It was 1 December, 2019. He was frustrated and took baby steps quietly towards the kitchen. He then grabbed a knife and was about to cut his vein. Suddenly a cat from the window jumped into the kitchen spilling water from the heavy container. The loud striking noise made his father awake and enter into the kitchen. Abhimanyu stood in shock as he was caught red-handed. Although his father understood the entire situation, he asked Abhimanyu to follow him to the terrace.
A full moon sky filled with twinkling stars and soothing breeze capable of lifting someone's mood easily! But not today.... “I know what you were trying to do. I just want to hear it from you", his father said.
"Yes, yes, I was trying to commit suicide, dad", Abhimanyu replied.
“Why?”, the father asked.
After a silence of a couple of minutes, he replied, "I failed to clear the competitive exam I was preparing for. And I don't want to live. I don't have any desire to live. I am a loser and I wanna die."
"So what? Failing is OK in life", his dad said.
“No no no, it's not OK, Dad. You aren't understanding and you won't understand what I am going through. The generation gap won't let you understand the pain that we youngsters go through. We have too many problems. People of your generation won't understand people of my generation," Abhimanyu said in a feeble voice.
"Oh really? I won't understand? Let me tell you a story today. Let me tell you the reality of life", his dad said. Abhimanyu and his father stared at each other for a few seconds and then sat down and his father started to tell him a story.
“My dear Abhi, let me take you 45 years back when I was your age. Yes, 18. The time when you are full of excitement, enthusiasm, passion and fantasy. Minor of the minor things can make you sad within seconds and major of the major things don't even make you happy sometimes. For a few moments you're on the 7th cloud of happiness and then extremely sad the very next moment. This is the story of my life. I had been an average student in my class. But I guess there is no such thing called an average student, it's just the average marks what make one so. And yes, I remember once, I was sitting with some of my friends somewhere under a mango tree in our orchard discussing about girls of our class. Someone from our group passed a very cheap joke on a girl and we all burst into laughter. I don't know from where your Grandma heard it. And she got mad at us. She had brutally beaten each one of us and then said, "People like you are dirt in the society, your mentality and behaviour is a curse to mankind. But you alone are also not responsible for these things. We Mothers are also responsible who don't teach their sons to behave well, respect women. As you respect your mother respect every girl and show that a good mother has raised you". And since that day we all said a big 'NO' to all those cheap things. Yes, there were some people of my generation who didn't use to treat women the way some people from your generation treat. And you know what? There used to be a very beautiful girl in my life named Rohini. We both were in the same college. As we were really close and good friends I often used to visit her home where her father had built a separate apartment for children who were victims of child labour. He also supported their education. He was a very kind and generous person. Yes, there were some people and there are some people from my generation who opposed such things and helped at the same time rather than just showing fake help which just emphasizes on clicking selfies while serving the needy ones! Rohini's father liked me very much and I used to share good relations with him. I loved Rohini to the moon and back.
So after 4 years I told her that I am in love with her. I also asked her about getting married. And she not only denied for marriage but said,
"Look Arjun, we are just friends. You're one of my most favourite persons and a very good friend but I don't see you that way."
You know those words hit me like thunderstorm and broke my heart into tiny pieces.That day I cried a lot. Your Grandma was also like a friend to me, so I shared my story with her. She comforted me with her presence and then only I realized that my utmost and unconditional love for her was much more important than her "NO". That's fine that I love her but she doesn't love me back. Now tell me what I should have done? Thrown acid on her face? Just because this feeling wasn't reciprocated. Just because she refused to marry me. It's just that it was a "one sided love". I have accepted these things and I remember her in my prayers. I pray for her well-being. I didn't sit like some people of your generation who just throw acid on a girl's face just because they don't love them back. Those people don't actually love, it's just their ego which gets hurt after rejection and they can't handle it. I knew how to deal with that and to treat women in a better and positive way. And not only this, when I was 24, I passionately wanted to join Indian Army but your Grandpa wanted me to go with our traditional business. It was again a feeling of heart break but I respected and accepted his decision. Well, I could have argued with him but I didn't. I am not saying that children should give up on their dreams under parental pressure but there are some situations when you're needed to understand the situation and compromise with it.
At the age of 29 I got married to your mother. And since then she is the only lady I love. Even after 7 years of marriage your mother was unable to conceive and so some of my relatives and the society started telling me to remarry. But I decided not to remarry at any cost. We both decided even to adopt a child. I was firm on my decision of not remarrying as women aren't material things and so they deserve to be seen, heard and supported. After all, I loved her, I loved her soul, not her body. It's OK if she can't give me a child. When I will be adopting a child still she will be the mother of that child. So for me there is no point of remarrying. And after a year by God's grace we were blessed with you, my boy. And let me tell you I had a huge financial crisis during my first year of marriage itself. Everything was falling out of hands. I had no courage. But your mother supported and motivated me. In those days of immense difficulty she could have easily left me and shifted to her father's home but she didn't. She stayed loyal to me. Unlike some people from your generation who value money more than love and loyalty she was always beside me as my strength. And my dear son, I do understand that there is a wide generation gap between your generation and my generation. But it doesn't mean that we elderly people don't understand you youngsters. Yes there may be many things that we can't relate with your perceptions and maybe we fail to understand your point of views but that does not necessarily mean that we don't try to understand you people. It's just that we are required to cooperate with each other in order to have good and strong bonds. And my intention wasn't to bring your generation and your ideology down by telling again and again people from your generation and people from my generation. I just wanted you to know what life is all about and how you're supposed to observe it and deal with it in a positive manner. My dear son, there were many things that I have faced in my life. There were many good things and a lot of hard times as well. But during the phase of difficulties I faced those challenges of life rather than losing hope and committing suicide. Hard times come in our lives not to break us but to make us strong. Life is a huge gift and a blessing given to us by Almighty God," the father said.
"Dad, I am really very sorry. It was so foolish of me. I shouldn't have done so. I promise I won't repeat it. I wanna live. I wanna try once again for that exam. Now, I will face the challenges of life in a positive and happy manner. I won't lose hope. I love you infinitely. I am so lucky to have you, Dad. And I have understood, "Suicide is not a solution."
"Yes, Solution = Solute + Solvent", his father interrupted, “But no, be thankful to the cat otherwise your mother and I would be mourning right now," his father giggled. Abhimanyu burst into laughter and hugged his dad.
"You won't let your mother know about all these things. Promise me," said his father. "I promise, Dad, I won't," Abhimanyu said..
"Now, let's go and sleep. Otherwise you better know your mother. She is a spy,” the father said.
Abhimanyu said, "Yes you're right" and both of them burst into laughter.
Abhimanyu hugged his father tightly like a new born baby hugs his mother and his dad gave him a forehead kiss. Both of them smiled and went to their own respective rooms.
~ Kaynat Sultana Qureshi