It is 6 in the evening.
The kids are out in the playground.
Rehaan is getting ready to join his friends for a game of hide-and-seek. They have already started. Rehaan could hear them shouting happily. Perhaps, someone has been spotted. Must be Ananya. That girl is scared of insects and even before she gets spotted, she comes out of her hiding place and gives herself away.
Rehaan has to hurry up. He is missing all the excitement. But where are his cargo pants? He is most comfortable in those.
“Mom, have you seen my cargos? I am getting late for playtime,” Rehaan called his mom.
“Look carefully, Rehaan. It’s right there in the cupboard,” said mom, without looking up from her papers.
“It’s not here, mom. I’ve searched the entire cupboard,” Rehaan was irritated.
Why can’t mom help me with this? I am getting late!
“Why don’t you put on something else, Rehaan? Please don’t disturb me now.”
Rehaan sighed and put on his pajamas. He couldn’t find his sports shoes too.
But he didn’t bother asking his mother.
He wore a pair of slippers and went downstairs to play.
The kids had started playing football. The game of hide-and-seek was over.
Football in slippers!
Rehaan played anyway. But he couldn’t score. And at the end of the game, his legs started hurting.
When he got back home, Dad was back from work and was watching the evening news.
“Hey champ! How are you?”
And that was it. Dad didn’t wait for Rehaan to answer and busied himself with a phone call and the news.
Rehaan’s parents were busy. Always.
His mother never goes to the office. But works from home, harder than any mom who goes to work.
His father is busy with work, news and phone calls.
When Rehaan was younger, his mom used to go shopping with him, read him stories and helped him with his homework. His dad watched cartoons and played board games with him.
Then they bought a bigger house with two extra rooms and a bigger balcony.
Rehaan knows that the house is so expensive that his parents have to work extra hard for the extra money.
But he hated that.
Today was a bad day. Like any other day. His legs were hurting really bad. He limped up to his mom and with tears in his eyes, told his mom that he can’t walk. It’s hurting.
To his surprise, mom jumped up from her work, shut her laptop down and took him in her arms.
“Can’t walk? What happened baby? How did you get hurt?
She made him sit on the bed and massaged his legs gently.
Rehaan was loving the attention and pampering. His father came into the room looking very concerned. The TV was switched off.
He made Rehaan his favorite cheese omelet for supper while mom sat and chatted with him for hours.
Next day, at 7, Rehaan got a bad tummyache. He went to his mom and started crying.
Mom hugged him. Got him some milk and buttered toast thinking that he was hungry.
He cried harder and dad came into the room and held him in his arms. They chatted over milk and toast.
It was great!
The next day again, Rehaan came back from the playground, went up to his mom and complained of a bad headache. Mom was worried. She made him lie with his head on her lap and gently massaged his head. Dad got him hot and creamy soup. And the three talked about school, friends and more.
On the fourth day, when Rehaan came back, he said he fell down while playing and hurt his left knee.
But mom noticed he had a limp in his right foot.
Mom knew something was wrong. She hugged him and made him sit on the bed and massaged his knee.
Dad was in the room too. He made Rehaan lie down with his head on his lap.
Then mom asked, “Rehaan, when you were younger, you never lied to us. But I think, with time, you have learned to lie. I think you are not hurt.”
Rehaan looked up at his mom. He was surprised to see that she wasn’t angry.
“Mom…,” he didn’t know what to say.
“You can tell me. I promise, I won’t scold you,” said mom.
Rehaan had tears in his eyes.
“Mom, dad, you are always so busy. You never spend time with me nowadays. And when I don’t get to talk to you, my entire day goes wrong. I can’t play, I can’t study, I can do nothing. I love being with you. When I get hurt or sick, you leave everything to be with me. I thought that’s the only way to get your attention. I am so sorry.”
When Rehaan finished talking and looked up, he saw his mother’s eyes full of tears.
From that day, Rehaan’s parents made sure, they spend more time with him. He was very happy.
And he also learned to talk to his parents about what he thinks and never lie to them.