Source: Letting Go…
Daksh was shocked and confused with the story that his mother told him about Sagar, Daksh’s uncle and Raagini’s brother. He was shocked because he never heard his name before in the house and confused because Raagini mentioned Dheeraj uncle’s name frequently. He tried to remember if he knew this man but no he could not recall any person with that name. Though he knew his parents were a bit upset, he asked, “Who is Dheeraj uncle?”
“Your grandfather, Daksh” his father replied with a deep and heavy voice.
“What? Are you serious?”
“Yes. I am. We both always lied to you, that your grandfather’s name was Jaideep Malhotra. But we did it for you. We never wanted that you see any news related to him, either on TV or on newspapers and somehow get to know about him.”
“And that’s why you never showed me his photo, nor of Sagar uncle.”
“But what happened to him after uncle’s death?”
“He too was brutally murdered a month before elections. That too by Rajshekhran.”
“Did you not go to the court?”
“Sure we did, but in India if you file a case against a strong and rich person justice is not yours.”
“And what about the elections?”
“YJS lost it, they had no leader and Aasha Party got 75% of seats with us getting only 5%. He captured booths, bribed and threatened voters and secured much seats. Meanwhile I married Raagini and we made a deal with Rajshekhran.”
“That we will pull down the case against him and he will have to promise that we will never be threatened by him or any of his men, nor the business I was going to start. He accepted.”
“But dad, he is a killer, isn’t he?”
“Yes he is, but not doing that meant risking lives which could not be done.”
“Okay, I understand all this. But dad you just gave me another reason to go back to that country,” he said and smiled when both of his parents looked at him and added, “Whoever this Rajshekhran is, he will be punished and I would do that. Daadu, my grandpa will get justice” and Dinesh left the room with anger and Raagini, she was still looking at Daksh, for she was proud of her son. He was not frightened by all this but he was inspired.
He saw his dad going out of the house. Daksh was sure he was going to the garden and he followed him, went near him and said, “Dad, what happened? Why did you come out here?”
“You know, the whole point of telling all this was that you forget India. We brought you here so we could keep you safe. And you want to go there again. Why?”
“Dad, please calm down. This is not about just me anymore. I gave a promise to Naani that I would help the people in there. And politics is the best way to help them and you too know that. I am not doing it for myself but for those millions and millions of people over there. Dad, please I need your support. And I will take care of the business too, I promise. But after all this is mine I will move back to India. Rest is my responsibility. And if you want you can stay here with mom but please dad support me,” Daksh said and Dinesh looked at him. Even after hearing all that, there was no sense of fear but that of pride. He put his hand on his head and said, “And you have it, my son,” Daksh was rejoiced and hugged Dinesh and he, though happy, was scared. Scared of Rajshekhran.
‘It was a very happy day for all of us as on that day Sagar came into the world. Sagar, my brother and your uncle. In those times giving birth to a boy was a sign of good luck and happiness. I didn’t know whether or not it was true, and I still don’t, but Sagar did bring happiness to our house. Wherever he went, he made people fall in love with his charming eyes, his fair and innocent face and above all his intelligence. As he grew up he started to follow some people who were still fighting for India’s independence. It was because of them that India today can celebrate its 43 years of independence. He too wanted to become a part of all those demonstrations, rallies and protests against the British govt. In 20th century there was a great orator, who always spoke of freedom, whatever he did was for his country and he played a major role in the freedom of India. Sagar respected the man a lot and one day brought him to our house and that was the day we met Dheeraj uncle. Sagar told us that he was going with Dheeraj uncle to fight for freedom. Mom too allowed him, for nothing ever could have made her feel prouder than this moment. Sagar left the house. He used to send us letters about how close were we to freedom. And the one day we achieved it. On 15 August 1947, India became free but Sagar and Dheeraj were not free of their responsibility. They were working for the welfare of citizens. So in 1952, some months before the Delhi Legislative Assembly Elections, the decided to form a party of their own, named Yuva Jan Sangh, and at that time he wrote us a letter and told that in some days he was going to take us all to Delhi. They knew that they would easily win the elections; the only problem was Aasha party, another party formed at the same time as YJS. In a few months campaigning started and YJS used its funds for that. But Aasha was lacking capital, so the president of the party, Rajshekhran, used a different strategy for his campaigning.
Sagar came to his own house after many days and as soon as he sat on the wooden chair in the balcony, some people came outside the house to discuss their problems. They were maybe 4-5 in number. Sagar went outside and one of them started speaking about his problem while another put his hand in his pocket to take out a big sharp knife. He took it out, held Sagar from his neck tightly and poked the knife in his stomach. He replied his attack with a light punch on his face when another guy came running along with 2 people with swords and poked it in his back. He felt the pain. He tried to resist when Rajshekhran came and whispered, ‘There is no need of kids in politics, son,’ in his ear and poked another knife. At the moment all I could do is watch, watch him dying in front of my eyes.’
Rahul and Daksh started to hangout very often. Rahul was admitted in Daksh’s school. After leaving the school both used to go the park nearby. They explored many places and there was not a single day when their pockets went empty. Well, Daksh was now feeling happy with Rahul. Rahul, occasionally, went to Daksh’s house for completing his homework and helped Daksh out in Mathematics as he was poor. Daksh too paid the debt by telling him about Indian history which he got to know through the books Naani gave him but unfortunately were burnt by his father. As days passed by, they both started to love each other’s company and with that they started to love the life in London, but never forgot India. They often described their favorite things in India which they missed a lot in London but still both of them liked London. Everything was going good. Everyone was quite happy until that day, the day which even Daksh cannot forget as on that day he lost something extremely attached to him. Daksh left Rahul at his home and came back at his and started to remember that day for a thousandth time.
Daksh came home and drank a glass of orange juice waiting for him at the dining room. As always no one was at home but Naani. He straight away went to her room and found out that she was sleeping. He quietly went inside the room near to Naani’s bed and touched her feet for her blessings. She woke up and said, ‘You are here? And I did not even woke up!’
‘Need not to wake up. I see, you have warm feet. Fever?’ asked Daksh
‘I don’t know. My head is burning too and I am feeling a lot of pain in my heart’
‘So take another nap. That will help you,’ Daksh said and she did the same.
At 4 p.m. Dinesh came home and drank a glass of water and found out that no one was at home. He asked the maid that where everyone was to which she replied that all went to the hospital. Dinesh did not even bother to ask which one and rushed towards his car. He fastened the belt and called Raagini, Daksh’s mother. She told her that Naani got a heart attack and her situation right now is very critical. She told him that she was admitted in the Barnes Hospital and Dinesh sped towards the hospital. Naani was in the ICU. Doctors too were doing everything they could but they could not save her. Before Dinesh could reach
there, she was dead. Daksh cried a lot but Dinesh did not shed a tear. Naani was close to both of them but Dinesh had seen worse. Daksh remembered the last time she talked to him before sleeping. She murmured in his ear, ’Daksh, Indians are in trouble and you have to save them. Promise me this. Son, my end is near I am sleeping to wake in another life. But whichever that would be I will be there to guide you.’
Daksh came out of his memories and realized that he had to move over this incident because he remembered it every day for the last 7 months and it could not go this way. Daksh went to Rahul’s house to lighten his mind, talked to him and felt relieved. He came back home at about 7 o’ clock. As soon as he entered the door he heard his mom and dad fighting. It was something unusual at his house. He moved towards their room and tried to hear what was going on.
‘This is all your brother’s fault. Why did he enter that bloody world and went against Rajshekhran and Gupta? Had he not done that our life might have become much easier,’ shouted Dinesh.
‘I tried a lot to explain him not to enter politics,’ that last word shocked Daksh because Dinesh and Raagini always hated politics, Raagini continued, ‘But your father was the one who took him into the matter. He lost his life and Sagar, my one and the only brother too sacrificed his life. So all this is not my fault.’
‘What are you guys talking about?’ questioned Daksh as he came in the room and there was no reply or excuse they both could give. Three of them stood there silent and shocked, expecting someone would break this silence which seemed to last for a million years and was too heavy to be carried by these shoulders.
To be continued….
‘Good morning everyone,’ said the flight attendant and everyone woke up, ‘In a very short while we are going to land in London, so I request that you all be seated and fasten your seat belt.’
Naani, who was sitting next to Daksh, noticed that he was constantly looking out of the window so asked, ‘What are you looking at, son?’
‘I am finding my home, I think…. I think it is lost somewhere down there,’ he looked at Naani and questioned, ‘Can you see it?’ Naani shook her head. Daksh, disappointed, started to look out of the window again.
‘You are never going to find it, son, so better not try. It is good for you,’ said Dinesh, Daksh’s father.
‘I will find it, one day or the other, no matter what I have to do for that,’ He replied with his eyes filled with hatred and anger for his father.
‘Sir, please be seated, we are going to land,’ said the air hostess. Dinesh gave Daksh the same look Daksh gave him and went again to his seat.
They reached London and Dinesh called one of his friends to pick him up from the airport. Stephen, his friend came to the airport and took them to the house Dinesh had previously owned. On their way to home, Daksh saw much of London. The tall skyscrapers, the clean roads and above all the civilized traffic. Merely giving it a tag of being beautiful would be an insult. London was and still is one of the most beautiful places on earth, made with the mind of an architect and heart of a poet. This city is a combination of Science and History. The city does not need a moon neither the stars. It seems like something luminous, it surely is something because of which the moon and the stars get the light. No word in any language is there to describe London’s beauty. But Daksh was not at all surprised to see London. For he expected it to be this way and still was missing India.
‘Daksh, our house is in Bankside, one of the most elegant places in this astounding city. It is just the best place for you. I bet you will be surprised once you see the house we are going to live in,’ Dinesh said after he noticed his sadness.
In a while they reached their home and Daksh’s expressions were still the same and Dinesh too never expected them to change, no one did. Then as days passed, Daksh started to adjust in London. He knew there was no other option than that. He was not living in London; it was just his body which was there. He left his heart and soul in Bombay, where he previously lived.
Several days later, Dinesh invited one of his business partners, Randhir, at home along with his whole family, thinking that it would lighten Daksh’s mind and also it would strengthen the bond between the two tycoons, Dinesh and Randhir. Daksh was not aware about all this and was surprised when he saw guests from his terrace coming inside his house, and that too Indians.
‘Welcome, my friend.’ said Dinesh to Randhir and Daksh came running down from the terrace to the drawing room and grabbed everyone’s eyeballs.
‘So there you are little one. I was so keen to meet you,’ Randhir said looking at Daksh and then turned his head again towards Dinesh and added,’You know, Dinesh, Rahul will be delighted to see your son,’
‘But where is he and where is your wife?’
‘Oh you see, they just forgot something in the car, so they went back to take that and there they are.’ said Randhir looking at the big wide wooden door which always remained open.
Then all of them sat in the room, shared their stories and laughed like anything. But Daksh at the very beginning of the family meeting left the room and came back to the terrace followed by Rahul.
‘Why are you here alone?’ asked Rahul.
‘Because there is no one to be with me, I guess.’ Daksh replied
‘I think that is because you are different.’
‘Thanks, but who are you?’
‘Oh sorry, I am Rahul, your guest, nice to meet you .’
‘And I am Daksh, Daksh Malhotra, nice to meet you too.’
After some time of this incident Rahul became the only person who could explain Daksh about the rights and wrongs and only he made him feel comfortable in London. With Rahul, Daksh felt like he is at home. And thus, started the friendship which in future will see the worst ups and downs, but will remain like new till the end of world.
‘But why can’t we live in India, why England? We are born here. This is our motherland,’ he said to his father.
‘You are not made for this country. England is far better than India. Better people, better facilities, better opportunities, better education and what not,’ replied his father which seemed to be a scolding.
‘But what about us, I don’t want to go there, mum doesn’t want to go there even Naani doesn’t want to go there, why are you….’
‘What do you want to say, huh? I am being selfish?’ his voice was raised but he took a pause and then continued ‘Listen to me, son whatever I am doing is just for you. I have lived almost the whole of my life. I have experienced there is nothing in this bloody place. So never ever think that I am making my profit by going to England,’ said his father this time rather politely.
‘You are making your profit. You don’t do a single thing if you do not see any profit.’
‘I don’t ever do that. I am no bloody corrupt selfish politician,’ he shouted again.
‘Again the blame game from your side, dad,’ he left the room and came back a minute after and continued, ‘Dad, I think in your life work is more important than all of us. And this is something we all know so no matter what I say, tomorrow morning you will take me to England,’ his father had nothing to say. He was shocked to hear this from his son and left the room in disgust.
Daksh’s mom went after his dad and Naani came by Daksh’s side. She indicated him that as always he was doing the right thing. She sat down on the sofa, pulled Daksh towards it, he sat down and she took his head in her arms. He cried. He was feeling the pain of being taken away from his country, India, forcefully. And everything he could do was cry, just cry with Naani on his side.
Daksh could not sleep the whole night. He was praying to God that his dad changes his mind and let him stay in India. Though, he knew that it would never happen but he had a hope. He prayed and prayed and prayed until the moment the sun rose and the day started. He could not believe he was leaving India, the land on which he played, he learnt, he lived. But there was nothing he could do in front of his fate. When they were all leaving Daksh was the first to go and sit inside the car. He spoke nothing in the next 12 hours, did not eat anything just drank a glass of water. It seemed like he had stopped living. And at that time he took an oath, he promised India that he would come back. And he did come back but in all these years whatever happened to him in England made him stronger than ever and he was ready to face whatever he would have to for the sake of his homeland, which he loved more than anything else in this world. Nothing was ever so precious to Daksh than India.