Some families are happy; others appear to be.
The other families are those old fashioned, creaking doors, with a peephole, wherein, family members can look through and recognize guests but, when the same guests try to look in through the same crevice, all that is visible to them, is darkness.
They only see what they are shown; and not what is.
“…but why won’t you stay with me?” he asked, while tears pricked his eyes.
“look at the chipped off walls of my bedroom. It looks so degraded. I cannot even invite my son-in-law and daughter to such a dingy space. I feel ashamed.”
“Our father built this place with love, Ma. How can you disrespect him!”
“It has been more than a decade since your father’s demise and a lot more years have passed since he had built this home for us. Now, it is just a dingy space. Nothing else…”
“C’mon! stop giving me those incredulous looks, son!”, she remarked to her wide-eyed boy.
“Look around yourself! Broken leg of bed, a rusted table fan, that table is also rotting away…look at this”, she exclaimed, while pointing towards the puddle of water forming on the floor, “…even the roof has freaking holes in it! The water constantly drips in rainy, whereas in the winters, dry leaves come for a stay”, she said, exasperatedly, hoping that her son might realise the need to refurbish their home.
“Mother! That portion of our house is invisible to others. You can invite and seat them all in our living room, down the stairs. No one is able to guess what is above those squeaky old stairs. Am I not telling you this for the hundredth time, since morning! But you are hell bent on shifting with your daughter!”, he shouted, irked.
“Unbelievable! Why don’t you just refurbish our home?”
“Ma, I have told you, already, that I don’t have enough funds for that, and---”
“Enough!” she cut him out, “--Then, even I have told you, already, I am leaving this shitty place.”
“Is that all that matters to you? The luxury? You have no value of your eldest son!”
“You know that’s false! Stop justifying yourself by jumping on ridiculous conclusions! You do know my condition, don’t you? Had you not come with me to the hospital? The doctor, surely, did not advise me to sleep on hard surface, with my operated kidney! Your sister understands that…. And. Anyway, you won’t be having enough funds for my medication, as well. I am certain.”, mother shouted with narrowed eyes and flushed face.
“Oh! That’s it all about, isn’t it! Everything is about money, funds, wealth, luxury, is it not, ma? First, my sister left us for a wealthy swine and now you… Bravo!”
“Of course not, my son! That is not the case. I—”
“The jingling of my sister’s trinket are calling you. Her plush surroundings are inviting you…Of course, mother.”, the son sighed, longingly. “You know what…just LEAVE! Happy?”
They stared at each other, for a long time, trying to decipher each other’s feeling. A long silence was stretched between them. The raindrops pattered, incessantly, on the roof, just as the tears streamed down the son’s face.
“You really have no value—”, son started speaking, only to be cut off by an exasperated mother’s loud sigh.
“I have had enough. It is better to leave…Goodbye, son!”, the mother spoke as she gathered her luggage outside the door.
“I would never forgive you for this, Ma. I hate you!”, he replied with a straight face, standing at the open door. His face, now, void of any emotion. He gave a nod, with a smile to the people passing by the gate of his house, and closed the door on his mother’s face, softly, but with force, leaving the mother shocked.
The winter night had crept out, silently, embracing the weak crepuscular rays, with its black arms. The moon, however, shone full, fearlessly fighting away the darkness. Tress swayed wildly. The violent wind whooshed dried fallen leaves with it, reverberating in the ears of people, clad in warm woollen clothes, walking down the narrow streets.
In the middle of canopy of swirling trees and bushes, stood a house, belonging to a happy, middle-class family. The grass grew unevenly around the gate of the house. The lawn had weeds coming out of the earth. The fresh yellow color of the house appeared to be fading away. However, the inside of the house was anything, but unkempt.
The living hall and guest room, at ground level, seemed to shine. It was decorated ornately, with high ceiling designer fans and elaborate chandeliers. The kitchen area was small but accommodating, updated with new-age technology. The stairs, though, stuck out as a sore thumb. It was attempted to be painted a glossy blue color, but the wood, apparently, refused to comply. People, often, wondered greedily, “How embellished the upper floor must be!”
Whenever one of the neighbors tried to peep onto the floor above, the man would shoo them away, questioning, “Shouldn’t the boudoir remain private, my dear?” And so. The upper floor remained a dreamy mystery to the neighbors.
The two daughters of gay couple of the house were loved, cherished, educated, and beautiful. “How kind and sweet they are!”, the man of the house never failed to reflect.
The lady of the house, along with their two daughters, earned. The other ladies in the neighborhood was jealous of the mother of two daughters. They always exclaimed to her, giggling, “You should worship your husband, my dear! You are so lucky to have such a man. He has given you such luxuries, after all.”
And, the lady just nodded.
The elderly man had to live in a no-man’s world, with three women in his house. He cared for them, adored them, for they were his family. The father never failed to dedicate himself for his wife and children, in terms of, regalia, bread and beads, education and security, and the likes. The society, as well as, the kindred of the man, considered him to be the best father, although pensioned: a blessing upon three earning women.
The daughters and lady, naturally, shared their earnings with the man.
All was well.
Until one day, the women of the house aspired of upping their standard of living, by acquiring a new, posh property in the area, inhabited by the homo-sapiens: the rich, sophisticated, and elegant folks.
The father was enraged. Being a retired man, he could not even ponder about acquiring such a premium property. He lacked funds.
“Father, we all would manage and adjust. Even we deserve to stay in such high places, surrounded by all the expensive amenities, don’t we?”, quipped the elder daughter, excitedly.
“…and how are you going to arrange the funds?” asked the unconvinced father, looking at three of them in eye. The daughters thought of having visualized a look of mockery on their father’s face, for an iota of second. Surely, they were just seeing things.
But the mother knew it all too well. She could, perfectly, recall the question and, the scenario and, the past. Ergo, taking responsibility on her shoulder she, with a smile, announced, “I will take loan from the bank.”, for she wanted to see her children happy. The man smiled, satisfied.
And. It was all settled.
The man would go frolicking around, while the lady’s life was burdened with debts. The lady and daughters worked their ass off, with a new determination and dream, in their golden eyes. There never came a day when, all the hard-work they were putting in for a new house, caused smile and happiness to slip away from their dusky, glowing faces. All that mattered to them was the new house: a harbinger of light and happiness, in their lives. The money never mattered, for it was all but an imperative piece of paper, to them.
However, the cost of property was more than they had expected and eventually, they had to fall some more into the trench of debts. This also meant, the daughters and mother not sharing their income, with the father, anymore. The women had to plead their father for some aid, daily.
And one day, as per their incessant request, he gave them needed amount of money, haughtily.
Finally, they acquired the possession of property, they had eyed upon for so long. The women were happy. The news of this family, acquiring a luxurious property, had spread in the neighbourhood. All of them congratulated the father, respected him, for, now, he was the owner of the riches, that they could never even lay a finger upon.
“How wonderful!”, thought the father, smugly. It was all because of his aid that they could acquire such an expensive property. The women have been as useless as ever, he thought to himself.
Albeit the possession, the lady of the house, was still drowning deep into debts. But she kept herself going for her daughter’s happiness. That evening, had she not shouldered this dream, it would have been an echo of the past, behind the same closed door. The only difference would have been the fall of character of the father, her daughters admired so deeply.
“That house, onto the richer side of our town, is amazing. Children would be amazed to grow up in such a place. They would have better opportunities in their lives. Indeed, they would be blissful. I am so eager to procure that land and make it into a beautiful home.”
“Hmm. And do you mind telling me how do you plan to arrange the funds for it?”
“What? Didn’t you just boast that you would be doing it for us, for you are the man of the house!”, the woman exclaimed, animatedly.
“Excuse me! You want that house, not me. I don’t even earn that much. And anyway, I , always, am the one who pays behind those two daughters, of zero value, you have bore me. How much more should I do for you worthless nuts?”
“How dare you say that about our daughters! They are priceless. And no, I don’t earn more than you do. When you said to those bereft imbeciles that you would look after it, I was ecstatic. I can no longer stay in such deprived surroundings anymore. We deserve better. I deserve better. And we have always contributed equally, for our kids. What you are saying is wrong--”
“Look—cut the crap. I, particularly, lack interest in such moral lectures. And. We both know that it has always been me paying and you relishing. Its time that you do something. I have had enough. If you want to stay in a your so-called better place, then fund yourself, if you can! Stop testing my patience. Bloody fool!”
She had controlled the demise of paternal love of her daughters, towards the man, that day. But. She could no longer cover that up, for since the day the lady of the house had taken up loan, the daughters gave major chunk of their income to their mother, leaving their pensioned father without a penny. This fuelled father’s mercenary character.
The curtain had fallen.
The man came out of his closet. He would shamelessly demand money from his daughter. Belittle them. Criticize them. Denigrate their character. All for the sake of money.
“Money is everything. Without money who is going to give you feeble women shelter and, take your responsibility. You better give me your income, or else be homeless!”, the father would scream at them, endlessly.
Already their pockets were in a twist. A huge amount of credit had to be paid. Naturally, they had no money to give, to their father. They would work all day, only to receive denunciation, at nights. They were impaled. They had no where to go. No where to stay with dignity.
“Money. Money. Money. Money. Money.”, was all, the daughters could hear, wherever they went. Everything started murmuring the endless chant of greed- the broken music record, the tattered walls of house, the dirty curtains, the utensils. Everything.
On the streets, they could hear the chant, on the stalls, owned by grocers; they could see it in their avaricious eyes; how their eyes shinned at the sight of that piece of paper, the car, the dollar, the gold and the platinum.
The world had been spread out, in all its naked hideousness and hypocrisy, in front of their innocent eyes.
Sans money from the daughters, the man was going delirious. He wanted the riches for himself. One could see a frantic glint in his eyes, whenever he demanded money from the women of the house.
“Money. Money. Money. Money. Money.”
Then. Something befell.
That night, the man of the house had gone crazed, chanting for his wealth, sitting beside the clattering window doors. The breeze was heavy, harsh, sickening. A glint appeared in his eyes. The women were scared of him. He had fostered hatred for these women, in his mind. For he could smell the same stench of greed from his wife and daughters, that he had seen in the eyes of his mother and sister, who had readily abandoned him for the sake of luxury.
He had become unpredictable.
He shouted at them, all night. He started throwing things at the terrified bunch of women, shivering, while standing in a corner.
All the clangor, from the house of the owner of the riches, awakened, the sleepy town. They were surprised. But, they were sure of it being a happy family. It appeared to be one. It, indisputedly, was the wind, causing all the pandemonium, on this chilly night. Thereupon, they all went into a deep slumber, again.
The man, in the house, started walking towards women, with a knife in his hands. His intentions were as clear as a bright day in summer. The daughters, however, did not believe; rather could not believe. They were all panicking. They again fancied visualizing it; they closed their eyes and tried to shake the impossible vision off their minds.
When they opened their eyes, all they could see was red and green.
The man had plunged the dagger in his shocked wife’s heart, while covering her mouth, smothering her heart-wrenching scream.
The daughters screamed and tried pushing off their father, but the man had gone psychotic. The dark green eyes, belonging to the body, were shining, cannily. The hands of man screamed for more red. The daughters tried scurrying away from him. But failed. He had grabbed them both with uncanny strength and only left them, when two blood-curdling screams resonated throughout the house.
Satisfied, he walked towards the clattering windows, with rabid laughter. He turned to stare at his family, now, pale and cold.
“The wealth was all his now!”, he thought jovially.
He sat back beside the window, in his rocking arm-chair, with bloodied hand, lips parted in a contented beam of victory.
“It was his. Now. All of it.”, thought the man.
Out, on the streets, “Money. More Money. More Money.”, chanted the wind, vociferously. The spirits, buoyant in the air, were dancing, bejewelled, with their mouths parted in a frantic laughter, and a frenzied glint in their dark green eyes.
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