The side effects of Independence (Short Story)

“Anu, let’s have a skype call today. It’s been months we didn’t see you.”

Anu was trying her maximum to avoid video calls with her family these days. “Mamma, I have a presentation today. I am already late. We can do it next week, ok?”

Her mother was not ready to give up this time. “What is wrong with you girl? I know you are just making reasons to fool us. It’s been 6 months you went back to Germany. Earlier you used to call us every now and then. Now you don’t even have time to talk with us. What’s going on there. Wait I am calling you on skype. Me and dad want to see you.”

She thought of switching off the phone for a while. But that was not the right thing to do. She didn’t want to worsen the situation. She had no intentions to scare them. By that time the skype ring echoed in her tiny 12 square meters room.

She had made enough reasons in the past 6 months to avoid them seeing her. It was easy for the first three months. Then slowly her mother started doubting her so called reasons. To avoid complications, she reduced the frequency of her calls. But now it seemed like they are going to bite her if she didn’t stop this hide and seek game.

Anu picked the call. Her parents were ready with their video on. She didn’t activate her video. She was not ready to ruin her plan at any cost. “My video button is not working mamma.” She decided to lie for the last time. But her mother was not ready to believe her.

“OK, mamma, calm down. I agree I intentionally avoided video calls. I had a reason to do so. Well I am coming home next week. Please keep patience. I have a surprise for you and dad.” She successfully convinced them for the last time.

She looked at herself in the mirror. She felt proud of herself. She was extremely happy that she finally did it. She was all set to stand proudly in front of her father.

It was 3 years back Anu moved to Germany for her Masters. Her parents were not that happy to send her far away to another continent. But they did not stop her either. Once she landed in Germany, she got addicted to the smell of independence. She named it ‘Independence from parental rule’.

Slowly her life style changed. She started eating junk and packaged food almost everyday. She stayed awake late night and partied with her friends. Alcohol became her best friend. She didn’t even realise how easily she gained 25 kg of extra weight just in two years. When she demanded more money for her expenses, her father questioned her. “Anu, I am sending you my hard earned money. That too a huge amount every month. I hope you know the exchange rate of Indian rupees to Euros. How come your expenses are increasing every month? I cannot send you more money without any valid reason.” After that she stopped talking to her father. Her mother was so blind in love that she failed to notice changes in her daughter’s appearance day by day. All she told her was to eat well and sleep well.

After completing her Masters, she got a job offer in Germany. It was a two years contract. She decided to accept the offer. Her ego was burning high. She wanted to return all her father’s money. But within few months she had to face that bitter truth. She couldn’t save even a single Euro because of her unhealthy life style. Finally one day, her bank account fell short of money to pay her house rent. She had no other choice than to ask her father for some money. This time her father took a firm stand. “I will send you money for the rent. After that leave your job and come back home. Enough is enough. You showed me attitude saying you will return me all the money I spent on your studies.. Now you have a well paid job and that too is not sufficient for your expenses? This is too much Anu. Come home next week. I am booking your tickets”

She knew she was in danger. The very next week she went home taking a week’s break from her work.

Her mother was happily waiting to see her daughter after two long years whereas her father was planning to put forward the topic of marriage and take necessary action. But both of them were shocked when they saw her. She was very skinny and energetic when she left for her studies. But now she looked totally different. She has gained a lot to weight which made her look older than her age.

Once she settled down, her father decided to talk to her.

He approached her as softly as possible. He didn’t want to lose his daughter. He tried to figure out what’s happening in her life. But all she wanted from him was some more money. And she had no valid reasons for that. Now he lost his temper.

“I regret sending you abroad for studies Anu. I regret from the core of my heart. It was all a waste of my hard earned money. You are just out of your mind. All you have gained these years is many bad habits and a dangerous attitude. Do you even realise how much worried we are for your health now? I am really fed up of this attitude.” Saying this he went to his room.

She looked at herself in the mirror. That’s when she realised how much weight she has put on in these years. She was a fitness freak back in her bachelor’s and now she has reached a dangerous level of obesity.

By that time her father came out of his room with his ATM card. “Go and withdraw all the money from my account. Since you have no intentions to stop all these craps, you will soon be in need of a doctor for your treatment. So take all the money. Also let me know if I should pledge my belongings so that you can have a royal life.”

Anu started to realize her mistakes. But her ego was not letting her to apologize to her father. She decided to lose weight and save money when she left for Germany this time. She worked very hard to come out of her unhealthy habits. She saved money and joined a Gym. Within six months, she managed to regain her body shape and come down to a healthy body weight. She wanted to surprise her parents with the drastic change in her life.

She could not wait till she reached home. She wrote a message to her father.

‘Dear dad, You’d never believe me if I told you that I have transformed to your same old Anu, but it’s true and I can prove it. I am coming home with a surprise for you. I promise never to hurt you again.’

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