“Ahhh…NOT AGAIN” grumbled Ongmo after hearing loud yelling followed by breaking sounds. It was only about an hour she had a sound sleep until she had to wake up to hear the quarrels between her parents. Quarrels, blaming, tantrums and yelling were the part of a day which Ongmo had to unwilling witness or hear just because she was not born blind and deaf. But in a process she surely became partly mute as none of her parents had time to hear what she has to say.
There seldom used to be a day when Ongmo’s parents did not argue. Mostly her parents would quarrel at night resulting in sleepless night for her. Sometimes they put on a show at a breakfast table giving Ongmo ample of reason to remain moody and low spirited for the whole day. The main reason for the arguments has always been the drinking habit of her father. Ongmo’s father possessed a personality that gets aggressive once the alcohol settles inside his body.
Ongmo had grown up hearing many stories related to her parent’s life. One of the most prominent was the one which highlights “Unpleasant childhood days of her father”. Her father used to tell her how he suffered managing his time for studies while taking care of his alcoholic brother. The so called alcoholic brother was Ongmo’s late uncle who died as a victim of a cancer resulting from excessive alcohol consumption.
At one end Ongmo really felt pitifully sorry for her father having to go through those awful days. At such a young and delicate age, it surely is not an easy task to manage a balance between the role as a student and responsibility as a brother. On the other end she was never able to understand why her father should be fond of drinking when he clearly knows that it was the reason for messing up his childhood days. What is so tempting in the alcohol that he can forget his bitter past and enjoy it so greedily?
After going through yet another sleepless night, Ongmo got up with a plan in her mind, a plan that might help to break a nut shell that has encased her father. As usual they had their breakfast and across the dining table, Ongmo clearly saw the puffy eyes of her mother which gave her an acute heartache. She loathes seeing that look on her mother’s face and that made more vivid her determination to give a try what she planned to do despite the fear towards her father.
In the vehicle, on the way to her school, which was about 45 minutes drive from their house, Ongmo took a step to bring her plan in action and so she asked her father to tell the story of his childhood again. Though her father was not in a good mood to narrate a story but on Ongmo’s repeated request, he told her the story. This time he kept the story short and it was like a summarized version outlining mainly the misery he went through at that time. After the story ended, Ongmo asked “Dad, what is the moral of your story?” to which her father responded “What do you mean by the moral of my story?” She could see the lines on her father’s forehead wrinkling into a frown which silently cautioned her to be careful with her words.
So now the time for a climax she thought. With a smile she said, “Dad, every time we read a story in the class, our class teacher always ends with the moral of that story so I was wondering what could be the moral of the story I just heard”. Her father with a confused mind said “What do you think is the moral; I mean what lesson you learned out of my story?”. “Bingo” said Ongmo to herself silently because the plan was working out the way she wanted it to. As the vehicle stopped to halt near her school gate, Ongmo faced her father and without a bit of hesitation, looked directly in to his eyes and said;
“Well dad, I have learned that drinking alcohol is injurious to the health of both the consumer as well as the people surrounding them. It is injurious to the consumer as it gradually takes away his life. On the other hand it disturbs the healthy and peaceful environment around the surrounding people. From what I have been observing, alcohol makes a person selfish and he gets blinded with his own satisfaction and heart’s contentment that he fails to see what is happening to the surrounding people. Lastly, as I am a girl my moral of your story is that “Never marry a man obsessed with drinking habit”. If you want to know the reason why then that is because; I cannot sleep after an argument with my husband in place of singing lullaby to my child. I don’t dare to wake up myself with the swollen eyes in front of my child”.
After that Ongmo got out of the car and was heading towards the school when suddenly she stopped and turned around to say; “Dad I have told you what I have learnt but make sure to tell me what you have learned because I really want to know with what intended moral you have been narrating this story so frequently to me”. With that sentence and a forceful grin on her face Ongmo resumed her steps towards the school gate.