"Baba, can I go out and fly kites with the Tapan and Mohit?" his son asked with gleaming eyes.
He pleaded with a heavy voice "Please baba, let me go". He turned to him and said "No. You can’t. If you want you can fly kites on the terrace alone."
"Alone? There’s no fun in that." The kid sobbed.
"Then stay inside and talk to me or study." the father said.
With tear in his eyes, the kid argued "But why baba? What have I done?"
His father took him in his arms and said, "You haven’t done anything wrong, Krishna. But I don’t want you to go out with these boys. Don’t you see that they roam about in the streets like hooligans and use bad language? I don’t want you to mix with them. Do you understand?"
He was a good boy and what his father said was a must follow. Without any further argument, he went to the study. But before leaving the room, he gave a last glance at the window, where Mohit and Tapan were still standing and waiting for him. He looked at them from head to toe.
Their bare feet, tattered clothes, messy and rough hair, made him think that his baba was indeed right. But once his eyes fell on their happy faces, baba’s words no more seemed meaningless.
After explaining to his son, Arghya Roychowdhury stood in front of his father’s photograph and said, "Dad", today, I have taught my son the lesson you’ve always taught me."
He recalled his childhood memories. He, too, used to plead like his son. The kite was a distant friend for him, too. He has grown up, happily. Hence, his son too would.
However, he seemed lost and started walking up and down the room. He heard a faint sound of the ‘dhak’ coming from a distance. The concept of wasting time like this was something that he loathed.
He took a cup of coffee and went to the veranda where he saw the boys flying kites merrily. Taking a look at their attires, he felt that his decision for his son was right. He looked up at the sky and found blue fluffy clouds and grinned ear-to-ear.
The sound of ‘dhak’ was now more clear. Soon, he started tapping his toe to the beats, looking up at the brightly coloured kites. All of a sudden, someone cut someone else’s kite and there was a loud roar. Somehow, he couldn’t stop himself from joining the cheering group. Hearing the voice, his wife, Sushmita smiled and said, "I’ve never seen you this much happy Arghya".
"I’ve never felt happier. See the kites. Aren’t they colourful? Aren’t the children sweet?"
"Why don’t you join them?" Sushmita suggested.
He looked at his wife and asked, "Can I go?"
"Yes. Of course", she replied
Arghya beamed like a 10-year old boy. She was the first person to say ‘yes’. He immediately hurried off to his son’s room and called, "where are you, my boy?"
Krish appeared with a faint smile, "yes, baba."
"Why are you not wearing proper clothes? Are we going to go out this way?"
"Where are we going?" Krishna asked.
"We’re going out to fly kites with Tapan, Mohit and others", he said.
Krishna couldn’t believe. He ran and gave his father a tight hug. They went down with kites and joined the clan outside. People embraced them cheerfully and in no time they felt one with all.
Nothing else mattered, except for the happy faces, the sound of ‘dhak’, the bright sunshine and the colourful kites flying high. As his kite flew high up in the sky, Arghya could feel the 10-year old boy within him, who had grown up, craving for a childhood, craving for just one kite to fly.
Coordinator, Class XII, Gokhale Memorial Girl’s School