“And the best student award goes to Mahadev Verma of 10th D”

Hearing the huge round of applause, he felt elated!! In fact, the happiness clouded his vision, and he could hear his heart thump. Like a superhero, he was gliding through and reached the stage to collect his prize. He just grabbed the glittering yet heavy trophy from his Principal who was looking quite charming in her violet saree. After all, it’s the Annual Day and it is the valedictory function which can be said as the most anticipated element of the function rather than the various cultural programs that preceded it.

As he went back to take up his seat in the front row, he was enveloped by a lot of people mercilessly complimenting him continuously. He felt very odd at the moment. He feigned as if he had a call from his mother and went away to the back of the big ground which was the venue of the celebrations. Deep in his mind, he had some hope his parents would call him. But no; they had some other bigger priority than their lone son.

He ran up to the parking section and saw his driving yawning out of utter boredom. His presence made the driver turn happy. After all, he could have a tight sleep after dropping his Chota Sethji back to his home. Soon, they reached home. A posh bungalow to be precise. Now, he was eager to inform his Mother about his achievement. The maid opened the door when the continuous doorbells assaulted her eardrums!

Ignoring her he went running upstairs to his mother’s room. He opened the door and saw her busy chatting with someone on her laptop. Probably, a conference meeting. She directed her glance towards him and put her index finger on her sealed lips. Stay Silent! That is her message. He went down and spent few minutes on his phone. His mother came down and asked him “Why were you shouting my boy?”. By now he has got pissed off. Her eyes went to the majestic trophy kept at the corner table beside him. The inscriptions read – BEST STUDENT 2017. Her eyes went moist with tears of joy.

She hugged him still crying. This melted away his anger.

“Congrats Mahi. Let us celebrate! Ohh, now it’s too late. Let us go to your favorite restaurant tomorrow. For now, let’s gorge on the Chicken Biryani I have bought for you.”. Mahadev was happy now. At least his mother was acknowledging his victory. “Let’s go to dinner with dad. Call him also!! Meeting him once a month is not enough for me.”

His main joy was that he could show it to his father. They meet once in a month. His father is almost never impressed by him. His father is the chairman of the local Chapter of Rotaract and will be proud when he hears about his son’s prize. At least he could now boast about his son’s achievement to them. So all that had to be done is hope that his mom arranges the dinner the next day. He forced her to call his father. Initially reluctant, she gave in.

“He has agreed to come for the dinner.”

“Great mom!! Let’s go to the Kamal Restaurant.”

Then he proceeded to call his dad. “Hello, Dad, as Mom told you; I have won..”

His father interrupted, “Good Mahi. See I am busy now. Let me hear more about this during the dinner. Don’t trouble your mother too much.” This was rather an abrupt end to a long awaited call.

On the other end, he was rather relieved. His son has done it again. Yet again he has another chance to meet her. Though he was relieved when the divorce went through about a year back, the separation did hurt him badly. He still had his ego to contend with. He was not ready to accept this and resolve the issues. But still wanted to meet her whenever he could. And the only way he could do that was through his son. He made it a point to meet his son at least once a month. And thus meet her also. So he called her “Riya! Mahi had called me. I want to give him some gift. What do you think I can buy for him?”

“Come on, you are also his parent. You should know something about him also.”

“Come on Riya! He lives with you. So I just want to know what he would like now.”

“He just wants your presence. So don’t disappoint him.” And the line went dead. Another much-awaited call resulting in a disappointment.

On the other end, there was another person who was rather relieved. She had done what she could to please her son. She loves him very much and readily talked with the one person whom she would avoid under all other circumstances. She even initiated the talk. But still, her son hardly notices this. He takes it for granted. He craves for the acceptance of his father and grossly neglects the one person who is ready to sacrifice anything for him. How could she make him realize this?

“Hello Mahi, should I pick you up from school? I thought before going for dinner with Dad we will go to your favorite ice cream parlor.”

“No need Mom. I will come with my friends as usual.”

“Ok. Just be careful.”

“When did you make the reservation?”

“It’s at 8.30 in Mauryas as you wanted.”

“Great Mom. Just don’t fight with him again today. I want a peaceful dinner with Dad.” And the line went dead again. Another call ending in disappointment.

If only someone had the will to break the vicious circle of ego.