​Short Story: All He Had, Were Some queries.

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A fatal summer night, every floor of the house, bolting them inside, was under the comfort of their ceiling fans and water coolers. Television sets were at it’s highest decibels, competing and trying to suppress the neighbour’s series.

Between all these, Aarav was trying to complete his homework. Playful, kind hearted, cultured, sweet, cute, pure, intelligent, bright; these are few of the many synonyms that could describe him. Aarav, in his middle school, was a bit different than the regular kids. Soft spoken, nurtured very delicately by his relocated parents, an elder sibling to his loving sister. Even a small argument could get him to pain and cry. He excelled in co-curricular activities – a painter, lead singer of the choir, and an impassioned dancer. But sports was never his forte. When all the kids spent time on the field tossing the ball; he spent it under the tree, the corner of the shadowed pillar or at the music or the art room. He was often mocked too. But with time, he mastered the art to evade.

Everything was fine, except his fear for few subjects, which is again common to any ordinary kid. Everyone surely can’t excel in everything. And his bourgeois family couldn’t afford a private home tuition. So, he often used to land-up at Mr. Mukherjee’s room.

Mr. Raja Mukherjee, a finance professional, bachelor, in his mid 20’s; used to live in one of the small quarter room on the terrace of the same house. Being a person of the same community, he was regular and had a hold at Aarav’s house too. He liked reading those Hindi erotic murder mystery or detective novels.

Like other days, Aarav showed up with his science book. All he again had were some queries. Raja lying in the middle of the floor over his belly, bare chested with a torn pair of pajama sliding down his torso; was reading another novel. The room, consisting of a fold-able bed, a cooler, an earthen water pot and few luggage containing his daily wears; was very small and quite empty. Aarav was called in and was asked to bolt the door so the room can remain cool. He was instructed to read a chapter while Raja completes his. Later, he sat and explained Aarav his queries. It was like a regular flow until his hand slid into Aarav’s shorts. Unknowing of things and Raja’s spontaneity, Aarav went numb. Till he could understand anything, Raja had his mickey. He touched, sucked and stroked it till he penetrated. His numbness was overpowered by a sense of relief, to a confusion, to disgust. This time, he couldn’t even shed a tear, as he couldn’t understand anything. All his eyes could see is Raja’s horrified smiling face, a finger on his lips and the other hand cleaning Aarav’s residue on his pajama. Aarav was summoned, not to talk about this incident to anyone; as his parents would not believe him and he would again become a subject of mockery. Raja knew his weakness really well. He took him to the rest room to get him cleaned, took off their respective clothes till they were nude, and this time Raja masturbated. He watched it all, standing helpless. And that was his first physical encounter.

As days passed by, Aarav grew comfortable. The intimacy mushroomed between them. From shower to bed, Raja was teaching him all. Lust homicide the kid’s innocence. Aarav’s life was no more normal. He thrived on this strange feeling called Love. After being back from school, he used to yearn for his sight. Running up the stairs, escorting till his door; he did it all.

This lasted placidly for almost 36 months, till Raja decided to tie the knot with a lady his mother chose for him. Aarav could see that his time is getting divided and he is getting neglected like zilch. And with time it became dreadful, till Raja left that noon; when Aarav was in his school. He cried all night, hiding his tears from all.

The playful, kind hearted, cultured, sweet, cute and bright boy was nowhere to be found. He was cursing himself in his own grievance. All he wished, “had he not had a query that night”.