“Raja, have your milkshake and breakfast before you go?” pleaded his mother from the Kitchen.
“No, I’m getting late. My friends are waiting,” he shouted starting his Royal Enfield 500 CC motorbike. He zoomed away.
“This boy never takes care of himself,” she murmured to herself.
“Why do you worry so much? He is grown up now. He knows to take care of himself” intercepted the father.
“You better don’t interfere,” came the warning.
“Hey, it’s wonderful to see the entire gang. Order whatever you want, the bill is on me,” announced Raja at the College canteen.
Everyone cheered and praised Raja for the big heart he carried.
“Why do you waste so much money on these people. None of these dogs will turn up the day you stop feeding them,” Sandeep fumed.
Sandeep was Raja’s closest friend and both grew up together. While Raja’s parents were filthy rich, Sandeep grew up in a modest family nearby. Sandeep always poked at the wasteful expenditure of Raja.
“It’s fine. My dad has earned a lot of money for my happiness and I’m happy spending it,” turning towards the gang, he announced, “After this, we are going to rock at the movie.”
Raja’s announcement brought a grin to the faces of everyone. This time Sandeep remained silent and hit his forehead with his palm, turning his face around.
The gang cheered again. After the movie, they hit their favourite hangout joint, a few enjoyed the booze, everyone danced their way into the starry night, and then dispersed with a promise to meet the next day.
This was routine. The gang was happy with Raja for spending lavishly. Raja was happy in the company of his gang.
As Raja reached back home, he was dead tired and straight away went into his room.
“Would you not have dinner even today?” enquired his mother hesitantly, the words fell on dead ears. The door slammed, Thud!!!
The next day morning, as Raja prepared to leave the house, he experienced an unusual silence. His mother did not ask him to have breakfast nor was his father seen around.
He saw his mother sitting in the Temple room crying profusely.
He went near his sobbing mother and asked, “You seem different, Maa. What happened?”
Wiping her tears, she regained sense. “Would you like to have your breakfast?” she asked still crying. He said “No”
Raja could sense something was not right but was unable to decode the secret. He called his father’s number but it was switched off.
His mobile was buzzing continuously but he did not feel to move out of the house for reasons unknown. There was a strange apprehension within.
He feared for the worst and requested Sandeep to reach home at the earliest.
Understanding her son’s anxiety, his mother turning towards Sandeep said, “His father is in District court now. Today, we lost the legal battle we were fighting for 17 years related to his adoption.”
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