“And Mr. Akash Mittal will get Mr. Dilip Mittal’s study table as a part of his will.” The lawyer concluded, closing the will.
“What?” Akash asked frowning.
“I will get that old piece of the shitty table as part of his will?! Was he out of his mind while writing this? He gave my cousins his collection of coins which is worth thousands now, his antique pocket watch and also the award-winning painting of his, and all I get, is an old rusty study table!”, Akash exclaimed in anger.
“Akash, it’s your grandfather’s decision. He must have thought something before leaving it for you in his will.” Ashok said, trying to calm his son down.
“No, he never cared about me. For him, I never existed. He was always biased.” Akash blamed, getting up from the sofa.
“Akash…. Akash come back here.” Shobha called out for her son who ignored her and went inside his room slamming the door hard behind him.
Shobha gave a small awkward smile to the rest as the lawyer continued with the terms and conditions of the will.
Akash lay on his bed, busy with his phone when loud knocks erupted from the door.
“What?” he asked opening the door with a scowl on his face.
“I don’t appreciate the way you disrespected your grandpa’s will out there. If you don’t want to get into more trouble than you already are, I suggest you to start making space for the study table in your room and if you don’t do it, then be ready to say goodbye to your video games.” Ashok warned his son.
“Dad you can’t do this to me. I am eighteen and I am supposed to make decisions of what I want in my room and what I don’t, and to be honest, I don’t want that table to spoil my room.” Akash argued.
“Well son, I can and I will,” his father replied with a small smirk and went away.
Akash shut the door aloud.
After a few hours, there was a sharp knock again and the door opened. There stood his father with a smile, and some workers behind him holding the study table in their hands.
Akash moved back helplessly and the workers settled the table properly in the bedroom.
Ashok tapped Akash’s back once before leaving the room.
groaned loudly and sat on his bed working on his laptop. Later, he got bored
and glanced over his phone.
He replied to some unseen messages and sighed when he found no one online.
He lay on his back looking aimlessly at the ceiling. He looked away after a while and his eyes fell on that study table.
He got up slowly from his bed and walked towards the table. It was plain brown in color and had two drawers on the right hand side. His table lamp and pen stand were neatly kept at the side of the table.
Akash sat down on the chair and ran his hands across the table. He made a face and moved to the drawer. He opened the first one and found blank papers, scissors and a stapler in it. He closed it back and moved to the second drawer. He pulled the drawer and it got stuck after coming out a little.
he yelled in frustration before getting up and pulling it hard with more force.
The whole drawer came out and he put it on the table with a loud thud.
His eyes widened in surprise on finding a compartment in it with a lock.
Interested and curious now, he sat on the chair and started guessing the possible 6 digit combination to unlock it.
“All his passwords are birth dates; I bet it’s his birthday,” he wondered while typing it.
A red light appeared on it and he frowned before typing his grandma’s birth date. The red light appeared again. He tried his father’s and aunt’s birth dates as well but the same thing repeated.
“I bet it’s Soham’s birth date. He was always grandpa’s favourite.” Akash murmured with jealousy dripping from his voice.
The red light appeared again and Akash frowned but with a small smile on his lips this time. He tried his other cousins’ birthdays too but it got denied.
With no other choices left, he typed his own birth date.
He had even started to leave when a beep occurred and the lock opened.
He stood there speechless for a while before coming closer and looking inside the drawer. He found an envelope with a letter in it, unopened, kept in the middle.
He picked the envelope and opened the letter inside it.
My very dear friend,
indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days-perhaps tomorrow.
Lest I should not be able to write to you again, I feel impelled to pen down
words that may fall upon your eyes when I shall be no more.
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and it may be one of severe conflict and possibly, death to me. If I must fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in my way. My courage does not halt or falter. I am willing perfectly, willing to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt. I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying their last nap perhaps, before that of death and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart. A pure love for my country and the principles has often advocated before the people and “the name of honour that I love more than I fear death” has called upon me, and I have obeyed it without any grievances.
He closed the letter while his eyes moistened. A few drops of tears trickled down his cheek as he reached for a plain sheet of paper from the drawer.
New Delhi, India
I don’t know why I am replying to this letter, it would never reach you but I just felt like replying. It made me cry, I know that you are out there fulfilling your duty and fighting for the pride of your country. I am proud of you and your doings. Grandpa died a week back due to health issues. I hope he is happy wherever he is.
I will pray for your health and would hope for you to be alive.
-Akash Mittal ”
He folded the paper and put it inside the same envelope and kept the letter back in the compartment with the envelope.
He closed the drawer and went out to spend his day.
passed by, Akash grew accustomed to having the table in his room, he never
checked the drawer again.
One fine day after two months, his father asked him to clean his room. He arranged the things on the table and moved to the drawer. He typed the password and the lock opened slowly.
He looked at the drawer surprised to find a reply letter at the place, he kept the envelope before.
He sat down comfortably and picked the envelope, shutting the drawer behind.
It makes me happy to see your reply back to our message. Your grandfather used to write to us daily. He was a companion in our hard times. My father Sullivan died in the last attack saving the lives of his fellow mates. It makes me proud and sad at the same time.
Things have started getting better here for us, people say the war is about to end now. This war has taken the lives of millions and damaged a lot. Things would never go back to the way they were, but I hope it gets better with time. I will be waiting for your reply.
“It’s a time travel letterbox,” Akash concluded. His eyes were wide open in surprise as he folded back the paper.
Chaitanya Mohan Sharma