Behind Those eyes
by Ananta Bora
Rishi looked at his grandfather lying on his bed.
A miserable figure he seemed,lonely and distant!
He always thought there was something about his eyes as if they looked through everyone,not at them. Sometimes he used to wonder what scenes unfurled behind those eyes but then quickly lost interest.
He concluded,nothing significant of course.
He had recently switched to the word grandfather,'grandpa' was too warm a word for someone behaving in such a manner,using foul language at the people who tried to help him,making his father cringe with pain,his mother cry. The people who fed him, bathed him,the ones he was dependent on even for the smallest of needs like going to the bathroom or brushing his teeth. Had he no sense of gratitude? Doesn't seem so,he thought.
Father had told him that grandfather was an air force pilot back in his time, but he had an accident in which he lost both his legs. He sympathized with him and had tremendous respect for him. But as his condition worsened,so did his anger and Rishi was filled with pity so much that it left no room for respect. He thought perhaps that makes him a bad, evil boy, but he could not pretend to be something or feel something just because he should.
During those days, filled with sadness there was one thing that made him happy - Basketball. He had loved the sport for as long as he could remember, and for the past couple of years when his grandfather's health began to deteriorate he used it as an escape route to hide from all the chaos going on inside the house. He played at the state level and wanted to become a national basketball player and had worked very hard for it.
It all started when one day his friend asked him what he wanted in life. Rishi could not answer straightaway. He spent all day thinking about it and still could not figure out. Suddenly he heard voices streaming in from the next room. His parents were quarreling and his grandfather shouting at them. And he said to himself,well I know what I do NOT want ...THAT!,and to escape from all this, to get away from here I need to work hard in something that I love. From that day, basketball got promoted from a hobby to a necessity,a solution to all his problems.
But, his dream was shattered when he could not qualify for the team. Other players were better he was told and much taller than him, which of course, was an advantage. He tried again and again but did not succeed. Finally, his father told him that he should concentrate on his studies as basketball had no future for him. Rishi could not stand it. He shouted at his mother and father for not supporting him and not being there for him when he needed them. He told him that they never cared for him and were happy that his dream was over.
For the next couple of days he observed that his parents were hurt and hardly talked to him. One day when he finally approached his mother, she said, "For everything that we have done for you, have you no sense of gratitude?"
He looked at his mother with tears in his eyes-"Dont you see!All the anger and hatred was never directed at you. It had nothing to do with you or Dad. To lose something you love so much,to realize that you will never ever be able to bask in its glory ever again, to depend on other things when you have never needed anything else in your life is the greatest loss. Instead of understanding all that how can you hold my anger against me!"
And suddenly,just like that, he looked at his grandpa lying on his bed. ****