by Zeeshan Areef
(Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
Ravi waited in the school compound on a hot sunny afternoon to meet his son. The school was about to leave. Moments later he heard the school bell ring. The fleet of children escaped from the temple of education. Among the bunch of children, he saw Amit walking straight towards him. Ravi’s face turned bright with a smile as he was excited to meet his son. Amit came closer. Ravi got up and kneeled down to take a good look at his son. Amit stopped in front of his father.
‘How are you champ?’ Ravi asked excitedly.
‘I am fine dad’ Amit replied ‘How are you?’
Ravi hugged Amit tightly. He didn’t leave him at least for a few seconds. Later, they sat on the same bench. Amit seemed quiet.
‘Anything happened in school?’ Ravi questioned.
Amit nodded in negative.
‘Then why are you upset, champ? Aren’t you happy to see me?’ Ravi asked.
Amit didn’t respond. Ravi turned away ‘I have got something for you’, he said. Amit looked up while Ravi pulled out a small funky digital watch from his pocket. Amit’s eyes widened. He seemed surprised to see the gift brought by his father.
‘How did you know?’ Amit asked.
‘I am your dad, right?’
‘Yes, papa but this one is great. Can I see it?’
‘No.’ Ravi paused. Amit’s face turned expressionless. ‘Of course you can and don’t give me that dumb look again’. He handed over the watch to Amit. Amit began to play with it and seconds later he tied it on his arm. Ravi just stared to rejoice this moment with Amit.
‘You like it?’ asked Ravi.
Amit nodded in affirmative now. Ravi nodded too and smiled to acknowledge Amit.
‘So how are your studies going?’
Amit was busy fiddling with his watch.
‘Hey champ. Want to have an ice cream?’
Amit nodded. Ravi got up holding Amit’s arm and they walked towards the ice cream van. Amit pointed towards the cornetto.
‘Come on, aren’t you going to try something new today?’
‘But I like it, papa.’ Amit replied. ‘Even you drive the same car everyday but I haven’t complaint’.
‘Okay okay, You win. Accept it
as a Happy Tuesday gift.’ They both laughed.
Later, they both settled on the bench feasting on their ice cream. Ravi asked, ‘When are your terms starting?’
‘Next month’ Amit replied.
‘So you’re prepared, aren’t you?’
‘Does mom take your lessons regularly?’ Ravi probed.
‘What about your best friend? Ah… I forgot his name!’
‘Rehan’, Amit replied ‘We are supposed to perform next Saturday at our school’s annual function’.
‘Since when did dance interest you?’ Ravi asked.
‘Just a month back’.
‘My champ’s a fast learner,’ Ravi acclaimed.
‘Will you come to see me?’ Amit asked.
‘Sure. Even I can learn to dance from you, can’t I?’ Ravi paused for a while and asked, ‘Is mom going to come?’
‘Hmm’, Amit mumbled while munching his ice cream.
Amit spilled some on his shirt. Ravi instantly removed the handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the cream off and said ‘Your mom’s going to scold me if she sees you like this’
‘She won’t. The blame is on me’, Amit replies.
Amit smiled and took another bite of his cornetto.
Amit saw the time in his new watch and stood up immediately. ‘It’s time for my bus to leave, papa.’
Ravi Nodded, ‘Okay’.
Amit turned around as if he forgot something. He placed the bag on the bench and opened it. Ravi looked over curiously. He pulled out a colorful envelope and handed it over to Ravi. Ravi took it with a not so happy smile. On the envelope was written ‘Happy Father’s day’.
Amit accompanied Ravi to his car and wished him good bye. Ravi watched him walk away and settled down in his car. He opened the envelope. Inside was a drawing paper with an amateur sketch of a family on the beach. Ravi’s eyes shrunk and he turned the paper around to see something written. I want every day to be a Father’s Day. I miss you, papa :(
A drop of tear slipped down his cheek. Ravi put the sketch back in the envelope and opened the drawer. Inside the drawer were many other colorful envelopes. Ravi placed the new envelope among them, started his car and drove away. ___