Monday, 24 October 2016

My Wanderings - 44 Short Story No. 26. Penance unrealised

Kalpana was feeling depressed  as her Daughter in law had left her home alongwith her belongings after having a fight with her husband. It was not for the first time that she had left her  home, but several other times also  she had indulged in the same gimmicks since Kalpana had arrived to live with her only son after her retirement from the service .  Earlier two times  kalpana had  send her son  to bring her  daughter in law back home  from  her parents house. But this time her daughter in law had given her ultimatum that she will not return back and Kalpana was not also in a  humour of sending her son to bring her back.
While still in gloom , Kalpana's attention was attracted towards a Hindi film song being played on her  audio device , which was still on without  her knowledge.
"Mai jab bee akeli hoti hnoo, beete din yaad ajate hai'
Whenever I am alone, I feel  nostalgiac.
In the reverie of melodious film song she could reminisce the days of her youth, when she was a student of law at university of Kashmir. Those were really her golden days. She was actually  a spectacle of grace and beauty blended together with a freshness of youth. She was intelligent and bold. She used to take active part in games, dramas  and debates whenever held in the university  campus. Moreover, she was offered important  roles  in  dramas and telefilms  being played by  Radio and TV stations of Srinagar respectively. But she was not able to accept all the roles due to the constraint of time. Many male students of university were intrested in her. But she began to take Intrest in one of her class fellows's who was equally intelligent and charming like her . Actually they came much closer while participating in extra curricular activities at university. But they got married only after completing their studies and getting good jobs and that too with the mutual consent of their parents. Her husband Ashok was really a gem of a person who loved Kalpana to the hilt and never let her feel the separation from  her  parents. But Kalpana never got swayed away  by the wind of love and affection shown by her husband. She was aware of all her family traditions and values. Therefore, she proved most humble and obedient daughter in-law and a wife. After few years of her marriage she gave birth to a lovely and charming male baby. She felt very proud of being a mother and left no stone unturned to nurture him nicely.
The life was going on like a fairy tale with  Cinderella
and her Prince charming living in a dream house with their little cutie pie, when tregedy struck their dream house like a thunderstorm. Ashok husband of Kalpana died in a road accident. It was just like a bolt from the blue for the entire family. She could not bear the separation of her husband. She lost all Intrest in life. But she was advised by her well-wishers that she has to live for her son and move ahead in her life. In the mean time she was transferred to Pune after migration of our community from Srinagar. In a mad rush of forming nuclear families after migration , Kalpana did not lost touch with her in law's. Her in laws visited her mostly and remained with her for months together. She remained in touch with her brother's in law and sister's in law and their families constantly. Her main  aim in life was to look after her  son, which she did brilliantly. It was the result of  her perseverance and a complete penance that her son became a thorough gentleman and a person of  high character with traditional  values . After completing his studies he got a very good job at Mumbai. Later on he was married to an educated girl who was also the only child of her parents.  
After retirement, Kalpana left her place of posting and joined her Son and daughter in law  at Bombay to live with them for the rest of her life. She also offered them her life's savings and superannuation benefits so that they can purchase a flat in their name. The flat was purchased in the name of her son and daughter in law
after availing bank loan and utilising almost all the savings of Kalpana as margin money.
It was only few months after entering the new house , daughter in law of Kalpana began to  show signs of dissidence and de satisfaction  with her in-laws and started living with her parents.
Kalpana spent her whole life  craving for a relation, but her daughter in law was abandoning a relation for the sake of her  ego.

Friday, 14 October 2016

My Wanderings - 43. Short story No. 25. Signs of Life

To  day Brij Mohan was feeling so exhilarated and thrilled . He could feel his heart beats very eloquent  and fast ,which was most unbecoming of him at the advanced age of seventy three years,  that   he was about to cross. Once in his adolescent age also his heart used to beat  so loudly often, that he became  skeptical about it  and had to consult a Doctor. Doctor after checking him thoroughly advised him not to worry about it as heart beats which he is skeptical about are actually signs of life. If God forbid heartbeats stop, there will be no life anymore . But today's  beating of heart was not with out any reason. To day he  had an encounter with his first love of life in the common room of Old Age Home at Jammu which he had recently joined after undergoing   prolonged miseries   and forlornness  during his stay at USA in general and  after the death of his wife thereat in particular.
Both the daughters of BrijMohan were actually settled in USA. He after his retirement from  a public sector job, wanted to settle himself at Jammu alongwith his wife. He had already purchased a house at jammu as he wanted to remain in touch with his relatives and community members. At the insistence of his wife, Brijmohan used to  visit his children in USA once in two three years. But after the birth of their grandchildren Brijmohan  was compelled by his daughters  to join them permanently  in USA. After spending some years in USA with his grandchildren, Brijmohan began to feel homesick. He was fed up with the monotonous and aimless life there.  He could feel his pulse very low and even missed  a beat sometimes. But Doctors advised him that all his clinical tests were o.k.and he was not suffering from any heart ailment .  He wanted to return to his roots but his wife appeared very satisfied  with children and never agreed with the proposal of her husband. Then only after death of his wife due to cancer , Brijmohan decided to  return to his native land and leave USA for ever. He remained in his house at jammu for some time. But on the advise of his well-wishers , he hired a room in Old Age Home at jammu, so that he will be looked after better  by the attendants and Doctors available there.
Yes she was Veena, his first love when they were studying in college together. It was very difficult to recognise her. No body could beleive, except Brijmohan that a simple old woman could have been once a paragon of beauty. She could not recognise Brijmohan at the first instance,  but it was he who  introduced himself to her. After a long deliberation she could recognise him, which was evident  by her greeting him with a smile and a familiar blush occuring on her wrinkled face. She told Brijmohan that after the death of her husband, she was compelled to come here as she had no  children to look after her. Her only daughter died very young when she had to deliver her first baby. The baby also could not survive.Then It became a daily schedule for Brijmohan to spend some time with Veena and look after her necessities . It was neither sentimental involvement of adolescent age nor even platonic love but a feeling of joy to meet an old acquaintance or a companion with a streak of nostalgia. It was perhaps to fulfil their psychological urge of mutual understanding and companionship which in simple terms can be called  friendship.
It was not only Veena but he came across with several other acquaintances  by and large . They all were his friends relatives or colleugues .One day he discovered that one of his own cousin Bushan Lal was also living in the same dwelling. They were having some ancestral property dispute  case lying pending in the court of Law at Srinagar for long ,which got resolved automatically when they had to sell their house after migration  of Hindu community from Kashmir  through mutual attorney. He also met one of his colleagues Chaman Lal , who had many times taken credit of his good work and conspired against him to his disadvantage in office. Both of them were feeling apologetic towards Brijmohan. But Brijmohan accepted them with an open heart  and never let them feel embarrassed. Moreover, it was Brijmohan who took the lead in greeting and exchanging  pleasantries with them. If someone remains confined to himself and will not go to people voluntarily, no body is bothered to go after him even if  he is a celebrity . When a person wants to maintain relations he has voluntarily to come forward to engage others.
Slowly Brijmohan won the heart of all the inmates of old age home as he began to take Intrest in their lives and helping them in their problems. He initiated in arranging cultural programmes and picnics at Old Age Home.  Brijmohan found a purpose in life. He was successful in wiping the tears from the gloomy faces of some of the  inmates. He inculcated a sense of comradeship and unity in them. They were always ready to help each other. They learnt not  to consider  others as obstruction or intrusion in their way but an opportunity for  providing  a space in their lives  to accommodate them. All the inmates of house could  now feel their heart beats prominently.  Brijmohan recently celebrated his 80th birthday. He is Hale and hearty. He has a proper schedule in life. He goes for long walks early in the morning with other inmates of old age home. He exercises daily and reading and writing has become his passion. He spends evenings in the company of his friends. He is constantly in touch with his daughters in USA through internet and telephone. Whenever his daughters visit India, he shifts to his own house at Jammu and lives with them for a month or so. But whenever her daughters insist him on  visiting America, his heart starts beating slowly and even sometimes he misses a beat.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

My Wanderings - 42. Short Story No. 24. The Secret of Madhsudan's Success

Those were the best of times. Those were the worst of times. The best of times because of the existence of human values , Love , faith and mutual respect  in the society. The worst of times in the sense that poverty and helplessness alongwith dearth and scarcity was rampant everywhere and even  ruled the roost.
Madhsudan Raina a small boy of twelve years then,  lost his father. He  had just completed his primary education and was dreaming of entering a  High school, when the tregedy befell on the family. His mother was desperate with grief. His other siblings a younger brother and a sister were too young to comprehend the gravity of   loss. His father was a titular employee in some Govt. Department, living from hand to mouth   in a small dilapidated ancestral house at Habbakadal and had not left anything for unforeseen contingencies of such nature. The people were not aware of terms like life insurance and compensation those days.
Hardly  after completing the days of mourning, Madhsudan was left with no other alternative but to leave the studies and look out for a job. One of his distant relatives helped him and got him appointed as a cleaner cum conductor  in a local Bus stand. His job was multifaceted. He had to leave his home early in the morning and reach transport yard and clean the buses in company of other small urchins of his age. Then after Drivers arrival he had to collect passengers for near by destinations, wherever the bus was scheduled to travel. He had to yell the name of destination several times  loudly to attract  passengers untill the bus was overloaded. Then he had to issue tickets and collect money from passengers. He had also to help the Driver in case of wheel puncture or any other fault developed in vehicle. In addition to this, he had also to work as personal attendant of Driver. He had to arrange for Drivers  food and booze. The  vehicle was plied  several times on the same route and in the evening, Madhsudan  had to handover all cash to the driver. The Driver used to give him a paltry sum of money on daily basis with which Madhsudan could feed his family. He would generally reach his home very late in the evening. Moreover, Drivers abuse and thrashing on filmsy issues had become a normal course of his life.
One night Driver abused  and beat little Madhsudan for no fault of later in a fit of frenzy after taking booze in excess and forgot to pay him his daily wages. Madhsudan felt very forlorn and desperate. While travelling towards his home on foot from Amirakadal  he entered Ganpatyar temple and sat in a corner with his head resting on his folded arms and began to weep intensely . After sometime he felt that somebody's heavy  hand on his head. He instantly looked upwards and was surprised to see an elderly man draped in a long 'firan' the bottom of which was touching  his ankles and wearing  a white turban on his head as headgear . The forehead of gentleman was pasted with vermilon and he was looking very affectionately towards Madhsudan. He sat besides Madhsudan and enquired about his whereabouts. Madhsudan told him everything about himself and ended his speech saying
Sir, I feel very dejected and desperate and sometimes I feel like ending my life
Old man said, " My dear son listen. These are the phases of life. If this is the bad phase of your life , good phase can not be far behind. Have patience,  leave negativity and have positive attitude  towards life. Self pity is the most damaging feeling in a person. If a person falls down in his own eyes, no one can help him to come out of it. You should be grateful to the nature for  whatever little he has provided to you and express gratitude for it. Start dreaming for yourself and your family. Nature will help you to realise your dreams. Nature has bestowed this universe with fortunes for every indudival born. But unfortunately most of the persons shut the windows and doors of their minds and fortunes after knocking their doors return back. If you  keep a positive attitude towards life  and express  gratitude for whatever little you have, Nature will bestow you with all the riches and fortunes of universe.
But sir, I don't want to become rich. Rich people are very wicked like my boss, retorted back Madhsudan. " No my Son you are mistaken" said the old man, "All the rich men are not wicked, exceptions may ofcourse be there, but most of the rich men have got the fortunes by keeping open the doors of their mind with positivity.
After saying this  old man took leave of Madhsudan and advised him to go home.
Madhsudan pondered over the advise of old man for days together but could not understand it fully. Then he wrote it down on a piece of paper and got it framed and kept it in his room. Whenever , he felt dejected with life, he would read the sagacious words of old man and try to find out its meaning. After some years, the life of Madhsudan began to show many positive changes. He himself became a Driver and  got married. He educated his siblings and also married them off.Then he purchased a Bus and constructed a new house for his family. Time passed and he became a Transporter,  owning a fleet of buses and trucks which were  plying on national highway from Srinagar to Jammu and vice versa . He also became the President of Kashmir Motor Drivers Association and  was a well known personality in political circles.
Though Madhsudan was not highly educated, but he was very intelligent and his suggestion always carried a weight. He was a personification of confidence and positivity blended together.