Right from beginning of my life I have been under the influence of three people of my family :my grandfather’s brother;my mother’s father and my own father. I have virtually borrowed their influences in my being. I love them not because they belong to my family but they have been people in league with exceptional qualities.I am really lucky that I met such people. When I visit my village where my grandfather’s brother lived or visit mother’s home, I come to hear tales from strangers living at nearby places about their exceptional lifestyle, which makes me feel really proud. I become sad too. I miss them. I want them back. I can feel that they are looking at me from clouds above. Being first child of another generation’s onset and having been born under such strange circumstances I was wonder kid for them.
My real grandfather passed much early. It was my grandfather’s brother who brought my father up. Early morning he used to go on his job cycling for not less than 60 or seventy kilometers and returned in the evening. When he used to go on job he never ate from things made in market.He used to carry flour etc.from home and then under some tree used to cook the food or, for that matter, home made eatables he carried was the only thing he had during such long cycling. Every evening when he returned I searched his bag for cookies, fruits he brought for me. His arrival back home late night let me not sleep for long as I anxiously waited for his arrival. A great disciplinarian who had place for everything even for things he was not aware of. For instance when my mother’s brother cricket team,some 35 years back, visited to play village’s first cricket tournament it was he who made arrangement for all the players! He never touched a cricket ball forget about knowing what cricket is all about.
I remember how ill he was. Even in such illness I found him traveling to Allahabad to hand just few coins on my hand. He used to place some coins on my palms at arrival of every important celebrations.I remember his last days. I spent moments in hospital with tears in my eyes. I was too young to understand that he was not going to survive so I was optimistic that he will survive. But doctor’s didn’t think the same. Whenever doctors ordered me to bring this or that medicine I used to rush like a express train even at odd hours of night. However, he didn’t survive, leaving behind his impressionable face stuck in my eyes forever.
My mother’s father was more or less the same selfless spirit. He was Head of the department English section in secondary school. He remained self-centered all the time. I mean he spoke less or with only those whom he found at par with his vibes. He was so strict that as he entered the home life used to come to a standstill. A radio, an umbrella, a torch, a HMT watch and white dhoti kurta (Indian male dress) were the things he was representative of. The moment he entered in his room he used to ensure that these things are in place. In fact, Nanaji was so perfect in his approach towards life that even small insignificant articles were kept at their proper place.
Every year when I visited my mother’s home I found those insignificant articles at the same place. He was quick tempered guy who though skipped meals because of short lived anger and remained largely on biscuits dissolved in boiled tea remained healthy till last years of his life. Only the previous year before his death his health deteriorated. People today say I have virtually retained all his habits. Interestingly, none of his sons, barring the elder one, have retained his qualities. The place which remained lively with greenery and scent of so many flowers in the air only because of his presence now looks a deserted place today. I visit the place often as you know such places are like time machines.
Now come to my father. I can write pages on him not because he is my father but because he is exceptional soul.In some corner of my mind there is a plan to write a book on him. However, my plans don’t materialize so I have not planned to turn this dream into a reality. Well, why I am talking about these people shall be revealed later. So I am now talking about my father. He was born to poor parents. My real grandfather died early. And the gentleman referred above in first few paragraphs of this in memoriam article took care of him. They were traditional people so they thought that my father like other village souls would get involved in village interests like farming etc. However, he had other dreams. He was a scholar-Sanskrit scholar.
Loved by all for his studious nature by teachers and village souls. He and his group of students walked barefooted more than seven or eight kilometers in torn and tattered clothes. When he managed to own a bicycle he traveled long distance to reach his college via strange routes in which he sometimes crossed a huge river as well. Of course, with the help of boat ! Anyway, his parents has decided that enough is enough and asked him what he preferred studies or farming? When he chose the former he was asked to leave the home and manage his studies by own. Thank God! His Head of department provided both money and room. When I visited my village this time I met his old classmate. I am narrating the episodes of past on basis of what my father’s classmates told me and also what I have heard from my father. I also saw this time the deserted hilly spot where he cooked his food in chilly winter nights during his university days when he was virtually thrown out of the house. I will finish my father’s episode here only because that’s enough to tell how difficult life he led in his past to provide all of us a life in which we had huge bungalow to live in, servants to fulfill all our tasks and good school plus good society. I admire the other worldly spirit of my father.
However, I am poles apart from my father. May be I am wrong but I always feel he never got to understand my persona. On the contrary, as a mark of respect, I kept sacrificing my real wishes to see him happy. I wanted to be a teacher. He made me lawyer as that’s a most respected fellow money wise. I wanted to marry a poor girl and also average looking. I mean a girl with average features but one who understood me. My father wanted a girl that he selected belonging to influential family whether or not that kept me happy ,whether or not she understood me. As a result I turned into a lawyer with a teacher’s spirit. Thankfully, I did not marry till now but then suffered a lot all these years explaining to all and sundry about my bachelor tag ! He is also in no mood to bear writers and poets as in his eyes these class of people of over-intellectualize, being cut off from the gross realities of life all the time.
Now let me explain why I have referred to these people. Once I was told by my recent Peruvian best friend Carmen that “Your father is right.Get involved in something that brings more money.” To make my Peruvian friend be in tune with the other side of the coin I had to delve deep into episodes of past. These episodes from past reveal a great paradox by unfolding that gentlemen in my family have demonstrated that selfless attribute is better than life based on material gains(read money making)and that has come to form my being. So when one starts to measure my life via money I have made,it hurts and disappoints me a lot. That means a prostitute that earns a huge money for one night is more successful and more worldly wise than me!! That means man who is selling products and earning a good commission is better than me who types for long hours and waits for money which may or may not arrive. Anyway, now I realize when my father and Carmen, Peruvian friend, say money is good( which I do not believe )how true they sound.Money is so important that virtual relationship will disappear from my eyes if I do not pay the bill of Internet on time !!! The world around is nothing but a drama that rests on money. I am now understanding it. Let’s see when I embrace money and honey with right spirit.
I hate those who talk about importance of money before me but no longer will I do that. Carmen and father love money. I will too try to love it from now on. Let’s see the rupee which is angry with me flows to me or not to a village soul that remains lost in total silence pervading the village life, greenery and river side. Though village is no heaven, it’s still above the hassles of urban life. It’s still a place to discover the great truth that most coveted things in life are least associated with money.