Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Story of An Armani Suit

‘Grandpa, Wish me! It’s my 18th birthday today!’  Sitting up on his bed and in his pajamas, joyfully shouts Alex to his grandpa.

‘Grandpa, come here fast, I have to show you something’. ‘Grandpa! Where are you? Hurry up, Grandpa!'

‘ Ohoho! Hold on sonny,  I am not 18, sweets. Grandpa is 81 years of age. So Grandpa, cannot walk so fast as you do'.  

George replies and slowly walks into Alex’s bedroom watchful of each  step he takes, holding and balancing  his walk with the assistance of the walking stick and adjusting  his black framed thick glasses, which is firmly kept on the edge of his nose.

On entering Alex’s bedroom, George sees his grandson in a playful mood. Alex has covered himself from head to toe with his blanket and is lying on the bed as if he is asleep. 

As a custom, from the time Alex is born, George wakes up Alex by pampering and cuddling him with love and affection, and this day is no different.

‘Happy B’day, Sonny boy’, wishes George, ruffling through his hair and patting Alex on his bum.

Alex jumps out of his blanket and hugs his Grandpa.

‘Love you, Grandpa! Tell me, what are you gifting  me today?’ and continues to pester George with his question.

‘Gifts are not to be revealed, Alexie.’ ‘It would be revealed once you are done with your shower and post your breakfast’.

‘Come out of the  bedroom now, you lazy bum.’ George replies to Alex in a pampering tone.

Now Alex, slowly massages his mustache (the dirty teen mustache) and quips, ‘Grandpa! Do I look like Dadda? '  and continues to rub is mustache in the manner done by an adult.

George gives a soft slap on his palms. ‘Alexie, shave off those mustaches. You’ll look handsome without them.’ ‘Get out of the bedroom now and do as I asked you to do’.

Saying this, George, hurries out of Alex’s bedroom.

Alex slowly drags himself out of his bedroom. He is still sleepy. But the thought of the birthday party and the awaiting gift, works as a catalyst and Alex rushes for a shower and finishes the shower and breakfast within a time span of half an hour.

‘Grandpa, I am here! Now you MUST reveal the secret’. ‘Tell me, what my gift is?’ ‘say, say, say’. 

Alex is still a kid. He is just growing up physically. George thinks, with a smile on his face.

 “Here it is, baby boy, see for yourself, what I have brought for you.”

Alex cannot believe his eyes.

“An Armani Suit! Yepiee”.  He exclaims and hugs his grandpa so tightly that George struggles to breathe, and somehow manages to  free himself from the loving clutches of his grandson.

‘Thank You, Grandpa. Cynthia, will love to see me in Armaani’. ‘Am sure she will accept my request for a date tonight.’

George, sees a twinkle of a teenager-lover-adult in the eyes of Alex.

‘Come grandpa, let’s go for my regular swim.  I hold a national competition scheduled next month. I need to practice for the event. Let’s quickly finish the session in an hour and then let’s set out the activities for the birthday party.’

Alex drags his Grandpa to the swimming pool.

Alex changes to his swimming costume.

‘Grandpa, please check how many minutes do I actually take to reach the other side of the pool.’

Saying this, Alex stuffs the stop-watch to George’s hands and dives into the swimming pool.

Alex is a professional swimmer and has won several state level competitions for  the butterfly stroke swim style.

His grandfather is his coach.  So, George, stays back outside the pool and watches his grandson swim. George visualizes Alex winning the national level competition, and proudly he smiles.

All of a sudden, George comes out of the trance and sees that Alex is still not seen on the surface of the water.

 “Hey Dolphin! Come out now!” George calls out for Alex.

George addresses  Alex  as “dolphin” when he is in the pool. Such is Alex’s connection with water and the pool.  He started to swim at the age of 4.

But, George’s words went futile, it echoes in the pool area and slowly drifts to a stony silence.

‘Alexie, my son, are you Ok?’ “Please, answer this old man. Do not give me shocking surprises. Am too old for this sort of play. Alexie, You hear me?’

Desperation has now set into the fragile voice of George.

George peeps into the troubled waters and finds Alex in the bottom of the pool with his hand stuck somewhere. He could see Alex struggling to free himself. Alex’s breath has taken the form of  bubbles and is exuding from his mouth and those  bubbles start bursting as it reaches the surface.

Are these bubbles telling a story?

George is in panic and calls for help.

“Is anyone there? Please help this old man. My grandson is drowning. Hello…”

The only successor to his clan, his beloved, his grandson, who was born into his hands, he is drowning and fighting for his life in the pool. The same pool which he considers his second home. 

George looks into the pool helpless. His shivering body cannot help Alex.

Few of the neighbors hear  George cry and they come running to help. But alas, none of them knew swimming. They  call the fire force for the rescue and with the  buckets they try to empty the humongous swimming pool. 

20 minutes later the fire personnel arrives for the rescue.

They pull Alex from the bottom of the pool. They find that  Alex’s hand got sucked in the suction duct while swimming.

George stood at least 10 meters away from the pool with his back facing the pool. He has no strength now to see anything dreadful.

“Oh, Good Lord Save my Grandson
Do not take him away from us
I have had faith in  you all my life, despite my trying situations
Lord, the father of humankind, save him
Let the satan fade
Save my grandson, have mercy on us
I plead Thee, I count on thee
Take my life, but save my grandson”

Thus prayed the shaky old man standing there frozen.

And then he hears the most upsetting, gloomy, wrenching words from the fire personnel.

“George! George!” they call the grandpa. Scared even to move, George turns around to face the fire personnel.  In, their hand, he sees Alex lying lifeless; his dolphin is no more.

Unable to witness such a scene, George shouts like an eccentric man, shuts his eyes, as if the entire incident  would be undone, and falls on the ground, thus breaking his eye-glasses. He mutters and cusses his fate. He hits his forehead on the ground and runs to the party hall.

Like a whirlwind, he trashes all the decorations and walks towards the area where the majestic photo frame of Jesus Christ is hung.

As he faces the photo of Jesus, he breaks down and hits his chest and weeps. His sobbing is so intense, that none of the neighbors are able to console him.

“Why did you do this to me? What have I Wronged? All my life, I believed in you. I led my entire life as a true Christian. First, you took away my wife; she was my life. Now you have taken away from me the last hope, my last breath.  Merciless you”.  

George is inconsolable.

In that outrage, George pulls off the photo from the wall and raises high up  in the air, as if to smash  it on the ground, but then, his eyes fell on the Armani suit he had brought for his beloved grandson, Alex.

George’s eyes wells up. 

“Oh Alexie, my sweetie pie, my son.  I wanted to see you badly in this Armani with your bride in the church, walking up the aisle. But look at the fate of this old man … Oh Lord!” His voice softens and George faints ...

PS: Image courtesy Google.