Magic – Papa Vanish
Piku can barely speak proper sentences. Even though he is two years old he is still not able to make sentences. Ramesh and Vinita are both concerned.
Ramesh has done everything possible to make him speak but in vain. He has admitted him to a playschool so that he can mingle with other children and learn faster. That didn’t work either. Some of their neighbours suggested that that the child is confused with many languages spoken around him and can not make out Telugu, Hindi, English, and Bengali. So he can’t make proper sentences.
Ever since Ramesh has shifted his family to Hyderabad the three-month-old Piku has grown big. His father could not pick up Telugu in the last four years but expected the kid to pick up a few words from their maid as the maid used to speak in Telugu with the kid.
Piku was growing up among the local kids of locals when Ramesh decided to give him better playmates and shifted him to a good playschool. His idea was to keep him happy and engaged. Every single day Ramesh used to carry the child on his lap to school and bring him back. The child was very fond of him after all.
First, two years of a kid’s life are the golden years in any parent’s life. The kid grows up every day and every new day brings some new excitement to the parents. Fathers normally miss the excitement and fun as they are always busy working for some capitalist gain. After all, happiness needs to be bought nowadays.
Ramesh was lucky in that aspect. His job was not that demanding even though it was high paying one. He used to spend maximum time with his kid. Piku was also getting used to him. He used to work on second shift and that too most of the time work from home. His manager was never too nitpicky about him being in office until 11pm his actual shift timing. So Ramesh used to come back at 10 pm and have dinner with his kid.
Piku used to wait for his papa. Even though there were a few Bengali families in that colony Piku used to wait only for Ramesh. It used to be a golden moment for Ramesh as well. As soon as he enters the house Piku used to come running to him and get onto his lap. He never used to get the opportunity to remove his shoes before Piku comes to him. So he had to take a round of the floor with him before he could remove his clothes.
Piku got used to sitting on his papa’s lap and taking a bite of his food. He used to eat everything, including chicken and fish, sometimes Karela too. Those were the most memorable moments in Ramesh’s life. Piku will sit on his lap, take a bite and then run away….again he comes back to take another bite and vanishes…the game continued till Ramesh finishes his food.
Vinita’s mood is not good for many days. Ramesh was not able to understand what went wrong. In the last six years of his marriage, he tried to keep her happy always. He has treated her like a queen, given her all benefits, taken her to places, weekend shopping, restaurants, movies but could never understand what goes wrong with her at times.
Around the time of children’s day, there is a magic show organized by a Bengali group in Hyderabad. The moment Ramesh came to know about the show he booked two front row tickets. Magic is fun for everyone. Even Ramesh enjoys these shows. He thought even Vinita will get better mood if she visits there.
Piku was very enthusiastic ever since he heard of this show. He could not understand much about magic but he felt very excited about the same. The whole day he was asking his father in his broken words…papa ..papa ..M.aaagic. Every time Piku uttered the word magic in his broken language Ramesh hugged him. He felt like a king to see his child happy.
The magic show was really entertaining. His family seemed to be very happy with the show. Ramesh also liked the show but he was happier because his family was happy, because Piku was happy.
Vinita broke the news after they came back home and after Piku slept off. She was straightforward in saying that. She didn’t want to stay with Ramesh anymore. She agreed that it was not his fault but she loved someone else. Her school time buddy Chandan. Chandan also got divorced recently and they wanted to start a fresh life. Vinita was not ready to contest and wanted a peaceful divorce, only she wanted to keep Piku with her. Chandan agreed to take care of him as he didn’t have a child. Vinita was also ready for a contest if Ramesh wanted to but she cautioned that would attract unnecessary criminal cases against him.
Ramesh could not believe in his own ears. So far he used to think that he has taken good care of his family and Vinita would have never got a better husband, but this was a great shock for him. He is ready to give away his flat but not Piku. Piku is so close to him. Piku is his heart, Piku is his soul he can’t live without Piku. He knows Piku can’t live without him. He knows Piku needs both of them.
He couldn’t react. The world became meaningless to him instantly. He doesn’t want to pester Vinita to stay with him but he can fight for Piku. Yes, he will not let him go. He hugged Piku tightly in his arms and ……
Vinita was very sure that she will not keep any secret that night. She informed Ramesh in a straight face that he did not have a choice but to leave Piku as Piku was not his son.
Ramesh was shocked to the core. He has never expected anything like that. He has loved Piku more than himself and loves Vinita from the core of his heart. The whole incident was like magic for him. His life was turned upside down by some magic wand. He understood why Vinita never allowed him to touch her after the birth of Piku. He used to think it is a problem of childbirth as many mothers lose sexual appetite after their childbirth but he realizes the truth now. When Vinita confessed that she was having an affair with Chandan for last four years.
Ramesh didn’t know how to react. He felt like crying but as a man, he was always told not to be weak like girls, he felt like shouting at the top of his voice but the whole world seemed so bloody against him, he felt like killing Vinita but looked at Piku and felt Piku would need his mother, he thought, and thought…..and got lost as if he was in his dreams.
Next day morning Vinita woke up little late. It was 8 am and Piku just woke up and was sitting in one corner of the bed. He was busy playing with his new toy his papa has bought from Los Angeles. Ramesh was not in the room. Probably he was sleeping in the other room.
Vinita didn’t want to get up. Weekends are really relaxed and she wanted to sleep more. After telling everything to Ramesh previous night she felt relaxed. She doesn’t want a lengthy divorce. She didn’t blame Ramesh, she only wanted to listen to her heart. Take her child to his real father. This hide and seek game with Ramesh for the last four years was terrible for her. She wanted a break.
Piku was not a child to stay in one place for long especially after he gets up in the morning. Very soon he got down from the bed and went running to the other room in search of his father.
– Piku don’t disturb your papa, come back. Let him sleep. Vinita shouted in a drowsy voice. She knew no matter what she says Piku will not come back soon.
But Piku came back very quickly sobbing – papa….papa
Vinita didn’t understand. She said – what papa? But, Piku continued sobbing.
She felt that something was wrong she rushed to the next room.
Ramesh was hanging from the ceiling. On his study table lying a small piece of paper that read – “Sorry Son”.
Vinita didn’t know how to react. She just wanted a simple and easy divorce. She never wanted him to commit suicide. She wanted a peaceful exit, she didn’t even threaten to file false cases, she didn’t want his flat. She just wanted Piku, her own child. She wanted to stop cheating him and give him freedom, still, he committed suicide.
The police officer was very helpful. He knew that there are many men who can not cope with a modern stressful life and commit suicide under financial pressure. He wrote in his case diary that Ramesh committed suicide due to financial losses, loss in share market and some debt in the market.
The case was closed in no time. No allegation made against Vinita. There was no evidence against Vinita for abetment of suicide.
Vinita went back to Kolkata after one week. She had to vacate the Hyderabad flat and bring everything to Ramesh’s Kolkata flat. Now she has a great responsibility of taking care of his property as well. His parents stay elsewhere in Bengal and they surely don’t have any stake in his flat as she is still alive and not divorced.
It was the day of final rites in his Garia flat. The neighbours who are invited were very sad to note the bleak future of the child who was just two years old. They were mourning more for the mother and the kid rather than the deceased.
As everyone was sitting around Ramesh’s photo in silence mourning his death and murmuring about the future of the kid, Piku came there silently. He was not able to understand what happened to his papa.
He sat on mom’s lap and was looking around in amazement. Everyone was in a white dress as if they are wearing a uniform. Only his father was missing. It was also like magic to him.
He told his mother in a clear voice – ma ma…magic ..papa vanish…
Suicide Stats, India