A United Family books and stories free download online pdf in English

A United Family

"Whatever both of you decide, remember, we didn't choose the life you are about to give us. And by the way, now you're more accountable to us, than you are to each other!"
Fifteen years old Zara thrashed in front of her parents, leaving them dumbfounded. She stomped to her room and shut the door behind her. Heart broken and crying profusely,
she crumbled on the bed. Zara couldn't believe that after sixteen years of marriage and two kids, her mom/dad were going in for a divorce. And what a fabulous day they had selected to explode the bomb on her, and her fourteen years old younger brother Zahin - Diwali!! Ironically, the festival of lights had become the darkest day of their lives.

Yogita and Yash were dedicated parents. And in the bargain of giving the best to their kids, they remained busy most of their lives. The repercussions of which began to show in their personal space, in the increasing communication gap between the husband and wife. Over the years, they only remained parents and the intimacy evaporated from their relationship. Obviously, at some point, it began to pinch, nonetheless, the kids were completely unaware of this aspect.

"They are such wonderful parents! I can't digest, how can they not like each other anymore!"
Zahin came barging in and dropped on the bed, next to his sister. Zara sat up straight and whilst wiping the tears, remarked with determination in her eyes.
"Zahin, we must do something about this, we can't let it happen. What if they separate us also?"
This possibility was most frightening, and the siblings were hell bent on taking the responsibility of keeping their parents together.

Zara's friend's mother was a counselor and the kids decided to take her into confidence. They poured out their hearts in front of her.
"Aunty, we don't want to involve you directly, our parents should never know that you are helping us. But at the same time, please give us some ideas, how we can save their marriage."

Gathering all the courage she could muster, one fine morning over breakfast, with tears glistening in her eyes, Zara addressed her parents.
"Zahin and I want to say something. We know you are going in for a divorce. We request you to give yourself one year's time. Please for our sake, stay together for just one more year, until next Diwali. If you still feel the same, then we won't stop you."
Both Yogita and Yash were feeling horrible for putting their children through such an emotional trauma. In the wake of long discussions, they reluctantly agreed to fulfill their kids' wishes.

The expiry date of their plan was one year. Zara and Zahin were literally walking on eggshells for those twelve months. Howbeit, they didn't leave any stone unturned. They had lengthy talks with their counselor aunty and were ready to experiment everything that she suggested. Her ideas which touched them the most were,
"You'll need to spend more time together as a family, and your parents....well, what they require is some extra private moments with one another."

Although she was only fifteen, her parents' dreadful decision had suddenly added years of maturity to Zara's age. She sat Zahin with her and lectured him.
"Stop being a burden on mom/dad. Now we need to become more self-sufficient, so that they are free to look after each other, got it?"
Zahin twisted his face, but agreed anyway.

Besides, the kids began to keep their evenings free, so that they could spend quality time with their parents. Zara was insistent that they play indoor games together and made sure that each one was participating, giving their 100% mobile free attention.

"We should plan a sleepover at a friend's place this weekend, that way mom/dad can have the house to themselves. What say?"
Zahin came up with this trick and Zara quite liked it. Nevertheless, she had apprehensions of her own.
"I truly hope they make use of the alone time positively."

Thought for the day at school, popped another peppy scheme in Zara's head. She bought a white board and hung it in the dining area. Silently, she began to put up quotes and messages related to love and family on it. It was so positioned, that compulsorily, all eyes fell on it. Sometimes she wrote questions, which compelled the others to think and take it up as a challenge.
Like one day she wrote,
"Did I make you smile today?" Or
"What is it that you like about me?"

Four months later, their parents' attitude seemed the same as before. They were doing everything the kids wanted, but it was just a formality, the heart was missing. Zahin's birthday was coming up and Zara told him what gift to ask from mom/dad.
"This birthday, I want a family vacation to Kullu Manali."
Yash protested,
"I can't leave my work and go on a holiday."
"Please dad! Just for three days!"
Yogita intervened softly,
"It's been ages since we went anywhere together."
Yash kept looking at her for the longest time and simply nodded his head.

Kullu Manali brought back those cheers and laughter, which had disappeared from their lives. Secretly, kids snatched glimpses of their parents holding hands and sharing old memories. It gave them a sense of deep satisfaction to witness such happiness. They all returned feeling rejuvenated and the kids were now a little more hopeful.

But what hit the nail on the head was, when a double tragedy attacked the family; Zahin was infected with pneumonia and Yash met with an accident. Of course friends supported, however, it was Zara and Yogita who were struggling to endure, taking care of the patients in the house.

Zahin recovered first, but Yash had a fractured wrist and a torn ligament in the leg. It took him nearly two months to get back to normal. In those weeks, he was dependent on Yogita for every small thing. Lying on the bed, and seeing Yogita do all the chores, stirred some very strong emotions in Yash. A whirlpool of questions took round in his head.
"What was wrong with me? How can I imagine life without Yogita! She's my better half, and has been for sixteen damn years. If the spice is missing from our lives, definitely somewhere even I'm to be blamed."
He harrumphed and declared to himself inwardly,
"Accept it Yash, you can't live without her, absolutely NOT!!"

On the other hand, Yogita had decided that Yash and the kids were important to her in equal measure, she possibly couldn't choose one above the other. Her only concern was,
"If I tell Yash, I don't want a divorce, what will his reaction be?"

Three weeks before Diwali, one afternoon, when kids were at school, Yash came back home. Yogita was startled and asked worriedly,
"Yash! What happened? Are you okay?"
He held her hand and they both went and sat on the couch in the living room. Keeping her hand in his, he began,
"Yogita, to hell with the worthless and damaging male ego! I bluntly accept the fact, that I can't live without you. I love you too much to let anything else come between us. We'll work on our issues together, but please, don't leave me."

A ton of bricks slipped away from her shoulders. Yogita was choking with emotions, as tears and smiles quivered her facial features. Wordlessly, she embraced her husband and cried bitterly. Yash held her tight and wondered how much he had missed her warmth in the last few months. For a long time, they remained enveloped into each other. When Yogita could compose herself, she chuckled,
"We must thank our kids for this reunion."
"I totally agree with you. But let's surprise them, alright?"

When the kids came home in the evening, they were stupefied to see the dining room decorated. Their eyes popped out after reading the message on the white board.
"We might have been nice parents, but we are blessed with the world's best children. We are one big happy family! Thank you so much dearest Zara and Zahin!!"

Squeals of happiness resonated in their house, as they all engulfed in a big family reconciliation hug. Yogita looked at her kids with affection and said lovingly,
"We may have been married for sixteen years, but it is the two of you, who reminded us the importance of a united family."

Shamim Merchant, Mumbai

Shades of Simplicity

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