He loved his kids almost as much as any other father would do. But almost is the word. He often wondered why he wanted kids. The first one was not intended and that is OK. But when Tara was pregnant a second time, he was eager to have the baby. He was expecting a boy but he didn’t mind when he found it a girl.
There had been long months of staying away from his wife’s bed because of all this and when they got a chance to be restart their carnal festivals it was more of a festival than a ritual. One of his friends asked him how it was and he lied. It was none of his business. But obviously he was getting more interested in the women around him and he frequented porno sites. But when he was with his wife, which was late at night, he was not so particular to have sex with her, he found it utterly boring and he noticed that the same sentiment was obvious in her too.
This was only symptomatic of what actually had happened in their relationship and life in general in every other way. In some ways the sever years itch had started all in less than four years. There was no itch or overt sparks but a lot happened within each of them. He could see Tara seeking the company of other people, mostly males and she was very keen to be part of the tenth year anniversary of their degree batch. He couldn’t make it that day but then there was real reasons for that; she too accepted them. He had to sit and listen to the long descriptions of how it went as a compensation for not participating in it. Obviously more that what she told him had happened at the party, considering her increased facebook activities and all that.
During the cloak and dagger fight the children were also getting their bitter share of getting ignored and getting too much attention. When things were fine at home they were ignored and when things were not fine at home both him and his wife took it out on them and they slowly started noticing it. Slowly the children gave up on the parents and built a world around them, inviting the gardener and the milkman to be part of that. When any of the relatives dropped in by chance they could also be part of it but, like a rebellion or a method of enticement, the parents were never let into this world. When Deepthy started excelling in her music lesson at school and Viswa won a short story competition for some school fest, it took them some time to get wind of it. It was shameful to be the last to hear about it.
Both Niranjan and Tara felt that things will get better. After all they had had long wonderful years of romance before they got married and the same can happen again. Both of them were seeing it just round the corner when tragedy struck. Tragedy? Where is the tragedy? Lots of people have made it through Lymphoma. It is only a type of cancer. When he first got the bad news from a doctor about four years ago, he didn’t think of his family or his kids. Not even about himself. He was sort of happy it was all going to end so soon. He had already found his life meaningless, not only his, anyone’s.
Niranjan’s logic was not to be refuted. In fact he had had such discussion about it with his colleagues. It first came to him at a party when a friend who had left the party halfway through met with an accident and died on the spot. They came to hear it only very late. That midnight, watching his friend’s body getting cold in the morgue, a thought came to his mind. The lack of logic in the analogy. The whole night while they were partying, they talked several times how the friend who had left was missing all the fun. He was not missing it at all. He had died a few minutes after he had left them. Missing special occasions like this happens so often in life that we tend to see life as a party, good or bad, which we miss when we are dead. We don’t miss it. We don’t exist somewhere else to miss it. The analogy is all wrong.
The idea evolved further as he blurted out this to an online friend from Orissa. A girl who went with the profile of the Hindi Diva Fabia. He had never met her in real life. Chatting with her it dawned on him that it doesn’t if he died today or later. He won’t be existing somewhere else to regret it. Rebirth was a good trick invented by the priests. Hell and heaven are simplistic ideas which he had never taken a fancy to even as a child.
An early death will go only against those who are not yet dead. A dead man pays all debts, so they say. When he is dead, the living are not his responsibility. May in the cosmic script his time would have come. He felt comfortable about his death. He continued to take treatment and met doctors after doctors with the hope of either cutting his life short in some vicarious way or getting their help to make his last hours easy and comfortable. Avoiding his death was not a priority for him.
Yet it troubled him so much to see other people in the throes of death. He was very upset and trouble when any one in his family of at his office fell sick. May this would have been his problem in looking at his own reflection which he was trying to avoid. Not revealing the news to his family was almost like not looking into the mirror. He did have his own share of fear.
What have Deepthy and Viswa done to deserve this kind of a family? They would have visited their friends’ families and might be aware of the difference now. May be it is good for them. He found it impossible to believe that his children deserved this bitter life through their own actions. The idea of Karmayoga may not apply to children. It is good for them, this bitter life. It will help them get seeded early on and face the world with grit. That is what one needed these days. In some remote way he searched his own mind to measure the amount of grit he had.
After a minute he gave up. He had to. Tara and the kids were at the door and Deepthy and Viswa came over and kissed him and said they had a wonderful time at the park. Tara came in, turned the pedestal fan in her direction, without asking him, and sat down. She was sweating. She was not looking at him or the kids.

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