Papa has not changed

Ayaan felt his father had changed and no longer did fun things with him. But had he, really?

Published - July 07, 2024 12:13 am IST

Ma, papa has changed,” eight-year-old Ayaan told his mother. Kavita looked up from the book she was reading and asked, “What do you mean?”

“Earlier he used to come home and ring the bell at least six times. Now he rings the bell only once like a stranger.”

“Really, I never noticed.”

No more fun

“Yes. Also whenever he came into the house, he would give both of us a hug. Now he goes straight to his room and throws his briefcase in a corner. After sometime, he plonks himself on the sofa and switches on the TV or is busy on his mobile. Whenever I ask him anything, he says, ‘Ayaan, I am tired, ask your ma’.”

“Ayaan, this must have happened only on a few days when he was really exhausted. Don’t read too much into it.”

“No, ma. It has become a regular pattern. Remember, on Saturday evenings, he would take us out for dinner followed by a visit to the ice-cream parlour. On the days we were at home, he would make his special biryani for us. After dinner, we would either play Scrabble or Ludo. But, now, he never has time for any of the fun things we used to do.

Ayaan looked at his mother, waiting for an answer. Kavita knew he was right but turned away, not wanting to Ayaan to see her face.

Later in the evening, when Raj was surfing channels, Kavita said, “Raj, I need to talk to you.”

Raj looked up. Kavita was looking serious. “Not now, Kavita, I am too tired.”

“These days, you are always either too busy or too tired. You leave for your clinic at 8.00 am, come back at 9.00 p.m. and then are always on your phone.”

“Stop nagging. You know I have no choice,” Raj snapped, shifting his attention back to the television.

“There is always a choice, Raj,” Kavita said and walked out of the room.

Raj or Rajesh Mishra was a paediatrician who began his career in a private nursing home. A decade later, he started his own clinic and, within a year, he was doing very well. As the number of patients increased, Raj became busier by the day. On Sunday, after Raj had finished his breakfast, Kavita came to sit with him. Raj looked up and said, “Now, tell me what’s bugging you?”

“Raj, you are not giving Ayaan and me enough time.”

“Come on, Kavita,. You know the clinic is just picking up. I need to give it my full attention.”

“But don’t you think Ayaan also needs your time?”

Welcome change

“Are you suggesting that I am neglecting him? I want him to get the best education and all the comforts I was denied. We need money for that, don’t we? How will I make money if I don’t concentrate on my clinic?”

“Let me tell you what Ayaan said last Monday.” Kavita narrated her conversation with Ayaan.

A few days later, “Ma, I want to tell you something,” Ayaan shouted, running into the garden and giving Kavita a hug. “I was wrong. Papa has not changed at all.”

“What do you mean?”

“He rings the bell not like a stranger but like papa — five-to-six times. As soon as he enters, he picks me up and hugs me. He has also helped me improve my bowling action. I didn’t know he was a terrific spin bowler when he was young and played for his school. “I am sure I was mistaken. My Papa is very much the same.” Ayaan high-fived his ma and scampered across the lawn.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.