come home

This time on my way to Bangalore, father decided to see me off. For those who don’t know my father, I must say, it’s an honour. Honour for a lovelorn child like me. It was always a love and hate relationship between us. We are the mighty ‘Roy’s. For some weird reason we consider hiding our emotions the greatest dignity in life. I hardly can remember my father cuddling me or saying a word of tenderness. In our family it is supremely insulting to show tenderness to your child, a sure-shot way to spoil the brat. I always saw my father as my General and myself as a foot soldier. My duty was to obey orders of the supreme commander. From the childhood I was made to understand that men should not have any emotion. It was supremely humiliating for me too to expect my father to caress my hairs or praise me in public, even in private.

It was always like that.

Yet, it was not long that I realized that this reigning over emotion is a farce. Perhaps we are too afraid of our emotional outbursts. We try our best to hide our most vulnerable organ.

I realized this once again at the Howrah station. I have never seen my reserved father as a chatterbox. In the way to the station he was on to all sorts of nonsense talks. Any person would have been bored and fed up, but I was thrilled. Thrilled that father was opening up so much to me, after so many years I am getting to befriend my General.

We came to Howrah. Father was still continuing with all sort of non issues. Ranging from clichéd world affairs to his vintage fiat car and lambretta scooter. Bragging about the useless junks.

Finally when I was boarding the train, I touched his feet. Surprise, surprise…I saw him pretending to wipe the sweat of his face with his handkerchief. I noticed the quivering of his lips. I saw he, like a magician, wiped his eyes. I didn’t belief it.

Finally when the signal was yellow, I touched his feet again. I clearly saw my old man wiped his tears. Adding to it, He caressed my hairs and said, “live well and don’t let others rule you, don’t try to rule others and don’t cheat. May God be with you.” He uttered the word “GOD”. I have seen him snorting at my mother for forcing him eat offerings to our deity. I used to amuse myself with his peculiar expression whenever he had to gulp the liquid charanamrita.

I realized my father is growing old. He desperately needs us at home. Next day my brother also left for his hostel. Sister remains busy with her law practices and studies. Moreover her marriage is only one or two years from now. She will also leave the house.

Think my mighty father is feeling helpless. He desperately needs his children around. He is missing us every moment. Wonder what he feels like when he comes home after office. All empty in our football ground of a house! He must be wishing to cry.

But he is not my mother, who can alone solve a severe drought. Wonder where from she gets all these tears. She cries when she is happy, she cries when others are happy. She burst into tears when she is sad, she sobs when others are sad. Worst, she cries watching those foolish K-listed sops. Whenever I watch those, I burst out in laughter. The son acting is actually older than the mother. In fact the mothers are so glamorous that you can’t help falling in love, sometimes.

I am now seriously thinking of going back to Calcutta. Though this time when I went, I didn’t like that place anymore. People have changed, that warmth is lacking, I found. I bumped upon some cheats also. It was not like that a few years ago. Or maybe I have changed myself.

Add to it the limited scope of a career. The stagnancy. Heard and saw some development work happening under the new chief minister, but that’s not enough. It’s not enough to infuse the confidence to base a career in Calcutta, I felt. Yet, I wish I could go back. For my parents and for the fact that it’s Calcutta. You get habituated cursing it, but you can’t help falling in love. Just like the evergreen mothers of K-serials.

Think, I will go back soon. My parents know the limited scope of a career in Calcutta. They don’t want me to come. But deep down I know they are pining for me. and they are terrified of the idea that my sister will get married soon and will have to go to her in-laws place. Leaving them all alone.

I don’t know, I am undecided. Don’t know whom to consult. A westerner might think what kind of foolish I am. Betting my career for my old parents. But I am no westerner, our system is not western. I am an Indian and like any other Indian my parents are my God.

I remember the hardship these lord and lady suffered to raise their three children. We never lacked any comfort. Except, sometimes, emotional support (because of my nonsense family practice of suppressing emotion). They were always there when in need, guarding us from all the evils of the world. Making us realize the world is beautiful and made us beautiful. They made us love humanity and in return get loved by people.

Now that they need us, though they would vehemently deny, are we doing the right thing leaving them helpless…in this vulnerable old age? If I base my career in Calcutta, would it be that wrong? Would I die?

Interesting note from Rakesh today. While having dinner he told me about a Punjabi writer. The writer got a job as a University lecturer. Asked for her mother’s permission to let leave her present job of a school teacher and join university, the salary would be double. Her mother said, if you get double salary, would you eat double chapattis or would you wear double sarees?

So, what’s wrong if I go back? I never hankered for material comforts. Nor am thirsty of fame and fortune. Ordinary, no frills life…that’s for me. let’s see, what’s in store.

Here again goes Rakesh, “before time and in excess of luck…nobody ever achieved anything, nobody will ever achieve extra.”

Ah…Sharma sir, why do I get so peace talking with you every time?

So let my case be on the court of Him, what say you?


Vincent said…
O, this is writing of the very highest quality. It holds the attention, it has deep meaning. I was you, I was the general your father, I knew your mother, I felt the pangs of longing to be back in Calcutta - and I have never even been there! In fact - though I believe the differences have no meaning when you reach a certain understanding - I am a Westerner.

And I want to know what happens next!

You illustrate the very principle which I learned first from the writer John Cowper Powys, and apply in my own work: only the most personal can reach the universal.
rama said…
Hullo! Thanks for sharing these personal feelings. Wonderful and moving piece, straight from the heart! All strength to you, in blogging, in addressing what you consider important in life.


ghetufool said…
thanks for the encouragement. i am honoured. and i am glad that being a westerner you still understand my dillema.

may i know what is your name and what are the books you wrote, you can mail me at if you have any problem disclosing your identity. i simply love your writing. please come again.
ghetufool said…
thanks for your blessings. your blog is becoming terrific with the passing time. it is staple diet these days.
Scout said…
great as ever, ghetu. my 2 cents worth: don't care about what anyone says. do whatever makes you happy, without harming anyone else. i believe that is the greatest virtue.
Shuv said…
good piece ghetu. could identify with each and every single line. my life and current situation has been amazingly similar. but..a word of 'advice'..dont go back to cal. like you, i also was not comfortable the last time i was there..and that was on a vacation..i absolutely know it that if i had to work (rather 'not work') there i would have hated it. its not a question of salary or growth..but one needs to have some sort of job satisfaction..otherwise the frustration is going to come out in your personal life as well, your parents would realise that you are not happy and would blame themselves and feel guilty about that...many of us are in the same situation in our lives..none of us have any answers.

scout: the problem is that even if you dont harm anyone, if one does whatever makes us happy, at least some people will be will just have to live with that i guess.

sorry i rambled.
Anonymous said…
Yun hota toh kya hota.........
Life is made of so many if's and but's.
Thankx for showing mirror to so many of us. We all feel the same.
On one side of the river is a good career, which opens doors to the fortunes and good life. And on the other end is the responsiblity towards those whom we owe most.
It definately is not a KBC episode where we have options A, B, C, D.
Computerji is showing only option. And the option is - CAREER.
Our generation is very selfish. We have execuses. We can't sacrifice good life for those greying hairs to whom we owe most.
We know we can't go back to our roots. But we pretend, one day we will. Believe me we won't.

Anyways, that was a very well written piece. Deeply touching. Devastating. Came direct from the heart.
rama said…
Hullo! I read this piece, and the next one yesterday, after a long gap since reading your blog posts.

I was subsequently struck by the thought that the family around you which you have etched so well in your posts - could well be a celebrated family in literature! I was immediately reminded of Gerald Durrell's "My family and other animals".

So - you might like to consider taking your writing from your blog, and using its as the clay to fashion a novel. Title: "Fool and family"??!

Just a thought!

Best, rama
Very touching. And this is what men do. Suppress their emotions and then express them in some really convoluted way. Wouldn't it have been easier and heartwarming for bboth you and your dad to confront the emotions and may be hug and talk to each other about the deep sadness and what you were feeling? I mean as a female reader (and with ref to my last post) I would think that would be so much nicer. My dad is exactly the same way. I cannot imagine him breaking down, or having tears in his eyes, or even telling me that he loves me or misses me. I grew up in that emotional void. Which is why I feel so strongly about expressing emotions.
I guess you will not agree and like most men will say this is all girlish hogwash. Well, i was only trying to help. here's wishing you well for taking such a big decision and hope it all works out for the best.
am really feeling sorry for u and ur parents. tumio nishchoi bhishon lonely feel koro oder chhara?
rama said…
Hullo, I thought you might find this blog interesting (if you don't know it already):

Best, rama
aklanta said…
That's really a big question...better say a riddle

that was nicely written...
S said…
welcome back...u haven't blogged in too's bad for ur health and ours!

kintu ato sentimental hoyo na please.
Anonymous said…
the alternative is always inticing, can you be sure that you wont regret the decision, if you ever make it, to go back to cal. how sure can you be that once you go, you would not want to come back, or even go somewhere else in search of something else?

i wish you well, ghetu, but if you blv in destiny, than perhaps you should let life take its own course..and leave all to HIM...

Your DAD is surely proud of assured...and so are many more people...BE WELL...
Anonymous said…
o baba bahut kush kardiya tumne. ghar jao ghetudah ghar jao. is bade sheher mai kuch rakha nahin. ajnabi log ajnabi sheher dono thodi door ke saathi. ghar jao.
ghetufool said…

i can well make out from your comment that you were indeed in my place. i am also worried about the job satisfaction there. am still thinking about the decision. thanks for the beautiful analysis and your 'advice'.
ghetufool said…
as always, your comments are always insigtful. to read one is like blogging itself.
ghetufool said…
thanks for the encouragement. may be someday i will write about my family in a book. cause i don't have much of imagination. i can only write what i have seen through my eyes and of course i have seen my family a lot. will let you know if i write one.

and i have gone through the blog you gave me the link. that was a treasure! thanks

i understand what you said. yes that would have been very nice. but, i guess we can never do that. i can never hug my father. i can nevercry to him. no, never.
ghetufool said…
aami shobshomo-i other miss kori. ki korbo bolo.

thanks for the compliment. i too love to read your blog. will link you soon.

earnings season jete dao, terefure blooging korbo. totodin tomaro shomoi hobe na porar.
ghetufool said…
anon 1b,
hope you are F. if so, you know me better than many others. thanks for the guidance.

anon 2,
ghar jane ka man toh hey bohut, lekin halaat hi aise kuch hey
ke ruke ruke se kadam...
Anonymous said…
wow guruji, it's ...

Anonymous said…
nice reading..perhaps its soo true for individuals like us who stays sooo farr off (without reasons) with the guilty feeling...
also, thanks for dropping by :)
Bishu said…
Ghetu, I guess all of us, meaning whoever spent a lifetime in Kolkata and then left the city for a job, have suffered or is suffering from the same dilemma. It was good to read all about it in your straight Dil-Se post. Totally agree with Shuv...have seen couple of my friends going back to that city and then returning with all disappointments. Honestly speaking you should do whatever makes you happy and your parents happier. But whatever you decided to do, don't deprive us from these direct Dil-Se posts.
Anonymous said…
aur itne saare comments...ghetu bacha u are a mein tho the hee abhi blogdom main bhi...aur kya rokha hai bathao tho...happy diwali mere dost.
Nautilus said…
This is slightly eerie...I just posted something in the similar vein!

Baari'r choukath ekbar peroley phirey jawa khub mushkil...talking from experience :-(

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