The clock….

June 1995
I lay there like a burrito, wrapped in a warm, hand-knitted blanket by my late grandmother, in between my parents. On my right snored my father, and the left was occupied by my mother (no snores of course). I rotate my pupils. It was 6:30 am and I was hungry. But I had to wait until either of them wakes up. I crave for the Bournvita. But I knew i had to wait till 8:00 for that. I sighed, impatiently. I stared across at the wall clock in the hall, the pendulum swinging in a pattern. The clock arm ticking. I could hear my grandpa snoring. If he was awake, I knew we both would have had Bournvita by now. But I had to wait. I strained my ears to hear him wake up and pick the walking stick and walk towards the bathroom, but he continued snoring. The clock continued ticking. I pulled the blanket over my face and closed my eyes.

June 1998
Grandpa was watering the plants in the garden. I circled around him, tirelessly munching biscuits. An orange butterfly had caught my eye. “So how was school today?” He asked. “It was good! They made us draw today. I drew a butterfly. A big orange butterfly. I named him Riley.” I said eyeing a raven perched upon the Jamun tree. The raven croaked in a pattern. Few other Ravens joined him.

downloadYour father was quite an artist back then..!” Grandpa said.

“What he drew?” I asked still looking at the Raven.

“All kinds of butterflies..” He smiled. “Small …big..All possible colors!” He said. The earth smelled good as the water sipped around.

“Are we going for a walk today?” I asked stuffing last few pieces of  biscuits in my mouth.

“Not today..!” “Why not?” I looked at him, chewing.

“I have to go to the doctor..” “How many chocolates did you eat grandpa?” I asked him. “Loads…” He said “I shouldn’t have. Even you should not. ” Then he sneezed. I laughed and said “God bless you!” “Well well..” He said. “I finally have a grandson that I can be proud of..” I laughed. He too. I heard the clock chimed five times. It was playtime.

June 1999
I was drawing a butterfly sitting on the floor, in the hallway; Grandpa lay reading a book on his swinging armchair. The clock chimed nine times. It was time for his medicine. I got up and went in the kitchen to fetch the medicine box but stooped as I heard my parents arguing.
“You should tell him to stop watering the plants…The cold seeps in..that’s how he falls sick.” Mom said.
“He is been a farmer all his life. He enjoys doing it. ” My dad replied.
“You know i am worried about his health… you should speak to him about this..”
“But the doctor said its very common at his age..besides, that’s good way to pass his time. Or else he will be sulking in a corner.”

“But…”

“That’s enough. Did you pay Aryan’s tuition fee today?.” My mother nodded and said no more. I entered and walked towards the wooden cupboard and took out the box.

“Hello there..Hows the butterfly coming up?” Dad asked me. “Few more minutes and it should be ready..” I said and went out. I ran towards Grandpa. “Grandpa..” He was dozing off. “Yes..?” “Can I water the plants from tomorrow?”

June 2003
I was in a hurry. Exam day. Mathematics. I thought I understood the subject, but the subject thought the opposite…and proved it often! I stopped the attempts of mother to feed the breakfast and hurried down the hallway when grandpa cleared his throat. “Not now…” I barked and he chuckled. “A sip is all i ask!” He produced a glass of Bournvita. I smiled, tension relieved for a second. I took a gulp and bid the goodbyes. “All the best.” He winked. I felt light. The clock chimed  11. “Don’t forget your medicine!” I said.

June 2006
I was getting into the college bus when I got the message. “Aryan, your Grandpa has fallen sick! I will be in the hospital tonight. Nothing serious. But he needs to spend the night there for some tests. I have cooked dinner for you . Heat it up when you get home. Me and Dad will see you in the morning. Love you.” I didn’t like the feel..nevertheless, i went home and not at the hospital. Another message flashed on my phone. “Can you get the clock repaired today? I forgot to wind that up. Eat you dinner. Love you, Dad.” I stared at the stopped clock. The time showed 2.

June 2008
” I am so proud of you” Grandpa hugged me. “The art exhibition was wonderful!” I had never felt happier in my life. Everybody was hugging and congratulating me. “Lets go out for dinner..!” My dad said. A while later, everyone was out in the driveway.”Aren’t you coming grandpa?” I asked. “Oh no..You guys carry on.. I had a tiring day…Besides I want to have some Bournvita” He winked at me, his wrinkles more prominent this time. I struggled for few more minutes.”Okay…have your medicines after dinner!.” I warned him. The clock chimed ten.

June 2009
I clutched the table for support, my knees lost all their strength. I felt pukish. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on the phone. “But dad…He w-was f-fine last night..I-i spoke to h-him before g-going to college…. “I managed to say that much. “I am waiting for your mother at the hospital..once she is here, I will come and pick you up, son. Stay in the house. ” My father cut the call. I sat on the floor, teary-eyed and broke into a loud cry. He couldn’t die. Few moments later, i managed to stare up at the clock. It had stopped ticking. The pendulum was stuck halfway and the time read 6:00.

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