Sunday, 12 July 2015

The 32nd Anniversary

“Why do you even expect him to call when you know he won’t? Come on, it’s our day, don’t spoil your mood because of him. He’s busy, as always.”

It was their 32nd marriage anniversary, Ankit and Naina. Back then in 1983, while everyone in India was celebrating the cricket World Cup triumph, the Jain household was going through a strife. Their youngest son had decided to fall in love with a girl not from their caste. The elders of the family were livid. In the days that followed, Ankit did marry Naina but he was shown the door out of the Jain household. With 30 rupees in his pocket and a loving wife by his side, he had come to the city of dreams – Mumbai. Cut to 2015, he owns 3 flats in Mumbai, a fat bank balance and still, a loving wife by his side. A happy man, with just one lament in his life – his busy son.

“I am his mother and I had not raised my child like this! I do not know what has gotten into him but a mother’s heart wants what it wants. I can’t help it”, she shot back with tears.

Vivek Jain was a corporate lawyer. In his short career, he had managed to achieve quite many feats. Last year, he shifted to his own flat after he was promoted to a very important position in the company. Owing to his almost 80-hour work weeks and never-ending meeting/parties for poaching prospective clientèle and maintaining the existing ones, he hardly got any time for anyone else. Now, his life was all about his job.

While Ankit and Naina were having their lamenting tiff, a mobile rang. It was Ritesh calling on Ankit’s cell. Ritesh Kanitkar was the Jains’ extended family. He worked together with Ankit and their families would often go to vacations together.

“Happy anniversary my friend!”, said a booming and beaming voice of Ritesh. 
"Thank you, thank you Ritesh.” 
“I know you would have nothing planned for this day, isn’t it Scrooge?” 
“Ha ha. You know me. Home is where the heart is.”
“Cut the crap! Get ready both of you, we are going to Vivanta’s for lunch and I won’t take no for an answer. Bye”

An hour later Ritesh picked up Ankit and Naina from their house. “Where’s Vandita?”, asked Naina. Vandita was Ritesh’s wife. “She had some work and said she will meet us there directly.” Varun parked the car and all three people were heading towards the lift. It was just then that Varun received a call. He motioned Ankit and Naina to go ahead saying this would take some time.

The lift chimed on the 1st floor and opened, the Jains had visited the restaurant many times but never had they seen a red carpet being rolled out from the lift and people standing there with flower bouquets to welcome them. “Happy anniversary sir, ma’am”, said the manager. “Ah. Did Ritesh do all this? Thank you thank you.” “No sir, he didn’t. Please come in.” 

With a slightly puzzled look Ankit and Naina went ahead, the manager flung the door open for them to enter into a dark room with a fired up projector playing some soft music along with slides showing the clicks from their marriage and vacations. Ankit kind of froze on his spot two steps into the room and Naina slowly wrapped her hand around his with an expression of bewildering surprise common to both their faces.

In what seemed like an eternity to Mr. and Mrs. Jain, the lights were switched on as the slides ended. Ankit quickly wiped his nascent tears form the corner of his eyes, Naina was the less inconspicuous of the two. As their gazes shifted to the other side of the hall, they saw a tall man walking towards them, just the person they wanted to see – their only son Vivek Jain.

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