time.
The 10-sec weird pause was broken when I busted laughing and repeating “69, 69, 69..”
She started tapping repeatedly on my elbow with the paper she had in her left hand. Yes her roll no was 9 and the comely jetpur girl was teased with me as the weirdest sexual position. I was slowly commemorating our anecdotes of our college. In fact, she too was dumb as I was but having fair complexion, she somehow managed to allure couple of boys from my class. The 69 was more famous when once the class came to know that we both were from the same town. Unluckily, I too knew that fact the same day. I obviously didn’t like her there was something in her that was pushing me to her.
“Wake up, Bhusan! What are you thinking again and again? Do you still remember everything?”
“Well, I can write another book on it”
I cracked a joke that was certainly redundant at that moment.
She curiously asked, “Hey, how’s your novel ‘Will You walk a mile?’ performed?”
I said,” It flopped like the first one ‘The Weak Point Dealer’; it was obvious.”
“Oh bla bla, Mr. Pessimist, I know your empathy shut up. I shouldn’t have asked you that question.”
“I remember each and every bit of the college instants from the moment I hold your hands when I got dare in the class to your eye twitching prank you did to me as your revenge. I was neither a miser nor a spendthrift but I bought enough gifts for you”, I confidently assured her my memories.
“Of course, the only reason you were affable to me was to come close my friends: Aditi, Nidhi, Shrea…”
“Khusbu, Jahnvi, Pooja,.. “
“Outta buoy, now Mr. Writer is talking. Well, now am I gonna be the victim of your boring philosophy?”, she quirked.
“Yes, you will have to tolerate it, jaadi (fat girl)”, I teased.
She went angry and grinned her face, saying, “I don’t want to listen anything.”
Yes I was an admirer of ontology and a typical philosopher in my college. The only talent I grabbed from my father. His ‘Reality of Life’ theory had an epic length when he taught me which included worldly affairs, emotions and morals. It lasted till I left home in 2004 for higher education.
“Hey jaadi, I impressed you with my philosophy. Remember the elocution speech I gave on Anna Hazzare?”
“Ya, students booed you.”
“Obviously, but someone got impressed, I guess.”
That’s right. I impressed her like anything as Durga had been devoid of father’s love in her childhood and adolescence. She craved for that love, care and sentimental words which usually is fulfilled by father but he, being orthodox and conservative, couldn’t satisfy her daughter’s need to nurture her effectively. This was the only reason she adored my speech, philosophy and theories I would recite to her.
We started meeting in canteen, library and the only scene people would see would be: An elaborative, boring speaker and a quiet, calm listener. I would be talking and telling fables and chronicles for hours and she would hear it like a baby. It would have morals, life lessons and principles attached to it which she would have to follow and obey accordingly when applicable. She would have to pass the practical tests of mental quotient I would take to eradicate her ochlophobia-the fear of crowd.
Since 69 had chewed and so in the 3rd year ‘Baap Beti’ was the pen name given to us as we definitely never had any physical relations so we kind of justified the title. We were absolutely pure by heart and soul because just like a father loves her daughter and cares for her, I did the same to her. I had a penchant for her. But she considered me toady at first then my veracity was seen later to which she was attracted to. Yes, I became her Paragon and ‘First Love’. Yes she fell in love with me in the 4th year. It was too late.
Seeing her texting in the phone, I asked promptly, “‘Is he your husband? Where is he? How is he?”
“You are all same, Bk. Same old possessive. Yes, he will meet me directly at Bengaluru airport. He went to buy a car for us.”
For some reasons, she excused me to go to wash room. May be, it was time for the tears and I directly went into the flashback of the farewell day. I tried arduous to forget the day but somehow my brain didn’t.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the next contestants are ‘Bhusan and Durga’ for her speech ‘Baap-Beti’”, announced the host.
I still exactly remember it word to word, it was…..
Growing I see you, getting your naïve wings
Nurturing I do you, making your lips sings
I know that I’m your first love
But I fear that you will lose me one odd day
I’ll love you more and more, teach you more again
Till you wings become mature to fly high
Solitary and independent, dauntless and risk-free
From the sky, you will see me waving but
I won’t be able to reach you because you will be with your king
I will be bound by an invincible and invisible ring
I just pray that you don’t fall and you don’t break
I am worried that you might forget me and my lessons
Insentient of whether you will survive or not?
Confused about my ethics and moral I said
Was it right or was it so wrong?
Have I lied about the sinful world?
Or Have I spoke truth about the earthly paradise?
I knew that she would be reciting her part in the washroom with tears rolling in her eyes as….
From the skies, lovely and high
Yes, I remember everything you instructed me
No, I can’t forget anything you taught me
I know you adored me too much and may be
I have left you abandoned apparently
But I’ll be with you and your lessons forever
I promise to obey the principles of good and abysmal
And the unforgettable morals it had
How can I draw a blank on that?
I have got wings and it feels so good to fly
Too high and higher in the sky
With my prince who is loving and endearing
I intuited that you wouldn’t leave me to an unfit hand
He loves me same as you
But I don’t compare because you warned me never to do so
Oh, he too follows me about the things you told me
We feed the dogs and cows in the dawn
Assists the aged to fulfill their needs
Donates to orphanage to assist their necessities
Feel the first rain and rays of the sun
Open window to touch the gentle breeze to my ears
Stops at the long highway to see the horizon
And feel the beauty of nature
The sunsets and as you always recites
Someone is watching us from everywhere
But, yes now I fly alone and independent because
I know the strongest lesson you taught me was ‘Separation’
I murmured her part of the speech on the table waiting for her to come but again went in the flash back of 2010 when everyone applauded our theme song. I couldn’t sigh but kept looking at her holding hand tightly because I knew that that was the realistic poem for me. That day, she completed my dream of becoming famous in college. Without her-the greatest listener, I wouldn’t have flourished and spilled my emotions out.
Everyone shouted, “Baap Beti Rocks, Baap Beti Rocks.”
She thrashed the washroom door and came to me with her eyes red and half soaking, “I remember what you said when I asked you whether to marry Parthik or not, idiot.”
I went to the flash back again when on the last day of farewell she asked me to give the biggest favor of life. She was about to marry a guy but she wasn’t sure of judging him. From the details she gave me and the information that she had, I assured her saying, “Durga, I know that we love each other and our love is different than others. I know that I am hitting an axe on my legs but I think he is the guy I would try to be in the next 4 years. Better not to waste this precious 4 years and go hold his hands.”
I precisely remember that I held my hand on her head, just like a father blesses her daughter that he only wants his angel happy no matter what the circumstances are.
Sawing her tears falling on the table, staring at me speaking something but I was in the middle of 2010 and that day, at an intersection of that day and today. Like I was listening to her but not getting anything what she was actually until she hold my hand and said, “Seriously, Bhusan. I can’t forget your limerick or what you did to me was just unimaginable and I have news for you which only I and Parthik know that I am going to be a mother soon.”
I was neither surprised nor shocked but blur and distorted for a millisecond but before I could say she said, “He is going to be the father you were before 4 years.”
It seemed like my words had taken the form of a sculpture of an angel who was standing near me, who made my journey of life special and now made it more special confessing those lines to me.
The noise came “Passengers of Delhi-Bengaluru are requested to board. This is the last call.”
I asked her seat no. and obviously, she was in the front row while I was in the second last.
“We are not here together too.”
Before I could step down the stairs from the plane, I saw her hugging Parthik and cherishing their love. I remembered the strongest lesson I taught ‘Separation’ was the weakest for me that time. She never looked back after she left me in college neither was she looking at me while I passed near her.
6,69, Baap-Beti, Bk, The Weak Point Dealer, Will you Walk a Mile, Fame, Maturity and the understanding of life was only because of her but she was meant to leave me as per our story and she did. What I forgot was to plot the part of the story after the daughter leaves?
Love took birth from a mystery
It hid or died in some history
We sometimes go with the flow
Many times differs from it
Either way, we are a loser
Going with the flow makes you common
Differing makes you isolated
I decided to abandon the trip further, texted my friend, “Sorry, almost reached to the closest, but had to cut the trip to move away to farthest, hope you understand.” I know that he will definitely understand when he will see both in his marriage.
This sojourn will stay life time as I again failed to reckon the nature of my ontological intuitive principles. She definitely prove to be a pragmatist, I was the one who was quixotic. I failed in deceiving my soul again as my naïve approach has been more disdained. My story was unlike any warrior, or any stud guy of college or a pauper who fell in love with a rich and beautiful girl or any extravagant climax or tragedies; it was just a mere documentary of a realistic view to create a portrayal of a relation which can be quoted as ‘The Reality of Life’
…….Because all love stories doesn’t have girlfriends and boyfriends; some have a father and a daughter.