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LESSON AT THE BACKYARD

When we were small children, we enjoyed everything because we did what we really loved to do. This story tells how Advik learned about life’s lesson from his six years old daughter.

 

“Oh! Darn it,” he said as the tea spilled out of that busy morning cup. He went into the kitchen to take wiping cloth.

Just then the phone rang.

“Now one more! Who calls so early in the morning!”, he slapped the cloth on the table and took quick steps towards his room.

“Hello!” he softens his voice.

“Advik, this is to remind you that you have a meeting today with a client. Do come on time. And Sir will come today to check the project,” answered one of his colleagues from the other side.

“Ah, yes I remember. Well, thanks. I’ll be on time,” he replied. He closed his eyes tightly with his hands and took a deep breath.

“So much work to do. Well, it is the same thing every day.” He recollected his strength and started again.

It was nine in the morning. Monday made him wore a formal black pant and white shirt and grey coat over it. As he combed his hair, his eyes glued at a photograph of him holding a trophy.  A gentle smile touched his lips and his deep dark black eyes craved for that passed time.

“Papa, I am getting late for school,” shouted her six years old daughter, Mahira.

“Five minutes, coming,” he replied.

He took his car keys and they both got out of the house and sat in the car.

“When will Mummy be home?” asked Mahira.

“On Sunday dear! And yes, today Aunt Renee will come to pick you up from school,” he said as he drove into the busy streets of the city.

“Yay!” She swung her arms. “ Today no crosswords. I will make mud castle in her backyard,” she said.

“Oh!NO, NO you will only get dirty.”

She did not pay attention to his words as her eyes bugged out when she saw a Disney theme restaurant.

She peeked out of the car. “Papa look, so beautiful. Please! We should go there today for the dinner,” she pleaded.

“Sorry Dear, maybe some other day.” He drove again.

Green light signalled. She narrowed her eyebrows and clenched her fists.

He dropped her at the school and went to his office. Today was an important day for him as his boss would approve projects assigned to employees.

“Hey Good morning!” said his colleague and friend Rohan as he shook hands with Advik. “Let’s go and review our projects.”

Walking down the stairs Rohan told Advik about one of their college friends.

“Remember Farhan, who played guitar?”

“Ah! Yes…,” nodded Advik as he took the tea from the tea machinery. “What is he doing nowadays?”

“He plays guitar at parties and shows,” Rohan said as he took cappuccino for him.

“I think he should switch to some real business, not much he would earn like that,” said Advik as he opened a blue file and started reviewing his work.

“But it was really exciting,” said Rohan.

It was two in the afternoon when their boss came for project approval. After going through myriad ideas, the project lead went to some other employee.

A brooding expression occupied Advik’s face. He went to his cabin.

“Hey! Congratulations, you are the assistant head,” greeted Rohan. Advik listened with an absent air and kept glancing at the computer screen. He rolled a pen between his fingers.

“Hey! Are you listening?”

“I wanted to be the project head instead. I worked really hard for it. Anyway,” he said dismally and kept the pen and again went to have a cup of tea.

 

 

The clock struck seven in the evening. He pulled down the car at Reene’s home.

“Welcome, Advik!” greeted Reene, who wore a crop top and lungi skirt and a green ethnic turban adorned her look.

“Hi Reene, how are you?”

“Wonderful,” she smiled.

“You seem happy!”

“ Yes, Today I designed a beautiful gown.” She swung her arms. “You must see it,” she said and went into the kitchen.

“Where is Mahira?” His eyes searched for her.

“At the backyard,” she replied.

“Ah, she never listens, getting dirty again in the mud,” he rolled his eyes and started moving towards the backyard.

He saw Mahira sitting on her knee and when she stepped aside, he saw a small, rough but beautiful mud castle.

“WOW!”

“Papa!” she ran towards him. “See, I told you I would make a castle today. How is it?” her eyes twinkled.

He took her hands and dusted all the mud. “It is really good. Well done dear!”

“Wait, some things are left to do,” she returned.

Reene came and stood beside him.

“Here is your tea,” she said as she offered him a cup.

“Thanks.”

Reene took out a beautiful peach gown from the box. “Look at this,” she said.

“Mesmerizing!” he said bug-eyed, “Your client will get mad at this.”

“No, it is for you, gift your wife,” she looked straight into his eyes.

“But Reene ..” he tried to say something.

“I’ll be happier if she will wear it,” she said.

He looked at her and took a deep sigh. “Alright, I will take it. Really, thanks for this,” he said and hugged her.

They both sat on a wooden chair.

“So how was your day?” she asked.

“I am assigned as assistant head for a big project. Loads of work to do tonight.”

Mahira leaned forward to make the tea. “Oh! Great, you should celebrate then,” she said.

Advik just gave a frail smile. He was looking at Mahira.  “Today she was supposed to learn tables and – ”

“Oh God! Don’t make me mad.” Reene rolled her eyes. “She is just a child now,” she said.

“Yes, but you -” Advik tried to say something.

“ You know children’s minds develop faster playing outdoor,” said Mahira.

“Really!” Advik narrowed his eyes. “Yeah! She seem happy here,” he said.

“Yes, because she is doing what she loves and that’s why she is enjoying,” she said as she gave the tea to Advik.

He raised his eyebrows quizzically.

Reene lifted her chin.“ You know, when we were small children, we were always happy. We fought to get our favourite toys. Played all day long but didn’t get tired. We did what we loved. And now we wonder what is missing? Why is it boring and tiring!?” she said as she threw her hands out.

Advik listened to her staring at the green grass, his hands folded. He tilted his head and pressed his lips and nodded as she smiled.

“I finished it,” Mahira came running.

“Beautiful,” they both praised her.

“Now we can go home, Papa.”

Advik kneaded his eyebrows, loosen his tie and started rubbing his chin and said,“ Who will cook food, I am tired. I think we should go to this new Disney theme restaurant Reene. Will you join us Mahira?”

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