A flurry of thoughts rattled the minds of Amish and Ruma. How and what to tell Sagar? They considered telling Sagar that the lovely bouquet of flowers had been sent by Ruma’s friend. But then they were reminded of the disastrous consequences of a hidden truth several years before, that had shattered the family.
Sagar’s mood swings over the years had often scared them. After Samar left, joy and laughter were elusive to Sagar. His parents felt guilty for making Sagar go through it all. They had tried talking to him and making him understand. But, his anger had taken a better hold of him. He hated Samar for sharing his parents’ love. Intruder…yes, intruder was what Sagar had labelled Samar. He was angry with his father for marrying a woman like Ruma and giving shelter and the rights of sonship to someone who was not his biological son. He was angry with his mother for bringing a baggage called ‘Samar’ into the family.
As months passed by, Amish and Ruma tried their best to shower their undiluted love on Sagar. No mention of Samar was ever made in the household.
From being angry with his parents and Samar, Sagar had meanwhile turned his anger inwards. In the midst of blazing flames within, the truth was that he terribly missed Samar!
As years rolled on, Sagar remembered Samar at every step. Samar had been more than a brother to him. How could he have blasted him that way? But, the word that his friend had told him that day – STEPBROTHER – took away all remorse from within him. He no longer felt guilty. He felt that he had done the right thing by claiming his due position in the family.
Now there was no one to boss over him! But then, this was exactly what Sagar was missing! Samar had selflessly loved Sagar. He had been a father-figure, a friend, counsellor and guide. Moreover it was not Samar’s fault at all. He was completely unaware of his past himself. He was a victim of circumstances.
The storms raging within Sagar had created enough space for cigarettes and alcohol to enter into his life. As he grew up, he realized how childish he had been in dealing with the situation. But, then he was indeed a child that time!
Deep down he wanted to know where Samar was. There was a creepy fear within – What if Samar had walked out of home and committed suicide! A young boy coming face to face with his past, yet not knowing the the story in entirety; accused and rejected by a brother whom he adored more than anybody or anything else; how much of a weight those tender shoulders would have carried that day!
During those initial few months after Samar left, Sagar knew how frantically his parents ran helter-skelter in search of Samar – calling up and visiting all relatives, several rounds to the local police, advertising in the newspapers and promising a reward to anyone who would give the information about Samar. However, Samar remained untraceable.
Over the years, the threesome had got used to the absence of Samar. But, none of them could get him out of their minds. Nightmares had haunted his mother for years together. She had turned an insomniac. And, how many times had she imagined the doorbell ring and rushed to open the door, with no one outside. Each one had quietly longed for Samar to take the road back home.
And now as Amish and Ruma sat waiting for Sagar’s return, each was clueless what to do.
There was a sharp ring on the doorbell startling them both. Amish went and opened the door. It was Sagar. He was back from the day’s work, unusually late and barely able to maintain his balance.
“You are drunk again?”, shouted Amish. “You ought to have better stayed with those friends of yours. How unfortunate of me to have such a son!”
Ruma rushed to the door, hearing the commotion. Tears trickling down her eyes and a palm pressed to her mouth, she clung onto her husband.
Sagar staggered inside and headed for his room.