Ready…Steady…On your mark…the whistle blows up and a cloud of dust fills the air as the boys bang the racing track. The cacophony of hooting and cheering sounds from the gallery is undoubtedly enhancing the mood of Annual Sports Day celebration of St. Peter’s School. Oh! It is Aayan to touch the finishing line first. Mr. Peter Padrick, the chief guest of the function hands over the cup to Aayan with a little pat of appreciation.
Ronn claps for his younger brother. He claps even louder and louder. His fair hands are getting red. Is it only for his brother’s success or to suppress the pangs that have thickened to choke his throat? His eyes turn hazy as the untamed water wants to overflow the tanks of eyes. Mom’s caring eyes do not miss it and affectionately carcasses on his laps which have been resting on the wheel chair ever since he was born.
Mr. Peter Padrick, the name holder carries a stout stature with stubborn and rough cheeks that suit his persona. Though not world famous yet a renowned tennis player Mr. Padrick takes pride in those shinning trophies and shields that he has bagged winning some tournaments and championships. The little bit of chatting and smiling that he does , he does with Aayan, his younger son, as next to the game, Aayan’s being a healthy child and his interest in sports are the only reasons that give him some sort of joy. And what for Ronn? Is it Ronn’s physical confinement that has made Mr. Padrick such a hard-to-deal personality? There is no boundary, no height and no depth of human mind and its secret thoughts. In the deepest dark of Mr. Padrick’s heart there lies a captive father who feels for Ronn, but Padrick never allows that father to come out.
Mr. Padrick himself does the coaching of Aayan for he dreams and expects a lot from his younger son that he would carry his name forward. Ronn loves to join these practise sessions. His mom sometimes carry the wheel chair carrying Ronn. Ronn enjoys watching his brother running, jumping, playing and hears the motivational speeches that his father shares with Aayan, “Running is a freedom, it liberates a man from all bindings… Enjoy your run as it is a sort of flying to reach your goal.”…….. Ronn envisages a boy is running very fast even faster leaving all behind and reaches the finishing line and when he turns back it is none other than Ronn himself.
Time passes by. Mr. Padrick is now at his 60s and has lost his wife two years ago. Adding extra pain to his wound, Aayan fails to make his career in sports and is pursuing a course in photography. What about Ronn? Mr. Padrick cares a little to know about his whereabouts, only sometimes when his eyes casually go upon Ronn, find him with books, diaries or with the laptop.
One day with Mr. Padrick’s astonishment, Ronn comes to his room crawling the wheels by himself with a book lying on his laps. Mr. Padrick’s eyebrows are raised with the reflex action as his elder son always avoids confronting him, perhaps in fear or in detest that Mr. Padrick doesn’t know.
Without uttering a word, Ronn hands over the book to his father. In the cover page there is an image of a running boy with the title, “Ronn Wished to Run…” Mr. Padrick turns the cover page and wears his spectacles. His eyes get fixed to the spectacular line, ‘Dedicated to my loving father.’ The rest could not be read for that captivated father who has been caged ever since has come out all at once and weighed heavy over Mr. Padrick. Tears come down to soften his stubborn cheeks. The book has been tagged ‘ The Best Seller.’ Running is a freedom, yes it has liberated Ronn from all bindings as his imagination travels worldwide…Ronn is enjoying his run what if not with legs but with his indomitable mind and powerful hands..