Saturday, February 1

When his parents died, he ceased to exist!

He had what we generally term as chronic pain. His back ache had become a part of his new life. Whatever he did, wherever he was, he always talked about his back ache. It got repetitive after a while but no one really said him so. After all, both his parents had just died few weeks ago.

He had a little sister, who he didn’t talk to at all, not even about his chronic ever-lasting back ache. She was 14.   

They lived in a two storied home with their relatives, father’s brother’s family. Uncle had been very kind to them, provided the whole upper floor for the two of them or I should say one of them, because he was never seen. They were concerned about him and the little girl, and it showed but it was tragic how he missed all of that.

No one really knew when he was home and when he wasn’t. He walked like a shadow, quiet and cold, pale and white. His eyes seemed to be distant and forlorn; his shoulders seemed to carry the weight of the whole world. With his parents, his spirits had also left it seemed. He just talked about his back pain all the time. He kept on muttering it under his breath, ‘Oh! The pain! My back’, he’d say. His one hand was always massaging his back, although not really in any productive manner. His one hand was always there, while taking a bath, while eating, while smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes after cigarettes, cigarettes after cigarettes. Even after he left the room, the smell lingered. You could smell the poison that was reeking up his lungs, destroying it bits by bits every second. Whenever he said anything, you could see tiny puffs of smoke coming out of his mouth. His voice always choked and some words always got lost. But he kept repeating like a cassette gone bad, ‘Oh! The Pain! My back!’ She offered him help, she asked him if she wanted her to fix a doctor’s appointment, ‘now I can, I just have to ring up this number’ but he never replied, he never looked at his sister who claimed she could fix an appointment with the doctors now right from her phone.


‘Oh! The pain. My back!’ had become his signal, like the horn a train blows before coming onto the platform. When they heard this, they would know he had come. He’d take his dinner plate in his room and lock the door. The plate he carried, would return the next morning as it was, untouched. Then he started coming really late in the nights and went directly into his room, without even taking the plate. He spent his time either outside or in his room. No one knew what he did. They were concerned; they thought he was in the wrong company, involved with the wrong people.


His friends or the people he talked last before the night his parents died had visited his home many times only to find that he was not there. They once tried to track him down, they followed him, but somehow they missed him. He just disappeared into thin air, like the smoke coming out of his mouth. One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone. One minute he was there, and the next he was gone. They talked about that night frequently among themselves. How they were having the best of nights and then they heard the news. How they smoked almost non-stop for two hours and then they heard the news. ‘You bitches, I have gotten my license now, we are grownups, fuck cigarettes, let us try this.’ They tried and they got high, and then they heard the news.

He said ‘Oh! The party! My bad!’ under his breath which sounded like ‘Oh! The pain! My back!’ Everyone assumed he was talking about his back. After some time, the sound had gotten so repetitive and so constant that it had ceased to exist. They always heard it, but they didn’t.

He kept on repeating ‘oh, the party, my bad’ because he knew what happened that night, he knew how he was supposed to go with his parents but didn’t and they died. They just died on the fucking spot. No ICUs, no comas. They just lied there on the dark cold road with their eyes and skulls wide open, like God wanted them on display for some fucking morbid painting. When he saw them, he remembered:

‘Beta, your Dad doesn’t know how to drive properly. You drop us na, you’ve gotten your new license as well, show us your driving skills.’

‘Mom, we will go on a drive tomorrow, I promise. Tonight I have to go to a friend’s party, I told you about it no and its Sunday anyway, not much traffic. ’

‘Oh! The party! My bad!’

This was the last he had heard from her, from his mother. The next he saw them was when they were lying on the dark cold road with their eyes and skulls wide open. And he was high and the scene was so tragic and unbelievable that he assumed it was a movie set. He started laughing hysterically. ‘What a perfect script, what a fucking perfectly crafted script. Who’s the story writer here?’ He assumed the road was some sort of a bed on which his parents were lying and he kept on jumping and falling, jumping and falling like a madman into that pool of blood. He hurt his back a little then. He was high, but no one really said him so. After all, both his parents had died few minutes ago.   

Even on the next day and the next, he didn’t cry, he didn’t accept. It felt like he was a part of fictional stories titled ‘A smoke addict kills his parents’ or ‘how a young girl is orphan because you couldn’t leave smoking for one day!’ These titles played in his head, with evil voices of those late night television hosts. He was scared, he couldn’t sleep. He stayed wide awake the whole day and the next.  

The next day he did accept. As the reality dawned upon him, he ceased to exist. He became a shadow, his own shadow.

He got scared even more when he looked at Her. She was exactly like their mother. Short, sweet and lovely. And because he couldn’t bear the pain when he looked into those almond shaped unknowing eyes, he stopped looking altogether. He passed by her and he wanted to ask her so badly how she was coping up, since she lost both the parents as well, and she was not even let near the accident zone, she didn’t even see them one last time. He wanted to talk to her but he had no strength. He rushed back to his room before she could complete ‘Bhaiya, should I call a doctor? I know how…’ He couldn’t tell her he was the reason they were dead and with that, no doctor in the world would help. 

Late in the night, when she would be sleeping, he’d go to her room and put a blanket around her, wrapping her body nicely in the warmth of the blanket and hug her and kiss her on her forehead before shedding a tear and leaving the room. He didn’t want her to know he was there, but the smoke lingered, even after he left the room. 

‘Beta, we are leaving for the party, go home and take care of Gudiya. She’s asleep on the sofa, take her to her room and tug her nicely in a warm blanket. Your mom and I might get late.’

‘Dad, you’ll manage driving no or should I come?’

‘Haha I am your father bete, it’s you who has to manage Gudiya’s rage anyway. Hahaha’

‘She gets so angry when you wake her up. I won’t. Let her sleep on the sofa no.’

‘Haha. I know she does. Hug her once and she’ll be fine. Manage somehow, we are going!’

‘Good night Dad! Be safe!’

‘Good night beta!’


‘What a perfect script,’ he said, ‘what a fucking perfectly crafted script!’

The End


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Photograph by: Gaurav

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