Monday, 26 October 2015

My Wanderings - 19. Fathers and Sons

In the sullen atmosphere of an old age home at Delhi an old inmate was lying on bed, feeling desperate and the whole environment there presented a gloomy look. His dishevelled hair ,sunken eyes and frail body were betraying the alertness of his mind which was reminiscing  the memories of bygone days particularly the turbulent period of his life. Perhaps he was at the last stage of his life as memory was not failing him like his health. He could see vividly the scenes of his life moving on the celluloid screen of his vigilant mind.
  After migration from Kashmir,  a Pandit couple along with their only son managed to get a two room hutment at Jammu on exorbitant monthly rent. But still they considered themselves lucky after living a desperate life  in tents for months together with out any civic facilities. The man was at the verge of retirement and  his  son was doing  engineering final year. Son got the chance to continue his studies at make shift camp college at Jammu.
As the son was born to the couple after undergoing many emotional upheavals in  life  and leaving no stone unturned,  they pampered the child to the extent that he had become a bit self centered, but he was very good in studies. After completing the engineering son got a very good job  at Delhi. When  Father   retired from service  he purchased a flat at  Delhi with the money received as superannuation benefits. Then couple shifted to Delhi to live with their son. After few years they married their son with a girl from very affluent family. In the meantime son got a very good job opportunity abroad and shifted there along with his wife. The parents had no other alternative but to remain contented at Delhi.  For many years son used to send money and gifts to them and asked them to visit his place abroad. The  parents were not interested in going abroad and son used to visit them once in two three years of his own. After some time mother died of heart attack at Delhi. Son along with his wife reached from abroad within a reasonable time of his mother's cremation. After completing all the rituals on the death of his mother he along with his wife retuned back to his place. Father was now living alone in the flat  along  with the memories of his wife.  Time passed and his  health started to fail him due to old age. There was nobody to look after him except a part-time  maid who helped him in domestic chores.
The son also could not visit him now often because of one pretext or the  other. Finally old man decided to give his flat on rent and shift to some near by old age home, where some one can take care of him. Now son had completely forgotten him. He never visited him for the last eight years  since he shifted to old age home. While reminiscing the incidents of life and  controlling his emotions he  could not stop few drops of tears to roll over his shrunken face and subsequently closed his eyelids which never opened again. He was relieved from all mental agony and body pain which the last stage of  life  provided  to him.
The last rites of old man were arranged by the management of old age home ,for which provision had already been made by him, after informing his son, who could not make it convenient to reach on time.
When son received the message of his father's death  he took the message most stoically and reached Delhi at his convenience. Then old age people handed over him the last remains and few belongings of his father which he disposed off most reverently along with  his fathers flat and left for his place with satisfaction.
When he reached his home he found his neighbours wife  very much upset due to the sudden death of her pet dog. She wept  bitterly for the whole night and it took him months together to come out of grief.
The grief of lady was perhaps due to the attachment with her dog. The dog lived so close with her and she could feel his absence. While the son had not visited his father for the last eight or ten years. He had snapped all the links with him. He was neither used nor attached to him now. This may be the reason that he could neither  feel the absence of his father in his life nor was emotional about his death.

Monday, 12 October 2015

My Wanderings - 18. The Man and a Woman

                He  retired recently from a public office. He  began to spend half of his pension of Rupees forty thousand on  himself and his wife's monthly expenditures and rest he gave in  charity to an old age home. His wife a staunch  religious women in her mid fifties was very resourceful and a good housekeeper. She used to pray daily in mornings and evenings for hours together and observed all the rituals as per her religion. But she was also interested in good things in life  including a nice wardrobe for herself. He was very  silent person but his sunken eyes and haggard look spoke volumes of  his experience of life and public office. He had no children of his own but he loved and cared for all the children in his neighbourhood. He had inherited a large house constructed on a big piece of land from his family. There were only two inmates living  in the big house with the occasional visit of their maid who used to help them in household chores on monthly charges. Their life was going on peacefully until,  once he confided to  his wife about his idea of exchanging his big house with an old age home located in their vicinity,  which  had only three rooms to accommodate large number of inmates.  He tried hard to explain to  his wife about the futility of their occupying a big house,  which could be  otherwise of immense use  to the old age people. But his wife did not agree to his  proposal, although she understood the rationale behind the proposal, that they could live most comfortably in three rooms. He tried to convince her with the logic that they may not be able to maintain the big house in future due to advance age. But his wife was so possessive  and emotionally involved with the house that no logic on the earth could convince her. She could remember the good old days when she entered the house as bride. The house was blooming with all the decorations and lights with loud sound of music vibrating the atmosphere. The persons living in the house at that time were  her father in-law, mother in-law and two young brother in-laws who were serving in the army as officers. She had seen all the ups and downs of life in that house. Life was a learning experience for her with which she was  rather grown up in that house.  She remembered vividly how the gloom befell on the house when they received the news of her two brother in -laws killed in  a single war. She also remembered that when she could not conceive after two three years of  her marriage, how the Doctor declared her inability to  give a child to family. Her husband was advised by so many well wishers to go for another marriage. But he never agreed to it. He did not want to desert her loving wife for the sake of children. Moreover, he consoled his wife and taught her how to live with out children. Time moved on but she never let  even the thought of exchanging her house occur in the mind of her husband. The husband who had never hurt the feelings of  his wife through out  the life had finally to give in.
She used to tease her husband and call him atheist as she never saw him praying to God. Perhaps she was not acquainted with the sensitivities and joy of renunciation with which her husband was blessed. This sense is usually ordained by nature.
Finally after some years her husband died a natural death. It was  really a peaceful death. He slept Hale and hearty in the evening but could not rise from his bed in the morning. It was perhaps a heart attack. The wife remained shocked for several days as she could not reconcile to his death. He was her most intimate life companion who always helped her and never let her feel the absence of children in her life.
Now she was lonely and due to the  old age she was not even able to help herself. She used to remain confined to single room in her large house. She began to feel the absence of her husband very much. She would aways be gloomy and melancholic. One day while she was thinking about her husband, a thought struck her mind which gave her immense pleasure. Next day she called the Manager of old Age home and told him that she wanted to share  the vacant rooms of her large house with the inmates of already burdened old age home.  Many old persons from old age home were shifted to the house and She lived happily until her peaceful departure from this mortal world.