Thursday, January 23, 2014


I really don’t quite remember when and where it all started. I must have been around nine or ten. Initially, it was all new and tough to take in but as the days progressed, I found my feet and got into the groove. It was my classmates in school who introduced me to this world. I would call them friends as they showed me the way to lifelong happiness and contentment. My friends were the outcasts of the school; always left alone and neglected by all, except by the group to which they belonged. This group was always known to bunk classes and supposedly hole up in their secret hideouts doing things they were known for - lost in a world of their own and having lost consciousness of everything and everyone around them.

As luck may have it, curious and intrigued by their way of life, I befriended them and entered their world. I realized they were a happy lot and nothing in the world could make them sad. I hoped to make just a quick entry and exit, but life had other plans. It was as if I was engulfed by this world. One went to two; two became four and the series continued. The more I tried to pull out, the more I got pulled in. Constant fighting at home and bad academic grades made my new found world attractive. In this world, there were no compulsions and no obligations. I was always the super-hero slaying beasts, demons and villains alike. Here, everything was perfect and reality was left far behind.

Soon, my association with the ‘cult’ group was known to all. Stories of my borrowing, begging and at times even stealing money to satisfy my addiction started doing the rounds. Summons were issued to my parents. Constant scolding from teachers and parents became the order of the day. My classmates maintained an arm’s length distance from me adding pain to my misery. But I couldn’t do anything. I just couldn’t resist the temptation. The intoxication was heavy and the addiction strong.

Time passed by and I finally graduated from school and college. As far as my grades were concerned, I had maintained the fantastic ‘just passed’, border-line passing percentage; a feat in its own right. The addiction was so heavy and prolonged that it took its toll on my health. At times, I would cry; at times jump around happily with a new sense of vigour; at times I would be dead silent and blank-faced. Total neglect of my food and health made matters worse. I had no social life and locked myself up paying no heed to the constant pleading of my near and dear ones. Relatives and family friends blamed my addiction for my condition and convinced my parents to get me married to bring me on the right track. Proposals though few, started coming in. A girl was soon chosen and a date decided.

The girl, beautiful and although modern, was the homely type. She always kept my parents happy which helped to reinforce their faith in her. I must confess that she was up to her task of changing me right away. She would cook my favourite dishes, spend quality time with me and make sure that I was always comfortable. I am not sure whether she did this out of love or out of obligation but she did it well and that too without anything in return. Over the years, despite her repeated attempts, nothing changed. I was still the same. She, probably out of frustration and despair gave up on the idea of changing me. There was dead silence between us. Once my parents left for their heavenly abode and with no one else to speak to, she made frequent visits to her parents place. Her visits, which were only for a few days initially, went on for months together as the years passed. However, in spite of her absence, she made sure I was well maintained. One day, she gave me the news that I was to be a father. Though happy, I was honestly least expecting it. Fatherhood meant having to sacrifice more things than one. Money had increased in value. My wife begged me to give up my addiction and welcome the new born. “All these years I have never asked for anything but this.” I guess I was obligated to grant her wish as I had promised my parents that I would always keep her happy and would fulfil her every desire.

I slowly and steadily gave up my addiction and got whole-heartedly involved in the upbringing of my child. I locked up all the things that had kept me company for all these years; guess I could never let them go forever. Before I could realize, my child had grown into a handsome school going boy scoring good grades and often reminding me of my younger days. However, he had one quality I wish he never had – the same old curiosity. In my absence, he entered the room that was forbidden and unlocked the chest he should never have. From there on, just like me, he too was lost forever in that ever so-beautiful world where there’s nothing that’s impossible and life is all so perfect; in that magnificent world of reading books.

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