AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – VII

Next day morning when Radha opened her eyes, she realized that atmosphere wasn’t as silent as it usually is. There is some commotion outside the door, she cannot figure out what it is till she actually goes out of the door to check. But she felt lazy, must be some maids and milkman fighting. She somehow dragged herself out of the bed to the kitchen to drink warm lime water. While she was immersed in her tasteless lime water, she heard a voice outside the door that sounded familiar. It is the old man, but why is he shouting? Curious to see what was happening outside, she opened the door. 

There was a man standing, dressed up in blue blazer with a suitcase next to him. She could smell his cologne even from a distance – the typical look and smell of a NRI. Old man was standing at the door with a red face full of anger. “You nicely show up when I tell you that this flat is on sale? What do you think of yourself? You left me at the old age home to just die without a family member. I somehow managed to buy this flat from my savings. Now when I want to sell this flat and donate the money to the old age home – you show up on my doorstep. It is all my fault, maybe I did not give you the right sanskar. You are all a selfish generation only concerned about money. Go away to US to your family. I am nobody to you and do not expect a single paisa from this property.”

“Baba, you have to let me speak at least. I have not come for the property. You can give the money to whoever you want. Baba, let me come inside. I want to talk to you.” The man says feeling embarrassed that his family story is being discussed in public. Radha realizes that this man must be the old man’s son. “What a jerk!” she thought. 

The old man closed the door on his son’s face. Radha was still standing being a witness to this family drama. The NRI son looked at Radha and said “Do you mind giving me a glass of water?” Radha too wanted to shut the door on his face. Such people who cannot take care of their parents deserve this only. She never had parents so she didn’t understand how somebody could take the parents for granted. She had spent her entire childhood wondering how life would be if she lived with her parents like all kids do. And here is this jerk who had a great childhood because he got to live with his parents and now when they are old, he doesn’t care. 

Radha nodded and came inside. The man followed her hesitatingly. “Do you mind if I can sit down for a while? I had a long 30 hour flight and I am really tired. My father won’t let me in, he thinks I am jerk.” Radha did not comment although she really wanted to give him a piece of her mind. She let him in. The man sat down, he looked really tired. Radha went in to get a glass of water and when she came out she was surprised to see that man had tears in his eyes. She was in no mood to empathize with him. It was already 7:30 am and she had to get ready to start work on the new project with Vansh. 

Just then Pragya came out rubbing her eyes. “What’s up, babe? You still haven’t taken a bath. I need coffee. Can you fix me a cup, please darling?” As soon as Pragya noticed a stranger in the house, she almost screamed. Radha quickly pulled her in kitchen and told her the whole story about the old man and the son. Pragya said “What the hell is this drama on an early Wednesday morning? I have got work to do and so do you. Just ask him to get lost. He anyways deserve it.” Radha nodded but deep down inside her she knew that she couldn’t simply drive a stranger out of the house who is in this state of mind. 

“Do you want a cup of coffee?” Radha asked the man. Pragya rolled her eyes back in the kitchen. 

“Aaaaa, no I guess. I will see if there is a hotel nearby where I can spent time till tomorrow. I will book a flight back to New Jersey tomorrow night. By the way, my name is Akash. You are?”

“I am Radha and she is my flatmate Pragya.” Radha managed to give a short smile. 

“Can I ask you something? Why did you really think that your father will let you stay with him and that you could have the money from this flat? Didn’t you leave him at an old age home years back? I know it is your personal life, but I am really curious.” Said Radha with a taunting smile. 

“It’s a long story. I think both of you will get late for work if I start my tale. But right now I will just say that don’t judge me by listening to what my father said now. I am in a lot of pain. I just lost my family back in New Jersey and I realize what I did to my father and mother was wrong. I did not even come to visit my mother when she was dying from cancer. After her death, I thought my father would well off with others of his age. My wife didn’t want him to come and stay with us. So, I left him at old age home. I had no idea that he bought this house and neither did I know that he is planning to sell it. I have earned enough money, I am not looking for property share. I just came to apologize to my father now because I suffered the same pain that I gave him years back.” Said Akash, his face was softened and Radha could see tears in his eyes. 

To Radha’s surpsrise, it was Pragya who spoke now “Mr. Akash, we really don’t know you or your father. He only comes here to get some ice every night for his drink. That itself makes me sad that he has stay alone at this age. When Radha told me about what happened this morning, I was quite sure that you are nothing but a jerk who deserves this. Now listening to you and looking at your state, I really think that you should give a little more effort in convincing your father. If you just take the flight tomorrow night because your father said all this to you – then you definitely are a son that no parent should ever have. He is upset with you and if you are really regretting your decisions of past, then you should not run away like this. Your father is hurt from years and he has a right to say all this to you. This would my advice to you, rest is up to you.”

Akash was thinking deeply now. What Pragya said seem to make an impact on him. Radha and Pragya looked at each other, not sure of whether to interrupt him or not. Radha went to the kitchen as coffee maker was now ready with the coffee. She got three cups ready and came out. 

Akash took a cup still staring down at the floor. There was silence in the room for next 10 mins. After which Akash got up wiping his eyes. He looked at both of them and managed to give a smile. “Thank you for the coffee. I will just go to one of the hotels nearby. And thank you so much for the advice. You are right, I should not give up. I have to try and convince my dad to come and stay with me in US. I will make up for all the lost time. Thank you so much again.” Radha and Pragya smiled at him. He went out with his suitcase. 

Radha and Pragya looked at each other and then Radha shouted “Oh my my!!, it is 8’o clock. I am going to get super late. I got to rush babes.” 

“Go girl go, I am going to chill out at home for an hour more.” Said Pragya. 

Radha got dressed and just before leaving she gave a long hug to Pragya. “I never knew my bindaas friend could even advice somebody that impacts him so deep.” Said Radha. 

“Don’t underestimate me, sweetie.” Said Pragya winking at her. 

Radha left home and Pragya switched on TV and sat on the sofa. She noticed a card on the floor, she picked it up and it said – 

“Dr. Akash Verma,

MBBS MD Orthopaedics,

Kendred Hospital

New Jersey”

It had his picture of his smiling face which looked quite handsome along with his number and email ID.

“Why did he leave his visiting card at our place?” thought Pragya. And now she had an urge to google this guy and she couldn’t stop thinking if he would really take her advice seriously and come back for his dad again. She would find out in some time.