Shrift – Joyanta Basak : 1st Place Winner
The thorn of discomfort has been piercing my heart ever since. Was it right to do the work? No, never. The work should not have been done. Even a tiny crow never leaves another sick bird of its clan. And she was a living soul.
Living soul! No, not now. But I was helpless. I was a father and my daughter had no mother. The poor girl, Ayesha had lost her mother at birth. Since then, she had been nourished like a tender rose by my old mother for the past five years. My mother was very strict with me in my childhood. But in the case of my daughter, the opposite! At the indulgence of her grandmother, the granddaughter had been becoming an unbridled child. So naturally she was shocked by the unnatural death of her grandmother. What death is, it was not possible to understand at this age of hers. But I think, little Ayesha somehow had come to understand the heaviness of death. She was not crying. She was just watching the bed, which she used to share with her grandmother while sleeping, the cough syrup, which belonged to my mother, and she often forgot to take and Ayesha used to remind her of it. Ayesha just asked me sadly, “Who would put me to sleep telling fairy tales?” I assured her,”Don’t worry, dear. I would.”
For a few days, my mother’s cough got worse. In the lock-down period, I could not manage an appointment of a doctor. I bought her a simple cough syrup. But the condition was worsening. Her shortness of breath had begun. Perhaps… Perhaps… But what else could I do? I was a father and I had none but my daughter, Ayesha, in the whole world. That’s why I had to take the big decision.
Ill got, Ill spent. A few days after my mother’s death, my daughter started coughing terribly. It was my mother, who was responsible for everything. Whatever I had done as a father, I was right. But I had to do something immediately to save my Ayesha’s life. I was calling a doctor like crazy, but he was not responding. Suddenly Ayesha came to me with a swollen cheek.
I asked Ayesha, “What’s in your mouth?”
She said smilingly, “The syrup which you brought for granma. Now I will be fine, won’t I Papa?”
I fainted with fear. Because I knew there was poison in that syrup.
Whatever I had done as a father was right but whatever I had done as a son was a sin. Affection tends to flow downward. In my case, affection had pushed me to abyss.
Written By : Joyanta Basak
Institution : Jahangirnagar University
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