As usual the lights went off. It was the scheduled power cut in the city which plunged the street in darkness. His old hands searched for the match box. Carefully with the shaky hands he lit a match and lit the candle. His eyes were wet with tears, face frilled with the eighty years of his life, most of which went in the toil for his two children, he lifted the candle and moved towards the hall. The walls had pictures of his children, their spouses and a few with their mother. He lit another candle on one corner of the room. The room lit up in the candlelight like the early morning skies. He could hear the buzz outside on the streets. He thought to himself:
"If ... If I could spend some time with my children, I would have been in those pictures ..."
With a big sigh and trembling hands he picked his spectacles and the letter beneath it. It was the print out of an email his son had sent him from abroad.
I would be coming home on the 25th. I will manage the transportation from the airport. Don’t bring the car please. You need to take rest. I had called amma. She is coming on the 1st. She is fine with akka. Hope you are doing fine. Do you need anything from Dubai
He would have read the letter over a hundred times, but still kept reading it. He had a whole lot of emails, which had the typical corporate language his son was used to, printed and filed in his office table. This one was the latest. Waiting for his son was not easy as the age had made him frail, but still kept the smile when tears of joy rolled down the ridges of his cheeks from the corner of his eyes. The eyes which never got time to look at his son grow as all that while he was working to provide the best he could for his children.
He looked at the ticking clock and was eagerly waiting for his son to arrive. He never knew to express his love with hugs or words. He only had the smiles and nothing but that. He went and checked the phone in the darkness twice, checking whether there was a call. He looked at the mobile his son had given him the previous year again and again. No calls yet.
Went to the door and opened it to check whether his son has reached. No one yet at the door. He would again and again look out of the window to see a cab coming... or rush to the door when he hears a car stopping by. Slowly the time passed and he was very impatient to see his son. Every moment of his life was filled with the urge to show the love for his son, but was worried whether he would be spoilt with the amount of love he had for him. He thought to himself:
"Its been so long ... he is grown up now... he has his family .. will he feel strange if I hug him?"
He heard the bell ring while he was lost in thought. He got up from the chair and he opened the door with a smile:
"ah ... how was the flight... did you have something"
He stopped at that with his heart beating so fast in excitement and the desire to hug his son with all the warmth in his heart.
"It was ok ... slept well, the fringe benefit of flying business class"
He said, while he hid the desire to hold his appa tight to himself in a hug. But held himself back thinking, what he might think.
"If you had dinner, have fruits ... shall I make a coffee for you"
He asked trying to express his affection still looking at him as he used to look when he came home from the office.
"Take rest... what plans for tomorrow... do you have any meetings scheduled"
He said in his firm voice, which had the love in his heart. And prayed in his heart that he says that he would spend the day with him... the whole day... just to be with him and nothing but that.
"Yes... have a morning meeting with clients and a few other lined up for the day."
Said the son. His heart sank and tried not to show it to his beloved son, as he never wanted to be a stumbling block in anyone’s life, least to his own son.
"I have made your bed in the ac room, it is nice ... I will sleep in the other room" appa said.
The usual smart phone buzz echoed the room, when his son picked up the call and started talking...
"Hello ... ya... reached safe... ok ... ok..."
He looked at his father's eyes wet with tears. He was looking tired and seemed sad. He paused for moment and continued with his call ...
" I can be there by 9 the best... ok ... ok"
He saw his appa making coffee for him.
"Appa still knows my likes and dislikes ... he knows I want coffee ..." He thought to himself. "I have these few days and I will be back with my work and ...."
Appa was bringing the small mug full of coffee sweet with his love for his son... Seeing his son on the phone he kept the mug on the table and pointed at it ... asking him to have it while it is hot. Still on the phone busy scheduling meetings the son saw his appa walk slowly in the cold darkness of the night towards his room inside, where he would spend time watching TV and sleep off in the chair ....
"Can you do me a favor... can you postpone the meetings and schedule the same after two days....ok.. thanks a ton", he said quickly.
The phone went silent as he cut the call. He stood up and walked towards his appa, and said:
"Appa...", He called, "Can I spend a day only with you, not doing anything else"
The room was filled with the candle light, silence and the love alone. The father and son looked at each other for a moment. Four eyes had a few drops of love in them. And for the first time, without thinking anything they hugged each other.... That was the best warm, loved and blessed half an hour of both their lives ... the lights came on, after the load shedding exercise of the electricity board... Or was it love that brought the brightness to their lives ...