Happy Birthday!

Written by Swati Joshi

August 10, 2018

Arjit was standing by the railing of his balcony. There was a birthday party in his house. His wife decorated the house nicely. Slow music was being played. Everyone was enjoying the ambiance. Drinks and starters were being served. They were waiting for his cousin who went to bring the cake. He was little late.

Arjit was looking at the city lights from the balcony of his apartment on the 10th floor, absent mindedly. He had been nostalgic about the last year’s birthday.

It was almost the same as an evening house party with family, friends and food; the way he has always liked. But, the difference was, his father was very ill. The party was only a formality for bringing all the family members together to please his father. Everyone present there was trying to act normal but there was an unuttered restlessness in the air. As everyone knew that anything could happen at any moment. The doctors had informed rather warned Arjit previously. The doctor who was a family friend also was present in the party.

Nothing unwanted happened and they all departed wishing Arjit for the birthday and for his father’s health too. Arjit’s mother, wife and son went asleep after they wound up. Arjit sat by his father’s bed, holding his hand. His father was tired due to a long evening schedule. He had been so weak that normal breathing was also tiresome for him. He was suffering from a heart trouble — Atrial Flutter, as doctors termed it. And he was dying slowly due to his accompanying diabetes.

It was around 3:45a.m. Arjit woke up suddenly as he had slept by the bed, sitting in a chair. He thought to take a nap for a while and turned towards the door but suddenly had an idea to check his father one more time. He returned to the bed and put his hand on father’s forehead. He felt it as cold as ice. His father was no more. Arjit had lost the most precious reason behind his ambitions, achievements, celebrations and his fervor into the pyre that day.

His mother’s hand on his shoulder pulled him back out of this nostalgia abruptly.

“Come, The cake has arrived! “, said mother.

Arjit cut the cake; everyone wished him, all dined and departed after a while. Everyone in the house went to bed. Arjit and his wife were talking about the evening and his wife was checking out the gifts. She found an envelope with written on it, “From Papa, to you!” She handed it over to Arjit with little curiosity. Taking it, Arjit went to the balcony where, there was a swinging armchair which belonged to his father. Arjit used to sit here for hours when missed his father the most.

He opened the envelope. It went like,

“Dear Son,

How was the day? I know it must not be as fine as it should be. But dear, believe me I am missing you more than you have missed me today. I am also aware that you didn’t want to celebrate it but your mother pushed you for it. It is because I told her to do so. This party was planned a year back while we were talking about your next birthday that would have been definitely in my absence.

Sorry son about not making up for your desirable birthday gift this year but hope this letter would serve it. The reason for writing this is that there are so many things I had to tell you but somehow couldn’t. Let me try to compensate it now.

Being my son, you always have given me my days back, whether it be my boyhood or my youth. From here, I miss the rides we took on highways, dinners we had in your mother’s absence, opening main door silently after your late night movies or you saving me from your mom after my few drinks with friends. I miss those cigarettes we shared or the thrill of that gaze of a beautiful girl with a fight following to prove if it was for you or me. You have given me more than a father can ask for.

You are the best thing ever happened to me in this world. It is still a question for me that what so great had I done to get you as my son? Despite of all my limitations, scarcities and the adversities we faced, you have grown to an amazing human being. I do thank your mother too for making you, what you are today.

I know that you have always figured me as your hero but son, let me reveal this little secret to you in our man to man talk that I always have felt that pressure to prove myself a person what you think I was. You won’t believe that I have been jealous of your extraordinary skills whether it be the modern technology, be the classical knowledge or most importantly while you have been a better son than I was to my father!! My frustration must be felt in form of annoyance whenever you beat me through your cool behavior and proved yourself far ahead than I was in your age.

I have always been a fan of your styling. Let me tell you boy, I have also tried wearing your clothes in your absence. And I am admitting it today that I couldn’t show up being one percent of you!

Along with all this I have to say one more thing today. Son, I have seen you disappointed many a times whether it was when the girl living in neighborhood had broken your heart or it was when you couldn’t get your desirable job or even when you heard about my ailment. Trust me, I too felt the pain from the depth of my heart but could never tell you. It was because my ego was not letting me digest the fact that my son can’t get a hold on something. I have seen and equally felt your helplessness while you were trying to save me off dying.

I am proud of you that you have come across every difficulty and have climbed to the stage where you are. Let me confess that I couldn’t have done it as I am not morally as strong as you are. I would have shattered into pieces. This limitation of mine has not allowed me to grow beyond my so called achievements. But you did it so well. Man, you are really something and my hero for sure.

Now, you must be thinking, why now? I could have told this to you before, while alive. No son, I couldn’t have done it because we men are bound within so many self-made boundaries and keep doing it until we die. I am doing this just to let you break all your boundaries and to live freely. You also have got a child to feel the same as I felt for you. I don’t want you or your son to be deprived of these beautiful expressions we never shared. Expressing it would take your relation to another stage. I am really sorry that I couldn’t help it with you. But I think it’s better late than never.

Arjit was looking at the city lights from the balcony of his apartment on the 10th floor, absent mindedly. He had been nostalgic about the last year’s birthday.

It was almost the same as an evening house party with family, friends and food; the way he has always liked. But, the difference was, his father was very ill. The party was only a formality for bringing all the family members together to please his father. Everyone present there was trying to act normal but there was an unuttered restlessness in the air. As everyone knew that anything could happen at any moment. The doctors had informed rather warned Arjit previously. The doctor who was a family friend also was present in the party.

Nothing unwanted happened and they all departed wishing Arjit for the birthday and for his father’s health too. Arjit’s mother, wife and son went asleep after they wound up. Arjit sat by his father’s bed, holding his hand. His father was tired due to a long evening schedule. He had been so weak that normal breathing was also tiresome for him. He was suffering from a heart trouble — Atrial Flutter, as doctors termed it. And he was dying slowly due to his accompanying diabetes.

It was around 3:45a.m. Arjit woke up suddenly as he had slept by the bed, sitting in a chair. He thought to take a nap for a while and turned towards the door but suddenly had an idea to check his father one more time. He returned to the bed and put his hand on father’s forehead. He felt it as cold as ice. His father was no more. Arjit had lost the most precious reason behind his ambitions, achievements, celebrations and his fervor into the pyre that day.

His mother’s hand on his shoulder pulled him back out of this nostalgia abruptly.

“Come, The cake has arrived! “, said mother.

Arjit cut the cake; everyone wished him, all dined and departed after a while. Everyone in the house went to bed. Arjit and his wife were talking about the evening and his wife was checking out the gifts. She found an envelope with written on it, “From Papa, to you!” She handed it over to Arjit with little curiosity. Taking it, Arjit went to the balcony where, there was a swinging armchair which belonged to his father. Arjit used to sit here for hours when missed his father the most.

He opened the envelope. It went like,

“Dear Son,

How was the day? I know it must not be as fine as it should be. But dear, believe me I am missing you more than you have missed me today. I am also aware that you didn’t want to celebrate it but your mother pushed you for it. It is because I told her to do so. This party was planned a year back while we were talking about your next birthday that would have been definitely in my absence.

Sorry son about not making up for your desirable birthday gift this year but hope this letter would serve it. The reason for writing this is that there are so many things I had to tell you but somehow couldn’t. Let me try to compensate it now.

Being my son, you always have given me my days back, whether it be my boyhood or my youth. From here, I miss the rides we took on highways, dinners we had in your mother’s absence, opening main door silently after your late night movies or you saving me from your mom after my few drinks with friends. I miss those cigarettes we shared or the thrill of that gaze of a beautiful girl with a fight following to prove if it was for you or me. You have given me more than a father can ask for.

You are the best thing ever happened to me in this world. It is still a question for me that what so great had I done to get you as my son? Despite of all my limitations, scarcities and the adversities we faced, you have grown to an amazing human being. I do thank your mother too for making you, what you are today.

I know that you have always figured me as your hero but son, let me reveal this little secret to you in our man to man talk that I always have felt that pressure to prove myself a person what you think I was. You won’t believe that I have been jealous of your extraordinary skills whether it be the modern technology, be the classical knowledge or most importantly while you have been a better son than I was to my father!! My frustration must be felt in form of annoyance whenever you beat me through your cool behavior and proved yourself far ahead than I was in your age.

I have always been a fan of your styling. Let me tell you boy, I have also tried wearing your clothes in your absence. And I am admitting it today that I couldn’t show up being one percent of you!

Along with all this I have to say one more thing today. Son, I have seen you disappointed many a times whether it was when the girl living in neighborhood had broken your heart or it was when you couldn’t get your desirable job or even when you heard about my ailment. Trust me, I too felt the pain from the depth of my heart but could never tell you. It was because my ego was not letting me digest the fact that my son can’t get a hold on something. I have seen and equally felt your helplessness while you were trying to save me off dying.

I am proud of you that you have come across every difficulty and have climbed to the stage where you are. Let me confess that I couldn’t have done it as I am not morally as strong as you are. I would have shattered into pieces. This limitation of mine has not allowed me to grow beyond my so called achievements. But you did it so well. Man, you are really something and my hero for sure.

Now, you must be thinking, why now? I could have told this to you before, while alive. No son, I couldn’t have done it because we men are bound within so many self-made boundaries and keep doing it until we die. I am doing this just to let you break all your boundaries and to live freely. You also have got a child to feel the same as I felt for you. I don’t want you or your son to be deprived of these beautiful expressions we never shared. Expressing it would take your relation to another stage. I am really sorry that I couldn’t help it with you. But I think it’s better late than never.

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If you feel something for someone, don’t let your ego sheath your emotions, you might not have a second chance! Please submit a comment below. Read more short stories Here

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