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He could take it no longer. Years of neglect and indifference on his grandfather's part tipped him over this time.

All his life Lan had tried to achieve just one thing, his grandfather’s approval. The grandfather he hero-worshipped. The grandfather who could not tolerate him just because he looked like his mother. Even Lan himself had tried to justify that it was because his mother was the cause of his father’s death. This is what he had known all his life. It was the background score of the huge ancestral mansion he grew up in.

Lan was the boy that everyone wanted their child to be – polite, intelligent, disciplined, good-looking. He had never failed to score the highest rank, be it in academics or sports. But whatever he might do, however hard he might try, he could never get his grandfather, Dr. Sen’s attention.

The only person whom he was close to was Pima, his governess. On a despairing day, he would cry, burying his face in her lap.


Being from a family of doctors, he had to be a doctor. He had hoped, it would be his ultimate chance to get acceptance from his grandfather. So, after topping the university in his graduation, when he had gone up to Dr. Sen’s room to request him to attend the convocation, and Dr. Sen had dismissed him without sparing a word or even a glance, the world had turned all dark around him.


He silently came out of the room and out of the house. He walked the long driveway and out of the massive gates blankly, without even thinking where he was heading. When he suddenly got hit by a bicycle, he became aware of his surroundings.

“Hey, look out man!” the bicyclist shouted.

It was pouring rain all around. Lan got up and looked around. Noticing he was near the park where he used to come with Pima during childhood, he went in. Sitting on a bench at the far corner, below a large banyan tree, he cried and cried and questioned his existence and his fate to his mother.

"Why did you have to do this to me?", "If you brought death upon both of you, then why not me too?"

He fell asleep on the bench at some point. When he got up again, his whole body was stiff and aching. Completely drenched, his palms were soddened white. What he felt then was uncontrollable anger, towards himself, towards his mother, towards his grandfather.

Lan pulled himself up. He walked into a nondescript roadside bar, the first one he found, and drank till he felt numb inside. The numbness only made him forget his discipline and bearing, but not the rage he was feeling inside. He got up again, to go back to the huge mansion he could never call home.

On the way back, he started to have a strange feeling of foreboding and emptiness, as if something sinister was going to happen. In his drunken state, he took it to be because of the surge of emotions all day long and the excessive drinking.

When he entered through the gates, Pima came running and hugged him.

“Where have you been Lanny? I was dead with worries!!”

Lan pulled himself out of the hug and went inside, a bottle still held in his right hand.

Pima came running after him, “Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you take your phone? Where….”

Lan did not even pay attention anymore. He went straight towards his grandfather’s office.

Noticing Lan’s direction, Pima panicked, “Lanny, what now?! Don’t….”

Lan pushed the door open with all the force he could muster in his state. Some ten-fifteen pairs of eyes looked up at him. They were in the middle of a meeting. The group comprised his grandfather's friends and colleagues and some of his uncles and aunts too. They gasped at the disheveled sight of him. They had never seen him, the ever so decent Lan, like this before.

 “Dr. Sen… tell me, what more can I do….” Lan asked, his deep voice exuding despair, frustration, anger.

Pima came running inside. She tried to pull Lan outside and to snatch the bottle away from his hand. But failed. Lan being tall and athletic, raised his hand in an instant and took the bottle away from her reach.

Everybody in the room was frozen. They looked furtively towards each other. Some had an expression of sympathy, some disgust. Some even looked as if they knew this day would eventually come.

“Go back to your room!!” Dr. Sen’s cold voice said.

“No!! I want an answer today,” Lan insisted.

One of his aunts got up, “Please Lan, don’t make a scene... Pima, take him away!”

“Am not a kid anymore! And, am not leaving without an answer!!” Lan shouted.

“There’s no answer,” Dr. Sen said in an unperturbed voice.

“So, what should I do? Should I destroy this face?!” saying this Lan hit the glass bottle on the door frame and it shattered noisily. Everybody instantly got up and moved away.

Dr. Sen got up ultimately and walked straight towards Lan.

At the noise of the shattering bottle, Lan had also got a bit startled. When he looked up, Dr. Sen was right in front of him.

Without any further words, he slapped Lan so hard across the face that he lost balance and hit the edge of a nearby table. He felt dizzy. He heard his grandfather say, "Blood always speaks! However much you try, it always finds it's way. Pima, take this abomination away from my sight!!"

Lan clambered up with blood trickling down his forehead, and said, “They loved each other... you hate her because they married against your wish… “

Dr. Sen thundered, “Get lost now!! She was a freak, she was mad. How dare you talk like this to me?!” His face was dark with anger.

Lan started laughing, “Freak?! How convenient grandpa….”

Dr. Sen raised his hand to hit him again, but this time Pima pulled Lan away. As unstable as he was, he fell back.

Pima took him to his room and straight to the washroom. She turned the shower on and pushed him under flowing cold water.

That was when that foreboding feeling again filled him. This time, along with the nagging feeling, some visions started flashing in his eyes. He felt the beginning of a splitting headache. He held his temple with both hands and started shaking his head.

Pima panicked again, "what is it, Lanny?"

“Hangover. Nothing...” Lan said.

The visions started playing before him more coherently now, as the headache also started increasing.

"What is it, Lanny? Lan.. tell me..” Pima looked sick with fear.

“Nothing… really… don’t worry... it's the alcohol…" Lan kept hitting the side of his forehead with his palm while keeping his eyes tightly shut.

“What are you seeing? Tell me. Now!” Pima asked.

Lan looked up surprised. How did she know that he was hallucinating? He thought. He had never seen his soft-spoken, timid Pima so domineering before.

He said, “A hospital ward… not my hospital... probably something has happened.. people are running around…”

Pima got up instantly and pulled up Lan too, “Come. We have to go.”

They got into Lan’s car with Pima in the driver’s seat. Lan was so surprised, he could not understand what was happening, “Since when did Pima drive?!”, “Maybe she can, I didn’t know…” Lan could not think clearly with his headache and steady flashes of visions and the submerging feeling of doom and loss.

After what felt like an eternity to Lan, they reached wherever Pima brought him. He found himself in front of a state-of-the-art hospital building. He knew this hospital. It was about a thirty minutes’ drive from his house. It was the Neuro-psychiatry branch of a very famous hospital chain, well-known for its high standard of treatment and research facilities.

Without wasting time Pima ran into the hospital building, dragging him behind. The receptionist stood up seeing her rush in, then nodded and let them proceed. Lan was clueless. “What the hell is going on?!”

They took the elevator up. Only when they got out of the elevator door, did the reality hit Lan. His head started reeling.

This was the hospital ward he had envisioned. He stopped abruptly. Looking around, he knew that now a plump, kind-faced nurse would come running and calling from the right, '“cabin 406!”', and so she did!

He felt like he would fall. Pima grabbed him by his arm and made him sit on a bench and went running towards the so-called "Cabin 406", along with some other ward boys and nurses. Code blue was blaring. Lan fainted.

When Lan woke up again, he saw Pima looking at him with a distressed look, sitting beside his hospital bed.

“Who is she?” Lan asked. But deep inside he knew the answer, and he dreaded it. His heart was pounding frantically.

Tears rolled down Pima’s cheeks. “Do you want to see her?”

Lan felt bewildered. He absent-mindedly shook his head, “No.”

So many emotions and doubts filled his head that he could no longer think straight.

Pima placed a cardboard box in front of Lan. She took out an envelope from it and handed it to him.

With shaking hands, Lan took out the papers. The handwriting was good. If the writer’s hand had not shaken, it would have been exquisite.

“My dear Lanny,

Sorry for not waiting to meet you in person. Please pardon me for that. I know you will be able to one day. Till then, just know that mamma loved you dearly.

I have heard what an exceptional young man you are now. I feel so proud. Nothing would have been more joyous than to see you grow up. But everybody is born with a destiny. Who knows that more than me?

Pima is there to protect you and to keep you calm, and to guide you if you show the signs. I do not know if you have inherited it from me. Till now, she never mentioned any such thing. I just pray, if you get the Eye, you will have the strength to handle it. Is it a gift? Or is it a curse? It’s upon you to decide.

Dear boy, if you ever get the Eye, you can choose if you want to utilize it or ignore it. But if you ask me, it's a special ability and maybe, it's better to not waste something so special. I know you will find a way to put it to some good use, to help those in need. My regret is, I will not be there to guide you. Remember, it is always better to look at life from a positive point of view. It makes the journey easier.

Sorry again.

Don’t blame your grandpa. He had his reasons…..

…..”

Lan could not read any further. He could not tell what he was feeling exactly.

".... she thought that if she was no more, maybe Dr. Sen will hold fewer grudges…." Pima said.

She went on saying how Lan's mother had predicted some unfortunate events in the past and tried to warn people, but she was never taken seriously. Instead, she was considered "black-tongued". Ultimately, she and Lan's father had moved out. On the day of the accident, she had foreseen the event too. She had tried to warn her husband, but he insisted on returning from the vacation as soon as possible because Dr. Sen had a heart attack. She had insisted to her husband that she could see no such health issue but in vain…. When the accident happened, she had thrown Lan out of the car just before the crash, saving him. Her husband had died on the spot, and she was severely injured. After recovery, she was directly shifted to this hospital to be kept imprisoned….


Lan could not hear anymore... For almost eighteen years he had lived just thirty minutes away from his mother and he did not know it! All these years she had suffered silently for his sake and he had blamed her... All his senses seemed to shut down one by one.


The next few days turned out to be the most difficult for Lan. He dealt with a terrible fever and headache, and his newfound ability in a state of daze and confusion.

He learned that his mother belonged to a secret sect of clairvoyant people. They preferred to maintain distance from society and practiced and cultivated their abilities, which they called "the Eye", in seclusion. They helped people in need, but only very discreetly, themselves remaining in the shadows. But then again, just like in any other community, they too had some rogue members who had defected for personal gains. Those members had gone on to achieve huge success in life using their power, and more often than not, dishonestly. Some of them were even powerful figures in the world of finance and politics. When his mother had fallen in love with his father, she too had defected, severing all ties with her people. Pima was her confidant, who was not clairvoyant. Pima had sought Lan out when she came to know about her death. She had managed to get employed in the Sen household to take care of Lan. She even managed to find Lan's mother.


*


Today was a new beginning. After months of searching and pleading with the master, Lan ultimately stepped into the meditation hall of his mother's sect. The ambiance was one of tranquility and holiness. Lan felt an immense peace inside. He was now sure, he would be able to utilize his ability for the greater good one day, just as his mother had wished.

July 01, 2020 19:10

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2 comments

15:17 Jul 09, 2020

Hello from the Critique Circle! This was quite dramatic! Near the end, the 'showing' of the story got lost in a lot of 'telling,' and there was a bit too much information all at once. Clairvoyance as 'the Eye' is definitely a neat concept though

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San T.
18:05 Jul 09, 2020

Thank you so much for the comment.. I totally get what you mean.. I got a bit confused there about how to justify the situation at hand without dragging the story.. Thanks again.

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