“How do I look, mom?” an innocent voice asked.
“Oh Rutu, you look perfect. Just like your dad.” She replied while looking at her 9- year-old, who had suited up for the first time. She did not notice, but pride from her eyes had already spilled over and spread over her smiling face, and then her hands, which were pulling those chubby cheeks of her son.
“Mom, stop it, I am a grown up now.” Rutuz would always say that, but he secretly loved it. He loved when his mom pulled his cheeks and then give him a sweet kiss on his forehead, just like she would to his dad. He loved his dad. So, when the mom said, that he looked like his dad, he couldn’t stop blushing and jumping in the air.
He liked imitating his dad. He would see him off to his office, and then stand in the gate when he arrived and would help his dad park his car. His small hands would first open the gate, and then his little voice would guide his dad to park the car safely. Then he would take his dad’s brief and walk with him to his house. He would stand up on a table so that he can talk to his dad like an adult and discuss what he did the entire day. Love isn’t enough to describe what he felt, he worshipped his dad.
He was so happy when his dad told him that they are going to a charity dinner, and both of them will wear similar suits. He had been wearing the suit since the afternoon and had asked his mom zillion times if he really looked like his dad. His dad was going to come directly from his office, which had disappointed him a little, but still, his enthusiasm was too much to handle for his mom.
“Mom, mom, when will we reach there?” He shot it just after entering their car. Today, his mom has allowed him to sit in the front seat, and he was very happy about that. His would occupy that seat when his dad would take them for long drives and he was forced to sit in the back seat, which he hated the most. But today, the entire front seat was his to capture, and he was jumping on it.
“Just half an hour beta, but fasten your seatbelts first.” His mom commanded.
“No, I don’t want to do that. I won’t be able to jump then.” He really liked jumping in the car. It was his favorite pass time. Whenever their car would sit idle in the garage, he’d ask his dad to unlock the car and then he’d go and keep jumping on the back seat. He has grown up now, and could ha
“See, your dad would want you to fasten your seatbelts. He’ll get angry if you don’t do it.” And this trick would always work. He fastened his seatbelt and sat like a good child. He wouldn’t want his dad to get angry with him.
“So mom, which dinner is it and why are we going there?”
“It’s a dinner for a charity. Only those people who have paid a substantial amount for that charity are allowed for that dinner. We are going there cause your dad has paid a lot of money.”
“My dad is so great.” His dad was great, by all the standards of the society. He was an MBA from Harvard. He worked for the best consultancy in the world, before he started one of his own. It was one of the known ones and counted several Fortune 500 companies as its clients.
Rutuz was mesmerized by the beauty of the place. It was a huge garden, with a lavish, golden Shamiana entrenched in the center of it. The place was open but was decorated to its teeth with figurines of animals, and rare ceramic pots and whatnots. He wanted to sit on those figurines, but his mom said, “Dad wouldn’t like that.”, so he didn’t. He was asked to behave, and he was doing his best to fulfill those expectations.
“Let me all welcome you to this charity dinner. All the funds that we’ve raised will be given to the Animal Welfare Society. We thank you all for all the support the money that you have donated to the cause.” A voice said on a mic. Rutuz listened carefully and remembered what his teacher has said, “Man is also an animal. In fact, we have evolved from monkeys.”
“Mom, where is Dad. I can’t find him.” He wanted to see his dad. He wanted people to see them together and notice that they are wearing similar suits. He wanted people to say, “You are just like your dad.”
“I just called him, he is at the gate now. Will be here soon.” His mom replied, and then got busy in talking to her friends. She was showing them her diamond necklace, which allowed Rutuz to slip from her gaze. He started running towards the gate. He wanted to welcome his dad.
He heard some noise coming from the gate. “Security, security. What are these people doing in here?” He ran towards the voice.
A person, surrounded by a set of his companions, was shouting at the security and a couple of beggars. The beggars seem to have entered the venue, in search of some food and were confronted by that person. “What are you doing in here? Do you know what this event is? Everybody has paid thousands to get in here, and you think you can just walk in? Look at your clothes, my servants wear better clothes than you.” The person was furious. He could not tolerate when those beggars tried to barge in. He could not tolerate when the exclusivity of the event was compromised.
“Saab, khana chahiye that bas thoda. Galati ho gayi, maaf karo.” (Sir, we just wanted some food. We are sorry for the mistake, please forgive us.) They pleaded. But the person was not satisfied. He asked security to throw those beggars outside. He made sure that they were thrown outside.
The person was wearing a suit similar to the one worn by Rutuz.
That person finally saw Rutuz. He came running and picked Rutuz up. “Aww, my Shona beta came to welcome me. So sweet of you. Let’s go to your mom and then take us a pic together.” Rutu didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to.
“Hey Friend, come here.” His dad called one of the colleagues. “Take a picture of me with my son. He is looking just like me tonight. He is going to be like me in future and make me proud.”
Rutuz jumped down. “No dad, I will never be like you.” A rogue voice exclaimed. Two little removed the blazer he was wearing and threw it on the ground. It suffocated him now.
He ran away, directionless, unaware of the hypocritic world his dad represented.
Towards the hypocritic world, the crowd embodied.