The Breaking News

Death due to cardiac arrest – That’s what the doctor said. 

The neighbours couldn’t believe that a chest pain took Govind down. He was a retired army officer who strictly followed his fitness regime. Despite being a widower, he never compromised with his usual schedule. 

That morning, the maid found Govind, lying motionless in the hallway. She became nervous and alarmed the neighbours, who sent for the doctor immediately. A family friend, Mr Singh, stepped in, to call Govind’s son, Vikram, who was stationed in UP and belonged to the Dogra Regiment. He kept on dialling, but in vain. Vikram’s phone was not reachable. Mr Singh made a few calls and finally got the number to the Commander’s office. 

——
A fortnight back.

“There’s a parcel for you, Vikky. I haven’t opened it yet. The note says – A birthday present from an old friend.” 

“Old friend? Wow! Who’s that, dad?”

“There’s no name in there. It says Surprise! Guess who I am.” 

“That’s interesting. Can you please open it for me, dad?”

“Sure sonny. Hang on right there. Let me unwrap it.”

“Great! Thanks, dad.”

“Vik, you are one lucky chap. It’s a mini radio with a separate pack of batteries to last for 2 years at the least.”

“Wow! I’ve been wishing for it since long. Wish I could thank that good friend. Dad, can you please …”

“Alright, I know. I’ll parcel this along with my gift for your birthday.”

“Thanks, dad. You’re the best. Love you. See you soon. Take care.”

“You too, son.”

—–
The previous evening, Govind was reading The Geeta, when his phone rang. It was Vikram.

“Dad, guess what! I received the parcel today. Right on time. Loved the shirt you sent. Thank you, dad.”

“That’s wonderful then. Have fun, my boy.”

“Dad, wait. Stay on the line please. I want to enjoy the first song on the radio, with you. Like those old days, when I was a kid. Let me unpack the batteries.”

“Haha. Alright, as you wish. After all, it’s your birthday tomorrow.”

“Done. So, are you ready dad? At the count of three, I’ll turn the radio on, and then tune in to our favourite Red FM

“Alright. I’m with you, son. Let’s go for it then.”

“1…2…3…”

Boom. The repercussion was strong enough to jerk Govind at the other end. The phone slipped off his grip and laid on the floor, broken. 

And then, a savage silence. Govind sat on the floor, paralysed. 

God! How could I be so careless? Why did I not think of it once? A radio from an old friend with no name. And then, the office. Don’t they check every parcel before delivering them to their boys? How did they miss? Or did the detector malfunction? Now, I am guilty of killing my own son. I failed as a father. 

Govind felt some discomfort in his heart. Clutching his paining chest, all he could mutter was, “Forgive me, son.” He then collapsed.
____________________________________

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