“Why are you doing this?” asked Shyam.
Damodar smiled and said, “You will not understand this. You will never understand this. Let me do what I like to do.”
Shyam was unable to control his anger. He tried to remind his father once again about his age and situation by saying, “You are seventy years old and you have so many health problems. Are you sure you want to get married at this age?”
Damodar remained silent. He expected some backlash on these topics. He was hoping for Shyam to leave the place immediately. So, as always, he rotated his chair so that he could face the window and look out ignoring Shyam.
Though he knew that his father would never relent, Shyam wanted to try to convince him to not get married at this age. Shyam was worried that Devi might be a gold digger and might hurt his father.
Damodar and Shyam never understood each other.
Without uttering any more words, Shyam stormed out of the room in a fit of anger. Unfortunately, he had to face Devi while he stepped out of the room.
Devi smiled at him. Shyam ignored her and started walking towards the main entrance. He was repenting his father’s decision to come to this old age home a few years ago. Who would have imagined that Damodar would meet an old woman and fall in love with her. She must have played some tricks, he thought.
Lost in his thoughts, he could not hear Devi calling him. Finally, after she called him loudly for the third time, Shyam turned around and stopped. He never wanted to talk to this woman.
Devi said, “Shyam. We need to talk. There are some things we both need to know.”
Shyam was annoyed and replied, “I have nothing to talk with you. Can we please avoid this discussion? I might end up saying something that will make all of us repent.”
Devi was hopeful. She said, “Can you please answer one question for me?”
Shyam decided to get away after answering this question. He would never have to talk with this woman even if she married his father. He would only take his father home for festivals and ignore this lady even if she accompanied him.
Devi asked, “What happened to your mother? I want to know. How did she die? How did your father live with it?”
Shyam was expecting Devi to ask about his father’s financial status. He was surprised she wanted to know about his mother. He answered, “She died of cancer an year before my father retired. He was never around during her last days. In fact, he was out of station on the day when she passed away. He never talked about it with us. My brother and I were angry on him. But, we dared not to speak about it. You know. He always had this air of authority.”
Devi listened carefully and said, “Thanks. I just wanted to know about your mother. She must have been one great woman. I like the way you and your brother deal with situations. You’ll are so different from your father. I can sense a lot of maturity. I’m sure you both got it from your mother. Because, your father has a different way of life.”
Shyam was taken aback. He always knew this about his father. For a moment, he wondered if he misunderstood this woman. He felt embarrassed and could not say anything. He rushed out to the main entrance.
The last conversation had a great impact on Shyam. He quickly went to his car. He wondered if this woman was really good or if she was feigning affection to get into the family. Nevertheless, he decided to keep her at bay. For a moment, he lost clarity about the way in which he was dealing with things. He hated himself whenever he was lost in chaos.
Shyam realized that he cannot be lost in thoughts. Instead of revving the engine, he opened his laptop and started doing some research about Devi Panchagni.
Shyam was shocked at the search results. From her wiki page, he understood that she was once a very successful businesswoman and is very rich. He was more surprised to learn that she was one of the smartest women entrepreneurs and ruled the business world for some time. There was no news about her for the last one year.
It appeared as though his father was the gold digger here. But, he knew that Damodar was also rich and successful enough. For the first time in his life, Shyam respected his father’s decision.
Shyam felt glad his father would have some nice time of his own, finally. Damodar was so ambitious all his life. He never had quality time to spend time with wife and family.
He thought about everything that happened since morning when his father sent him a message saying that he was getting married to Devi this weekend. Shyam could connect all the dots, except one. Why did Devi asked about his mother’s death?
Shyam got out of his car and walked to the front desk. He asked for Chittaranjan. The lady at the desk called on the phone and told Shyam to wait for a couple of minutes. Shyam and Chittaranjan were good friends. But, on this day, Shyam did not initially want to talk with Chittaranjan as he was not happy that his friend never informed about his father’s new found love.
Chittaranjan came running from outside. Before Shyam could say anything, Chittaranjan said, “I’m glad you came. There is something you need to know. Can you come with me to my office?”
Shyam was not sure about anything. He realized that there is something more to the story. Chittaranjan said, “Why is your Dad marrying this lady? Please do something and stop this marriage.”
Shyam was perplexed. He said, “I came here to convince my father. But, he is obstinate. I cannot stop him. My elder brother also came in the morning and tried, in vain. You don’t worry. I checked about Devi. She seems to be a good woman. I read all good things about her.”
Chittaranjan was restless. Shyam has never seen his friend in such paranoid state. Chittaranjan said, “I’m not worried about her. I’m worried about your father. I’m not sure if she is taking the right decision by marrying. I tried to reason her. But, she is also stubborn.”
Shyam felt embarrassed and realized that he always shared everything with Chittaranjan. Shyam said, “My Dad has sobered down now. He has changed a lot. I’m pretty sure he will be nice to her and take care of her.”
Chittaranjan said, “You don’t seem to understand the situation. Devi is suffering from cancer. She has only six months to live.”
Shyam was shocked. Now, he could connect the last dot.
Shyam decided that he needs to talk to Devi now and try to convince. He rushed out of Chittaranjan’s office towards his father’s room.
Before he entered the room, he could hear them speaking.
Damodar said, “Please listen to me. I will not leave you. I will be with you till your last breath. I will not repeat the mistake. I should have been with my wife when her health was deteriorating. But, I was lost in expanding my business. Please trust me.”
Devi interrupted him and said, “Your sons are not at all happy with this marriage. If they get to know about my disease, they will hate me even more for putting you through all of this again.”
Damodar said, “They are smart. They will understand.”
Shyam smiled while tear drops rolled down from his eyes. He wiped his eyes and stepped inside. He said, “Devi. Can I have a word with you alone, please?”
Devi came out of the room.
Shyam said, “I’m sorry for my behavior a few minutes ago. May be, I’m not mature enough to understand you and my Dad. I respect your decision and will always respect both of you. Please do whatever you feel is right.”
Devi’s face lit up and she felt happy. She said, “I need one more favor from you.”
Shyam said, “Please tell me.”
Devi said, “There is one more person that you need to apologize.”
Shyam replied, “Sure. I will apologize to Dad, right now.”
Devi said, “No. Go and apologize to your wife. Both of you made mistakes. Do not let those small mistakes take over your lives. You people love each other even today. Before your father gets to know about your plans, please change your plans. Give her a chance. Trust me. I have done my research. She still loves you. I know you will not listen to anyone on this matter. But, I have some proofs that I will ask my researcher to email to you. Go through them and take a wise decision.”
Shyam did not know how to react. He said, “I think my mom sent you for us. Mother’s blessings are the best. I don’t think a thanks would do now.”
Shyam came with his wife and kid for the weekend and celebrated his father’s wedding ceremony.