“Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor, you can present your allegations and demands now,” the Judge called out. The entire court room looked towards this separated couple. Mr. Kapoor had a frown on his face, while Mrs. Kapoor watched with helplessness. Ashish, their twelve year old son, was unaware of what had been going on, and only looked with perplexity.
His immature age prevented him from understanding the serious situation that existed there. He was, though, able to understand that something unfortunate was going on, as he thought, “Big policemen with guns meant something was wrong.”
He looked at the policemen, attracted by their shiny revolvers, but frightened by the frustrated looks on their faces. An atmosphere of tension and anxiety flouted the entire courtroom.
Ashish was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor. Mr. Kapoor was the Chief Executive Officer of a multi- billion dollar multinational company. Mrs. Kapoor was a simple housewife. They were good friends since their schooldays. They shared a warm and intimate relationship. Eventually, they fell in love, and tied the knot after completing their graduation. Mrs. Kapoor had always supported Mr. Kapoor, standing by him in his ups and downs.
“I could never have got anyone better than you,” Mr. Kapoor frequently told Mrs. Kapoor. It was only due to Mrs. Kapoor’s dedication towards her husband that Mr. Kapoor was able to excel in life. He had to struggle, but Mrs. Kapoor’s support had pulled him up from the rags, and turned him into a successful person.
Within five years of marriage, they were gifted with a healthy son. They named him Ashish, after Mr. Kapoor’s pet name. But ever since his birth, a wave of rivalry prevailed over them, as they would compete within themselves in order to prove a better parent to him. Both loved him dearly, but his existence deteriorated the special bond that they had once shared.
Their relationship worsened to such an extent that their bond of marriage could snap at any moment. Unfortunately, within twelve years of Ashish’s birth, it was happening so. Both were so dissatisfied with each other that they decided to separate. Today was the day of the court’s decree. Today’s decision would change their lives drastically; it was a case of certain death, as neither parent was ready to live without their son.
They had already signed the divorce papers. All compensations were paid, and other individual problems were solved. Every property dispute had been resolved, but one question still remained.
“Who will be Ashish’s parent?” Today’s verdict would answer this question and decide their fate.
The couple stood separated by a large distance. Mr. Kapoor occupied one corner, while Mrs. Kapoor occupied the other.
Ashish was under the Judge’s supervision, and he was not allowed to even talk to his parents without being asked to do so.
“So Ashish, whom will you choose, dear?” the Judge asked, after hearing Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor’s resolutions.
Ashish was puzzled by this question. He loved both equally and never imagined to live without either of them. He was donned by his parents’ presence and never wanted them to separate; he wanted to live with both of them, to love them and to be loved by them.
A terrified expression grasped his tired eyes and he was frightened by the thought of losing either of his parents. He looked at each of them, trying to understand the reason for their immature, foolish decision.
Mrs. Kapoor had tears rolling down her red cheeks. She could not suppress the motherly affection which she had for her son. Mr. Kapoor gave back a forced, heart warming smile. He was by no means willing to express his emotions. He never showed any sign of weakness, as men are expected not to do so. His eyes were gloomy, but he continued to smile affectionately at Ashish.
But under his confident and glad appearance lay a dark world, which was only filled with grief. His heart longed to be with his child but this could not force him to shed his tears.
“Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor, each one of you will have just one chance to influence your child’s decision,” the Judge continued after becoming impatient by the profound silence that swerved through the Court, “Ashish, please choose your decision wisely.”
Ashish looked at Mr. Kapoor. “Son, I can give you everything you want. I can buy all the happiness in the world. Please come with me,” He said while flashing some new toys he had bought for him. But Mr. Kapoor was wrong, so terribly wrong. Everything cannot be bought with money, especially not happiness.
All that Ashish wanted was his mother and father to love him together. He desired both of their love, and although any child of his age would be attracted by the new toys, Ashish was not going to be swayed so. He remained silent, and turned towards his mother.
Mrs. Kapoor could not withhold her emotions. Her cheeks had become red with all the tears she had shed. She was barely able to mutter anything. “Son,” she said partly restraining her affection from dominating her speech, “I don’t have enough money, and I can never surely give all that your father can give. I can’t buy all the things you desire. But there is something that I can give, which is priceless. And that is, love, my son. Now you decide what to do.” Mrs. Kapoor could no longer hold back her tears, and she began wailing in such a manner that she could no longer utter a word.
“Now, choose your decision wisely, son. Take your time,” the Judge said. A long period of silence prevailed over the courtroom. Ashish was lost in his thoughts. He had to act wisely, as this decision would finalize the family’s fate.
After much thought he replied, “I’ve decided.”
“So what’s your decision, son?” the Judge asked.
Everyone present in the courtroom looked at him eagerly while his parents looked with desperation.
“I will stay with you father”
“Oh, thank God!” his father exclaimed.
“I will live with you,” continued Ashish, “not because of all the wealth you have; not because you can buy all the happiness for me; but because of your affection for this son of yours… and”
“And what, my son?” asked Mr. Kapoor.
“And, I will live with you, mother, for your motherly warmth and affection. I want to live with both of you, mother and father. Both,”
Ashish ran towards both his parents, hugging them with lots of affection.
This decision of Ashish proved most significant, as the psyche of both the parents had changed.
They never fought again, and Ashish was able to receive equal love from each of them. What proved most important was that both Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor were successful in maintaining a lovable relationship as they once had before Ashish’s birth.