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Son Shines

 

Numan was a clever fellow. He always had an innocent look when his parents were around. In other times he would be a bully. Although he had friends, no one was his true friends.

Numan is a spoilt boy of ten years. He hated studying and doing any hard work. His mother doted on him and thought that her son is the best version which she gifted to mankind. Her son could never do anything wrong, be mean and hurtful. However, Numan was a clever fellow. He always had an innocent look when his parents were around. In other times he would be a bully. Although he had friends, no one was his true friends.
They just hung around with him so that they can enjoy the delicious food he brought in tiffin from home and also get to attend his birthday party. Numan’s father was a businessman and he always had lots and lots of money to spend on his son. However, he seldom had any time for him. His mother also helped his father in his business and so even she could not give that much time as she should have given.
One afternoon as Numan’s father was about to go for a meeting, he got an urgent call from the school. Hurriedly, he and his wife reached the school to find his beloved son standing near the principal’s door. A furious teacher hassled student and the stern strict principal were waiting for them, and in a small cardboard box was a white mouse.
“ You know, what your son did?” asked the principal.
“He brought this white mouse to school and said that this is his pet. He let the mouse loose. A few children got scared, while some started playing and thus disturbed the whole class. That wretched mouse bit this boy’s bag and made a big hole. Tell me what to do with your son? I am suspending Numan for a week because of this incident. Every time he does some nuisance and the teachers are unable to conduct classes properly.” The principal finished off his sentence in one big huff.
Numan’s parents looked at the pale boy standing near the teacher and the principal. Father took out a few notes from the wallet and thrust it on the boy’s hand. He then requested the principal not to suspend Numan since this is not a very harmful prank and promised that he would ensure that Numan never did anything like this again. However, the principal never relented.
That night at home Father was very angry, not on Numan, but on the school principal. How dare he talk to him like that and think of suspending his son. Father would ring the phone and then the principal would be taken to task. After all, he was an influential man and his son is also no less than a VIP.
After a few months, the school principal got transferred to some other branch and no one in the school could say anything to Numan as they feared his father. After all, his father was in a position to take their jobs away if anyone said anything to Numan. Thus Numan continued his schooling with impunity and total disregard of the system and teachers.

As an adult, he continued his careless, arrogant ways. He was not interested in any kind of hard work and neither did he make an effort to expand his father’s business after his father’s death. All his friends left him to build their own careers. Those who stayed back were there only to exploit him and give him the wrong advice. He hated if anyone refused anything to him. He thought that he was entitled to everything since he had money and he started wasting his time with wrong people.

One day there was a buzz in the town that a new IPS officer has taken over the charges of that area. He is said to be quite strict and honest in discharging his duties and has no tolerance for any kind of mischief mongers and hoodlums. One evening the new officer Avinash, took his jeep and went for around.
As a child, he had once stayed at this place and hence when he was driving his vehicle around the town. Old and familiar memories were clouding his mind. He slowly turned his jeep in a lane and stopped in front of a big school. It is now one of the very prominent schools in the vicinity. The school was open and children were running around in the school ground. He stood there staring at the building for a long time.
Then suddenly, he jumped behind the wheels of his jeep and drove through the maze of crisscross lanes that led him in front of a big dilapidated house.
The weeds in the garden had overgrown and the wall paint was peeling off in certain portions. He was surprised to see that there was no gateman to stop him from entering. He climbed up the steps of the verandah and pressed the doorbell.

After a long wait which appeared like ages, a bulb flickered in the verandah and a middle-aged man opened the door.

Avinash looked at the face of a man with expressionless, vacant eyes. The man asked in a feeble voice whom he wanted to meet. Avinash replied that he wished to meet Numan. The man looked quite surprised that someone came searching for Numan after so many years. His mother also died of old age and because of his wild reputation. No families agreed to get their daughters married to him. Numan lived in this old, big mansion all alone much like a ghost from his previous self.
The man stepped aside and allowed Avinash to enter.
As soon as Avinash stepped inside, he saw that the hall where he had attended birthday parties previously, is now in it’s dullest and dirtiest possible hue.
The furniture has become shabby, the carpet looks worn out. The house, hall and the person inside are all looking broken and beaten.
Avinash looked at the man who opened the door and introduced himself, “ You must be Numan, as I do not see anybody else in this house.”
The man nodded in yes and asked why Avinash came searching for him after so many years.
Avinash looked at his defeated, broken friend and said, “ It is so very unfortunate that despite going to the same school and having so many friends in common we are completely in two different worlds. I remember attending your birthday parties also. However, I can never forget that incident when you got a mouse into the class and it tore my new bag. Instead of feeling apologetic and saying sorry you had a smirk which appeared like it’s no big deal.”
“You did not repent for your actions and to make matters worse your father was also taking your side. He tried to convince the principal that it was a silly joke by a child. I had lost my parents in an accident and was raised by my uncle and aunt. However, my aunt was not too fond of me and on slightest pretext would beat me or make fun of me. I had no one to look for support.”
“After pleading for months for a new bag, my uncle brought one for me and that same day you mouse made a big hole in it. My uncle got furious on seeing this and thought I was very careless. As a punishment, he sent me to a school far away.”
He paused and continued, “A boy of ten punished for no fault of his. I was so angry, disappointed and hurt by all this that I promised myself to become something worthy and meet you one day. I was a normal child but this world made me feel different as I have no parents and was more of a burden on my uncle and his family.”
“Likewise, you meant the world to your parents. They could never see you doing anything wrong and they never corrected you for your mistakes, hence you have become what you are now.

We were all normal children but the way in which we were treated and how we stood up for ourselves and face the world is what differentiates us.

We are both sons to our parents, but I without having them around know for sure that they are proud of me and you failed them miserably despite having them throughout your life.”
By now Numan was sobbing like a baby. He held onto Avinash and apologised profusely for all his mistakes and slowly realised where he and his parents went wrong.
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