A BADGER’S NEST

An excited individual is erratic, but when Nitish Vardhwan pushed through the doors of his desolate apartment, he redefined insanity. In his attempt to conduct himself into the apartment, he knocked his brother off the stepladder, who was just beside the door, mending a loose tile. The latter lost his balance and almost bludgeoned his father’s head who stood below him, scrutinizing the finesse of his work. The incident erupted unnecessary commotion and exchange of insatiable words. It, in turn, interrupted Nitish’s mother and sister-in-law’s kitchen chores and they spared no moment in quenching their stricken curiosity.

The moment his family’s stare attained a common interest, in Nitish knew he had invited his family’s annoyance. However, the emotional ebb he felt, rendered him aloof from their disquiet, and expressed himself at the top of his voice, ‘You won’t believe what fate has chosen for me!’

Nitish’s enthrallment carried innocence, but the manner it was delivered to its recipient drew shocked glares from his relatives. They, however, remained silent; everyone, except the father. He scoffed with zero intent to conceal his displeasure, ‘Please, spare us from whatever fate has chosen for you.’

Remark someone in his moment of gloom, you might only receive tears, but remark someone in his moment of happiness and you will certainly foster their contempt. Nitish’s His eyes gnawed through his father’s while his lips bent downwards, stripping off the joviality of his expressions.

‘Oh father, when will you spare me your incredulities?’
‘As long as the incredulities of your own mind persist.’

Nitish’s brows contracted, his fists clenched to an extent that his nails threatened to chip away his own flesh and his steps gained momentum in his father’s direction. He certainly would’ve taken a good bit of his father, if not for his mother, who jumped in between after she sensed the growing tension in between them.
‘Nitish, you mustn’t heed your father,” she said,’for he has grown senile in his old age.’ Nitish succumbed to her mother’s affectionate grasp around his arm and walked alongside without much protest, ‘Where’s your laptop? I have never seen you without it.’

‘I’ve sold it,’ said Nitish, and paid no attention to the wave of surprise his declaration brought to his mother.
‘But why? It meant so much to you, my dear boy,’ said the mother.

Now, if you would have been acquainted with a person from a sales department, you would have noticed the glee on his face. The same sheen defined Nitish’s face. His body shivered in joyousness, as he grabbed her mother’s shoulders and looked right into her eyes, ‘There’s no need of it,’ he said, ‘You see, that’s what I have been trying to tell you. Now I don’t need that old garbage. I finally got the chance to do what I aimed for a long,’ Nitish delivered his circumscribed monologue in such a manner that it made his family members to flock around him (except his father of course) like lambs around a patch of grass, ‘I finally left that godforsaken job!’

Nitish had just finished his sentence when his mother’s compassion of five fingers bussed his cheek. Joviality abandoned him like a depraved woman, and he ached to express his discomfort, but his mother stole that opportunity too.

‘You foolish boy! How stupid you have to be to leave the only job you can get,’ she said, ‘And now where will you get all the money?’
At a glance, Nitish’s mother seemed right, but then for Nitish, it was a breach of benevolence; something he didn’t think to happen.

‘Mom, you hurt me,’ he said, ‘Why would I keep the job when I no longer need it?’ said Nitish and studied his family’s expressions, which screamed confusion, ‘My dues have been paid off!’ He threw his arms in the air and returned his attention to his family. They had become only more clueless. Nitish sighed and dropped his shoulders, ‘A publisher is ready to publish my story.’
Now the family to blurt out the excitement. They surrounded him like a bunch of witch-hunters and took a ritualistic round of him while discussing something intelligible among themselves. The father, however, maintained his distance, smirking at their behaviour.

Picture Credit- Photo by Tony Lam Hoang on Unsplash

‘Well, I knew you would make something good of your life.’ Her mother said with a grin on her face, and in response, she received an awkward glare from her son.
‘It wasn’t so a moment ago,’ said the latter.

Nitish wasn’t able to get a response from her mother, because her sister-in-law caught hold of his arm and pulled towards the living room, ‘Oh, don’t fret,’ she said, ‘Your mother said that only out of concern. Now, you must be tired, so just relax.’

Before the achieving son could say something, his sister-in-law shoved a plate of Onion Bhajia in his hands, and Nitish, as hungry as he ever was, lunged on it like a drifter who has finally found some settlement after weeks of hopeless strolling in a desert. While Nitish finished the meal, his family discussed the prospects such a deal could attain for the future; like a television set his mother so desired; the necklace that his sister-in-law thought would look best around her neck; and the house, which according to his brother had lost its value.

Nitish listened to them all, and when his meal finished, he kept the bowl on the table and smiled at his excited family, ‘Yes, desires will churn out reality. Everything will be exceptional!’
‘That still doesn’t explain the fact why you sold the laptop in the first place.’ His father’s voice permeated the air, and Nitish gave him an expression which every enlightened being is deemed to give to an oblivious one.

‘Why, of course for the publishing,’ he said, ‘It’s one of their packages, I have to pay a certain amount to get published.’
‘So, for that, you sold the thing on which you wasted so much hard earned money?’
‘The time has changed. That’s how one gets published. You won’t understand.’

The father chuckled, ‘Sure, I won’t.’ He turned towards his younger son, ‘Be sure to find a shop which pays us instead on buying their stuff.’
His father’s icy remark broke Nitish’s patience. He shot off his sofa and threw his hands in you-are-hopeless attitude, ‘You’ve never understood me, but wait and see my name in newspapers and on television, and who knows I might get a film deal too.’ He said and pushed his steps towards the door.

His mother realized his son’s disquiet. She rushed to him and caught him by his arm, ‘Please don’t get so much disheartened by your father’s words and leave.’
Nitish stopped and turned towards his mother, ‘Oh, I’m not the least bothered by father’s words.’

‘Then where are you going in a jiffy,’ said his mother, ‘Won’t you like to rest a bit.’

‘That’s what I’m going to do.’ He paused and gave his father a stare, who, too, was least bothered by his antics, ‘In my own flat.’
His concluding words confused his mother even more, ‘What your own flat?’

‘Oh, how foolish of me,’ said Nitish, ‘I forgot to mention that some money remained, I have rented a flat.’ He turned around and reached the door when he stopped once again and turned towards his family, ‘And I hope, like me, you will also find your fortune and will be able to fulfil all your desires that you have told me just now.’
With that Nitish Vardhwan was gone, like a draft of frail breeze. For minutes, his entire family, except the father, stayed in a perplexed state. After which, his mother laughed to ease off the situation, ‘He’s just excited, but will soon come to his senses.’

‘I hope he will, but the question is; when?’ remarked the patriarch.
The father received his answer when after a few months of disappearance, he saw Nitish escaping from him in shabby and unkempt clothes.

By Nishant Verma