Beep! Beep! The alarm clock went off like a patient whose pulse is racing just before going into cardiac arrest. That’s the picture that popped into my head every single morning when my alarm went off. Too much House I guess. That’s how I start my day. Everyday is the same, get up, go for classes, and come back, rest. Watch some TV, study, argue with my mom that I am too tired to do anything else and then coax myself to sleep in the hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I used to think that I have been waiting in vain as I hope for something to break the monotony. The environment around me was too depressing- an over anxious mother, strict father and two highly irritable siblings who were just biding their time waiting to get out.
Even the vacations were the same, some dirty old relative used to come and stay with us for almost the entire summer. We used to become their personal slaves, literally doing everything for them, acting like we don’t have any purpose of existence other than to serve them.
My brother did find a way out; he left the house immediately after finishing school. He was going to college in Lahore, on his own merit. My dad had to pay what was at that time considered normal tuition fee for schools, but this also included the boarding house.
For me however, it was the same thing all my life over and over again, but today was different. Today I break the monotony once and for all. All these years of hard work were finally paying off. Today is going to be a new beginning. I am finally breaking the shackles-freeing myself from my strict father, my anxious mother. Today I was starting my first job- as an apprentice in a large accountancy firm. I am very happy. For the first time in my life, I can wear a tie and not be scolded for it. I am on the way to becoming my own man. I smile at my reflection in the mirror, ties looked good on me.
I go down stairs to see my mom up and about and my dad reading the morning paper. My mom was bustling around in the kitchen- her routine for the last thirty years. I greeted both of my parents good morning; my dad acknowledged my greeting with a nod of his head and my mother responds with a knowing smile. It is big day for all of us; I was finally breaking free of my father, another sign for him that his time is coming to an end. The atmosphere in the house today was slightly different; it felt as if a war was over. To another person it might seem that it was just a normal family having breakfast, but it was something very different. There was a spring in my mom’s step, a victorious gleam in her eye and that smile of hers made her look much younger. My dad on the other hand looked slightly crest fallen as he knew that his time at the throne was coming to an end. Although he did not acknowledge it, but he liked being in charge, steering the ship or the king of his castle as he liked to put it. Even at the age of sixty, he after gaining a lot of weight and losing a lot of hair, the air of authority in his tone of conversation and the arrogance in his strut suggested that he was used to ordering every one about. However, slowly but surely he was losing his grip over all of us – his family. My brother as I mentioned before was the first to get away when he finished school, my sister was the next one when she got married a few years ago, and now, it was my turn to break free and spread my wings. For my mother, this was her dearest ambition – see us making our way into the world.
It makes one think though, how quickly time passes. It seemed like yesterday when the house rang with the sound of laughter and arguments. How after getting scolded and at times caned by my dad, she would take me into a corner and comfort me. “Have patience son, your time will come,” She always used to say, “But remember when your time comes, don’t forget that you were also once weak and helpless, don’t exert your dominance on others like your father does. When he becomes old and weak never treat him the way he behaves but treat him the way I’ve taught you how to treat others.” From the time I was around five years till last year, my mom kept on repeating this like a mantra, ‘your time will come’. Every night I would say this to myself and drift off to restless sleep.
Now it looked as if my time had finally come. Maybe my mother was thinking the same thing, she used tell me what my father had said to her all those years ago: “you’re not good enough to raise my children” She used to say to us work hard and prove our father wrong. Today, her wish had come true, we had proven him wrong. Maybe she was thinking the same thing today when she smiled at me; the worst was over, it was all better from here on. The future was bright.