Ranveer Sing Ranaut is one of the most powerful figure among the top 100 people in the business world of India, his business is deeply rooted with the defence sector of the country. His clout was enough to change the government of the state, overnight. The calm temperament was the scariest for anyone around, but today he has lost all his calms.
“What the hell you think of yourself? I told you not to show me your face for at least two months. Why are you back here?” Ranveer sing screamed on the top of his voice.
“Listen, the mess you created is costing me too high. I had to pull all the strings I can, even up to the central government to get it covered up. The case is still buzzing hot in media. I told you to stay away from here, till the things are taken care of.” Ranveer sing was fuming with anger, with his eyes oozing blood.
Abhi was still playing the new online game he had installed on his latest iPhone. He was cool enough to react over anything. He was always a carefree bird, never bothered about anything happening around.
Abhijeet Sing Ranaut, the perfect example of a spoiled brat of a highly powerful father who had no ethics when it came to being successful.
“Are you listening to what I am saying, God Damn it…” Ranveer snatched the phone from Abhi’s hand and threw it in the corner of the house. It was certainly not the lavish house or one can call a palace in which Ranveer stayed. It was a farmhouse in the outskirts of the Gurdaspur district in Punjab.
Abhi looked at his Dad with a furious gaze. He didn’t utter a word and got up to leave. What had happened last month was not a forgivable thing, at least to any human being, but that had no effect on Abhi.
“Where the hell you think you are going?” Ranveer grabbed Abhi’s elbow and clenched his bicep.
“Just leave my hand.” Abhi’s eyes were flushed with anger. His hand easily unwrapped Ranveer’s fingers and was free in no seconds.
“I don’t have time to keep cleaning your shit every time. And this time, I am not going to do it.” Ranveer Singh screamed as he saw Abhi, getting inside his Lamborghini.
Recklessly taking the turn outside, Abhi left the farmhouse, leaving the storm of dust behind. Ranveer Singh kept watching his son move. He pulled out his cell and immediately dialled up the head of his security.
“Keep a tail over him. This boy has lost his mind. Keep me updated.” Ranveer instructed and clicked off.
Ranveer took a deep breath and headed back to the throne where his bunch of trustworthy ministers were waiting for him.
Abhi kept driving at an insane speed till he crossed the city limits. He stopped at the roadside place to have his beer and for rolling his joints. He sat in his car sipping the beer and smoking weeds. His eyes spotted the same car that had always followed him.
“Fuckers…” He muttered under his breath. Stabbing his joint and taking a big swig of his beer before crushing the can and tossing it out, Abhi started his car and kept driving like a rash driver till his Dad’s security lost the tail. It was always fun for him. He had dodged them many times even before.
He was in no mood to return back to the safe house his Dad had arranged for him. Abhi had never cared about anything and for anyone in his life. He always did, what he liked and what he enjoyed, no matter how much painful it was for others. He doesn’t give a shit about what others think.
He was already on the second joint of weed while driving and his eyes had started getting heavy and vision blurred. A car passed by him, challenging him for a race. Abhi narrowed his gaze and tossed out his joint and pressed the gas hard.
It was not a good time for a race. The last one has cost his Dad much. But like always, Abhi never cared. They had already crossed the state border and were driving to a hilly road with bad, rainy weather accompanying them. The hill they had taken as the track was worst for the drive in this weather with 180-degree turns.
A single mistake and the car would be thrown off the gravel road, down, hundreds of feet. They were about to reach those nasty roads of the hill when a loose tree pulled off from the roots and fell right in front of Abhi’s car.
Nothing can be done now. Abhi tried to cut it sharp right and that was the biggest mistake. The tyres of the car could not hold the grip of the road throwing the car, right off the road down the cliff into thick bushes.
It got tossed so violently that Abhi thought he is dead. Few mins passed when he tried to comprehend what just happened, someone pulled him out of the car and dragged him to nearby thick bushes. The very next moment car exploded and lit up the whole area with flames and clouds of thick smoke above it. Abhi closed his eyes and passed off.
Days passed but Ranveer couldn’t track down his son. He was shattered. His security staff got the news from the locals who witnessed the explosion of the car. They searched in and out nearby but found only remnants of the car with no body inside.
Almost a week had passed when Abhi opened his eyes. He had no memory of what happened last with him. His eyes struggling to adjust the light of place where he was. He couldn’t even move his limbs. A blurred image of a kid appeared in front of his eyes. He was still not able to comprehend where he was.
“Granny, Granny, he is opening his eyes.” A small girl excitingly called her granny, who was busy in piling the woods outside. Granny immediately dropped the logs and rushed in.
“Thank God you are back, and conscious now.” Granny breathing a sigh of relief, smiled. Abhi was still not able to understand what had happened and where he was. His head started hurting badly. He tried to clench his temples and saw the bandages under which some medicinal paste of leaves was applied on his hand. He touched his forehead and felt the same bandage there.
“Where am I?” Abhi spoke in a groggy voice. His vision was now getting clear and he could see he was in some room with walls of only redbrick and cement fillings in between. Abhi groaned as he tilted his head up to have a look around.
“Don’t stress yourself.” Granny said as Sarika helped Abhi to keep his head back on the bed.
“You had met with an accident, a week before. Luckily, I was picking up the logs nearby with Sarika and we saw your car getting trashed between two thick trees. All thanks to the almighty that we reached there and managed to pull you out before the car exploded.” Granny smiled at Abhi caressing his hair.
Sarika came with a glass of steaming hot decoction and stood in front of him with an innocent smile on her face.
“Have this, it will help in healing your wounds.” Granny spoke as Sarika gave the glass of decoction to Abhi. Granny and Sarika helped Abhi to sit on a creaky charpoy.
As Abhi took a glass from Sarika, he noticed that two of her fingers, little and ring fingers, were missing. He was a bit surprised but didn’t gather the strength to ask. He was among the strangers and strangers can never be trusted.
Abhi took a sip of decoction and felt the bitter taste of it. The smell was kind of pungent and was hitting his nostrils hard.
“Yuk…” Abhi made a disgusting face.
“Have it son, it’s good for your health. We don’t have a doctor in the nearby vicinity. All we rely on is the herbal medicines and decoctions.” Granny smiled and tapped his back lightly.
“Where am I?” Abhi took few more sips and asked.
“You are on the border of Himachal Pradesh adjoining Gurdaspur.” Sarika satisfied the curiosity of Abhi.
“I don’t know how it happened but your car came tossing from the road above. Did you meet with an accident? Did some rooky truck driver dashed your car? It is quite common here. I have seen many accidents in just a month.” Granny asked.
Abhi quietly sipped the liquid, lost in the thoughts of how his own foolishness lead him to almost killing himself.
“You don’t seem to be Himachali. The car you had been in was one of the expensive cars” Sarika extended the conversation. She was always fond of premium sports cars.
“How you know about such cars? A place like this won’t have any such.” Abhi asked quizzically. He had an obvious reason for his question.
“I have a big collection of sports cars posters. I so love them.” Sarika replied excitingly but then her excitement faded away. Granny gave a lopsided smile and spoke.
“We are not from here…” Granny with a heavy sigh continued.
“We are from Behrampur in Punjab.” Sarika’s eyes turned moist with the words of Granny. Abhi kept the glass aside and was now all ears to Granny.
“We too belonged to in the upper middle class of the society.” Granny looked at the broken Ceiling made of bricks. Memories started clouding up her mind.
“What happened then? How did you come here?” Abhi’s heart was pacing more than it should now. He had never felt this whirlpool of emotions inside him. It was new and weird for him.
“It’s a long story son and you are not in a state to hear anything which will sink your heart.” Granny ruffled his hairs.
“I want to hear it GRANNY.” Abhi, for the first time in his life, spoke that word. He had never seen his Granny, his mother too had passed away when he was hardly 9.
“You still have fresh wounds son. Let them heal first.” Granny gave lopsided smile and walked out. Sarika too joined her, leaving Abhi behind with his mind running wild under the dark sky.
That night, Granny cooked food for Abhi too. He had never seen such distorted aluminium plate in his life. He was looking at the food when Granny smiled and spoke.
“I know you always had a bigger menu with chefs to make the most delicious dishes.”
“But no chef in the world could beat my Granny. Try it, and you’ll come to know how tasty it is.” Sarika added enthusiastically.
Abhi tried to take a bite but his wounds on arms were hurting badly. Granny saw that and she kept her plate aside. She took Abhi’s plate and took a bite to feed him.
The first bite was enough for him to know that it was the best food he had ever tasted in his life. The second bite brought tears to his eyes. He was never pampered like this.
No matter how arrogant and badass he had become, he always longed for the warmth of his mother’s love. The love, he never thought would ever come back in his life.
“What happened son?” Granny asked wiping his tears.
“Missing your Mom?” Sarika asked with moist eyes.
“Don’t worry, just a few more days and you’ll be back home, son.” Granny kept tapping his back and made him eat the food. Sarika could not control her tears anymore and she burst out.
“Sarika, I know my child what you are going through, but we have to accept the things. Life always doesn’t give what we want.” Granny kept her hand around Sarika and hugged her till her sobs settled down.
“We both are sailing in the same boat. My Mom passed away when I was of your age.” Abhi’s eyes too turned moist. He looked away to hide his emotions.
“What happened with you Granny?” Abhi asked. Granny breathed a heavy sigh before speaking.
“It was the calamitous day of our life. My son and his wife Smita along with Sarika were returning back on that Sunday evening from the town fair.” Granny couldn’t speak much. Tears started rolling down her eyes. Words failed to come out as the pain inside her heart was far more than any words could describe it.
“It was all my fault.” Sarika spoke between her sobs.
“I wanted to buy a doll from the roadside stall and I was nagging my Dad to buy it for me.” Sarika paused to breathe between her sobs and then continued.
“We crossed the main road and walked to the stall on the opposite side when, from nowhere, a car came with full speed and rammed into the stall.” Sarika could not speak anything more as she cried her heart out. Chills ran down Abhi’s spine.
“That car killed my son and his wife. Sarika lost two fingers of her hand in that accident.” Granny spoke wiping off her tears.
“I am so sorry for your loss.” Abhi tried to console in broken words. He himself was under the shock after hearing them. He then took a deep breath and asked further.
“But why did you come here then? You had your home there?”
“Next day, when the bodies of my only son and his wife were cremated and Sarika was still in the hospital, few people came and forced us to leave the state and settle in some remote place of some other state. They clearly threatened us that if we will ever report the incident to the police, they’ll kill us.” Granny could not control her sobs. Abhi was in no state to say anything. His head was spinning, making him feel that his world would crash down any moment.
“Left with no choice and Sarika who was all that I had then, I left that place. I couldn’t even gather my belonging and just left with few clothes and a photo of my son and his wife.” Granny was sobbing badly and so was Sarika. Abhi was all numb now.
After a while, Granny composed herself back and took Sarika out to breathe some fresh air. They didn’t want to cry anymore in front of Abhi who was still recovering from his wounds.
Abhi kept watching the naked bulb, hanging from the ceiling, that was flickering. He could not believe that people can be so cruel. How can those people threaten the old lady who has lost her family?
Days kept passing and Abhi recovered faster than expected. He was now able to walk and do his routine work. Only a couple of bandages on his arms, rest he was fine. He even helped Granny with her day to day work, like collecting logs and selling it at the roadside market.
One fine morning, Granny woke up. She looked around but could not find Abhi. Granny walked out to the woods to see if he went early to get the logs but he was nowhere.
“Where is he?” Sarika asked as Granny returned back.
“He must have left for where he came from.” Granny smiled and caressed her head.
After a month, in the evening, Granny was sitting outside with Sarika at the roadside to sell the logs, a taxi came to halt. Abhi stepped out of it. He was looking like some corporate guy. Granny eyes turned moist with happiness on seeing him back. Sarika ran to him and hugged him tightly.
“Where were you? I and Granny searched you a lot.” Sarika asked as Abhi lifted her up.
“I had something important to do and you would have not let me go if I would have told you.” Abhi smiled caressing her hairs. He pulled out chocolate which she accepted excitedly and walked to Granny. He touched her feet and hugged her.
“God bless you, my child.”
“He has already blessed me by sending you and Sarika in my life.” Abhi smiled.
“I am missing your food a lot and I am damn hungry.” Abhi spoke wiping Granny’s tears.
Sarika immediately packed the few remaining logs while Abhi helped Granny to get in the car.
“Dinner will be ready in just few min son.” Saying so Granny rushed inside to make the preparations. Sarika and Abhi kept playing outside. He then gestured driver to get the stuff from the car.
“What is it?” Sarika asked surprisingly as she looked at so many boxes wrapped in glittery gift papers.
“Something for you, something for Granny.” Abhi winked and they walked in.
Granny was busy in cooking when Abhi gave a beautiful saree to her. Sarika too immediately unpacked her gift and saw a beautiful dress and a toy sports car.
“Wow… This is amazing.” Sarika kept the dress on the floor and waving the toy to Granny in another hand started jumping.
“This was not needed son.” Granny said as Abhi sat next to her on the floor.
“It is needed and in fact, much more is needed.” Abhi hugged her tightly and then gestured the driver to do the things. Driver immediately started packing up whatever was there in the house in a huge bag.
“Hey, what is he doing?” Sarika asked as Granny too looked quizzical.
“I’ll tell you everything once we reach back. Till then, no questions.” Abhi silenced Sarika and smiled at Granny. She understood what Abhi was doing. They ate peacefully and then left the hut.
Abhi had already instructed driver where to go. They reached back to Punjab but not Gurdaspur district this time. They reached Chandigarh. The car stopped in front of a lavish villa.
“Are you staying here?” Sarika asked as she kept looking at the villa with eyes wide opened.
“No, it will be us, staying here now.” Abhi stroke her hair and smiled. Tears rolled over Granny and Sarika. Driver immediately shifted whatever the luggage was there and left.
Abhi made Granny sit on the teak wood, old-fashioned, armchair. Sarika was sitting on the couch next to her and Abhi, near the feet of the Granny.
“I use to stay in this house with my Mom.” Abhi’s eyes turned moist. He took a sob and continued.
“After she left me, we shifted to another place. I never wanted memories of her to get washed out of this place. When I miss her a lot, I come here and stay for a couple of days. I feel her here, around me.”
“Why are you doing all these for us? We just did what another human would have done.” Granny asked.
“You have not just saved my life but you gave me a new life too.” Abhi replied, looking away from Granny. He took a deep breath and continued.
“Granny, I want you to punish me. I am the killer of your son and his wife. I am the one who was driving that car.” Abhi’s voice started breaking. Sarika and Granny were shocked to hear the confession of Abhi.
“Oh, great lord…” The only word that could come out of Granny mouth. Sarika was aghast.
Abhi explained to them that how his Dad who is well connected with government got all the things covered up.
“There was no way I would be taken to trial, Granny. My Dad forced me to leave the state for a couple of months.” Abhi was feeling the extreme guilt of what he had done.
“The day when I came to know that I was the reason for your pathetic conditions, I decided that I will pay back my Karma. The law may not be able to punish me but the court of KARMA will never forgive me.” Abhi held Granny and Sarika’s hand who were sobbing badly now.
“And I have decided that I will be your son for the rest of the life and Sarika as my little sister.” Abhi pulled the tea table close to him and pulled out a file beneath it. It had an admission letter from one of the best school for Sarika.
“But will your Dad ever agree to it?” Granny asked not knowing whether it’s a right question or not.
“I broke all the relations with my past and that includes my Dad too. This property belongs to my Mom and I am the legal heir of it. Last month, I also applied for the job and got the placement in one of the leading banks in the country. I will be staying with you throughout my life.” Abhi could not control his tears now.
“You are my family.” That was all he could say before he rested his forehead on Granny’s feet…