Aarush was rolling on his bed in the morning, and hugged the pillow next to him, thinking of it to be Radhika. He murmured something with his eyes closed, and his mother woke him up.
‘Good morning Son, how did you sleep last night?’
‘Mom…good morning…’ Aarush covered his huge boner with the pillow. His cheeks were going red with embarrassment.
‘C’mon now wake up and get ready, we are going to Siddhivinayak in a few hours.’
‘WHAT?’ Aarush, who had never been to Siddhivinayak in his Mumbai-life of over five years, was now being asked to join his parents.
‘Yes. You should thank all the Gods for saving your life, have you any idea how dangerous accident you had?’
‘All the Gods?’
‘Yes, after Siddhivinayak, we are going to Mahalakshmi temple and then to Haji-Ali Dargah, and after that if we have time, we will also visit Swaminarayan Temple. Now wake up!’ Aarush looked at the clock on the opposite wall. It was displaying 5:30 am.
‘Mom, I’ve had accident recently, I can’t travel to so many places at once…’ Aarush tried to convince his mother.
‘I know, that is exactly what I was telling your father!’
‘Yeah, and what did he say?’
‘I was telling him that we will visit one religious place in one day, every day for the next one month. But he said he wanted to visit all big temples today.’
‘I am feeling better now. We can visit all the temples today, yeah…’ Aarush suddenly found the energy level of Hulk inside him as his mother mentioned that they had plans of visiting temples for whole month!
‘I don’t know now, go talk to your father.’
‘Right away! Dad…’ Aarush walked outside to talk to his father, who was sipping his tea, while watching news on TV.
‘Aarush, when does the paper come?’
‘Oh…I don’t think it comes. I haven’t subscribed to it.’
‘What? How can you live without a newspaper? You are running a company, you need to know about the current affairs of the world, son!’
‘Everything is available on mobile and internet dad, who needs to collect papers every day?’
‘I will never understand this generation. You guys can never imagine the bliss of turning crisp, warm pages of a morning newspaper. You can’t ever feel the joy of finding your name in the newspaper during college results. I still have a copy of ‘The Hindu’ in which my college result was declared in the year 1977!’
‘Okay dad, I’ve to go to…’ Aarush stuck up his little finger, gesturing his father about his need to relieve himself. He picked up his phone from his bedroom’s side-table and locked himself in the bathroom to attend to nature’s call!
‘Hey…’ once inside, he called up Radhika.
‘Hey I was waiting for you to wake up. What’s the plan?’
‘They are forcing me to go to temples with them and I’m least interested!’
‘What ‘thank-god’? You will obviously be happy after all it’s your favourite pastime, chatting with Gods!’
‘Yeah, laugh all you can. I will try my best to somehow cancel this plan and rather visit some bar so that I can get drunk beyond my wits! I miss alcohol so damn much…’
‘Oh, so you miss alcohol?’
‘Don’t forget the rough and crazy sex we used to have. I can’t wait to eat you, Radhika!’ Aarush growled like a tiger on the phone.
‘Aarush? Are you okay?’ his mother knocked on the door, hearing weird noises.
‘Yeah, mom! I’m fine…’
Radhika couldn’t stop laughing.
‘I don’t think my parents can ever understand that their son has now grown up and needs some space of his own.’ Aarush was being grumpy.
‘Listen…’ Radhika grabbed his attention.
‘I talked to my parents about you, and…’
‘Radhika, screw you! They what?’
‘They want to meet you!’
‘Any time you are free. You can accompany me to Jaipur.’
‘WHAT? I am not going anywhere. Invite your parents over to Mumbai.’
‘Aarush, flush your ego and attitude for once and please…’
‘Radhika, it doesn’t look good.’
‘Because baby, I don’t want them to have a wrong notion about me.’
‘What wrong notion?’
‘See, if I accompany you to Jaipur, they might think that I am here with you so that I can demand hefty dowry or something and I’m that kind of guy, which I’m not. So no trip to Jaipur. I will rather send them tickets to Mumbai and they can fly first class.’
‘Please Radhika, not this one. Please…’
‘Fine, I will talk to dad.’
‘You’re welcome…’ Radhika giggled.
‘Listen, I now need to hang up as my mom might be listening to all our shit…’
‘Not our, ‘your’ shit, you are the one on the bathroom pot, right?’
Aarush laughed hysterically.
‘Well, okay now I need to hang up really bad, I need to get out. It’s damn hot here! And don’t worry, I will eat you raw…just meet me alone for one night…’ Aarush cut the call and rushed out of the bathroom.
His parents were already ready with their bags packed for the day.
‘What’s all this for?’ Aarush pointed at the big bag of snacks and eatables.
‘These are for the way, in case someone’s hungry.’ his mother said.
‘Brilliant! I just forgot that we don’t have any food joints and we are not in Mumbai, but Malegaon, we need it all, right!’
‘Stop mocking your mother every time.’ his father interrupted, ‘she made so much food for you in the morning, when you were sleeping, just so that you don’t have to eat outside food for a few days!’
Aarush immediately felt his father’s words, piercing through his heart, ‘I’m sorry mom…’
‘It’s okay, sometimes I know I embarrass you.’
‘Mom, please no!’ Aarush hugged her tight.
The three of them went to a day-long trip to Siddhivinayak, Mahalakshmi and Swaminarayan Temples and in the evening, Aarush took his mother and father to Marine Drive. They were awed at the gigantic ocean. He clicked a few photos of them. His father was even shy to place his hand at his mother’s shoulder. It was at that moment, that he realized how innocent their love is, and how shallow this generation’s love is. Despite being married for more than two decades, his parents had a shyness, and couples around them were kissing openly, without any worries, without any tension. His father was even hesitant to hold his mother’s hand. Lust was more visible in this generation than love. Couples nowadays are not together even for 2 years at stretch, and his parents despite being together for over 2 decades, loved each other so deeply. Aarush smiled at them and realized how he can never love Radhika like his father has loved his mother…