His eyes were glued to that clock hanging on the opposite wall. ‘Ten minutes remaining’, he thought. He could hear three different voices pretty clearly at that moment; the screeching voice of the rocking chair on which he was resting, the slow momentary revolving of the ceiling fan that produces only an illusion of air being thrown and the tick-tock of the wall clock.
‘Five more minutes’. He coughed, adjusted his spectacles and slowly tried to stand on his feet. His 68 years old body ached on holding his 42 kg of weight. Somehow, he had dealt with the pain and went straight in the kitchen to grab a glass of water. He gulped down in a hurry with shaking hands. He again focused his stare on the wall clock.
‘2 more minutes.’ A slight smile appeared on his lips. Slowly he reached the wardrobe, opened it and pulled out that old Radio; the radio which was his only companion in that empty ‘lifeless’ house.
He switched on the radio, adjusted the frequency and waited for her on the rocking chair.
“Good Evening Agra…… Today we will….” She spoke through the radio. Instantly he closed his eyes to enjoy those 4 hours of her voice. Now for him, all other voices had no meaning. The only happiness, the only light in the dark cave, the only string of attachment left for him to live was that girl’s voice on his old radio.
Those 4 hours were everything for him. That voice on the radio was like a time portal for him. His door to escape from the reality and reliving those days, days which he spent with her, days he would cherish forever.
“And now the final song of the night is…..” 4 hours had passed and the moment had arrived. “So good night Agra, we’ll meet up again……” He left his rocking chair, forwarded towards the radio and put his hand over the top of it, as if giving his blessings to someone and said, “Good night Babu. Stay blessed.” He switched off the radio, placed it in the wardrobe again and headed towards the bed.
The life was never the same for him; it never does for anyone. He had a family; a beautiful wife, an obedient son and homely daughter in law. But the one with whom he had the best relationship was Pooja, his grand-daughter.
“Dada, please make my father stop. I don’t want to leave you.” Pooja pleaded in front of him. His son had got a promotion in his job and with that promotion came a posting too. It was difficult for him too to break the 15 year old bond which he had with Pooja but there was no other option as well.
“Arre Babu, Delhi is not that far from here. Just 5 hours journey. I’ll be visiting my Babu in every few weeks. I’ll also……….” Pooja was furious then. She never expected her Dada to behave like that. She wanted her Dada to at least try.
“Leave it Dada. Good Night.” Pooja said. If this would be a normal day, she would have waited for her Dada’s blessing but that day wasn’t a normal one. She left but he did raise his right hand and blessed her, “Good Night Babu. Stay Blessed.”
Next day, three of them left leaving him and his wife alone in the home of five. They left in a car but never reached Delhi, their destination. The old man was expecting a phone call from his son informing about their safe arrivals but nothing came. The only thing which came was the news that the car faced an accident on the highway and all the occupants died on the spot. That news shook the old man but attacked his wife’s heart. She died the next day because of heart attack.
Within two days, his family shattered all together. He could see nothing; it was as if walking through the dark cave. The only thing he could see was the ceiling fan and a saree of his wife. He was ready to leave the world of millions because he could not bear the pain of living alone.
He was ready for suicide but god had some other will. No one knows how that old Radio started to speak. It was heavenly broadcast, may be just for him because dead people never speaks on public broadcast and that too on Radio. He was amazed to hear Pooja’s voice on that Radio.
Finally he could see a ray of hope to live in the dark cave of his own existence.
‘2 more minutes.’ He read the wall clock. His body was aching a lot, more than usual. He coughed and continued coughing till his own breath lost control over its functioning. Slowly, keeping the balance on both the legs he moved towards the wardrobe and grabbed the radio. Switched on, adjusted the frequency and waited for Pooja’s voice. He coughed again, vigorously this time. Some blood appeared on his hand which was on his mouth.
“Good Evening Agra…..” The radio turned alive. “Today we’ll be doing something crazy; the thing which we haven’t done before. We’ll be calling some random telephone numbers from here and will have some fun. So are you ready…..” She kept on talking. He was enjoying the show but was also losing his control over his own breathing too. Something was wrong. He could feel coldness, numbness and blankness. A sudden fear getting replaced with sudden calmness.
He fell off the chair. Finally, he knew what was happening. He was ready for it; ready to surrender his life in the hands of death. He closed his eyes and waiting to see the ultimate brightness. But on that particular moment his phone started to ring. A last wish emerged in the dying heart. He could hear the radio’s voice; someone’s phone was ringing there too. Pooja called me?
The calmness disappeared and fear took over. ‘I want to attend this call’. He pushed himself up and while panting and coughing covered his final steps and reached the phone. He picked the receiver and fell down on the ground.
“Dada….” Pooja said. He smiled, few tears rolled down his eyes, “Good Night Dada. We miss you here.”
“Good Night Babu. Stay Blessed.” He said and with a smile on his face, left his body.
The voice over the radio continued talking to some other random guy.
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