Victor was born with a golden spoon in his mouth; he loved to take everything for granted. His schooling was at the top schools of the district and he was able to graduate from a prestigious college even though he had scored low.
Victor’s father, Michael had been brought up in poverty. He had made his fortune in the diamond business. From being an office boy in one of the diamond trading firms, to owning the firm eventually, he had made his fortune by sheer hard work and a keen sense of business… He made wise investments and watched his wealth grow over a period of twenty years. He wanted to provide the best for Victor and as any loving father would, didn’t want Victor to ever have to slog even for a day.
So after graduation Victor joined St Joseph College of Management. He didn’t need the degree but to satisfy his father, and to justify himself as the inheritor of the large business, he reluctantly joined college. Girls admired him and he developed fake friendships easily. The gang used to rag and tease boys and girls who would not conform to their way of thinking or to their lifestyle. They were the bullies of the campus and no one could touch them due to Michael’s money that was given as donation to the college trust.
Due to his obnoxious attitude, he had an attitude of ownership. If he didn’t get a girl, he would buy her what she wanted. If he didn’t get the seats he wanted at his favorite game, he would throw money at the cashier and ask for the manger to arrange for the same. His birthday parties were all about cash flowing outward and expensive gifts being showered to him by his father.
His mother had left his father, when Victor was ten years old. She didn’t love the man that his father was becoming and since his father had more money, he got to keep Victor. Money had bought him as well.
Then on his twenty fifth birthday his dad gave him an Audi. They both went for a spin on the race course. He had been drinking and he had not informed his dad about the same. Both father and son raced on the roads without a care in the world. They avoided collision with three cars and that’s when they slowed down. But alas not fast enough.
The car hit a pothole and Victor lost control of the car. He slammed into the ongoing traffic coming his way.
Victor regained conscious, but he was in the hospital. The Audi, on impact had inflated the air bags. The air bags on Michael’s side somehow didn’t open, due to which he went crashing into the bonnet of the vehicle.
He inquired about his father at the hospital, screaming at the nurses and shouted abuses at the doctors. “Do you know who I am?” he roared. The doctors tried to calm him down. His father’s secretary -cum –friend- cum -assistant had arrived at the hospital and managed to pacify him. Victor arm was bruised but the doctors had taken care of that. He didn’t want any pain killers.
The doctors need to perform surgery on his father to stop the internal bleeding, but there was a hitch.
His father was a rare blood type. He was what was known as “Bombay Blood”. A blood type so rare that only a handful people have it. Only “Bombay Blood” could be given to him and no other. The hospital had arranged for 2 bottles by contacting various hospitals however two more were required. Victor was ready to donate but the doctors refused as he had lost some blood himself and he was given medications. They appealed to him to locate his uncles or aunts who could donate. But there were none. His father was the last surviving member of the family.
After threating legal action the doctors agreed to take his blood, however they still needed one more bottle.
He appealed to his friends, his so called well-wishers. They used social media to reach out to anyone who could donate.
He said he would pay anyone with that blood type, any amount, if only they would donate the same day. .
A lot of fake people came to the hospital claiming they had the required blood; a lot of precious time was wasted.
As he sat there besides his father in the ICU, he recalled every detail of his childhood. The memory of his mom which he had buried resurfaced. They were happy as a family, the three of them. How did it come to this? Was he going to be alone now?
As he sat there, his head resting on his father’s hand, he felt he was in some dream and wished he could escape to his life of partying and boozing. He recalled the time during the annual blood donation drive in college he had always ridiculed people, bullying them, boasting to his friends that a dying man needed only money to survive.
The nurse came rushing in. They had found a donor. He ran to the blood bank to thank the person.
The donor was already in the process of donating blood so he waited for them to come out. The person who stood in front of him was the nerd Malcolm. Victor had bullied him in college and had taken his notes and had never thanked him in return. But here was Malcolm standing with a tape on his arm trying to avoid eye contact. Victor hugged him and cried. Malcom didn’t know how to react. He was a boy who wasn’t used to attention and the Mr. Popular was hugging him. Malcom just blurted, “I need the money. I need 100,000. I want to study abroad. Please just transfer it.” With that, he gave him a note with his bank details and left. Victor stood there with the note in his hand, the bank numbers in red. He had bought a life; he was buying his father’s life.
Which was when another nurse came rushing in. Victor snapped out of his dream. He had fallen asleep. His father had taken a turn for the worst, she said. As he sat there, in his very real world now, everything seemed to move around with extra speed. The machines beeped, the ventilators made the hissing sound and all he could do was just watch as his father’s heart was giving way. He couldn’t buy life this time around. He couldn’t force anyone to give the blood required. The money he had was just paper. He had ridiculed people like Malcom who used to line up for blood donation during his college days, discouraged it, and told them that money is all is required even for a dying man.
15 years of living in a bubble came crashing down on him. The doctors tried to stop the heart arresting but all Victor could see now was a flat line. 50,000,000 in his bank account couldn’t save his father.
You make the choice, dear reader. What would be an appropriate ending for Victor’s story? His dream or the reality that kicked in on him?
K & Inputs from Farrokh Jijina.