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What if I wasn’t born?

Rishi had been on top of the world that day. He’d just received a promotion that he had been eyeing for the last two years. After work, he’d taken his wife to a pub to celebrate. They drank to their heart’s content and reached home at 1 am. “This is the best day of my life,” Rishi proclaimed after entering his house.

He didn’t know that a rude shock awaited him. His 12-year-old son Kunal was not on his bed. He looked for him in his toilet, in his balcony and in his society. He was nowhere to be found. Had he run away on his own? Was it a mistake to leave him alone? Did he get kidnapped by someone? All these questions haunted Rishi as he struggled to breathe properly. He called his parents and they suggested going to the police station at the earliest.

On his way to the police station, Rishi contemplated what he would do if his son was not found. He certainly couldn’t live with the grief that he would experience. His son had been the source of pride in his chest. He was the reason why he woke up in the morning and hustled hard. “Nothing will happen to him,” Rishi told himself and kept driving towards the police station.

Days passed by and the police were not able to find Kunal. Rishi took a long leave from work and devoted himself to finding his son. He went to every place with a tiny glimmer of hope, but Kunal remained missing. Rishi had lost a lot of weight as he wasn’t able to eat. His wife was equally depressed and hardly stopped crying. Looking at her, Rishi felt nothing but guilt.

“What if I wasn’t born? There would have been no marriage and no Kunal. I wouldn’t have studied Computer Science and become a software developer. My parents would have saved all the money they’ve invested in my education. They would have been able to afford a car probably. My wife wouldn’t have had to live with a lost son. I wouldn’t have had to live with a lost son. I beat billions of other contenders to make it to this world but that was a race I would have rather lost,” he thought to himself.

As days passed by, negative thoughts swept Rishi’s mind. He put up a strong face in front of his wife, but that façade soon slipped when he was on his own. Rishi knew that he was subjected to a lifetime of trauma and he would never move on from the mishap.

10 years later, a young man of 22 entered his house. Rishi recognized him in an instant. Kunal had grown, received education and looked happy. He narrated the story of how a stranger that he had met near his school came to his house and kidnapped him. The stranger (who was also a gangster) wanted to cut his hands and employ him as a beggar. Rishi had managed to escape and even wanted to go back to his house. He decided against it because he was scared that the gangster would find him again. He had been told that he’ll be killed if he tried to escape.

Thankfully, after a few days of roaming around like a vagabond, he found a couple who adopted him. They promised to let him go when the time came. For years, he lived a private life. Since last year though, the plan to kill the gangster started taking shape in his head. He decided to go back to him looking for work and managed to slip in a ricin tablet in his drink. The gangster’s health deteriorated in the next 72 hours and he finally succumbed to the poison. With that, it was time for Kunal to come home.

After hearing the story, Rishi hugged Kunal with all his strength and expressed his delight. The darkest nights give way to the brightest mornings and the same had happened with Rishi’s life. “Thank god, I was born,” he told himself.

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