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Short Cut - contd

by Lakshmi Menon
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)

Continued from previous page

The door opened again. A new nurse followed by his elder son Krishnakumar came to the room. She took his temperature and pulse, and checked the I. V fluid stand.

“When the fluid gets over, please let me know,” she walked away with a smile.

Krishnakumar came closer to him, and then sat on the bed. “Dad, didn’t you recognize me?”

Nambiar wanted to tell him at the top of his voice that he had no problem in recognizing anyone. His memory was perfectly alright though his tongue couldn’t make a sound. So he gave him a tiny smile. “How can I forget you my dear son, the eldest of the three, who called me Dad first?” He cast his eyes on him.

“As my salary as a College Principal was not sufficient enough to get you a management seat in Engineering in a reputed college, with your average marks, for the first time I decided to take a short cut to make money fast. No one knew how I managed the big amount in two days’ time, not even your mother. When I gave a false compliant in the police station about the missing money from the College fund, no one suspected me. It was only the beginning of my growth towards becoming rich. When more and more needs for money and fame came my way, I soon learned to misuse my post and name to make money through more short cuts, and I felt proud of my hidden ability.

“After you finished your engineering degree, I wanted to send you abroad, but your senseless mother opposed it and scolded me for spending money lavishly. Was she successful in dissuading me? No. Never! Because of that, today you are in such a great position in USA that you took 5 years to come and see me even after you got the news that both my legs were amputated….

“I didn’t learn from my mistakes even after I lost your mother. I was thinking, if money was there I need not worry about anything. But I was wrong. Living like a vegetable, unable to walk with no legs, or use my hands on my own or speak a word, I understand even the man I had appointed to stay with me, was not
willing to continue staying with me any longer for any amount of money. He was also tired of me after few years of looking after me. While going, he asked me to tell all of you to admit me in an old age home.” Nambiar sighed, two drops of tears escaped his eyes. When he was immersed in his thoughts he heard a discussion between his children.

“Shyamala, how long are you going to be here?” asked Krishnakumar, gazing at his sister.

Shyamala was stunned at the question. She had already told her brother that she would be leaving tomorrow. “My son’s examinations are going to start next week. I have to go tomorrow.”

“Can’t you shift dad to your house?” He asked reluctantly after a moment’s thought and added, “If you want I’ll take care of his expenses.”

“That is not possible. You can spend that money on a good male nurse and book a permanent room in the hospital.” Shyamala turned her face.

“What about you, Manohar?” Krishnakumar turned to his younger brother.

“I will also be going tomorrow,” said Manohar. “What about you, brother?”

“I will be here for the next 3 or 4 days. Then I will have to go to Cochin to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding. Coming all the way, it won’t be nice on my part to go back without attending it.”

“Where is Sridhar? He is supposed to be here with father all the time.” Manohar stared at his father, knowing well enough that he wouldn’t be able to utter the words.

Nambiar sighed again. “At this rate, will my children even have time to come and attend my funeral? Why should they come? Even Sridhar came at his own whims and fancies. There were days when he never turned up. He wished he could find a short cut to end his life before his children left!” A smile tinged with guilt and remorse, spread on his face.

He visualized his body being handed over to the Medical College where the medical students would be having a gala time.

For once he felt jealous of his departed wife who left him six years ago, when all her dear ones were around her, and simply wished that at least she was there with him at the end of his journey.

****

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Jul 25, 2014
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Back Up Plan
by: Yash

will make sustained efforts to work towards not facing these painful episodes in my life.

Jul 14, 2014
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excellent
by: Praveen

We are here because of our parents, please remember the feelings of your parents when you were a child, they cared us a lot, took care of us, did everything possible to make us grown up adults, now at the time when they are old it's your turn to make sure that they are treated like kids, human life is a cycle please understand and behave.We don't have to be reminded by any one to love our own parents.

May 26, 2014
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Reality check
by: Nita Abbey

I have my father bedridden. Too sick to move to my city. I have 2 brothers who come once in an year to see him. Dad has stopped talking. Unlike my brothers I want to take my father and mother but dad is too fragile for any kind of travel. His eyes speak...volumes and I want him back like the way he was. He doesn't even smile. With so much of depression, helplessness and pain how can he?

May 21, 2014
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Thanks
by: Lakshmi

Thank you Kiran for your valuable comment. You're correct we have no chance to 'undo' it once done.

May 14, 2014
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Gripping
by: Kiran Jhamb

A saddening snapshot of life exposing the burdens, loneliness of modern man in a world where wealth and power have come to mean everything.No opportunity to 'undo'!

May 08, 2014
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Thanks
by: Lakshmi

Thanks @Manohar Naidu for your feedback. If the protagonist of this story had such a great mind of donating his eyes and organs posthumously he would have been a different person totally.

Thanks @Vimala for appreciating the style of narration of this story.

May 07, 2014
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very good
by: vimala

Excellent story, Lakshmi. The style of narration I liked a lot.

May 07, 2014
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Nicely narrated
by: Manohar Naidu

Having involved in short cuts for children, perhaps he should have also thought of one more short cut - donating his eyes and organs posthumously for the cause of humanity.

May 05, 2014
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Thanks
by: Lakshmi

This was written years ago based on a real life story, but fictionalized. (As you sow, so shall you reap). I found it recently in my folder and decided to include it with a certain degree of reluctance. Thanks for your comment.

May 02, 2014
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Very moving!
by: NuggehalliPankaja

It is a moving story,well written,with the feelings of each brought out in the right context.
The pathos of old age very much evident nowadays
makes one quiver with fear as the inevitable process takes over with the race of years.

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