Saturday, 14 May 2011

Thought Detonation #8 - A Phone Call

Even our firm belief in someone is shaken by petite things. The strongest of bonds are broken over smallest of issues. When faith becomes too finished, with no rough edges in a relation, like still water, and then; a small scratch is enough to dismiss the whole finished art, a slight ripple is like a tempest.
It’s like a dusty road may lead you to the same destination like a marble road would, thought with lesser comfort. But the dusty road is less prone to damages than the marble road. While on a dusty road, you would never care of a new puddle. A new puddle would never be significant in the journey. You would reach the destination as usual and will not notice new damages. Even if you do, would wouldn’t care about them. On the contrary, if you travel on a marble road, each small puddle will be noticed, each small bump would hurt, this journey would be opposite to earlier ones, you would not get the comfort you were used to and expectations would be hurt.
It’s like you don’t bash a mate for forgetting your birthday but breakup with a fiancĂ©e for it!!

This short story of mine tells you how little influence mixed with high expectations, can shatter a flawless relation. The more you expect a thing to be perfect, more imperfect it seems.

…Mehta family owned a 2 BHK flat in the up market area. Mehta ji lived there with his wife, two sons, two daughters-in-law and a grandson. Mr. Mehta had booked the flat after he retired two years ago, pouring in all his earnings that he had earned working as a postmaster for 40 years. He could manage 14 Lakhs after draining all his savings and his PF account. Rest 6 Lakhs were managed from a housing loan. It wasn’t too much, just 7,000 per month while Mehta ji was still receiving a pension of 12,000. His elder son worked in a steel plant as a shift engineer and had a decent pay. He was married and was blessed with a son. Mehta ji’s younger son was also married but unemployed.

Though with not a bling-bling financial status, the family was happy. Mehta ji’s grandson was very close to him and the family gelled in together very well. The family was contended and peace loving. There was trust and love blossomed among the family members. Even small decisions were discussed openly and each member’s view was considered. Even matters like buying jewelry for spouses were shared openly by the men. There was nothing to hide. Each young couple had a room of their own, Mehta ji slept in the guest room with his wife. It never hurt him, he had bought the house for his children, and he knew he was not taking it with him when he died. All that was his was of his sons. He always let them have their privacy, moreover, the daughters-in-laws were good hearted and at a service to the aged couple. So the family was healthy and joyful. Everything was fine and smooth until one day, the day when Mehta ji received a call. That call was about to change the fortune of entire family. Mehta ji’s work colleague had called him. It was nearly two year since Mehta ji had retired. No one from the work place or any other place, in fact, had ever called him. An old post master is generally better disposed off at peace. He is not interesting enough to be called. But now he was on phone and his old pal was telling Mehta ji how his life after retirement had been. How he was discarded in his own house and how his son had betrayed his trust. They made him sleep in the guest room and fed him only twice a day. He was made to carry children’s school bag everyday and brilliant was they was his son ordered him to do it. He called it his “daily walk”. He had to fetch grocery from stores as well. With all this pain he was gifted, his son also made him pay for the regular maintenance of “his” flat from his pension. The old man as rather troubled. Mehta ji consoled him and diverted the conversation to other pretty things of life, like “the old good days when we were young….”.

That night Mehta ji thought of his friend’s condition, and his own condition. Even he slept in the guest room. Even he walked his grandson everyday to his school and carried his bag. Even he bought grocery and household expenses were met only after pooling his pension. His situation was so alike to his old pal’s. Were his sons going to betray him as well? His wife, at times, helped their daughter-in-law in washing the dishes; she did even wash clothes if the young lady was ill. So was the old couple on the track to a betrayal? Moreover both his sons had forgotten his birthday! Only his grandchild remembered it! Mehta ji was feeling uncomfortable, as if he was chocked. His face started to sweat. His son had recently asked him to transfer Rs.20,000 to his account. Was it because he was going to throw him out later? He also had a little property back in his village. And oh god! A few days ago his son had talked of selling it too! So that Mehta ji won’t even have an option of going back to his village! Oh God! Why couldn’t Mehta ji see through all this earlier? His friend was about to be kicked out and was considering to move to an old age home. Now Mehta ji was convinced that he will have to face the same. How his son was gradually getting hold of all his money. He never showed his account statement and never talked of his own salary to Mehta ji. It was a year since Mehta ji was gifted a new kurta, neither his wife had got a new saree. How could he miss these signals? Couldn’t he see that all plans were in place and both his sons were planning to throw him out? How he had trusted them. How he had faith in them. Mehta ji couldn’t take this anymore.
That night he collected all his bank cards and took out the property papers from the safe. He checked all his documents and locked them in his almirah. He was the man of the house now. He was going to teach these betrayers a lesson.

Next morning as his elder son came with the day’s newspaper to wish him a good morning and read out news to him, he was told to get lost from Mehta ji’s sight. “Get away from me you scoundrel. You think you can fool me? eh?” He dindn’t seem to understand this and the whole family rushed to the guest room horrified, and startled. “I know what you both are up to.”, looking at his younger son now, “ You and your wives will never get this house. This is MY house. You both get that? You can never kick me out of here. Pack your bags and get ready to leave before I slap you to make it clear.” The grandson hid behind his crying mother and started crying himself. Mehta ji’s wife tried to speak something after holding her tears, and to cool down her husband’s temper. “You don’t need to speak woman. I know what I am doing. I dindn’t turn grey all of a sudden. I have seen this world and many like these scoundrels. What are you looking at? Haan? Pack your bags and leave!”
The house was evacuated that afternoon.
The next time his sons saw Mehta ji was at his funeral. Mehta ji had come to a painful end, exactly like the family had, a long time ago.

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