Monday, July 27, 2015

Short story - Sir I Love You..

Sir, I love you

 Kuru Aravinthan






Suseela closed her store at the Newport Center Mall in New Jersey and was heading out when the clouds began to grow darker and it started snowing heavily.  The wind chill was very high and it was biting cold.  All the cars in the parking lot were covered with snow.

Suseela began to clean her car and scraped all the snow.  As she drove slowly she noticed a white car parked in front. 

The owner of the car seemed distressed and was moving around trying to open the door.  Suseela thought that the gentleman needed some help and got out of her car. 

“Excuse me, is everything ok? Do you need some help?”

He looked at her.  He was fully covered in his jacket like an Eskimo.  A big cap covered his head.  “No, I can take care of it”, he said briskly. 

“Are you having some trouble with the doors?”

He hesitated and replied, “Yes.”

She tried to pull open each door of the car.  But, she couldn’t.

“Don’t you have the key?” she asked.

“If I had that, I would have opened it.”

“ch..! I thought may be the car doors were frozen in the snow. Have you locked the key inside the car?”

“Yes.” He replied a little embarrassed.

“What are you going to do now?” asked Suseela.

“Do you have a cellular phone, please can I make a call.  AAA can assist with this situation.”

“It will take a long time for them to come in this heavy snow.  If you wait for them, you will get frozen.”

“I can’t think of anything else to do?”  He couldn’t help the situation. 

“There is one way out”, she said.

“What?”

“Is your house close by?”

“Not too close.  Why?”

“Do you have a spare set of key for the car?”

“Yes, I do.” he replied with a ray of hope.

“I will drive you to your house, you can get the keys and I will drive you back to your car.”

“No, I don’t want to bother you.”

“It’s no trouble.  If we cannot help each other, then what is the purpose of this human life?  Please, let me help you.  She opened the door for him without waiting for his reply.  He began giving directions to his house.

The car stopped in front of a beautiful bungalow inside the University.  She was taken by surprise. 

“This…this is Professor Ramanathan’s bungalow?”

“Yes,” he nodded.

“Then you are?”

He got off the car and removed his cap.

“My God, It’s you, Sir?  Do you remember me?  I am Suseela.”

“Suseela” he tried to recall his memory.

“Which year? Did you study under me?”

She told about an incident known to both of them. 

“Do you remember sir, once when the class was over, I asked you, what is the secret of your youth? And you replied that you go for jogging every morning and are careful with your food, and you maintain good habits.”

When I said “Oh, is that all”, everyone started laughing. 

“Now, I remember… Chatter box Suseela, right?”— He was laughing nostalgically.


Being his student, getting married, becoming a mother, losing her husband in a car accident due to drunken driving, looking after his store for living etc., …  were explained to  the Professor.

Professor Ramanathan invited Suseela in to his house.

“Have a seat. What would you like to have?  Coffee?” he said

“No Sir, it’s okay.”

“Just excuse me for a whilst I get the keys. Brause through these books. Make yourself at home. I will be back.”

Suseela started to look around the hall.  She understood that the house was lacking a woman’s touch.

She arranged all the books and newspapers that were lying around.  She took the tablecloth that was on the floor and tied it over the table and kept a vase on too.  She tidied the whole place in five minutes. 

“Wow, is this my house?”  Ramanathan’s eyes sparkled as he was bringing some coffee.  She felt very happy at his appreciation.

“Each thing should be kept in its place to enhance its beauty.  Only then it would be beautiful and will command respect?”, she said.

He suddenly looked at her.  “Well, I just forgot everything when my daughter left me.  I have no interest in this life”, he said with a huge sigh.

The death of his beloved wife, the elopement of his only daughter with somebody not liking the strict lifestyle, his disinterest in life etc., … he was discussing all these things openly with Suseela.

Then both of them went with another key to open the car.  Ramanathan thanked Suseela many times and then departed.

From there on whenever he had spare time, Ramanathan went to Suseela’s store.  He started to come out of his loneliness as if he was free from an entrapment.

He began teaching Nila, Suseela’s eighteen-year-old daughter over the weekends on Suseela’s request.  One day when he was teaching calculus, an unexpected incident took place.  He noticed that Nila was concentrating on him rather than on the maths.

“What are you thinking about?”

“You are so handsome”, she said abruptly. 

He could not believe what he heard and was shocked.

“What sir, did you get scared?” she asked with a cheeky smile.

“Why are you not concentrating on your studies?” he said sternly.

“Am I not allowed to say that you are handsome?” she replied lowering her tone of voice.

He hesitated and said, “You can, but not during your study time.”

 “Ok. Sir” and she pulled her self-close to him and whispered ‘I love you’ and gave him a gentle kiss on his cheeks.

He was taken back by surprise.  He felt as if his daughter came running to him and gave him a kiss.  But he controlled himself and said “Do you like me?”

“No, I love you” she said strongly.

“Love?  What are you talking about? Do you know the meaning of true love?  I have a daughter older than you.  You should not blabber like this.  I am like your father.”

“Father?  You?  Who said?”

Before he could search for a reply, she ran into her room and slammed the door.

Later that day he went into Suseela’s store, and said “Your daughter is also a chatter box like you”

He told her what had happened that morning. Suseela was awestruck.

Suseela felt embarrassed by her daughter’s action.

“She is a girl without a father.  That is the reason why she is confused about love and affection,” she said in a apologizing tone.

“Don’t worry, Suseela.  This is a normal occurring infatuation at this age.  She didn’t know who to say  to.  She’ll mature as she grows older.”

“I don’t think so, I know her stubbornness.  I should not let this confusion to grow in her.  I need your help for that, will you help me?” Suseela asked with hesitation.

“Me… how?  Shall I go and talk to her?”

“She is not listen to what you say.  There is only one way, that is Will you marry me?”

“Suseela, what are you talking?”  Ramanathan was shocked. ”Are you out of your mind?” he asked.

“No, even I could do with a permanent support.  You are the most suitable person for that.  I began to understand that since I started to acquaint with you.  Moreover, my daughter needs an affectionate father and I knew that you will be a good father to her.  She has developed a wrong opinion in her heart about you.  Only you can put it right” she said with a clear mind.

“How?” he asked confused.

“‘You, my father?’ she asked you… that is the reason.  Hereafter, you have to prove that you are her father.  Will you do this for me?” she literally begged him.

           
Later on that day, when Suseela got home she rang the doorbell, Nila came running to open the door.  When she saw her mother and Ramanathan with flowers and garlands, she was startled for a moment. 

“Nila, this is your father from now on.”  Nila understood her mother just with her expression. 

Rest of the day none of them spoke. The house was dampened with silence.

Nila suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, she felt her mother hugging her and sleeping with her.

“Mum, why are you here?”

“Why are you surprised?  I always sleep with you.”

“What’s this Mum?  How long are you going to sleep with me?” she was stammering as she spoke.

“From now on, I want to sleep on my own.  You should refrer to your room now.  I will be fine. Thanks Mum.”

Suseela was too disturbed with her daughter’s reaction.  Nila took her arms and pushed her into Ramanathan’s room and shut the door behind her.


Next morning, when Nila woke up, Suseela was brewing coffee for everyone. 

“Good morning Nila, here’s your coffee.”

“Thanks Mum.  Where is my father?”

“Father?”  Suseela couldn’t believe her ears.

 “He is reading the newspaper in the living room.”

“Have you given his coffee?”

“No.”

“Let me give it to him” she took the coffee and went to her father.

“Good morning Dad! have some coffee.” She said with affection.

When Ramanathan heard this.  He thought that many days have passed by with no one calling him ‘Dad’.  He was very happy when Nila called him ‘Dad’ with a lot of love.  He took his coffee from Nila and kept it on the table.

“Won’t you even thank me?” asked Nila.

His silence hurt her very much.  “Okay, you need not tell me thanks.  Just say that you forgive me.  That’s enough” she took his hands. Tears began running down her cherry cheeks. 

“What happened?   Why are you crying Nile?” he asked her buffed.

“I hurt your feelings, Dad.  I don’t know if my decision was good or bad.  But the method I took to succeed with my plans was surely wrong.  Please forgive me.”

“I don’t understand.  What decision?  What plan?” Ramanathan asked even more confused.

“After my father died, my mother only lived for me.  She controlled all her likes and desires and was living like a stone.  Thirty-eight years is not a big age. When I asked her to remarry several times, she refused.  Both you and my mum got along very well.  So, I thought that you are the right match for her.  To make it happen, I had to act in a small play.  I didn’t know a better way to make my mom agree.  Forgive me dad, please.”

“No, you didn’t do anything wrong.  I have seen mothers searching a groom for their daughters.  But I am seeing a girl who has performed the marriage of her mother for the first time.  You are great.”  Professor Ramanathan caressed his daughter and gave her a kiss on the forehead. 


(Courtesy: Ananthavikatan – India)




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