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A Surprise Gift - Short Story

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by vash, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. vash

    vash Silver IL'ite

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    A Surprise Gift

    It was 3 days in a row that she had seen her son Soham sleeping on the sofa with TV on and laptop and cell phone on either side, now she was annoyed big time. Hanging the key in the key stand she said “Soham this is not done. How many times have I told you not to watch TV sleeping and this is your summer holiday you should be out playing?” Since she didn’t get any reply she went closer to see Soham’s eyes closed. He was sleeping. That favourite baby face of her son melted her heart and she felt partially guilty to find him all alone in the house. Sitting down she caressed his hair and slowly removed his glasses and then he opened his eyes.

    “Ma, you are back?” he mumbled

    “Yes dear, now go back to sleep.” She insisted but by then Soham was wide awake.

    “No ma I wasn’t asleep. I did listen to you. You were complaining something about me, weren’t you?” asked Soham

    “Not complaining but was a bit annoyed to see you watching TV sleeping dear.”

    “But there was nothing else to do ma.”

    She could have told him he could read books but then forcing to do something that he is not interested in was not her thing. Instead she asked “What about your friend Raghav, Sujal, and Ajai where are they?”

    “Raghav and his brother went to movie with their cousins. Ajai and his sister went to their aunt’s place and Sujal wanted to watch TV. I thought it’s better to sit in my home and watch TV rather than go to his.”

    “Hmm.. true that.”

    “Anyway I am having swimming classes at 3:30 followed by karate at 5 so I’ll be busy this evening.”

    Diya felt guilty and somewhat responsible for ruining her son’s summer holidays but she was helpless as she had classes to take and she didn’t want her students to suffer at this point since their exams were nearing. Her face went pale and her son noticed that.

    “Maa... what happened?” asked Soham

    She sighed and answered him “Sorry for ruining your summer vacation Soh. But I promise we’ll do something later, as I’ll be free from next week. Okay?”

    “It’s Okay Ma I know you and dad are busy I understand that.” Said her matured 8 year old son. Who she felt had suddenly grown up. She ruffled is hair and kissed him.

    “Don’t do that” he said annoyed and set his hair right and wiped his cheeks.

    “Ha..ha.. Okay so tell me what you like to eat for lunch?” Diya asked

    “Pasta with broccoli”

    “Done!” Diya gave a thumbs up even though she didn’t like his choice of food.

    Once she was in the kitchen she got busy with her work she had to prepare rice, rasam, sabji and roti for herself and her husband and then there was broccoli pasta. When she was busy washing the vegetables she noticed her son had followed her to the kitchen. Did he want to say something? For a long time she waited and finally she broke the silence. “So, why didn’t you go to the movie with Raghav?”

    “Didn’t feel like. He would be busy with his brother and cousins and I would feel left alone and I don’t like that. Hmm.. Ma...nothing .” He stopped in the mid

    She didn’t press her son to say anything further. Sometimes she didn’t understand him completely. He was just like his father, talked less with more of incomplete sentences. Anyway she wanted to continue with the chatting so she said “You boys should do something in your summer vacation you know.”

    “Like what?”

    “Go cycling in the morning, play some outdoor game like Badminton, football or cricket.”

    “Hmm... How was your summer vacation like?” Soham asked

    For a second she stopped whatever she was doing and stared at her son half smiling. He always did this, caught her off guard with his random questions.

    “Hmm..I.. it was like. I mean...it was good.” She said

    “But how was it Ma? Tell me in detail what did you do and where did you spend your summer vacations?”

    “To start with I must say I was lucky enough to spend all my summer in the country side.” She said blanching the broccolis

    “You mean you were born and brought up in a village?” her son asked almost shocked

    “Not village exactly more like a small town with all the amenities. Our house was big. My room had balcony with scenic view, you know.” She was more than enthusiastic to speak about her hometown and that showed on her face.

    “Sometimes I used to just stand there for hours staring at the endless fields. There was greenery everywhere. The treat for my eyes would be when the farmers planted sunflowers in their fields, and staring at them was one of my favourite pastimes of all. You know, we also had a tree right opposite to our house and I used observe its each and every changes with every season. During winter it used to slowly shed all its leaves and when spring time approached the tree used to be filled with young leaves and beautiful flowers, how delightful it was to watch. We also had our own huge garden too, and your grandma used to spend hours there. She treated her garden like her second home and those plants like her children.”

    Diya said continuing with her cooking and Soham sat there listening to her with interest. “Even I loved our garden. I used to visit them every morning mostly on my summer vacations to pluck flowers for your grandma’s pooja, I sometime used to talk to those plants used to ask them how they are or whether I have their permission to pluck their flowers? Haha..those were some memorable days and I was such a fool, wasn’t I?” said Diya more to herself than to anyone. But his son answered, “No way not fool, I would say you were innocent.” he said smiling

    “Oh really, then listen to this Soham if you do you’ll surly think your ma was a real nut case. Not only was I talking to plants but also to sun, moon and stars. I used to observe them so keenly, I had so much time!” she said wiping tears from her eyes.

    “Ma are you crying?” asked Soham in a worried tone.

    “Of course not, Soh it’s just the onions.” she said chopping “I’ll sprinkle these onions on the dal and it’s ready to eat. Come on now get your plate I’ll serve your pasta.”

    “So what else did you do? Continue with the story now.” He said as he sat on the table with his plate.

    “My God Soh it’s already 2:30. You better eat your lunch quickly it’s late already. In an hour’s time you will be inside the pool.” She was so involved that she had almost forgotten the time. Her mind still wasn’t ready to come out of the beautiful reverie but she had to.

    “Ma the story!!” reminded her son.

    “Soham shall we continue tomorrow when I am back from my morning classes? Now eat, today I’ll drop you to your swimming classes.” she said serving herself a plate of whatever she had prepared.

    “Yay! So aren’t you going to your evening classes?” Soham asked all excited

    “I said I’ll drop you. I’ll have to go dear. I’ll stay for about half an hour, see my son swim and then will leave by 4.” She said with a sad smile, the feeling of letting her son feel lonely is what she hated the most but she had no choice.

    “Okay, but don’t forget about tomorrow.” he said understanding her.

    “Never! We’ll definitely continue tomorrow.” she promised

    As soon as they finished their lunch both got ready and left home.

    By the time Diya was back to home it was 7:30. She opened the door with her keys to find both dad and son glued to their respective gadgets. Oh no not again! The worst part was she couldn’t even complain. She wished them both and heard them mumbling something back. She freshened herself up and heated all the dishes and set the table for dinner and called them.

    ***

    Next morning when Diya was back from work she didn’t see Soham in the hall, the TV was switched off, mobile and tablet was lying on the tepoi. Where was he? She wondered. She had seen his friends playing down but hadn’t spotted Soham there as well.

    “Soham” she yelled and her voice came out as a shrill.

    He came running from his room. “What happened ma?”

    “Oh thank god! I didn’t find you playing down nor in the hall so I was worried.” She said sighing

    “I was just inside my room sketching. You are late today, aren’t you?” he asked with a bit of annoyance in his voice. He had been waiting for her.

    “Yeah, an hour late. My student’s doubts are never ending.” she said guiltily. “So what were you sketching?”

    “Well, I was playing downstairs but came an hour back. Was waiting for you didn’t feel like watching anything so started sketching.” He said sadly. Had his mother forgotten? She had promised she would tell her childhood stories.

    “Oh I am so sorry dear. Tell me what you want for lunch I’ll prepare and then we’ll talk.” She said

    So his mom had not forgotten after all! He was happy now. “I’ll eat anything but finish it soon ma.”

    “Ok then I’ll start working on it. By the way you didn’t tell me what you were sketching.” She asked.

    “Your memory and my imagination.” he said

    “What?”she asked puzzled

    “I’ve not yet finished. By the time you finish your work I’ll finish that and show you.” saying this he ran to his room.

    “I am eagerly waiting.” she shouted back.

    Half an hour later the food was ready. Diya set the table and called her son. Both mother and son had their lunch.

    “Can I see your sketches now?” asked Diya while she sat on the sofa after finishing her work.

    “Just a min I’ll get it.” Saying Soham ran to his room.

    Your memory and my imagination how rightly her son had explained his sketches to her, it was exactly that. She was overwhelmed to see her son’s sketches they were beautiful. Those trees, that sunflower field, her balcony, her mother’s garden it all looked so familiar, had she described everything this well?

    “Wow, What a beauty!” She exclaimed with joy “I don’t know what else to say Soh. Did you show this to your dad?”

    “Not yet I just finished it.”

    “How accurate it is!”

    After several praises she continued with her summer vacation stories. How she and her friends used to make plans, how they would go to picnics, long walks and play outdoors. How she and her brother had fun together, how they used to fight for no reasons at all.

    “You and Sujith Mama used to fight? Why?”

    “As I said for no reason at all. You know, for siblings they don’t need any reason to fight they can pick up from anywhere. Even now you might see us argue about each everything. But when he went to Bangalore after his 12thstd I was the one who missed him terribly. That one year was terrible. I didn’t feel like celebrating any festival. It was very lonely without him.”

    Soham didn’t know what to say he made a gloomy face. Anyway Diya cheered him up with few more funny stories of her childhood which made him laugh. Time slipped by without her knowledge. By the time she looked over at the clock it was 6 already. She had missed her evening classes! She didn’t know what to feel happy(?) that she had spent all her time with her son or guilty for making her students wait. For a second she thought she would get dressed and rush to the college there was still one more class left but the next moment she decided against it.

    “MA! It’s already 6! You’ve missed your classes.”

    “Hmm yeah I know.”

    “Was it because of me?”asked her son

    “Of course not, dear. It’s because I was involved so much that I didn’t even know it was already six. Anyway I am happy I spent all the time with you. I’ll compensate tomorrow by taking an extra class. No big deal”

    At seven when she heard footsteps she opened the door.

    “Good to find you home.” said Raj, her husband smiling

    “You are early too.” Said Diya returning his smile

    “Yep, So what should we do, go out for dinner then?” asked Raj

    “YES, YES, YES” shouted Soham.

    ***

    Over the next few days Diya was busy clearing her student’s doubts since they were having exams. Because of that she usually came home late. But she was surprised to see Raj and Soham discussing something whenever she entered home. But when she asked what it was all about she always got a vague answer from both of them. Anyway she didn’t have much time to bother so she left it at that.

    ***

    “Happy birthday mamma!!” shouted Soham on top of his voice

    It was 6 in the morning. She was surprised to see both Father and Son all dressed.

    “Oh my god! Thanks so much dear! But where are you both going?”

    “Not just we both we all are going out. Now get up and get ready soon lets go.” said Raj

    “Where to?”

    “Surprise Surprise !” said both Father and son.

    By the time they were half way through the road she knew where they were actually heading to. Her hometown. Nobody lived there anymore but she still called it her hometown since she was born there, that connection was still there and will always be. She cherished the drive. And when they were almost there she was thrilled. It had been more than 15 years since she had been to this place but the small city still looked so familiar. When they reached the place where she had actually spent her whole childhood there were tears in her eyes. She got down so did Soham , he was keenly watching his mom’s reaction. She saw the place, the house, the balcony which was once hers and that garden which had belonged to her mother, which was not as good as it was once but still watching everything made her go back in time. At that moment she said to her son who was eagerly waiting for her to say something. “I wish I could go back in time re-live each and every moment again.”She smiled and then hugged her son tightly. “Thank you so much for this Soham. It had been so long since I had been here”

    “I knew you would like it here. Happy birthday Ma. I am happy that you are happy.”

    “This is the best birthday gift ever, dear!” She said “Since you’ve given me such a wonderful gift, now tell me what do you want for your next birthday?”

    He didn’t know how to tell whatever he wanted to tell but he had to. He stared at his mother for a while, she prompted him to say something and he finally said “A sister.”

    She was surprised or was it shock? She couldn’t tell, for a second she didn’t know what to say how to react, she looked at her husband who was equally surprised and then he smiled at her slightly, she did too. Her son had impressed her in every possible way, she couldn’t disappoint him in anyway and what if it was too late for them, they could always adopt a girl child so she said “Sure”.

    ______
     
    Rampuri9, VinuthaS, Arunarc and 8 others like this.
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  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    @vash,

    Nice and simple story, well narrated.☺️
     
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  3. vash

    vash Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you so much for reading. :)
     
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  4. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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    Good one !
     
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  5. meepre

    meepre Gold IL'ite

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    Wonderful story, it captures how the way of living has changed over time and also how wonderful to live with a sibling :)
     
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  6. vash

    vash Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you so much for reading and sharing your views.:)
     
  7. SakinaN

    SakinaN New IL'ite

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    Beautiful story :) It touched my heart :) Your writing skills are too good. Please write more for us.
     
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  8. vash

    vash Silver IL'ite

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    So happy to know it touched your heart :relaxed:. Thanks a ton. Surly i'll try to write more.:)
     
  9. IniyaaSri

    IniyaaSri IL Hall of Fame

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    @vash!

    One of the beautiful short story I have ever read....You just took everyone of us into their world!!!
    Dont know what else to say other than 'beautiful'.
    The subtle emotion that flows all over the story is captivating.
    I enjoyed : )
    Keep Writing : ) I would love to read such short stories : )
     
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  10. vash

    vash Silver IL'ite

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    Aww Thank you so much for the compliment.:relaxed::relaxed: You made my day! I'll try and write more. :)
     
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