"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

The old man had woken up early but he didn't get out his bed yet. He smelt the air and decided to pretend to be asleep. He had always suspected his wife and son to be up to something and they were in the kitchen now, talking in subdued tones again, so he closed his eyes, opened his ears strainingly wide and tried to listen..

"Son, you should not... old people are like small children... being close to death makes them insecure... try to understand your dad... he may be foolish... he is your dad"

The old man noted the words 'foolish' and 'close to death'. "So they think I am foolish and they are waiting for me to die," he nodded like he was about to crack a case. He bent forward to listen more clearly...

"But mom, he suspects every... finds excuses to shout at me.. opposes whatever I do... has he ever loved me at all?"
"Son... always good to have a devil's advocate.. gives you another perspective"

Sparks of anger started flying in the old man's heart. "So they think I am the devil". He continued to listen.

"Since childhood.. only rebuke.. he would compare me with other smart kids and never happy with what I achieved... forced me to be an engineer... my dreams were shattered..."
"I know son... wish he controlled his temper... no patience at all... I put up with him all my life and he still treats me like an outsider"
"I don't want to stay... run away from here... scolds me even if I try to open my mouth"
"No son, don't say that... your father after all.. try to send him for a meditation course.. lets discuss tonight... and settle it."

The son got up to leave. Old man continued his pretension, "So they want to settle it for good tonight. I always knew these wicked people were up to something." As the son walked out, the old man felt a slight nudge at his feet. "So this is why he touches my feet every morning, to check if I am awake or not. Sorry boy! I am smarter than you," an evil smile crept on his face, and a fire started blazing in his heart. Nobody could smell this fire though!

He sat up on his bed and reflected on his life. How he had slogged his way through life, caring for his wife and children and they had never cared to thank him for it. How he had dreamt of building a good status in society but his non-cooperating family had never helped him achieve it. They always seemed to have their own dreams in opposition to what he wanted for them. How his wife had completely stopped talking to him in the last few years. They had started treating him like an untouchable - every time he wanted to have a discussion his son would stand quietly, as if it was a shame to talk to his own father. They would make the old man shout at the top of his voice for everything. Maybe they wanted his blood pressure to rise so he would die soon. They were after his money, and he was sure of it now. There was no point living like this. He was frustrated of this demeaning existence. He had to settle it, and he would do it tonight...

The old man was completely at sea, and he didn't want to be a fish strung up on a bait. He would put an end to this all. In the evening when he stepped out for his walk, he went to the corner medical store and bought a bottle of rat poison.

5 days later

They had to break open the door after neighbors complained of rotting smell from the house. The father's body was found on his bed while the mother and son were found lying in the kitchen, their plates half eaten. As all three had died of the same poison, the police registered a case of family suicide.

The case was closed, yet the neighbors were left pondering why the son had registered his father for a meditation course on the same day of the suicide!