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And yet he had started behaving in such a weird manner of late. He had become so reclusive that at time he would snap at his parents or not speak at all.
‘Hi son, look what I have brought for you! You’ll be jumping with joy when you see your gift‘, Reena called out to her son as she entered his room excitedly. ‘Thank you Mom,’ Aarav replied but didn’t even look up from the book he was reading.
‘Arre, at least open the box and see what it is,‘ Reena insisted only to get a placid ‘Mom, please keep it on the table. I am studying right now so I will see it later.’ as his static reply. Mumbling angrily under her breath, Reena threw the gift box on the study table and banged the door shut.
‘We do so much for this boy but he doesn’t care for anything. I have brought the latest and most expensive smartphone for him and he doesn’t bother to even look up at me, let alone opening the gift and thanking me!’ Reena fumed while plonking her fat bottom in the voluminous wing chair, her latest addition to the huge living room of their new 3000-sq feet flat in an upscale sea-side building.
Aarav had always been such a well-behaved child but for the last few months he had started behaving strangely. A cute, cuddly and always happy child since his birth, he was the apple of his parents’ eyes. Being a bubbly and agile child with limpid brown eyes, he soon caught the eye of a model coordinator friend of his parents who insisted that they enter him for a few baby shows and also offered modelling contracts for popular baby food products and garment brands.
Initially Reena and her husband Nalin were wary of exposing their little son to the glamour world in his childhood but the temptation of seeing their son’s handsome visage on TV, advertisement boards and magazines erased all their reservations soon.
He proved to be a true model child who never gave his parents or the director and makeup ‘dada’ any trouble. Unlike other children, he wouldn’t be cranky even when he was woken up from sleep for early morning shoots or held and cuddled by his ‘parents’ for shoots. As his popularity as an amenable and friendly child grew so did the number of endorsements and shows he was signed for.
He would return from his school and instead of putting him to bed for a rejuvenating afternoon siesta, his mother would rush him to a dance class, an acting workshop or an English speaking class. During weekends too he would be much in demand for some ramp show or outdoor shoots.
Although Reena and Nalin were proud of their celebrity child yet they were conscious of the importance of studies and ensured that he didn’t miss school despite such a busy schedule or minor illnesses. Steady inflow of money and his fame had facilitated his admission in the topmost school of the city where the teachers and management also cooperated with his erratic attendance. To compensate for the loss of studies due to urgent assignments on weekdays, Reena and Nalin would arrange that his tutors taught him at the sets between his shots.
Being a health freak himself Nalin had enrolled Aarav also for some horse riding and martial art classes to work on his puppy fat while Reena cut down all junk food from his diet and made sure he ate his meals on time and had only healthy low fat food devoid of sugary ice creams, desserts and chocolates. Recently Nalin had set up his own gym which had been inaugurated by one of the leading heroes of Bollywood and this had catapulted the gym membership to record heights while Reena had quit her MNC job to concentrate on her son’s career.
They had worked out everything for his acting and modelling career in such meticulous detail that nothing could go wrong… you know how methodical Indian parents are when it comes to their offspring’s career!
Yet they pampered him to the core. They bought him expensive toys, the latest electronic keyboard, play station and plied him with branded clothes and shoes they picked up from upmarket stores during Aarav’s shoots abroad. You name anything and Aarav had it. They threw parties in theme restaurants for his birthdays where the who’s who of advertising, film, TV and media industry were invited. This active networking fetched handsome returns in the form of offers for Aarav to act in TV serials and movies and much higher compensation.
He was feted in his school for his celebrity status. His schoolmates were in awe of him and even their parents asked him to click selfies with them during the few school events and functions he managed to attend. Many of them would applaud Reena with huge words of appreciation for managing Aarav’s career with such precision and focused determination. Some of the bolder and ambitious parents would even approach Aarav straight away for a recommendation to the brand managers and film directors for their own children.
Reena who would be watching over Aarav with a hawk eye would quickly herd him away mentally accusing the parents of being greedy opportunists and troubling her child with their frivolous demands. She wanted to keep all such ‘pests’ away from her darling son.
And yet he had started behaving in such a weird manner of late. He had become so reclusive that at time he would snap at his parents or not speak at all. On two occasions, he had even refused to go for his weekend shoots citing his tests in school thus causing a big embarrassment to Reena. Although she was furious that she had to lie to the TV serial director that Aarav was not well yet she had kept her cool blaming his refusal on his pre-teen hormones. She had cajoled him to go for the shoot promising to speak to his Principal and get the tests rescheduled.
‘But enough is enough,’ Reena decided, ‘I can not let his moodiness and recklessness destroy our hard work of years. He’s been taking my love for my lenience. I must speak to Aarav today why he’s so grumpy these days and sort this once for all.’
‘Tell me Aarav, what is plaguing you these day? Why are you acting so funny?’ Reena burst into his room and flooded him with questions,’ We take care of all your affairs, your shoots, your brand endorsements, your acting and dance classes, your martial arts and horse riding, your diet, your school and studies…everything is being managed so well. I have even quit my job for you and we have planned your career in such detail that you won’t ever have any trouble. Your schoolmates and even their parents admire us for managing everything so smoothly. They are in fact so jealous of you because you have the best and most expensive clothes, gadgets, toys…before you even desire anything it is yours. In fact today also I had brought you the latest smartphone but you are so uncaring and ungrateful that you refused to even see it! What more do you want from us? What is lacking in your life?’
‘My childhood, Mom. Please get me my childhood back!’
Image source: pixabay
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