I invite everyone to choose forgiveness rather than division, teamwork over personal ambition.
- Jean-Francois Cope
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The morning sun always brings brightness in their home, the dew made them fresh. The chirping filled their ears with melody. The everyday schedule was on the go for them. Getting up early and going on work seemed liked a monotonous habit. They were a happy, small family of four, mother, father and their offspring, a son and a daughter . The father, Anirudh Madan, a well known politician, a shrewd person, strict by his regime and wanted his children to follow his way and become politicians. His wife, Vedika Madan, a columnist, although politics wasn’t her genre. But still she was judged politically, but all that didn’t bother her writing and she kept her good work up. Her only weakness was her children, Mayank and Niyati. Mayank, the elder child, was the caring one, silent lad.. He always had been interested in football and his only dream was to make India stand as an international team. Education was never his cup of tea, and used to bunk classes by excusing for sports. Where as Niyati was totally different, a social freak, the queen bee. For her the only thing that mattered except her family was her circle, her friends who had always been there for her. The family hadn’t been through problems as such except the controversies, but all of it didn’t matter to them.
One day, like every other day, all of them got up early for their respective chores. As Mayank was getting his shoes on, his dad looked upon him and said ‘ you know you’re so lucky, you have been born with a silver spoon, there are many who don’t have that life like yours' . ‘ So what can I do for that' he replied. ‘ Serve this nation, help the people get a life like yours' was his father’s demand. To which his quick reply was ‘dad I will surely serve this nation and everyone will be proud of me, but differently not the way you’re suggesting, I'll take this nation experience football at an international level. That'll be more my thing'. ‘Again, you know how difficult it is to begin from a dot. No, you don’t . In fact, you’re not any close to the struggle, in my times, I just had hundred rupees and a lone road to travel by. After the age of around 18, we didn’t made our expenses pay by our parents, we started earning by that time by different means like I have sold newspapers, worked as waiter and many more. Mayank, life isn’t easy, like you’re thinking. That’s why I don’t want you both to go the way I have been through’. ‘ Dad that’s not fair, why are you dragging me into this, I want to be an actress, and there’s no way I’m going to comprise on this matter' said Niyati as her father mentioned her in his usual lectures. ‘That’s my point dad, I want to do something which is different, like you did, and I’m sure you'll be proud of me dad and I know you care for us, but its important that we do something on our own otherwise what’s the difference between a beggar’s son and me as he's is forced to take his father’s profession out of option, but we, having every sort of resources couldn’t make our own life, couldn’t fulfil our dream, we'll be a bigger beggar than them, dad' was his reply. ‘ This sounds good away from reality my son, the world isn’t a place to have such thoughts, think practically that’s what survives' was a fitting reply by his father. As the school bus honked, ‘dad we’ll have this later, bye' he said as he went to take on another day at his field. As he went to his bus, he waved him a goodbye, and turned around for his work day, today, was a special day, the prime minister was launching a campaign for education to girl child, and had ordered his ministers to come along with their wives or daughters. So he had some time short, as his lady was getting ready. Watching TV was something he opt for, all of the news was flooded with today’s show. In that he heard his wife calling him out, so that the driver is ready to move until she reaches.
Mayank was in his dressing room, and was ready for his match today, with his most sought after rival, St. Jacob School. All his conversations with his dad in the morning affected him but this wasn’t time for it, and began concentrating on his today’s strategy. He knew, now was the time to prove to his coach that he was a deserving captain. As he went on the field, he with his team had discussed the plan once again, it was the final match of the interschool tournament organized by the opponent school. As the game started, within the first twenty, the hosts had their first goal, it wasn’t going the way planned. But not even two minutes within time, Mayank's team scored a goal from a corner shot. As the goal was scored, Mayank wasn’t felling the usual joy, he knew the game was way above this. Till the half time, there wasn’t a score from the either side and the game went with one each till full ninety minutes. But, for the first time, the three minutes injury time proved beneficial for Mayank and as the jersey number 14 came forward and a gave a cross shot for Mayank to score, he kicked the ball and it flung like a swirling twister and touching the goalie hands, the ball gave him no chance to save that immediate goal. As Mayank scored the winning goal, all the team went up and hugged him. But, for the first time in his short span of career, he felt nothing.
As the day at school got over, both of them headed towards home. Unknown to what happened in their absence, as they went on and got out of the bus, they saw many cars parked outside their house, surprised as they reached the gate, asked the guard about what happened, his reply was just go inside, your uncle was waiting. ‘ Maybe there’s a surprise for us, so good' said Niyati as they moved towards the doorway. As they entered the hall, they saw no relative, instead they saw lots of people circling around their verandah as they went ahead. Reaching to the object of attraction, what was in front of their eyes was unbelievable, their world shattered as they saw two lifeless bodies. Mayank heard people speaking to themselves about the unfortunate accident which left him to live his life orphan. All this was devastating, he wasn’t expecting this. It would have been the proud expression on his father’s face which he had expected. He couldn’t believe that the conversation he had with his father was the last one, he wished he could make him see the proud moment. But, it was too late. His dream went in vain. He stood silently in his place, whereas Niyati dropped to the ground and started weeping. Until now, the people recognized them and helped them to get stable. But this reality seemed fake. As Mayank went closer to see her late mother, he couldn’t. Every moment of this time seemed to have faded. It looked like he lost all his senses and just drifting his eyes to have a look of his parents for the one last time in his life. As he went on to touch her, to take her tender side in him forever, a police man stopped him ‘ don’t touch the bodies, the postmortem has not been done'. Mayank did not have a control on his words and said ‘ are you crazy, how dare you call them bodies, they are my parents' as he finished his sentence, he was started sobbing, hearing him his uncle, who was the only family left, came to console him. But none could not stop him. ‘ Don’t worry Mayank , everything will be fine, believe in god' that was only words his uncle say while consoling him. It had been two hours since the police had taken his parents for postmortem. He hadn’t seen Niyati for a while now, as he searched her room, she wasn’t there, he asked everyone neither of them had seen her since the past two hours. Just then Niyati came in, as his brother enquired her about her absence, she said ‘ I was in the garden'. ‘ Come with me' ordered his brother. As they went to his room, both of them hugged and cried, and later fell asleep. As his uncle came in, he covered them with the sheets. Next morning, both of them were ordered to change their clothes and come to the hall, for the last rites of their parents. Mayank couldn’t gather that strength but eventually went to watch his distorted parents. In his eyes, he had the fire for that one person who was responsible for all his pains as he saw his parents gone in the air, turning themselves into ash.
Its been six months since the terrible incidence, and the driver had only one word since his six months interrogation, ‘I am innocent’. But, what Mayank believed was that driver must be involved in the accident but there is some more to it. Even the lawyers agreed with him as they investigated the case, they saw there were many unanswered questions, but they were sure that the driver was involved. After the incident, their uncle started to stay with them, also he with Mayank had all the information about the case. Before the day of the first hearing, he had a meeting with the lawyers on the last moment preparations. ‘ Sir, we all the evidence against the driver, a there’s no reason for the driver to do such thing, so we suppose there’s someone else behind it, but we are still empty handed for the supposed mastermind' explained the lawyer, as they discussed all the points for the case. Mayank felt the same nervous he had felt during his last match. Niyati had insisted him to get back to his sport. But even the idea made him annoyed. The hearing went as expected and everything went good, still Mayank felt something was indifferent, the judge gave another month for searching the mastermind as they believed.
‘ There's been two weeks since the first hearing and still we have no evidence, I don’t what to do now’ said Mayank to his sister. ‘ Don’t you worry, everything will be fine' as Niyati said this they heard the phone ring, he picked up ‘ are you fine?’ said the voice from the other side. ‘ Yes, don’t worry about us, just return as soon as possible’ said Mayank as he replied to the caller and kept the phone. As he went on to sleep, he saw his father which possibly seemed like a dream, his father said him ‘ Mayank, you know why I was always behind you for your profession choice because I didn’t want you to face this cruel world, I know it was selfish of me as a father but I just wanted to protect you. But its me today, who’s telling you to live your dream my child, I’ll feel that you have forgiven me, consider it as my last wish' as he heard his father’s words his only goal in life was to fulfil them, but not before his parents culprits are found and arrested.
Next day, as Mayank and Niyati were discussing his last night dream, the security guard interrupted their conversation ‘ sir, I found this CD hidden in the garden, even the gardener couldn’t see it, sir, so I thought to show it you'. As Mayank looked over the CD, he wondered what “undercover operation” meant. ‘ Did you get something else than that' asked Mayank, to which he replied ‘ no, sir'. ‘ You may leave now' said Mayank. As the guard went, both of them switched the player on, and then what they heard was the darkest truth of their own life, it left them awestruck. ‘ How is this possible, in fact, why would anyone keep this important proof in such open' asked Niyati to his brother. ‘ I can’t guess why, but the thing before this is to know is the person behind it, this man in the black t-shirt in the video clip is our culprit’ explained Mayank. ‘ But how, we can’t even see his face properly' informed Niyati. ‘ That’s the trick, what I think is that the mastermind wants to challenge us, he thinks we can’t catch him' told Mayank. As he said this, he realized something, ‘ Niyati, I know what I’m going to say is tough to believe, but there is even a possibility that anyone of us, as I mean someone from this house is involved in this as only here everybody knew when mom and dad went for the function and in which car'. ‘ We can’t do this brother, these people have been through our rough times, we can’t doubt them' said Niyati as she couldn’t believe his words. ‘ I’m saying this is just a possibility, I’m not even sure about it, also one thing don’t tell anyone about this CD, not even uncle' said Mayank, ‘ but why not uncle, he should know this piece of information’ asked Niyati. To which Mayank said ‘ just, do as I say', ‘ brother, are you doubting uncle, not him, please’ said Niyati. ‘ Listen to the video again, do you hear the sound of the thud, what I feel is, this is quite loud and what I suspect is that it is a place near uncle’s old home as you could recall once we had been to his house and he took us to the nearby foundry' explained Mayank. ‘ Yeah, I do remember that, but that’s not enough for doubting uncle’ said Niyati. ‘ Its just for the start, I’m not even sure of this' said Mayank. But, he had already planned something for uncle.
Next morning, he went to the police with the CD and handed a copy of it to them to find the other man in the video. He had to be extremely cautious, even one careless step can destroy his plans. They assured him that there’ll be police for his safety.
Nearly, a week before the hearing, his uncle returned from his tour. Everything seemed normal, all of them chatted, Mayank and Niyati informed about what happened in that week when he was out ‘ Any changes in the case' asked his uncle. ‘ No, until now we have no information about the mystery man, I’m really tensed, god knows who’s behind all our mess' said Mayank as he looked worried. ‘ You look tensed so why not we all sleep together, maybe in each others company, we’ll feel better, if you don’t mind Niyati’. ‘ No, uncle, its fine, I have no problem with it, we’ll sleep together in brother’s room' announced Niyati. As all the preparations were done, they went on to sleep. Everything went smoothly. Around midnight, as all of them were sound asleep, uncle got up, went to his room and fetched his weapon, returned what he saw was totally unexpected, the police was having him on their gun point and in front of his eyes his niece and nephew were standing. ‘ What is this Mayank, what is this happening’ enquired his uncle. ‘ Don’t behave so innocent, we know you are the mastermind, you killed our parents, we got your CD and its better for you to accept your crime or else we have our evidence' said Mayank. ‘ How is that possible, I had hid it in the garden, but you still don’t have the prove how I killed them, that CD was just the beginning for my guiltiness' said uncle. ‘ Don’t be so impatient, uncle, I’ll get you updated, we found the other man in the video and he gave his statement to the police that you planned the murder, and bribed him to take a getup of a beggar on the traffic light from which mom and dad went, and as of dad, you knew will definitely open his window to help the poor, the person took advantage of the situation and fired a silencer fitted gun, so that the driver couldn’t hear its sound. I must say a rather bold move and then you instructed the same person to take a truck and collide it with the back of the car, so that all the attention is towards the driver, and you are left innocent. Today, you wanted to kill us, and I don’t get why did you do all this' explained Mayank. To which his uncle replied ‘ I wanted money as I was in great amount of debt and would be my last chance for a lavish life'.
As for the day of hearing, the court declared uncle guilty and driver was proved innocent. He along with his wife thanked Mayank and Niyati for saving him.
After that hearing date, as part of his dad’s last wish, he started to get back on his field, and today exactly after ten years of that deadly day or after that final match. Mayank was standing admist the crowd singing the national anthem of India, for the match being played between his most sought after rival, but this time, he just wanted to enjoy his game and fulfil his father’s wish. And as the half time ended, none of the countries scored, and still same till the ninety minutes into the game. Those three minutes, he supposed was only the final match thing and it proved its worth yet another time, jersey number 14 passed the ball to Mayank and he scored in that final minute.
As reporter came near him, to ask him for his moment, he spoke “ I told you dad, you’ll be proud of me”. As he went on hug, Niyati and the join the celebration.