500TH ARTICLE

Dear Readers,

Good morning!

Why did I start with ‘Dear Readers’? Well, that’s how one is supposed to start a letter— with an apt salutation. To make it ultra formal, I could have started with just ‘Readers’, but then there is no need for any formality between us now. You are ‘dear’ to me and, therefore, ‘dear’.

Why a letter? Simply because letter sounds more personal and after 499 articles, I felt that the 500th article ought to have me talking to you personally. Even at the sake of sounding pompous, keying in these many articles was no mean feat. Sometimes it took me a whole day to key in one article, other times an article would be ready to be sent in 20 minutes. Amazingly, the 20 minutes articles were hugely appreciated, whereas the articles that had seen hours put into them were often met with stony silence.

There never has been any dearth of ideas— students, readers, visitors, friends, neighbours, anybody and everybody has contributed to this column. Today, to thank you all, I have a story with a message.

And the Time Ran Out

Mohit gave a quick hug to his mother and ran out to get into the cab. He was running late, his flight to Bangalore was at 5.00 pm and it was already 3.30 pm. He heard his mother say, “Be careful” and managed to give her a brief smile.

Luckily for him, he reached just in time to hear the final boarding call announcement and scuttled (rushed) towards the security gate. It was only when he had safely belted himself that he breathed in peace and thought of his mother.

For the past five years, he had been running like this. Employed in an MNC, he was at a comfortable position and drew an enviable salary. He had everything that the money could buy, except time. Time was one thing that was always one step ahead of him and he kept running short of it.

For five years, he had not spent one whole day with his parents. And he hated himself for it, especially not being able to spend time with his mother was something that was gnawing (troubling) him. He would keep promising himself a break and then an assignment would come up and it was always the challenge of the assignment that would win over his desire to be with his mother. He would tell himself, “Just this one. Later I’ll spend time with mom, take her shopping, watch her favourite serial with her and listen to her chatter about the relatives.”

The shrill sound of the airhostess’s voice brought him out of his reverie and he realized that they had landed at Bangalore. Mohit switched on his mobile, to key in ‘reached’ to his mom, but even before he could press the sent key, his phone rang, it was his dad. Surprised, because it was very unlike his dad to call him up, he answered the phone.

The voice that said, “Hello” did sound like his dad’s but it was breaking as if he was in pain. The almost hollow voice from the other side said, “Mohit, your ma met with an accident. She is no more.”

Mohit slumped back, flashes from his childhood came before his eyes— mom running behind the bus because he had forgotten his lunch box, mom crying while he had his wound stitched up, mom fighting with the neighbour because his son had bullied Mohit, mom keeping awake with him for his exam, mom holding his hand when he ran a high fever…

Mohit started sobbing…

Don’t let the time run out on you.

Keep smiling…

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