He gazed with his patient moist eyes, embedded in sunken optical craters and encircled with crows’ feet, at the two kids playing…
Mohnish picked up a stone and exerting pressure on his shoulder, even beyond his endurance limit, hurled it far. The stone went high in the sky and guided by gravitational forces traveled a long distance in the shape of an arc, before finally succumbing and falling into the pond. The touch of stone with pond created splashes in the composed pond, like a placid mind getting perturbed by a crude remark. But then, the pond gradually regained its composure and tranquility returned, like it was a saint's mind in transcendental state.
Mohnish turned towards Sparsh and challenged him with vanity, "Hey Sparsh, It’s your turn; Throw your stone and see if you can beat my record."
Sparsh feeling challenged, looked around for a stone of precise configuration, of medium size and weight, to surpass the target distance of Mohnish’s throw. The bank of the pond was a garden, proliferated with lustrous green grass, fresh and moist with morning dew .The energizer sun, benevolently disseminated its rays all over the garden. .The glare was so powerful, that gazing it could cause temporary blindness and might even mental numbness. It was better to succumb to its dominance than be brazen enough to challenge its brilliance. The garden was free of weeds and contained healthy grass properly trimmed, with small shrubs and flowers, placed in proper segments, in a defined conceptualized manner. Red, pink, yellow Roses, white lilies, yellow sunflowers, red hibiscus, pink daffodils and many more were in the array of flowers arranged in a soothing optical display of hue, rarity and nature's bounty. Children were running around and playing in the garden, hanging from the suspended roots of a huge Banyan tree placed in the middle of the garden. Elders, mostly parents, guardians and nannies were sitting in comfortable clusters of friends and acquaintances, on wooden benches and on the grass.
Amidst the setting, Sparsh vehemently continued his search for a perfect stone. It was high time to win against Mohnish. Sparsh was not a challenger innately but Mohnish's persistent dares with him in every segment of life made his spirits spike - full of charge. He wanted to shut his mouth once for all and crush his boastful declare. His search was fruitful and he found a stone of precise dimension right below the Banyan tree.
Meanwhile, getting tired by Sparsh's prolonged search, Mohnish shouted, "Hey Sparsh, you can't spend so much time searching for a stone since I picked up a random stone near the bank. What are you trying to do, get into the Guinness book of world records?"
Sparsh maintained his composure and replied, "That is not my problem, if you can't wait. Now to think of, you can get into the Guinness book of world records for having the least patience."
Mohnish was alarmed by the berating. He tensed his brow and frowned his facial muscles, to scorn at Sparsh’s defiance, "Okay, boy you are crossing the line. I'm elder to you and you should have some respect."
Sparsh, quite amused by his conquer, and with vigor struck him back again, "That is not my problem, if you were born before me. You have to give respect in order to get some."
Surprised by Sparsh’s reply again, Mohnish felt overpowered and blurted unexpectedly, "A O A A Okay Okay Sparsh, we will see that. Now hurl the stone and show me what you have got here. We can talk then."
Sparsh stood for a while and marked a point in the pond which he might have earlier thought to be far beyond his limits before hurling the stone forcefully. His throw was so intense that he nearly stumbled into the pond. The stone flew even beyond the marked point which was a several yards past the point where Mohnish's throw had landed earlier. In other words, Sparsh’s stone had stubbed Mohnish's ego.
"Wowow", Sparsh shouted with excitement," Did you see that Mohnish? It is a miracle. Aha! Ain't I good bro?"
Mohnish stood with his eyes on the verge of falling out and with his mouth open in shock.
"Hey shut your mouth Mohnish, there are lots off honey bees around."
Mohnish, not believing his eyes, screamed, "What the hell was that? It is a foul, come on, you spend hours planning your strategy and searching for a stone". His pitch was increasing with every new word and face was spurting cherry red.
Sparsh smiled, "Again Mohnish, it is your problem if you can't believe what you see."
"Let’s ask grandpa. They both ran; "Papaji, look how Sparsh is cheating," Mohnish blurted first.
Papaji's gaze blinked; He had been staring for a long time at his grandchildren and adoring their excitement. His memory oscillating like a pendulum, between present and past, relating bits and pieces of the current event with the one in his past.
He had been a participant of a similar sibling rivalry battle with his brother, the same hurling competition at the same location. He had been the elder brother then but now found himself associating with Sparsh. He gathered his spirits and spoke with a cracking voice," It was a fair contest Mohnish. Winning needs talent and your brother has shown he has a lot. You should be happy for your brother. Sometimes the best gain is to lose dear."
Mohnish, disappointed with the reply said," Oh! Papaji, I thought you would give a fair judgment. Both of you are against me."
"No, my child, I love you both equally, you are like my eyes .How will I be happy if one gets hurt? I will stand to loose my vision, right?"
Mohnish stood still, he felt his grandfather's emotions and knew that he was speaking the truth and indeed loved them both a lot. With a feeble voice he spoke, "Papaji, We have never seen you play. Join us in the stone hurling competition."
Papaji made an independent effort to stand erect, his arms taking support of the wooden bench to lift his body. Despite his old age, he could stand erect and walk faster than many others younger than him. He took his wooden stick and started walking towards the pond. The kids followed him.
Papaji was a septuagenarian, independent man of upright virtues. His lustrous hair was pristine white with black streaks, combed neatly and parting sideways. His face was still youthfully intact with the exception of sunken eyes and a few wrinkles, owing to his active lifestyle.
The bank of the pond had myriad stones of different shapes, clustered together at the junction of water and green grass. He peered through his bespectacled eyes and picked the one that caught his attention, stared at it for a while before finalizing his decision and then with a smile, hurled it with extra effort.
The stone soared high above the pond, as if it had invisible wings. It went beyond Mohnish's and flew over Sparsh's target score almost hitting the other end of the pond.
"Oh! God”, exclaimed Sparsh. "How did you do it Papaji."
Papaji laughed out loud with excitement and said," Magic my child. Actually, I have been here and done that."
The kids confused with Papaji's statement, contracted their eyebrows and gave each other a blank look.
Mohnish asked out of curiosity, "What do you mean Papaji?"
Child, long time ago, when I was young like you both, me and my brother Krishna, would visit this pond and get involved in the same kind of stone hurling competition. We used to have similar tiffs and disagreements. We all go through few phases and moments in our lives that may stress us at the time, but actually add value to our lives, growing us through experience and leaving incredible memories. Today, my experience is what helped me throw so far.”
"You are great Papaji", the kids exclaimed with happiness simultaneously. "You are a pro."
"Okay Okay now, dear children. Don’t flatter me. Let’s go. Time to go home."
The kids clasped Papaji’s hands firmly as they walked on either side, away from the pond, towards the gates. The merged fingers subtly denoted the syncing of the present and past, experience and youth. The sun was still benevolent and generously showered rays as they gradually vanished into its glare.
~ With Aum