Image by Mote Oo Education from Pixabay 

He pretended to his family to be strolling on the clouds. But it was the extremely rough terrain that was meant for him. The callous boots of his life crushed to pulp his many wishes. A jacket he never wore. A cycle he never rode. A Delhi trip he never made. A tranny he never carried. A veena he never played. Worshipful he was of the elephantine dreams of his bright son and only child. An elephant on the chest his measly income was to him.

He was rooted in pure honesty, profound love, and passionate work. But fruits were for all but him. Breeze he got, but only seldom. Storms seemed to take pleasure in hitting him. He was poor in his pockets, but poorer in time for himself. He always took only the virtuous way. But the season of spring didn't know the way to him.

His wife knew not to read the language she spoke. But fluent she was in reading him. Nothing she asked for. Not a piece of jewellery she wore. A jewel she was to him. At the peak she stood in her love and regards for her man. She was meant to never fall from there. But from life she suddenly fell. With her he had dreamt of simple sunset joys. With her departure a heavy heart arrived to settle in him.

His employers liked him for the gains he helped them reap. He was their prized machine in which they saw not a part that was human. Frugally he was oiled. But richly they drank to their success. His wet eyes were focussed on the job. Theirs glinted over the prospects from him.

Foreign shores beckoned his son. The fellow was gone to get richer and feel superior. From the land of milk and honey his home village was now more distant in relationship than in space. His father was not at all suited for the landscape of his new and coveted life. The fellow thought coldly that only disdain from his current neighbours can come from him.

He retired, no longer able to walk eight kilometres to and from work. Looking back on the path he traversed spooked him. The graves of many unveiled sides of him dotted it. He was now nothing but a rusted machine. A homeless orphaned boy was his help. He groaned with body pains. In loneliness his heart wept silently. Despite his dire eyesight he was sure he would have a clear and priceless view of his son if at all he came to him.

Every month he fervently awaited his son. Even the trees and ponds of the charming village did. It seemed tree-climbing, his son's favourite childhood pleasure, had dropped down with a thud from the fellow's memory. Obsessed he now was with climbing the social ladder. The pond the fellow swam in endlessly had dried in his mind. Only an expanding pool of money mattered now. This was a painful new picture of his son for him.

The farm of his life had another bitter yield for him. Many fellow villagers were happily selling their lands. His grasping ex-employers were buying them. The long-awaited son was excitedly coming home on an offer made on his family's humble parcel of land. On it stood his dad's cherished house. In it the man stood sturdy in resistance. Being blended with the property it was only to be expected of him.

The son arrived in the village in a plush car that kicked up a thick cloud of dust. After the dust settled, the grinning faces of his friends and numerous others were revealed. They knew not that the fellow they knew had become dust. Proudly conscious of being attractive like the annual village fair he strutted homeward. Let alone grip, emotions didn't even graze him. Inside, his bed-ridden dad was waiting for who mattered the world to him.

For months now, he needed to be helped up from bed. But now with a magical energy from his son's visit he rose by himself. His arms, eagerly extended for a tight embrace. His heart, flooded with love. His tears, streaming. His words, failing. It seemed heaven had come down for him.

What is wrong with you? Why not sell the land? Why be a damn hurdle? The son cut to the chase. Loving words the dad was utterly hungry for. But these stabbed him deep in the heart. He fell back on the bed. He had fallen off life. The deal happened fast. A flight roared through the skies the next day. The son was leaving. The dad was finally strolling on the clouds. In death life had come to him.

.    .    .