The Chosen One

“Humour is the rubber sword which I use to make my point while not drawing blood!”, says Gopinath Mavinkurve. So my request to Gopinath to write a guest post on the subject of choosing happiness, he says, challenged his writing abilities. My request resulted in him writing his first short story! So I’m doubly honored by this – his agreeing to write for Everyday Gyaan and him writing a lovely little story too.

‘The Chosen One’ shows how happiness is not in our circumstances but in our choices!

Thank you, Gopi.

Yash swung in his chair, or we could say, throne – a swiveling one, chosen in keeping with the times to run his business empire. “Got to go”, he announced to his business partners and his most prized customer. For a head honcho of a reputed business empire, an act of leaving his team as early as 5 pm was rather surprising. There couldn’t have been another business engagement and he wouldn’t be planning to attend a New Year’s eve party! Especially considering what had happened just 2 years ago. He had been regularly putting in late hours to building his business venture, of late. But the phenomenal growth that one had witnessed before had been halted in its tracks now. But he kept at it – after all experiencing ‘no growth’ was better than going ‘down the hill’, as some of his competitors were experiencing in these tough times!

“We’ll take care of the proceedings, Sir” said his most trusted aide. “Of course, Harsh”, he smiled at him reassuringly, “Do carry on the discussions, folks. See you tomorrow”, he said, turning to the others. Necks turned, eyes followed him all the way out, eyebrows were raised, hushed tones asked of one another, but no one knew, everyone only wondered??? Everyone except Yash, who was all too excited and couldn’t wait to reach home to receive Asha, who would arrive home on this celebrated day. He had been waiting for this day for it had been promising them a beginning of a new phase of his married life, when he would devote less time to his growing business and more time to the newcomer, their Asha.

Was Asha really returning home again? Yes. Yash had chosen to believe so. Asha was born to Yash and Yamini 7 years ago on this day. Oh so it was her birthday? It was – or at least Yash believed it was! But how would this little Asha react to the razzle-dazzle of the decorated and done-up swanky mansion, when she would arrive home today? He had done all that he could so the infant would like her new home and her new parents – rather, her own home and her own parents. She was barely one year old and Yash had chosen to celebrate her birthday on the same day as Asha’s birthday – on the 1st of January every year. After all, the NGO had no record of the abandoned child on their records. Adopting Asha had taken some time, inspite of Yash’s connections in the regional bureaucracy.

Asha, their biological child, born 7 years ago to Yash and Yamini, was a bundle of joy for the young couple, a reason to celebrate life together after 5 years of their marriage. A reason for Yash to come home early. A hope for all. Being born on the 1st of January, the first day of the New Year, the most hopeful day, lived in anticipation of better days, of a brighter future, of new beginnings, new alliances, new opportunities. It was not just an easy-to- remember date – it was a date many waited for that put an end of a burdened year, one wanted to get over with. The year in which, news channels blared out gory stories of murders, rapes – and accidents. One always hoped for a New Year to bring changes for the better, there was always hope- Asha.

It was on one such New Year eve, just two years ago, when Yash had planned to usher in the New Year – and of course, Asha’s birthday, with Yamini and Asha and some select deserving staff working hard with him to build his business, at a very popular resort on the outskirts of the buzzing city. His business had been on the upswing ever since Asha was born 5 years ago, so when some mentioned little Asha’s bringing good luck for the enterprise, Yash was quick to add modestly – “But then, it couldn’t have happened without your efforts, guys.”

So the partying began, the sparkling bubbly sprang into action, excited chatter and song and dance reached a crescendo, just as the effect of the assorted spirits did on the revelers, by the time it was midnight. That was when the New Year – and Asha’s birthday was ushered in. Everyone wanted to be first to wish Asha! The cake with 3 candles on it, was ready to be cut, but who would choose to wait? A handshake here, a kiss and hug there! Blessed was our Asha, Yash thought. Little did they know that it was just hours before Asha would bid them a tearful farewell for her heavenly abode.

Would the accident have happened if they weren’t all in a drunken state, some wondered. As they were about to seat herself in the car, the balloon set itself free from little Asha’s hands and she playfully chased it – and before the rushing little girl could be stopped, a speeding car swerved into her. Was the driver drunk? He must’ve been, some said, for the manner in which he sped or atleast sped away into the dark.

“He has been an occasional social drinker, but now he will take to drinks to drown his sorrows”, some said. But Yash didn’t. He chose abstinence and gave up alcohol altogether, instead. He would lose interest in business and life, some said in hushed tones. He didn’t – he worked hard. He was battered alright, but not down and out. He chose to keep going at work, with more determination to get out of a vicious downward spiral, to lift himself back and launch himself into an orbit – because that is where he chose to belong – in an orbit – not in a spiral.

Last year’s new year eve was a lonely, quiet and somber affair. A private one – just Yash and Yamini. At their place – no music, no dance, no candles, no cake, no drinks. Only tears, memories, solemn thoughts. Some questions gate-crashed in their private gathering – only in thought, not as spoken words. The speeding car, his inebriated state, the faces who had been cheerfully waving goodbye and yes, not to forget – the balloon. Little Asha had always been fascinated by balloons! She had all the latest toys that money could buy – but this humble inflated rubber, which had the reputation of bursting in her hands and making her to cry at the happiest of occasions, always held her fancy. Yet it was this balloon, which hadn’t burst – why hadn’t it burst like all the previous ones? Why had it chosen not to…and chosen instead, to escape… and to make everyone cry?

Finally, Yash broke the silence “Let us bring Asha back into our lives, Yamini”. But how was that possible? After what the gynaec had told them when Asha was born? “Let us adopt an infant girl from the NGO who assists people to adopt abandoned children. We will call her Asha….”. There was more silence, actually dollops of it, more tears, until what he had suggested actually sunk in. “When can we go?” she had asked.

This new year would be somewhat different. They had chosen to bring Asha into their lives and to celebrate her birthday on 1st of Jan each year. The coming year would usher in a new hope in their chosen life in their orbit of happiness, instead of the downward spiral of depression and escapism.

© Gopinath Mavinkurve

Gopinath M. Mavinkurve is a hobbyist writer and blogger based in Mumbai, India. His first book of compilations of select humorous “ArTicKles” and articles is available on the net at http://pothi.com/pothi/book/gopinath-mavinkurve-artickles-collection. Readers may read his future posts in his humor blog, which he periodically updates at http://whatnonsanz.blogspot.com/. He is also a professional management expert in the field of foreign trade policy and procedures specializing in setting up and operations of Special Economic Zones, Export Oriented Units and trade facilitation.