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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Destiny- a short story (the story that kickstarted my writing journey)

Akash Mehra
January 01, 2007
I woke up wishing I was dead. I’ve read extensively about the power of one’s will. They say a person can make his dreams come true if he truly believes in them. Well then, why am I not an actor, yet? I have recurring dreams that I am leading my life the way I always wanted to; I win awards, my movies are box-office successes, I’m married to the superstar Antariksha and my life is absolutely perfect. And then I wake up.

My current job is so far from glamour, it’s ironical. I am an accountant. Need I say anymore? I work with numbers everyday. It is the most unimaginative job anyone could ever choose to do. There are set rules; certain items will only appear on the debit side of an account. No two ways about it. If you put an amount meant to be debited on the credit side of the said account, it just won’t balance. When this mistake occurs, it can easily be rectified. Once everything balances, I can go home knowing that everything is in order. Except that everything isn’t in order. My life is not the way I imagined it to be. Instead of living a dream, I’m living a nightmare. I’m a failure and I know it.

My parents are very proud of me. In their eyes, I’m a hero. But that’s about it. No one else looks up to me. If I die today, it won’t make a difference to anyone’s life. Yes my parents will be affected, but they are already on their deathbeds. My friends have proved to me time and time again that they are only there in the good times. I never married because I knew that I was meant to marry Antariksha. Marrying someone else would entail compromising in yet another sphere in life. I tried really hard to become an actor. I wouldn’t have given up but I had no choice. When dad got cancer and could work no more, I had to give up on my dream. I had to become the breadwinner of the family. I had to do this for my “parents”. I never shared this thought with anyone but I always found it hard to believe that they were my parents. I didn’t look like either of them and I certainly had a different outlook on life. They believed in earning enough to ensure three meals a day. I wanted more.

Antariksha is getting married to that “superstar” or superstar’s son rather, Abhinav, today. He doesn’t deserve her. He doesn’t deserve any of it. It’s my life he’s leading. I feel it in my gut. But, who’s going to believe a 33 year old, boring accountant?

Abhinav Gupta
January 01, 2007

Happy New Year! As if. I’m getting married. Against my will. My life is over. I hate Antariksha for this. That conniving little ---- you know what. She had to go and get pregnant. If she was a nobody, I could easily stay uncommitted. But she’s as big a celebrity as I am. I don’t even know why. If people knew what she looked like first thing in the morning, she wouldn’t be half as famous as she is now.  

And people think my life is perfect. My life is unreal. That’s what it is. Ever since I was born my fate was decided. It was a given that Rajdev’s son would become an actor like him.
Granted, I led a privileged life but I’ve never led a private life.  Honestly, I’m tired of lying. I lie about my love for Antariksha, I lie about my love for acting- I lie about everything. When I stand in front of adoring fans, I know I’m a fake. I have no in-born acting talent. I don’t believe it’s in my genes. Only dad and I know (and my acting instructors who were paid huge amounts to keep their mouths shut) how many acting lessons, dancing lessons and hours of rehearsals it has taken me to achieve the status I have achieved. Whenever I caught dad staring at me, I knew exactly what he was thinking. He was wondering how I could be his son. He couldn’t understand how Rajdev and Maya’s son could be such a terrible actor.

I suppose I am being envied by thousands of men at this very moment. They must be wishing they could lead my life. I just wish I could lead the life of a single man. How hard I prayed that the stupid DNA test would prove that Antariksha’s child isn’t mine. But it is. I now have to go and put on a fake smile that will have to last for the next 15 hours. How I hoped when I woke up this morning that this was just a nightmare. But it isn’t. This is my life.

Dr. Ram Nathwani
January 01, 2007

Rajdev and Maya’s son is getting married today. To that poor girl Antariksha. How a girl can marry a boy who refuses to believe the child she is carrying is his, is beyond me.  I conducted the DNA test as requested but ended up stumbling upon a shocking fact. Rajdev asked me to match his DNA with Abhinav, while I was at it. When Maya looked at him questioningly, he just laughed and said ‘I always had my doubts’. He changed the topic by cracking a joke and Maya put it down to one of his eccentricities. But I knew that Rajdev was serious.  I conducted the test; their DNA didn’t match. But Maya could never have cheated on Rajdev. I just knew it. So I found the file that contained information of children delivered in my clinic that day, thirty three long years ago. Abhinav was born before Rajdev and Maya had made it big. That’s why he was born in a small clinic like mine. That day only six children were delivered in my clinic. Four of them were girls. That leaves two boys. The other child was born to a simple middle class family. I couldn’t believe my luck; they still had the same phone number. I traced that child. I asked him when he had last got a medical examination done. I asked him to come in and get a routine check-up done. I lied to him about the Government making regular check-ups compulsory soon. He didn’t buy it, but came in, nonetheless. One glance at him and I knew he was Rajdev’s son. I could just see it. I conducted a DNA test; his DNA matched Rajdev’s. Life is so strange; this boy, Akash something, is the son of Bollywood’s biggest celebrities, Rajdev and Maya. I didn’t say anything to this young man or to Rajdev. It’s too late now. I just asked God for forgiveness. I am sorry for what this child has been deprived of, due to my mistake. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if this boy had been given the chance to live a life that rightfully belonged to him. I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like to lead a life that was not yours. 

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