Monday, August 21, 2006

The time that was...

Mr. C is 84 years old. His is a life that has been lived the text-book middle class way in the sense that he was a life-time government servant, brought up four sons, got them married to nice homely girls, who further went on to bear him 10 grandchildren in all. But its the younger years that he craves for today. He was a man of such temper as is the wont of most marwari young men and it was customary for him to scream his head off at his wife for her slightest infraction. He worked hard, worked honestly and brought up four boisterous young men. Two of his eldest sons wanted to join the army and airforce respectively but their mother who for all the screaming and shouting that she endured was always a master tactician. She persuaded the sons to go to different parts of the country inorder to apprentice under other businessmen hoping that this would help them sharpen their own. This is exactly what happened and today Mr. C's two sons have a business enterprise with a turnover of a crore per annum and his other son is a Chartered Accountant of very high repute. Yet he seems lost today more than anything else.

It is almost as if time moved on and he remained back there. Everything seems alien to him- the mobile phones, computers, fast cars and most of all, this lonliness of his. There are times when he is sitting in a gathering of his grandchildren and during discussions he drifts off without a warning until he is suddenly jolted back into the proceedings by someone. He sits for hours looking into nothingness and his thoughts keep ranging across the time gone by. The happiness at the oldest son's birth, his grief when his only daughter died a premature death at the age of 5, the pleasurable times at his oldest grand-daughter's wedding and the subsequent heart-wrenching sorrow because of the death of his second son in a gruesome car accident. This and many other images continue to flash in his head and he feels like a man lost in a time warp of his own creation. His wife, Mrs. B on the other hand has been a survivor. A matriarch to the fullest, she brought up her kids with a discipline that would make a drill sergeant at West Point proud. She has not changed in the least. She still gives orders and expects them to be obeyed and the funny thing is they get obeyed. Having shared all of her husband's tribulations strengthend her while they drained Mr. C. So it is she who runs his days, asking him to take his medicines, complete his chores and eventually rest and Mr. C, meekly goes about doing all this with a submission that is an antithesis to his earlier days.

Today Mr. C has the option to stay with one of his sons and spend his time leisurely and yet the only thing on his mind is that I need to get back to Rajasthan so I can get my pension renewed. A pension of Rs. 7000-8000. His sons ask him not to worry about it but its the hugely self-respecting side of him that appeals to them that he needs to get his pension renewed as he does not want to ask anyone for money nor be a burden on anybody. They(his sons) don't understand. He will not back off. Mrs. B does not want to go until he is completely recovered(from his mild paralytic attack and extreme tooth pain and high sugar) Mr. C and Mrs. B have both been through the same storms and yet today its Mrs. B who is the captain of the ship while Mr. C has been relegated to the position of a deck-hand. Its strange to see two people who went through so much together today turned out so differently. There he stands again Mr. C, next to the window in his white vest and white pajamas, his white hair shining, looking into nothingness, probably reminiscing about the time that was.


Blogger RamantheB said...

ill bet you you will feel the same when you're 70. pride.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

I feel the same way right now when I need to go and ask dad for something and I know exactly what Mr. C feels.

1:29 AM  
Blogger KaRuNa said...

Good post i say!


9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

saraaaansh !!!
what up with you ...lost touch completely since ive gotten to haal ??

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its amazing how u put thots into words so nicely....good goingg...i started with one post nd read all of dem....keep it up :)

1:19 AM  

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