Vipul and Teja happened to be at the same time to reach the city court building. While climbing the steps they exchanged phlegmatic glances. While Vipul managed to hide his nervous anxiousness with a straight face, Teja beamed with the confidence of contemplated victory. Once settled in the courtroom, they waited for the judge to arrive. The pleasant spring day couldn’t fetch much-needed respite to any of them. The time seemed frozen for it was the longest wait as life hung in the balance for both. The void of activity gave way to a retrograde visit to the life that was once beautiful. And soon both were lost in past.
Vipul and Teja had just one thing in common, their love for economics. For the rest of the things, they were chalk and cheese. The universal and infallible law of “opposite attracts” played mavericks while they were pursuing their postgraduation at a prestigious university. The duo soon found themselves tying knots much before embarking on their respective professional career paths.
She with an appetite for achievements and scaling heights decided to go ahead with a promising job at one of the Fortune 500 companies. Going by the rhythm of life, and enjoying the present to the fullest dictated Vipul’s choice of a slow and steady teaching job at one of the high schools in the town. The rose-tinted days saw the addition to the family, Vaidehi, and Tanish the twins. Vipul was a hands-on father. Teja found motherhood a roadblock to her aspirations, one that needed to be overcome at the earliest.
‘If something has to go wrong it will’, proclaimed Murphy once, and to date, we find many manifestations of it across all human existence.
The abode of love and peace developed cracks. Once a nest of harmony, it was rocked by the discordant chords of heated arguments. The bone of contention always was the ways to bring up the children. Vipul wished the children should take it easy and try everything before deciding on their call. Teja wanted the children to be future-ready with as many skills and academic achievements as their potential could fetch.
For a decade or so, both Vipul and Teja stretched their limits. Even the most elastic rubber band breaks if it is stretched beyond a certain point and there were two human lives with different sets of values. A little shy of their 14th anniversary, they realized that they had reached a dead-end, rather a T junction where two paths emerged in opposite directions. It’s better to be at a cordial arms-length than to be suffocatingly close they decided. The divorce suit was filed and settled amicably as their spheres of life hardly had any demand on each other’s worlds.
No man is an island and they sure were not. Though they could untie the knots of the nuptial chord, the knot of the square family still tied them together. Both had the intention and longing to have custody of twins. Not able to reach midway, the matter saw them climbing the steps of the family court. Vipul’s argument was based on stability, family bonding, a secure environment, and enrichment of the young lives by providing support wherever and whenever required. Teja on the other hand highlighted her upper hand regarding financial matters, an upscale lifestyle full of luxuries, and being able to provide high-quality education.
Each coin has two sides. In Vipul and Teja’s case, it had the third too! The judge summoned the teen twins to hear them ‘in camera’ to avoid any bias, influence, or intimidation from any of the parents. The judge wished to have every angle measured on the scale of justice before arriving at the best resolution
“Rise”, said the clerk announcing the arrival of the judge. The call by the clerk put a break on their visit down the memory lane. They arrived in the ‘present’ to face the judge and the judgment.
As the judge started reading, Vipul could hear his heartbeat racing while Teja clenched her fists. “Referring to the arguments from both the sides and listening to the children, this court hands the custody of the children to their father while granting enough visitation rights to the mother. The court also directs both the parents to bear the educational and support expenses equally. The court wishes to highlight that the tender growing age demands love and care. Money can fetch gifts and comforts. However, nothing compares to the assurance of the physical presence of parents, being available emotionally for a young child. A father can be a mother too!”
Raging like a fireball, Teja stormed out of the courtroom. “As it is I am late for my meeting”, she murmured on the way. Vipul however sat motionless with tears gushing down his cheek.
Innumerable sleepless nights flashed before Vipul’s eyes when he attended to the twins in their sickness. Hoard of moments tending to their bruises and wiping their tears with his funny ways of distraction circled his mind. The giggles and laughter they had shared over popcorn in the cinema theatre or splashing at the swimming pool echoed in his ears. The smell of the burnt bread and the taste of the half-cooked ‘thalipeeth’ that they had made together lingered in his heart. Memories of marvelling at their creativity in creating models for the school projects or brainstorming on various essays vied his attention too. The shrill of the ring tone brought him back to his senses. With his hands still trembling, he held the device to his ears.
“Baba, are we or are we not going to stay with you?”, asked two shaking voices, the third side of the coin, in unison with much nervous anticipation.
This post is based on the prompt ‘Creativity‘ by RDP Ragtag daily prompt challenge
on the prompt ‘Human‘ by Fandango