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?