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

I can never forget the charming Dr. Mahesh and his adorable family. The tireless doctor of my beloved native town and his devoted wife, and most of all their effervescent son who seemed to inherit every bit of his father's passion. And even more unforgettable is that fateful night, when the waters of Godavari flooded our town and erased it off the map forever.
That night my father, the town collector, had received a hotline call from the state administration. Someone, who was close to my father, had called to inform the dam had burst and that the gushing river was on its way to drown all of us. He had said we had only an hour to save ourselves. I can recall how frantically my father had woken me and my mother up and rushed into the car. How crazily he drove out of the town that he was supposed to save. And then stopping over at my sister's house to gather her family, and then madly driving out of the town.
As we passed the silent streets, me and my mother had cried, seeing many of the houses we knew, and had shuddered imagining the painful fate that awaited those good souls.
And then we had passed Dr. Mahesh's house, and I had expected dad to stop to pick them up. The doctor was held in great reverence all through our town - for his dedication in helping our town, for his sacrifice of rejecting lucrative offers in the city so he could help the forgotten people of our remote town. My father had been so proud of Dr. Mahesh. Yet he did not stop that night and kept driving. I had looked at his face and shrieked, and he had replied back in hush tones, "We don't have much time son; the flood will be here soon! And then, we don't have any more space in the car too. My family comes first for me, and I am just doing my duty towards my family.. first!"
So we had driven away, abandoning a soul that had abandoned its luxury for our sake. Just because for us, family came first.
Today, as I sit facing the whisky bottle, with my parents long dead, I ponder if it was worth saving us. My dad had sacrificed his duty towards the town in fulfilling his duty towards the family. He had chosen to save a son who could not claim a bright future, and a daughter who spent all her time fighting property battles with her in-laws. Had Dr. Mahesh been saved that night, it would have led to the saving of many more lives, through him. With his courage, commitment and knowledge, Dr. Mahesh could have been a building block of our society.

But it wasn't to be. That night vanity had won over sanity, and bonds of blood became the ark that floated high over the waters of fate, whose blind current drowned rationality and humanity.
They say family is the building block of society. But to me it seems that, actually, family blocks the building of society...