Haritha had to take too many decisions on the same day. It was not a happy day either. Immediately after college, she had to rush to the hospital to take care of her father. On her way to the hospital, she bought some magazines and books that her father liked. She wondered why he did not consider reading magazines on his smart phone. She thought she should talk him into using more of his new smart phone she gifted him last month.
She avoided thinking too much about what happened at college that day. Haritha was pretty sure her father would guess something is wrong when he looked at her. She tried to recollect all good things in life and have a cheerful expression.
To her dismay, as soon as she reached the hospital, the doctors said that her father had one more heart attack a few minutes ago. The doctors were not sure if his body had the ability to survive this attack.
A nurse came running to tell her that her father was asking for her. In his half-conscious state, he has been mumbling Haritha for the last few minutes, the nurse said.
Haritha ran to her father’s room. He could not open his eyes fully, but recognized as soon as he heard his daughter’s voice.
Her father said, “I did not tell you. I wrote a novel. It’s almost complete. Can you please finish the last paragraph of the last chapter? Only you can decide and finish it. You can find the novel in my closet at home.”
After saying these words, he started panicking. His body stopped responding to the medicines and equipment in the next few hours. Haritha’s father breathed his last that evening.
After a couple of days, she recollected her father’s words and walked to his room. She found the manuscript of the novel her father was talking about it. Within the manuscript folder, he shared the details of the file on his personal laptop. Haritha did not feel like reading the hard copy. So, she started his laptop and tried to read the document.
Her phone rang. Her friend, Hema, called her.
Hema said, “Hey, I heard about your Dad. I’m so sorry. Do you want me to come over? Are you feeling lonely?”
Haritha said, “Hey, I’m fine. My cousins are here. They’ll be here for two more weeks. They’ll take care of me.”
Hema said, “I know it’s not the right time to ask. But, did you decide?”
Haritha remained silent. She realized that she had to decide something by next morning. She said, “Not yet. Too many things are happening at the same time. I’ll tell you first tomorrow morning. Please ask them to give me some time to think.”
Hema inquired about Haritha’s decision. Earlier in the day, a fight broke in their classroom for Haritha. Two best friends, Chetan and Shyam fought with each other because they both loved Haritha. When the topic came to Haritha, she asked them not to fight with each other. She said, “Both of you love me. But, I love only one of you. So, if you give me time till tomorrow, I’ll let you know.”
She has been friendly to both Chetan and Shyam. She felt bad that she was the reason behind the fight of two guys. She cried to herself. She wished she had her father to give her some advice. He was always wise in all these matters, she recollected. After thinking for a few minutes, she realized that she would go back to think about them later in the evening as it was adding to her depression. So, she decided to take a break and read her father’s novel instead.
She did not want to start from the beginning as she was not in a mood to read a novel. She scrolled down to a chapter with the title – The Decision.
In that chapter, the protagonist seemed to be a girl. Her father named the character Harini. In the novel, this girl sought the advice of her father for everything. Harini is luckier than me, thought Haritha.
Harini had the same problem as Harini in that chapter. Harini had to choose between too good guys. Harini’s father said, “If both the guys seem to be good, try to visualize your future with both of them. Think of them, their habits, their families, their goals, and everything that makes them. If you can see yourself comfortable in the future with one of them, that guy is for you. Focus on the real life situations and not fantasy trips. Everything will be clear.”
Though it seemed to be a silly exercise, Haritha tried it too. She closed her eyes and spent a few minutes visualizing her future with Chetan. He was a career oriented person and had clear goals. His practicality put her at ease and she saw herself spending comfortable time with him and his family. She liked the fact that he had clarity. They had compatibility.
A few minutes later, Haritha tried imagining her future with Shyam. Without trying to do so, she started fantasizing holiday trips with him and spending good times at exotic locations. She could not think about the practicalities of future as Shyam was himself clueless. When she tried hard to imagine the practical aspects, she could see him either as a struggling rock star or an adamant successful rock star. Either ways, she was not pretty comfortable in his company.
This exercise seemed to really help her. She recollected the words her father used to say, “When the heart is unable to decide, seek the help of your mind.”
She thanked her father. As she read through the pages, all the situations in the book seem to be coincidental. She switched back to a few chapters and continued reading the novel. To her surprise, her father has written down her story. And, it continued even after his death. She realized that her father chose to be on her side in the form of his novel.
She looked at her father’s photograph and started crying. She recollected his last words. He asked her to complete his novel. She wondered what would have been in the climax that he wanted her to complete.
Harini, the protagonist in the novel, was forty eight years old in the last chapter. She had to take one more decision. After graduating from law school, Harini became a lawyer. And, after considerable amount of service as a lawyer, she became a judge. In the last chapter, she had a case that was waiting for her judgment.
In that case, a famous rock star, who is also the friend of the judge, Harini, is involved in a road rage case where he accidentally killed some innocent people driving in their car. Harini had to choose between friendship and truth. Haritha thought for a moment and decided that she should go for the truth. As her father said, she did not want to write it already. She wanted to read the entire novel and then write the climax.
But, there was something that caught her attention. The rock star character in the novel got married to the judge’s best friend. She wondered if this was true in her case, too. She tried to analyze the current situation in her life and realized that Hema was indeed in love with Shyam.
She immediately called up Hema.
Haritha asked,” Hey, I have a question. Will you tell me the truth?”
Hema said, “Sure. What’s the problem?”
Haritha said, “Do you love Shyam? Tell me the truth. It’ll help all of us. Trust me.”
Hema was silent for a few minutes. She said, “I’ve always had a crush on him. But, he loves you. So, I know I stand no chance. How did you know? I have never told this to anyone?”
Harini disconnected the call.
The next morning, she told everyone that she loved Chetan and wished to marry him. She also told Shyam that there was someone who was madly in love with him.
Thirty years later, as her father guessed it, the case came to the court. But, she read the novel and realized that Shyam did not commit the crime. It was her husband, Chetan who committed the crime. But, Shyam made sure that all witnesses point out to him to save his best friend.
Haritha did not want to punish an innocent person. So, she acquitted Shyam for the charges. She could not get her husband arrested as there was no proof against him. She thanked her father for telling the story that the world could not see. But, she felt bad her husband was not punished.
Within a week, her husband died in a ghastly road accident.
Haritha wrote the last paragraph of the last chapter and finished the novel.