Living in Time Warp (Chapter 4)

by Dr. Pran Rangan

Meanwhile, Shayamala gets admission in a medical college in Allahabad as her sincere hard work comes to fruition. When she breaks the good news to her parents, their happiness knows no bounds. But Sujata suddenly feels the pang of absence of her son, as he would have been the happiest of all to learn it. Now at least they have something that can cheer them up.

Today is the last working day for Sadanand in his office as he is retiring after serving for 35 years. His colleagues arrange a small valedictory function in a small hall after office hours. Everyone spoke in high praise of Sadanand as he had been a conscientious worker, who was always willing to help others in need. His behavior was exemplary throughout his career. He feels sad on parting with his office friends and colleagues. However, he assumes that with no burden of official work, he will have some succor at home from the emotional upheaval caused by the disappearance of Aditaya.

When Sadanand was posted at Lucknow about ten years back, he had purchased a house there in Mahanagar. He has decided that he would shift to that house with his wife and their daughter would continue living at Allahabad to pursue her studies in medical college. On reaching home, when he conveyed his decision to his wife and daughter, they readily agreed to it. When Shayamala suggested that she would like to stay in hostel to pursue studies, her parents agreed to it.

His stay of ten years at Allahabad had earned him some good friends. Parting with them appears to be quite painful for him. So, Sadananad decides that before leaving he would personally meet each of them to thank for their valuable friendship and support.

After a month Sadanand got ready to move to Lucknow with his wife as it took time to get some revamping done in their home. Many of their friends came to send them off at the railway station on the day they had to move. It was an emotional send-off as everyone expressed feelings in their own way. Shayamala also came to see them off as she was to stay back at Allahabad. As she hugged her parents one by one, tears trickled down her cheeks, making it difficult for her to speak as she was emotionally moved.

It took time to unpack things and arrange them in their proper places. At last when they had settled down in their new home, they informed their relatives and friends residing at Lucknow. Everyone came to congratulate them as they have moved into a new home after retirement. Sadanand and his wife were very happy to renew those relationships. They felt at ease at Lucknow because of old friends and relatives, although they had been away from the city for a long time.

It has been a habit with Sadanand since very long that he used to go for a regular morning walk at 6.00 a.m. He liked to leave home exactly at this time to walk for 45 minutes almost daily. He didn't want to discontinue the habit. So, he started going for a walk in a nearby park at Mahanagar after coming to Lucknow. Some of other residents of the same area also used to walk in the same park. After some time, Sadanand developed acquaintance with a few of them, who were also retired persons like him. They all formed a sort of close group, who used to indulge in discussion on various topics of general interest, especially politics as Indians have a never-ending interest in politics. Members of this group also began holding informal get-to-gathers in which respective family members were also invited.

Sadanand has been well settled by now as three years have passed by uneventfully. Life has been going on an even keel comfortably for Sadanand and family. His daughter is also doing well in studies and is regularly in touch with them. She has entered her final year of studies. Next year, she will be graduating out as a doctor by the grace of the Almighty.

Four years later

One day Sadanand happens to come across a shabby fellow with disheveled appearance with long matted hair and unkempt beard early in the morning while going for the walk. When Sadanand passed by this emaciated fellow, he smiled at him, who was touched by his innocence. Sadanand tried to talk to him but he kept smiling without speaking. Sadanand moved on continuing the morning walk. Throughout his walk he was haunted by memory of the emaciated weakling with innocent smile. The fellow could evoke intense compassion in him. Though he couldn't recognize the fellow, he was unable understand the reason for the overwhelming compassion for him. He decides that he will bring something to eat daily for him as he is very frail. Next day Sadanand brought some food and offered him, who readily accepted, gobbling everything fast as he was very hungry. Sadanand started bringing something to eat daily for him and he accepted it with a smile as if he had been waiting for him. Sadanand waited there to see that he had eaten up everything. Then he moved on continuing his morning walk.

To be concluded

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