Three People, Four Plates Part I has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.
Three people, four plates.
It’s been four years, and he’s been behaving like this ever since she left. He refuses to give up. He thinks he has cultivated an image; a mask, that he thinks is able to hide all his pain and sorrows. There is a constant attempt, to portray himself as a strong, confident person.
What he doesn’t know is…I see right through it.
I clearly remember that evening, we were sitting together. Just talking about college, laughing over petty incidents; cheerful as we could ever be. That night, I heard voices. I crept towards their room, trying eavesdrop. I couldn’t clearly hear anything they said, but I could see the frantic change in their expressions and the agitation as they argued. It went on and on for almost an hour. I don’t know what happened, but from the look on his face, it was very clear that he was helpless and upset.
The next morning, mom was gone.
On days like these, I see his face and all I recall is that incident. It hurts to see my father—a fine, extraordinary banker—turn into a dull man. I’ve heard he goes to office, but mindlessly types stuff on his computer. It’s like he is lifeless.
In all these years, there hasn’t been a single phone call, not one letter. There hasn’t been a day when the void she left with us does not ache; I fail to remember a night when we did not shed a tear, wishing for her to come back. Why? What could possibly have happened that made her forget everything? I could not help but wonder, did I do something wrong?
The door bell rings. Ved jumps off his chair and goes to open the door. He comes back, crestfallen, takes his plate and goes up to his room. Still quite young, he believes that someday Mom will walk through that door and life will be good again. In a perfect world, maybe. But the world isn’t perfect. It never was, it never would be.
It’s a tradition at home. Every time anything about mom comes up, dad’s face falls and he locks himself up in his room. Ved and I would sit in our room for hours, talking about different things, things that would distract us, and then he would put his head on my shoulder and sleep. Later after I’ve put him to bed, I start to read. I am trying really hard, but I cannot stop thinking about the answers that I never got; the mysteries I am tired of. Then all of a sudden, I hear the front door click.
That’s when I decide I have had enough. I want answers I deserve. So I creep into my dad’s room, quickly fetch the keys to the cupboard from under the bed—it is not the most secretive place to hide the key—and open the cupboard. Knowing my dad, there was only one place where he would have kept his dairy. I quickly fetched the box and opened it.
Stay tuned for the second part of ‘Three People, Four Plates’. Until then, let us know what is it that you think is the secret to be unveiled!
To read more by the author of Three People, Four Plates Part I, click here.