“Not to know at large of things remote from us, obscure and subtle, but to know that which before us lies in daily life is the prime wisdom”

– John Milton

 

High music – Deafening orchestra – Sasha rejoiced in bliss.

Her elder sister Soya, mother Louisa and father Max also danced to the music with unbeatable enthusiasm. “What an ideal family!” –the crowd envied. Everyone shook hips relentlessly till the last beat of the drum, which marked the end of the party.

“Bye! Good night! See you all!”

Sasha exclaimed and got into the car.  She is in her early 20s. Her mom is a house wife-restless though, Max is a brand freak, short-tempered and perfectionist workaholic and Soya – a safe government employee. Driving is one of Max’s biggest passions. So it is he who always drives the car. Louisa occupies the front seat while Sasha and soya sit behind.

Soya, drained of energy, put her feet up. Max drove off after Louisa also got in. Deep silence crept into Sasha’s soul as the car beetle through the city. Max’s mobile phone started ringing incessantly. It was his high mental satisfaction to clarify every doubt of his clients. So he never rejects an incoming call. But had anyone taken the guts to question him for the slightest thing, they would have gotten their nose punched.  For the perfectionist he is, people who know him are well aware where to draw the line. Louisa symbolizes a true woman’s instinctive qualities of unconditional love, tolerance and compassion. Max’s egoistical impatience coupled with Louisa’s greatly spiritual mind is the reason this family continues to persist. Just like those beautiful lines from the John Ford drama film ‘How green was my valley’ – “My mother was very supportive of my father and all the family. If Dad was the head of the family, she was the heart” – though there is a contextual paradox here, away from the cine` world, to truth and reality. The gorgeous Soya in her mid 20s is known for her charming smile and down-to-earth behavior. She possesses most of the things normally coveted by girls. For any outsider, Sasha’s family exemplified harmonious compatibility.

Sasha went to bed dog-tired. So did the other three. But she didn’t forget to say an ‘effortless’ good-night to the rest – by heart.  When the clock ticked past 12, Sasha opened her eyes instinctively. She gazed at the ceiling fan. Beads of sweat popped on her forehead. Her lips and cheeks quivered meekly.

“No! There is nothing damn special about this hideous fan. Just like any other, it has 4 leaves and a firm axis. And now since it is rotating, it looks like a trembling circle.”

Sasha yelled at her soul in distress.

Carrying an unfathomable suspicion she turned towards Soya very gently.

“Why does this recur?  What is on her mind? What are those eyes seeing? “

Sasha mulled over.

 Soya’s wide open eyes remained fixed on the ceiling fan most of the night. Sasha truly yearned to see her sib sleeping peacefully at least this night. But, however worn out soya might be, the ceiling fan seems to drive away all her agony.

Sasha closed her eyes slowly, carrying tonnes of fuel for the night’s bottomless contemplation.

The day broke in its Magnificence. Sasha’s eyes remain closed albeit her soul raving awake. She rose from bed at snail’s pace to begin the day’s activities. By then Max had started off with his mundane routine of reading ‘The Guardian’ with a family pack bourbon biscuit in one hand.  Louisa, full of zip, hardly gets time to breathe till noon. Soya wakes up last, perhaps because she is exhausted, lamenting over an unknown reason, the previous night. However Sasha doesn’t fail to see the mysterious episodes around her which she believes is worth for a celluloid saga.

Sasha placed four slices of buttered bread into the center of the aluminum foil and wrapped it up neatly. This was going to be Max’s lunch. Don’t mistake Louisa to be a negligent wife – she is one of the best. But the disgruntled Max hasn’t eaten anything that she has made since last week. This is a cyclic process in this family. Although Sasha is totally aware that her duty of preparing lunch for her childish dad is only temporary, she manages to do it with a silent grief. Once in two months or so, Max goes entirely crazy and sadistically nasty at Louisa whether there is a reason or not. This boosts his ego giving rise to his highly revolutionary fast – a week of either absolute silence or utter violence in between Max and Louisa. After Max left for office the three experienced some freedom.

Soya switched on the TV while Sasha went to her bed room to read some Meta physics which she thinks is as complicated as the Universe.

“To her fair works did Nature link

The human soul that through me ran;

And much it grieved my heart to think

What man has made of man?”

These soulful lines by Wordsworth, which carry great weight often, glimmered in Sasha’s mind – what man has made of man? – She pondered over and over.

A short interval between her reading takes her to Louisa. Motherly Louisa is seen lost in thoughts sitting in some corner of the house most of the time – wandering in thoughts – perhaps about the meaning of her life!  It is one of Sasha’s idiosyncrasies to record such moments of her mom’s days, on her video camera.  And she watches it later giving thought to it – how intense could the flow of emotional electric waves from her mom’s calm postures be? , she often wondered.

However, Sasha’s approach to Soya is quite different from that to her mom. Soya would bust her, if she ever tried to record her personal moments. This comical situation verges on a constructive progress – at least now Sasha would rely on her innate memory card. No one can defend against the physical storage device, the brain – the best memory card on mother earth.

“Soya has a dual  personality. Everyone at home has it. In fact it is an ancestral inheritance – from the Homo sapiens species. What one looks to the outer world is far from the original one. The word original itself is multifarious”

Sasha flipped through the leaves of her personal diary and spotted these lines she had quoted last year. How true! She smiled from inside.

‘Saaasshhaaaaaa..’

Max shouted. His office closed a bit early this day.

‘Yes dad!’

‘Make me some Sunday roast’

Sure dad!

While Sasha went to the oven, Soya and Louisa came out of their rooms and sat reclined in the drawing-room. TV, Max’s best companion, was on. In a few minutes Sasha served some roast to Max. Louisa is passively watching her husband’s favorite TV show. Soya pretended to be watching though her heart wasn’t anywhere there. Max was engrossed in the TV show, munching on Sunday roast. From a corner, Sasha kept observing all her three dear ones .Her eyes shifted focus between the three. ‘The damn idiot-box’ – Sasha whispered.  At every heart beat of hers, Sasha realized the unequaled value of communication.’ Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening’- Emma Thompson’s quote rushed into her mind .She knew that max’s love for Louisa saw no limits. She remembered how much agonized Soya was when Max met with an accident. And she was certain that Louisa’s world consisted only of Max, Soya and herself. She had once overheard max’s conversation with Soya’s friend – where Max sobbed in impatience knowing that Soya was going through a hard time. Above all, last year when Soya spent oodles of money for Max’s heart surgery, Sasha did witness how innocent her dad was. She saw him cry like a kid in front of her, saying that no one had ever helped him the way Soya did. And when she rushed to her sister to tell her how happy she had made her dad feel, Sasha was stunned – to perceive the weeping sound of Soya through the keyhole.  But why does this unconditional love and affection go suppressed and unexpressed most of our life?

“Oh Lord! You better had not created us this way. By nature we are rather below apes.”

Sasha grieved.

 Deafening silence prevailed.


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