A Pair Of Glasses

A story depicting deterioration of family values


“I don’t know what else you want from me, there is everything I am providing you with, food shelter and clothes… even medicines. And now you are starting to break things. What else do you want from me?” “You should really come to my office and see how hard I have to work to run this household”. Lashing out these words Kabeer banged the door behind him and left in rage. Left behind was his father, Shams udin a 78 year old partially blind elderly man, with the pair of broken glasses and an old case where he used to keep them. He stood at the face of the door with his cateracted eyes stuck right on the knob of the door that still seemed to be vibrating due to the loud bang. His week hands could display the deprivation of flesh and blood in his body; his light skin seemed a linen cloth hanging roughly on a hanger. He had been standing for nearly five minutes and now he was tired, the five minutes had drained out the whole strength out of him, and left him empty on the inside. He took a step backward, and tried to lay his hands on the dining chair where his morning tea laid unattended and now too cold to be drunk. Slowly he mustered up all his strength to place himself on the chair. “You again left the tea to get cold papa ji? I am getting late for the boutique please make tea for yourself in the kitchen, you can get the milk from the fridge” the soft but annoyed voice of his daughter in law retrieved him from his melancholy.

The engine of the car had started as he heard, his son had left for work, and he had to work hard to keep this house hold running. Shams udin stood up from his chair but could not stand for long. He fell on the chair again but this time not intentionally but due to the excessive loss of vigor. He looked at the cup of tea which now looked blacker and even colder. “Is this the only option I have?” he asked himself and looked around the empty room. Then for a moment he fixed his gaze at the kitchen door that was left open. He looked back at the cup of tea, and thought “perhaps this is the only option I have”, Shams placed his pair of glasses on the table, and approached the cold cup of tea. The tea was cold enough to be drunk in one shot, but Shams chose to drink it sip by sip, as he used to when the tea used to be hot and fresh as prepared by his late spouse. This time it was certainly not to enjoy the richness of the tea but out of his week disposition. He sipped the tea sitting alone in the big two storied house that seem to be more big to him empty. The room seemed bit too large for him and the peach paint on the walls seemed dull and seemed getting dim and perhaps more black like that of the tea. The rays of morning sun fell on his eyes and blinded his vision. He somehow managed to pull the curtain down. He took the last sip of the tea and leaned behind on the hard wooden chair that discomforted his weak bones and pulled the news paper towards himself. “Where did I put my glasses” Shams tried to retrieve. He forgot that the glasses were just In front of him on the dining table. “Here they are” he found them, “but they are… they are… broken”.

He recalled the whole episode of the morning.  He forgot certain things, but these glasses were the entity he would forget time and again. Often he would find them easily but times he had to look hard to find them tucked on his forehead. Many times he almost stepped on the nearly crushing it, but every time his weightlessness saved them. But this time to his bad luck his weak hands had betrayed him. His shaking hands, had could not get hold of the case that old case that saved his glasses. He tried hard to save it but one of the lenses of his glasses surrendered to the hard concrete floor as it slipped from the case. The broken chunks of glass were reflecting the hard reality of life on his face. He could not help himself from sinking into the nostalgic thoughts of his prime, when he was the only earning hand in the family. When his hands were strong and his eyes had lots of dreams that were never so blurred as they were now. When took care of his children and had his shoulders strong enough to hold his son, and take him to the fairs and the festivals to buy him whatever he wanted. When he had the vigor to push the swing for his son. When spent every penny earned by him to make his son eligible for a respectable position in the society.

He recollected that number of dreams he had for his son. The heights he wanted him to touch. But he had never dreamt that one day his son would touch such heights that his father would seem so small to him. He had wanted his son to earn a good living that could make him proud and would make his son lead a good life. Every dream had been fulfilled, and he could see his son prospering more than he expected. But today he was feeling guilty and ashamed. He was alone in a big house with everything of comfort but yet today he had realized a bitter reality. He realized that he was a burden, a burden for his son. His food, clothes and medicine cost his son too much and maybe he was occupying a room without a reason. He had realized a bitter truth, that his son was earning too much of money, but yet may be or most probably that was not enough to afford the repairing cost of his pair of glasses.

Aiman Banday

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