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The Patriarch

Updated: 5 days ago

Cover Photo by Vani Buddhavarapu

Individuals are often a product of their upbringing and rarely do they reinvent their personalities to the times they live in and act accordingly. It so happens that these same individuals become those they have never had in their lives, even for the worst sometimes.


“The Patriarch” by K. M. Sindhushree tells the story of a boy who confidently acts on his beliefs that he often forgets to question the actions’ ethical and moral implications. It is a story that shows how people in power defend their recklessness, claiming it is their duty and responsibility to act in a certain way.

 

Disclaimer: For ages above 18 only.

 

Note:

  1. Read/Listen to the “Free Access” of this story on Medium or Substack!

  2. This story is available as Ebook & Paperback here!

 

Chapter I


“Oh, God! It is 8 am already! I have to reach the office in thirty minutes!. Why didn’t the alarm ring today? Did I forget to set it last night? Well, that has never happened before, and Padma said she would be back before sunrise, but she is not here yet. She is certainly getting out of line these days! I will be late for work today because she failed to set the alarm last night before leaving.”


Narayan spoke to himself as he walked towards the main gate to fetch the milk cursing his wife. On his way, he noticed Padma enter the gate slowly with a petrified look. She walked past him like he was not standing there, and as she did, Narayan screamed, “Where the hell were you? You are not only late but even ignoring me as if I am not here?”




 

Chapter II


Narayan and his family had gathered at Padma’s house. After they settled in the main hall and Padma was brought before them, Narayan’s mother whispered, “She is beautiful, isn’t she?”


“Just being beautiful is not always enough,” Narayan replied curtly. “She should have a pleasing face, an acceptable wit, and gentle manners enough to credit that she is my wife. Most of all, her character should not be deficient.”




 

Chapter III


Sujatha was twenty-two when Narayan caught her with a man in the back of his car, parked next to Narayan’s backyard at nine o’clock on a Sunday night. The car was cold, and they had been doing pretty much the same thing a dozen times before. Sujatha had not realised that she had started paddling in the wrong direction until it was too late.


She moaned, closing her eyes while her boyfriend with her did his thing, one hand wrapped around her ponytail. Everything was as usual until they heard a knock on the car door. Opening her eyes, Sujatha saw her father and knew life finally got to her by making her nightmare come true.




 

Chapter IV


Ever since Sujatha had left home to marry the love of her life, Narayan had not been himself. He missed her, but he didn’t want to admit it. His ego would not let him do so. He was no longer the same, and somehow he felt his wife Padma was not as affected as he was.


He, however, thought maybe she was suffering from inside like him, but exteriorly she seemed fine. She didn’t suffer from sleepless nights as he did, and his dark circles got even worse. He looked thinner and mostly weak. He had not been eating well, and the only relief was that Padma was not as shattered as he thought she would be. He felt maybe she was stronger than him when it came to coping with emotions.




 

Chapter V


On a warm autumn day in March, something was about to happen that would change the whole course of Narayan’s family life. Something that he had never even dreamt of in his wildest dreams. Krishna, his youngest child and only son, had been a bit ‘uptight’ for some time, but one evening, he arrived late from school. Hearing the front gate being opened gave the couple a great sigh of relief.



 

Chapter VI


It was Tuesday afternoon, as usual, Narayan had finished his lunch and had buttermilk when an elderly man approached him at the office with a proposal. Sitting down in comfort, the old man grunted, “Your reputation has brought me here, Mr Narayan.”


Leaning back in his chair, Narayan remained silent, sipping his buttermilk. The old man continued, “We need your stamp, and if we could reach a settlement, both of us could calmly go around in our lives.”




 

Chapter VII


After a surreal dinner at Narayan’s place, all his family members sat in the living room. Though his brother-in-law was hesitant to ask about the occasion, he desperately wanted to. This was the first time Narayan had even taken the time to invite him for anything, even though it had been two years since he married his sister.


Asking Sujatha and Padma to play in the other room, Narayan’s mother Lakshmi, an old woman with no strength left to stand all by herself and helped around by others in a wheelchair, stated, “Narayan is planning to take all of his father’s property, and he needs your support, Kavitha.”




 

Chapter VIII


After making Narayan re-live a few of his memories and trying their best to show how much pain he inflicted on his family, one of the messengers asked, “Are these enough, or would you want us to dig more?”


Trying to make himself agree that he did a few nasty things in life indeed, Narayan retorted, “If you are going to judge me on my actions, then at least give me a fair shot. If you see my failures, you should see my success too!”



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