Humanity Lost: A Story by Sudha Viswhanath

“Baba, here is the easy chair you have been yearning for all these years.”

Sixty years old Milind Apte touched the new chair with tear-filled eyes.

“Sit on it, baba,” his son Mohan gently but firmly made him sit.

“You have retired from work today. The forthcoming years are those golden years when you must sit back and relax.” Mohan handed over the newspaper to his father.

“I know you had been secretly nurturing this idea of reading the morning newspaper reclining on a chair of this sort. I hope it is comfortable.”

Milind’s eyes became mistier. His voice choked with emotions as he thanked his 30-year-old son for this thoughtful retirement gift.

“Come on, baba, this chair is a small gift that I have given in return for all that you have done for me.”

‘What have I done for him? Poor boy,’ Milind sighed.

He knew that Mohan had wanted to become an engineer but with his meagre income as a foreman in a factory, Milind could not afford to make his son an engineering graduate. But Mohan was a hard-working and intelligent student. Whatever education his father could afford to give him, he pursued it diligently and found a decent job for himself.

Milind looked at his son and his chest swelled in pride. He admired his new possession, the easy chair.

“Mohan, thanks for the chair, but I was thinking if I could try for some job, just to keep myself busy and also……” Milind was stopped halfway by his son.

“Baba you are 60. You have worked for 38 long years. Please take rest. What am I here for?” His son’s soothing words gave Milind a great respite.

Three decades later 60-year-old Mohan sat on a comfortable sofa in his two bedroom house, but his countenance gave away the fact that he was disturbed.

“Rahul’s dad is going to gift him a BMW for his birthday. Can you at least buy an ordinary car for me?” The 22-year-old Nitin grumbled.

“Son, I am retired and can’t squander money. We already have a car in the house.”Milind tried reasoning

“Oh, that junk box!!!” The boy guffawed.

“And what do you mean by retired? Come on, dad, my friends’ parents who have retired from service are working somewhere or the other. You are only 60. There is still a lot of time for you to work and earn. And please don’t rush with my job finding. I want to pursue post-graduation in management. Actually would like to do it abroad, but I don’t think we can afford it.”

The boy flounced leaving behind a perplexed Mohan.

Mohan heaved a sign seeing the fading footprints of humanity.