“Congratulations sir. You’re blessed with a baby boy,” the nurse said. The time was 8.30 AM. “Thank you, Miss Kapadia,” he replied in his characteristic cold demeanor.
Prem Bajaj, cradled the receiver, revised the agenda for the day and reduced his meetings from 15 to 6. Throughout that day, he wore a smile which made the office folks gossip about 30% extra in bewilderment. He planned to leave by 12 noon, called for the driver at 2 PM, finished packing his bag by 5.45 and finally stepped into his A6 by 7.30 PM. He was truly late that day. He was going to see the baby and his wife for the first time, after 11 hours. Sometimes, he blamed himself for not being able to steal time. But there was so much to do.
And he was doing everything for his family. Isn’t it? Everything – a gigantic business, four luxury cars, a palace in the heart of Mumbai, everything! He reached the hospital. His wife greeted him with a smile. She had committed a sin of expecting him by lunch that day (how could she?), but her frowns faded into blank expressions that faded to helpless smiles, as they did every day. She didn’t even care to ask. Not even on this big day. Never on their anniversaries. There’s always work, this she understood. But what she didn’t was for whom was he doing this. Eleven rooms and four cars for three members in his family.
Something was truly amiss.
However, time started running before his son started walking and talking, but his own voice echoed over 23 Crore deals in his conference room. At the age of 5, his son learnt to recognize his dad from the wedding album and at 7, he started reacting to his dad’s voice on the phone. He somehow knew that his dad always liked to say “I’ll be a bit late, Karan.” because he heard it all the time.
Karan got used to all of it.
He got used to toys, bikes and a sleek motorcycle for his birthday, tagged “from love, dad.” He got used to the empty chair at the dining table, and he began to like it that way. One fine morning something unexpected turned its way towards him. “Sit here son.” His dad said. The gray-headed smile was genuine, but was answered with a frown. “College, dad.” Karan said and left the house that Sunday morning, when colleges were more sealed than his mother’s lips. But she smiled in silence.
Karan got a job a few months later and moved to a new house with a friend. His dad’s business skills had passed on and Karan did well. He got married to the love of his life. The business prospered to an empire as big as his father’s and he smiled everyday on the thought.
But today was super special.
He was extremely happy. The dawn had brought with it a real good news. Everyone congratulated him throughout the day and the office bloomed with an aura of celebration.
“Congratulations sir. You’re blessed with a baby boy,” the nurse had said. The time was 7.41 AM. “Thank you, Miss Joseph,” he had replied in his characteristic cold demeanor.
He left his desk earlier than usual that day, at 6 pm.
The above photo is a screen grab of the video to “Cats In The Cradle” by Ugly Kid Joe. The story is based on this song.