~ 1 ~
“… and they lived happily ever after.”
Ninad shut the book and looked positively delighted. The story he had written would be one that his teacher would love. He knew he’d loved writing it. After all, the story was about his parents. Smriti and Janak Rao were, in his opinion, the happiest couple ever. They were made for each other, and knew each other so well, they could, if they wanted to, finish each other’s sentences. They weren’t the richest family, but the three of them were happy, and they measured their wealth in happiness rather than money. They had brought him up well, and he had taken after his mother, who loved to write, and loved to read. The then ten year old had decided he wanted to write stories. It had taken two more years for him to find the person to guide him – his new English teacher.
Smriti saw him close the book and go to his room. She was happy now, seeing her son take to writing like a duck to water. It was something she had secretly wished for all along, and that had come true. Janak couldn’t care less, she knew, but he supported their son’s talent as well. He’d read whatever Ninad wrote and encourage him to pursue it further. For some reason, Ninad never came to her with his stories. She had always wanted to ask him why, but she was afraid that he might stop writing. So she kept her distance from pursuing that question. Curiosity, though, always got the better of her.
After she was sure Ninad was asleep, Smriti tiptoed into the small study they had made for him. His writing diary was inside his desk drawer, and she took it out and sat at his desk. She flipped through the pages, remembering every story of his that she had secretly read, before coming to the start of his latest piece. She smiled as she read it, knowing very well that it was about their family, though the characters in his story were named Syeda and Jahangir.
“He writes well, but it’s almost always the same,” she thought later as she sat on her bed. “His idea of life is simple, and happy. While that’s good, his stories could be even better if he made them experience every emotion.”
For a minute, she stood up and took a few steps, heading toward Ninad’s room to suggest that to him. Then she remembered that he didn’t know she was reading the stories.
“Maybe I can ask that new English teacher to suggest it to him,” she said to herself. “After all, some things are stranger than fiction.”
An unfamiliar yearning began to rise inside her heart, a desire to write it all down. Janak was on a business trip, and wouldn’t return for a week. Now was the time. Smriti took an empty notebook from her old writing supplies, and sat down on the bed again. It had been years, but surely the words would return to her.
“Once upon a time…”
(© Vinay Leo R. @ I Rhyme Without Reason, 1st August 2016)