When The Death Bell Tolls

Raju was a devoted son. He lost his mother when he first saw the peculiarity of this world and his father was all that he had since birth. Being a single child, his father showered all the love of the world, the world could ever imagine and was always the delight of his father’s eyes. Raju, on the other hand, took the charge of making his father smile often and reimburse all the resplendent gift of love his father usually shower at him. He decided to fulfil all the duties God has bestowed upon him as a son of his father. Raju topped the Civil services exam and soon became an IAS officer. That day, as he still remembers, he went to the veranda of his house, folding the newspaper in which the result of the civil examination was declared.

“Father” He said slowly as to not disturbing father abruptly.

“Yes son. Why have you woken up so early?” He asked looking surprised.

“The Civil result is out father. I have topped the examination” He said and the face of his father concocted into the most beautiful face of the world. Pride, respect, love, honour was all that he saw in those shimmering moistened eyes. He touched the feet of his father in want of the blessings and his father gave them in abundance.

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Time rolled by and the days became small memories for Raju’s father. He was now retired from his work and was counting on his last days, despondently conjuring the death god all in the want of that eternal peace. Everything was changed now. His face, age or the mightiness of his bones but what not changed an inch was Raju’s attachment for his father. They still shared the same camaraderie that had been 20 years back and was delighted when Raju was back from work. He ate the dinner with Raju and listened to the important newspaper headlines from him in the morning. What else he wanted from life? God has already given them enough, thought Raju’s father. He is really a devoted son, for he did not change even after getting a wife, though Raju’s father again.

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“No father. You should not savour that amount of sweet. It’s not good for your health” Raju yelled one day and the milk sweet fell from his father rickety fingers. Soon his appetite was getting measured and was given the meagre amount of food to fit for his bowel movement. The spicy food he loved was abased into a boiled food and he hated the very sight of it. He refused to eat it for a couple of days but soon surrendered when the falling health went out of control.

“Father, don’t be so adamant. It is only for you betterment” Raju usually prattled these lines whenever his father refused to eat. Things went on for more couple of months but now all Raju’s father wished was a white cloth, the death cloth to be clad around his body or to clasp the very death close to his heart.

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“Why doesn’t he understand my predicament? I know he cares for me but what if I too want to die? Raju eavesdropped while his father cried this in utmost fury and helplessness. “What does he mean by that?” Raju asked himself. “why doesn’t he want to live? “does he not love me now?” These tormenting questions scorched his brains and kept his mind upset for the rest of the day. He couldn’t care of anything else but to decipher the actual meaning of his father’s words. It felt to him a deep philosophical sermon demanding to be untangled and decrypted its true meaning but the meaning of his father words was simple. Maybe Raju was unwilling to understand. Raju lay tossing over his bed, moving his body to and fro and his mind astray, completely bewildered from falling asleep. Raju got up from the bed, cautiously moved out from the room; tiptoed to the kitchen and took out a box filled with sweets from the refrigerator. What he intended to do only he knew? Soon replacing the sweet box next to his father’s table near his bed, he came back to his room and impersonated to fell asleep but in his dream he was bidding adieu to his father. After an hour or two, he once again visited his father’s room and stood cautiously at the door not willing to disturb his father. It was stark dark and he had to concentrate on one particular direction but was soon startled at noticing something. His father was savouring those sweet Raju deliberately kept next to him and his chewing face was as delighted as it was when Raju topped the Civil examination, Raju remembered. His face was fanatic, rabid and had an elated bliss across it. Raju’s father knew no boundaries of ecstasy that night while relishing those milk sweets and it felt him to be a dream, for he never believed this instance to ever be a true one in his life.

Raju, on the other hand, was just staring at his happy father’s face. Raju too knew no boundary of bliss at seeing his father enjoying his moment of life. He kept on looking his father enjoying the poison which Raju kept next to him. Raju couldn’t decide if he did right or wrong or was it ethical or the biggest stupidity one could ever commit but for him it was the best step he could have ever taken. His father was enjoying and what else Raju wanted.

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The next morning was a terrible one. Raju’s father caught a deadly fever and was suffering from high diabetes. No one knew how did he have such high sugar level but Raju knew who the culprit was. Soon his father’s face fell and a white pallor ran through his face. His loving father has passed away unnaturally. But wasn’t this unnatural death better than the paining natural death? Didn’t his father enjoy the last moment of his life before passing away from this heavenly earth? Did Raju kill his father? Was Raju a patricide or mendicant who took this step just to release the pain of his ailing father? Who knows the answer to all these questions?

Comment to tell if you believe Raju was a killer or not.

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8 Replies to “When The Death Bell Tolls”

  1. Nice story. Hard to say whether shouldn’t have given the sweets. Raju took care, but at late stage in life anyway, when father wanted to die soon anyway, letting enjoy a last wish of sweets doesn’t seem to be a killing act.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Raju’s father was in a stage of a life where he was living his second childhood. He was living under the care of the child he nurtured with his own hands. His child gave him all the happiness he ever asked for. He gave Raju sweets in his childhood so as to provide him happiness. Perhaps, in the old yet a childish stage, it was the son who became the father. Raju provided his father the happiness he asked for, adding sweets as one of the many pleasures his father could rarely afford in his old age.

    Liked by 1 person

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