Route One


The Richest Man Alive

"It's only a teenage wasteland...". I love this song, even if its been a week of listening to it on loop and trying to brush aside the fact that I look stupid every morning doing this-panting more than running. The Thames and the view is just exceptional. Ten years and it still gets me giddy like a teen..wait here comes the phone.
"Hi. Yes I have left. I am coming. Ok I won't forget the eggs. How was the breakfast? You enjoyed it? Yes ok make that. By the way, reminder dinner at Joshi's tonight, so I will do the lunch and dinner tomorrow. So.. prepare to starve! Bye."
Yet another morning run of trying to prove I am not as old as I behave. Failed spectacularly again. Off to the station then.

"Hey guys, I am home"
"Finally! Give me the eggs fast and go take a shower."
"Ok. But you know I feel overwhelmingly in love with you when I am sweaty so come here give me a hug!"
"Ahh. Honey! Protect Mommmy!"
Daisy runs and stands in between to protect mother dearest.
"Well, I feel even more love for daughters after a run. Come hereee!"
"Dad! I know your Kryptonite" she giggles as she runs around the kitchen with her exhausted not-yet-middle age father behind her.
"Daddy daddy, where did all your hair go?" she retorts.
I pretend to fall in sadness and cry, until Mommy Superior comes to finally give me a hug and revive. The mother and daughter then unravel me with their tickling till I am shoved inside for a shower.

"Did your daughter tell you? She has already declared that she won't drive at all. Says since Daddy doesn't even I won't."
"Really?" I feel a surge of anxiety. You never want your fears to be passed down to your children, much less ones which might cripple their lives.
"You have to understand Daisy, back then it was all really unorganised and dangerous. You now have the best systems possible. And more importantly, look at mom driving. She does it without even the slight hesitation. She is so much more brave and better than Daddy. Follow her in this one. Rest all,, you know Daddy beats Mommy hands down"
"Good parenting while dominating the fellow parent. Nicely done" comes the snide and expected retort.
"Daisy and I are a team you can never be. Who will win between Batman and Harry Potter?"
"Batman!Always!" we both scream while staring deeply into blank space as our driver fumes.
"Don't be late. We will have to leave early to avoid the traffic." I remind her as the automated headnod replies.
"And there is something important.. you should know..never mind."
"What is it?"
"Just say it!"
"Tumi Amake Still Khub Bhalobhashi"
"Ewwww! Why did I marry such a corny man". Her daily lament following which I get a nice long kiss as we split for our work.

Work. There are days where I feel relieved when it ends, as if my life starts and ends when I see my girls. The torture of mind-numbing marketing and studying shit people don't really want and manipulating them into thinking they do makes me increasingly callous. Then there are days where the few good people around can outweigh the collective stupidity and make your efforts worth it. Still, there is no happiness to be found here. I hope she has read the draft finally.

"Did you read it?" I carefully and casually drop it while we are getting ready.
"I did. It's much better than the previous one. But it will still take some work."
"Not again. Do you not get it? I don't want to do anything else other than this. This is what I have dreamt about since ages. This is what I.."
"I know." she says trying to calm me down with her hands on my face. "Will I , who read a bunch of disjointed short plots by you and compared you to a bestseller author instantly, ever doubt it? I know you hate it there Devang. But if you are going to leave it all to chase this, I want to make sure that you are as prepared as one can be."
I relent. The smartest person I knew 18 years back is still here.

" Don't start playing games again with Avi please! I know its some kind of a ritual for you two but they really don't like it when you two start swearing away."
"Ok Me Lady"
"Daddy, till we reach their house, can you again tell me how you and mum got married?"
"Ok. Telling this to you for the 100th time but I don't mind. We booked a big cliff somewhere near the Channel. It was simply grass all around and breezy winds blowing all day and night. Mommy and Daddy had a small wedding party there where we shared the vows we had written. Mine were obviously brilliant and your mother...well she tried. We danced all night in front of the beach with our friends and even watched the sun rise."
"Then back home. we needed to make your grandparents happy, you know all four of them. So we also had a huge Indian wedding. Mother and her sisters had a good time dancing and socialising while I would dance only if the lights were off and fake sickness most of the times. It was a loud expensive mess for which neither of us paid, so all in all, a great wedding."

The house of my epiphany is still here with perhaps the only family I like. The food is being served and wine poured as I raise to make my customary and overwrought annual toast.
"Daddy not again!" Daisy screams as the Joshis also look less enthusiastic about it. But a familiar hand reassures me.
"I know the words and still love it," she smiles. That Julia Smile.
" A few years ago, I came here uncertain of myself, my feelings and my future. Fate had always dealt me the tough hand and as the future called, I was even more uncertain. Would I amount to anything? Would this last? Will I be alone and a failure? That is when I heard your London Eye story. I spent just two days looking at your family and realised this was "Deja Vu"
All I could ever want was right here. The richest man I knew wasn't even on the Forbes list. Here's to you and me- the Richest Men I know."
She smiles and cries again and I wipe and kiss it away. Again.

One day,10 yrs from now,i will have a deja vu' of life,lets hope!
Posted by Devang Pathak on Tuesday, June 8, 2010

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