17 jan ,2017; 5.00 A.M.
The morning is dark as all the other cold winter. Normally people tend to sleep late during this time, but Sharma Ji doesn't seem to quit his daily jog, five sharp, and Sharma Ji is back on the streets. A few blocks later, he came across a familiar face. It's Dhruv! But it's not common of this young fellow to be on the streets at this time.
Sharma Ji: Hey Dhruv!
Dhruv (murmurs): Fuck! Not this man again!
Sharma Ji: Hey kid! What are you doing here?
Dhruv (hesitantly): Nothing… Just taking a morning jog.
Sharma Ji: That's odd!
Dhruv: What..me jogging?
Sharma Ji: No…I mean I don't see you going out quite often jo… I mean...
Dhruv: So does that mean I can't jog when I want to?
Sharma Ji: No ..no ..no, that wasn't what I wanted to apply, I was just saying that I don't...
Dhruv: Calm down! Calm down! I was kidding. This is my first day at jogging. I have decided to keep myself healthy. You know nowadays we can find diseases everywhere. (Dhruv forcefully chuckles)
Sharma Ji: Oh yeah yeah, you are right! Everyone should keep themselves healthy and immune. Look at me! I go jogging every day to keep myself...
Dhruv: I am sorry to interrupt you Sharma uncle, but I am in a hurry. I have to get myself home soon. The milkman will be at home at 5:20, and I better be home till then as my mom is not home.
Sharma Ji: Oh... Okay! That's alright.
Dhruv: Ok then, I will see you soon!
Saying that Dhruv rushes out of there, and when Sharma Ji took a look at him while he was going, he sees a bag on his shoulder. Sharma Ji calls out...
Sharma Ji: Hey Dhruv!
Dhruv (biting on his anger): YES SHARMA UNCLE!
Sharma Ji: What's that bag on your shoulder?
Dhruv ( speaking hesitantly): Uhm... it's... it's some... things for home!
Sharma Ji: How did you even get anything this morning?
Dhruv couldn't control anymore, and he finally bursts out
Dhruv: That's none of your business Grezeer!
Sharma Ji: Excuse me?!
Dhruv: You heard it right. It's none of your business. And now, for God's sake, stop asking those stupid questions and let me go!
Sharma was in a state of shock. It was the first time he saw Dhruv behaving like this. The shy kid in the neighborhood seemed like a stranger today. Sharma Ji's eyes followed Dhruv rushing towards his house while he kept standing there in complete awe.
And Dhruv doesn't seem to care about it at all. But now, with every step, he is cautious about people noticing him. He doesn't want to answer any more questions. Or maybe, he didn't hope for his bag of secrets to be opened.
Anyway, after crossing few blocks, he has finally reached his destination. He stands in front of the door as if it has been a long time since he came here last. He opens the door and throws his bag on the couch as he enters the hall. He seems happy and is dancing like a total maniac. The next few steps turn into jumps, and others that followed become a dance routine in itself. As his fastening breaths signaled his exhausted body, he finally stopped. He took the stairs and finally reached his bedroom. Having no energy left, he collapsed on the bed. He removed his phone from his pocket and switched it ON. The time it was taking made him restless. And when finally it switched ON, it took him no time to open his playlist and choose the song- 'Lovely' by Billie Eilish, his father's favorite song.
The song had a special place in Dhruv's heart. Every time it played, it reminded him of his father. Aman Shastri died on 24th July 2016, approximately six months ago. The wound was still fresh, and the pain was still destructive. The day Aman died seemed like any other beautiful morning for this family; until the good news arrived.
24th Jul 2016; 2.30 P.M.
Dhruv was in his bedroom completing his assignment. Ashwini, Dhruv's mom, was making batter for her weekend special Dosa while Aman is making a presentation on his laptop for his meeting the next day. The weekend was the same as always until Aman received a call from his boss. The call brought a smile to Aman's face and excitement beyond control.
Aman (shouting): YES! YES! YAHOO!
Hearing Aman shout, Ashwini came running from the kitchen, and so did Dhruv from his room.
Dhruv & Ashwini (in one voice): WHAT HAPPENED?!!
Aman: With a good amount of raise, I have finally received my PROMOTION!!!
Ashwini: Oh my God! That's great news!
Aman: I know! I have been waiting on this for years. I received my last promotion 3 to 4 years ago, I guess. I am very very happy!!
Dhruv: Yeah, that's quite evident.
Aman: Let's celebrate! How about going out for dinner?
Ashwini: No no, let's go to a movie!
Dhruv: I have a better idea.
Dhruv: How about staying at home and minding our own business?
Aman and Ashwini gives a stare at Dhruv, and both together in one voice, "Nu-uhh"
This argument about how to celebrate the special occasion goes on for a while. It finally ends with Dhruv suggesting to cut a cake at home and Ashwini making a special feast for all of them. Sometime later, at 4.00 P.M., Aman received another call from his boss telling him to come by the office to complete some formalities regarding his promotion. After the call, Aman takes off in his car. He told Dhruv that he would get the cake on his way back home.
It was 7.30 P.M. already, and Aman still hadn't returned home. Dhruv and Ashwini kept calling him in the hope that he will answer. They even called his office and received the information that he already left at 5.00 P.M. They even called his colleagues and friends but to no avail.
Ashwini: Where is this man! And why the hell he isn't answering my calls?
Dhruv: Maybe he is still searching for the cake. What if he hasn't found anything yet?
Ashwini (angrily): Still, that's no reason to avoid my calls! Let him come here! I am going to teach him a good lesson today!
Dhruv: That's him!
Ashwini: Go open the door! I'll look for a broom that man needs some disciplining!
Dhruv goes towards the door and opens it. And from his look, it's clear it was not his father.
Dhruv has fallen asleep with 'lovely' playing on loop next to him until his phone died. Dhruv hadn't slept so peacefully in a long time. He remained undisturbed for the next few hours until Sharma Ji's dog started with its loud barks.