Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Father and Son..part 3

Prashant was surrounded by a group of people, a mixture of men and women. They were all old, and on wheel chairs. Prashant had a wide grin on his face. He was saying something to the group in a very animated way, and they were listening intently.

As he came closer to the group, he heard his father say, ‘ then Nandu took me to Venice. We had a gala time touring the city on gondolas!’

He was very confused. He was Nandu. It was short for Nandan. Nandan Kumar. But, he had never taken his father to Venice. What was his father talking about?

Prashant then said, ’when my Nandu comes to take me away from here, I’l take all of you along with me. Then we will all go to Venice.’

The group exulted. There was a wave of euphoria. The old haggard faces lit up with wide grins.

Nandan was taken aback. Is this what his father expected of him? To come back and get him? Wasn’t his father happy?

When Nandan had taken the decision of sending his father to the old age home, he had done so for the good of his father. It was suiting his purpose as well, obviously. The arrangement was superb. Then, why did his father want to come back home?

Nandan stopped to ponder for a minute. He remembered the day his father had come home from America. He was only five years old then, but he remembered the day well. He ran to the door and jumped into his fathers arms. He loved being in the big strong arms of his father. He felt loved and protected. He then asked his father what he’d got for him, from America.
‘Nothing,’ said Prashant, and then pulled out a couple of chocolates from his shirt pocket.

Beaming with joy, Nandu jumped up and down with glee. His father then gave him the red shirt and demin shorts that he was wearing in the dream. Nandu left the chocolates and ran into his room, to try the clothes on. He was very happy that day.

Nandan remembered the day when his mother had died. He was nine years old then. He cried a lot, because he could not find his mother anywhere in the house. His father held him, in his big, strong arms, and consoled him. His father promised to take good care of him. And he did that so well.

Nandan had always looked up to his father. He loved him. He was also very scared of him.

The day when Nandan failed in his Math Exam, he was very scared to confront his father. The Principal of his school called up his father and complained. Nandan expected a shouting. His father only asked him to do better the next time.

He remembered the time when he was leaving India, for Harvard. His father was at the airport to see him off. Prashant had a very proud look on his face. His son was going to Harvard.

‘I’l wait for you to come back beta. Do me proud.’ was all Prashant said that day.

Nandan had done very well at Harvard. He finished top of his class, and got a very good job with an American Firm. He was posted in India, at a very high level.

And then, in the pursuit of his career objectives, he had forgotten his father. He had forgotten the very man who had made him what he was today. He had been ungrateful.

He had sent his father to an old age home.

He felt very sorry. He had tears streaming down his cheeks. He wanted to apologize to his father, and take him back home.

‘Papa will surely forgive me. I made a mistake. Papa will not shout at me. He will surely forgive me and come back home with me,’ thought Nandan.

He walked up to his father. ‘Papa, I’ve come to take you,’ said Nandan.

‘Who are you?’ inquired Prashant, ‘What are you talking about?’

Father and Son...part 2

He awoke with a start. His forehead was shimmering with beads of sweat. His hands were cold. He recollected what he had dreamt of. He had seen his father sitting in the chair.

They hadn’t met ever since he’d left his father at the Old Age home.
‘He should be ok. Im not paying 15000 bucks a month for nothing,’ he thought.
He was focused on his career, and his ailing father had become a big bother. He had no other option but to leave him at the old age home. And not just any other Old age home. The best one in the city. His father would get the best care possible.

This morning howev something in him did not feel right. For the first time in three years, he wanted to see how his father was. He wasn’t concerned, he argued with himself. Just curious. He decided he’d pay his father a visit on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, he left for the Old Age Home at 10 am. It was a fifteen minute drive from his place. On the way, he stopped his Chevrolet at a small sweet shop, to pack some rasgullas for his father. His father loved gorging on rasgullas. He remembered the numerous times the two of them had contested to see who could eat rasgullas faster. He’d never beaten his father.

As he reached Kasturba Old Age Home, he parked his car under the shade of a Banyan Tree. On entering the place, he stopped to see the sign, just as he had done in his dream. He asked the receptionist if he could meet his father, Mr. Prashant Kumar. The receptionist pressed a bell on her table, and a young woman appeared from a door on the side. She barked some orders to the woman, in a gruff voice. Then she smiled at him, and asked him to follow the woman.

He followed the woman into a garden. There, on a wheel chair, sat his father...

Monday, 30 January 2006

Father and Son...part 1

In front of him stood his destination. Seeing the dilapated old building, his eyes lit up. A chill ran down his three and a half foot spine. He was wearing his favourite red T-Shirt and the denim shorts his father had got him from America.
As he stood there, bathed in the crisp rays of the morning sun light, he couldn’t muster enough courage to enter the building. Something inside his little body was thumping hard. He din’t understand what.

After standing still for fifteen minutes, he made a move towards the building.
As he reached the sign which read ' Kasturba Old Age Home,' he paused to look at it.

He moved on, and soon reached a desk. A woman was sitting on the chair behind the desk. She wore a white saree, and she had big spectacles on her face. She reminded him of his school teacher, who had hit him with a ruler, in order to punish him for talking in class. He looked at her with fear in his eyes. He was too scared to open his mouth.

After what seemed like ages, he finally said, " P-p-prashant K-kumar."

The lady pretended not to hear him. He repeated the words, only to get a stern look form the lady. He was scared, she was going to hit him.
She then pressed a switch, and a young man appeared from a room on her side. She barked some orders at him, in a language the boy could not understand. The young man beckoned him to follow.

The boy walked on. They walked through a pathway gardens on either side. The garden was a piteous site. The grass was dry and overgrown with nettles. Hedges lay wilting and dying. Not a single flower could be seen anywhere. It was as though, they were all dying due to the lack of love and care. The boy could feel something inside him sinking. A cloud of sadness enveloped him.

As the boy entered a doorway, he found himself in a dirty, musty room that was littered with bits and pieces of paper. On the far corner of the room, he could see the frail figure of a man sitting on a chair, with his back towards the little boy.
The ward boy left the boy in the room and walked away.

The boy looked around the room. There was a small bed on one side, with a table and chair at the far end of the room. There was a small almirah without any doors. The light fixtures in the room were broken. A naked bulb hung down from the ceiling.

The boy was scared. He was scared of something. And he di’nt know what is was.

After a few minutes, he walked up to the man sitting on the chair. He paused momentarily behind the chair, and pondered upon something.

Hesitantly, the boy came fact to face with the man.


I was watching a movie some time back. There was a scene in it which left a thought in my head. Actually, it left an indelible mark on my head. Even though the scene was just another try to bring about the comic relief Hindi movies are known for these days, this particluar scene managed to show me how important my father is to me!

Call me mad! or just appropriate it to the Wonders of Hindi Cinema! but this is the truth.
I thought about it for a few days. I have always respected my father, but in some way, the bridge was eternally widening. I miss my papa. The man who did so much for me. I wish i had told him of how much I love him, when I was at home. Now when I am here, in BBSR, i feel the grief of not having done so.
SO, this story, which I will publish in parts, is dedicated to papa.
Its nothing special, nothing different. Much like another Hindi Movie...

Sunday, 29 January 2006

the thespian

man is but an actor
the world is but his stage;
his life moves along a dynamically changing vector
with every new act, he changes his rampage.

because his reputation is oft black and tainted
he employs make up artists to help portray it as a mirage;
and with his face gaily painted
he presents to the outside, a clean, white visage.

he dons long silk cloaks
to cover his torn tattered rags;
and to make a fool of common earthly blokes
he struts, cries, laughs and brags.

playing the part of the protagonist
he thrills the audience with martial art skills;
he beats up hordes of terrorists
and woos his princess with vibrant frills.

with her, he then gets into an alliance
that ends in holy matrimony;
wherein she looks for his faith and reliance
culminating in divorce with loads of alimony!

after years of putting up with his spouse
where she plucks his hair and sucks his verdure;
he reaches a stage where he is reduced to a louse
and is left with no option but her murder.

after committing the henious crime
as a mean villain he is projected;
and in the cull he scrapes through the ravages of time
after he is condemned and mercilessly arrested.

the scene changes to the court room : a great big trial
complete with a judge, a jury and an audience;
despite his cries he is awarded with poison in a vial
he shatters seeing happy people, who cant feel his grievance.

publically ashamed, ridiculed and hated
the world leaves him to rot, after fulfilling it's fetish;
the actor cant help but call himself ill fated
and wait for the time when his life he has to relinquish.

amidst a million people, in a crowded market scene
he is made to stand atop a high podium;
as the sour poison and his taste buds intervene
he shifts into a chaotic state of delirium.

bit by bit, slowly but surely
the venom seeps into his heart;
his tongue dries and speech goes surly
he can sense the appraoch of the end of his part.

his head is reeling with flashes from the past
to hold onto anything he desperately tries;
but he breathes his last
alas! he silently dies.

the world is happy, people exult
and for his great crime, the man is deemed punished;
satisfied with the exciting result
they go back to the comfort of their homes, all clean and furnished.

but there remains one man, in the market place
frantically pacing, lonesome and dreary;
thinking and pondering, with a frown on his face
he just wont stop, though his legs have grown weary.

he wonders why the man was blamed, why his life was claimed
when he was just playing a part, dictated by a script;
doing what he was bid to do by a playright so acclaimed
when he wasnt in control of the wire on which he tripped .

as a statement of conclusion,
on his epitaph, I would like to state;
'we are sorry for the intrusion
we wish we could give you another chance, with a clean slate,

on which you can write your own destiny,
and choose your own path, be it full of hatred or extol;
so you live your life full of joy, cheer and festivity
and totally free of a playwrite's control.'