I can never forget that Sunday morning. It was early December in Delhi but the sun was miraculously shining cheerfully as if celebrating the most awaited return of Rajat. Rajat Sharma my neighbor and my childhood friend is also now my colleague. He was about to join my father’s company ‘Casol and Casol IT firm’. I forgot to introduce myself; I am Randeep Casol,. My grandfather founded this company in 1950, which was later flourished by my father’s late elder brother Dheeraj Casol. In his time he swelled the business countrywide and helped it reach to its present heights. At that time, I used to help my father run this company and Rajat was about to join our group as Regional Manager- Northern India. His family and my family had been friends for more than last 6 decades.
The rest of my family includes my mother and my little sister; well she is only a few years younger to me- Aisha. Aisha Casol is an interior designer with her own startup.  Rajat’s father died of heart disease 20years ago, since then my father is taking care of him as his. He also calls my father ‘dad’. Rajat’s mom (we all call her Amma) was the typical Bollywood mother, who pampered her son and considered him the apple of her eye. Amma owned a sweet shop (although we asked her not to stress herself with such petty works, because she did not keep good health). But she wanted to be independent and support her son, wherever possible. I was a regular customer of her, if you know what I mean! I used to cherish her cooking and specially her gulab jamuns! Our families were not only joined emotionally but also physically as our houses were situated in the same compound.

Expected Return and Unexpected Turn of Events

That day Rajat was coming back from London after finishing his masters in business administration. Everyone was delighted and had been preparing for this day continuously for a week. My parents were planning to gift him a Mercedes; Aisha was busy adorning his new office. Amma was busy preparing palatable dishes for all of us. I had a secret surprise for him that I shall unfold later.

I reached Indira Gandhi International Airport right on time, and there he was amidst the crowd, all dashing and transformed Rajat. I felt a wave of relief went through me, I was meeting my brother (from a different mother) after such a long time, and it felt as if he took a piece of my heart with him. We greeted and drove back to home. He had hardly been a few years in U.K and he was already complaining about the pollution and traffic jams of Delhi (the city which was our hometown!). When we reached home, Amma was standing at the doorstep to welcome him. I anticipated what’s going to happen next, he would touch her feet and she would start weeping, it always happened! But to my astonishment he barely looked at her, turned around and stepped into my house! I greeted Amma and then followed him to find out what was wrong, by the time I reached my drawing room; he was comfortably seated at the lunch table and was sharing a warm joke with my parents. I informed him that Amma had not eaten anything since morning. But instead of getting up he replied that he would meet her later. From then on, I knew he has changed. 

Read the next part here: The Phone Call After Ten Years - Short Story - Part 2

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