PrEm Ji

CHILD IS THE FATHER OF MAN (Short story)

 

 

CHILD IS THE FATHER OF MAN

 

Transfers are real headaches for all employees, irrespective of where they work.... in government or private sector. What all new expenses, my God! From finding a good, affordable house, to a School for children… My best pal Sabu helped me in finding out both. Later, Father Nicholas gave me ‘handwritten’ receipt for rupees sixty thousand as donations, for my two children in that prestigious School.

‘My provident fund is almost empty now,’I told Sabu.

‘Don’t blame him… For quality education, you have to pay,’he said while laughing

‘What quality, man? An ‘A’ is an ‘A’ even in Greece… everything is one and the same.’

‘No… It is quite different here, Premji… Management pays their teachers as per government pay scale. Whenever there is an increase in dearness allowance, Father Nicholas will send you another letter informing the increase in School fees… So, naturally the teachers give their best support’

‘Another hike!... my God!’

‘Only Christians know how to run good schools… Premji, they are dedicated people… You know… that’s why even prominent Hindu politicians also let their children study here.’

‘That’s great… Unity in diversity…!’ I laughed.

Mrs&Mr. Ramnath are my next door neighbors and they live in a palatial building of their own. He is a high profile IAS officer (Indian Administrative Service), a superb writer and wonderful man. Mrs. Ramnath is the only daughter of a multimillionaire and naturally a snob herself, due to lack of proper education. Meera is their only daughter who is a very attractive, little stout, bright girl. She is more attached to her Dad, may be due to his down to earth approach… no… beyond all he loves her the most… Meera and Abhi, my elder son are classmates

I used to collect our children, back from School, in my old Maruti car. Sometimes, when Mr. Ramnath was away on official tours or Mrs.Ramnath was busy with her beauty care, Meera used to join us in the evenings. But, Meera never used to invite my sons to get into her car when I couldn’t reach there in time in the evenings.

‘Uncle… How come you are so late?, she asked without any humbleness..

‘My car is a pensioner…Meera,’ I told.

‘Better buy a new one.’

‘I am not all rich as your Grand Pa’

‘Grand Pa…whose Grand Pa… who wants his money?’there was contempt in her voice.

Everything was going fairly well until the quarterly examination results got published. Meera used to adjust the first rank from first standard onward. Fortunately or unfortunately, my elder son Abhi was declared as the class topper. It was the biggest shock of her life and of course, her mother’s too! Mr. Ramnath congratulated him wholeheartedly in front of Meera and Mrs. Ramnath tried to avoid every contact my family! Poor man…Mr. Ramnath had to use all his administrative powers to find out some new tuition teachers and Mrs. Ramnath was overseeing everything like a ruthless supervisor of old slave farms in America!

After two days, our telephone started ringing somewhere around ten’o clock in the night. Late calls in the night are symbols of danger…terror… bad news… I picked up the phone.

‘Hello’

‘Hi Uncle, Meera here… Can I speak to Abhi? I have to clear some doubts’

‘Sure… one minute…. Abhi… a Call for you.’

He kept the phone after sometime.

‘What did she say?, my wife asked him.

‘Nothing Mom… She was asking like.. ‘did you study this… did you study that… then… it is already 10PM… why don’t you go to sleep?’... and you know her advice… ‘ If you don’t sleep early, you cannot concentrate in class’… strange girl..’

‘Idiot… She told you to sleep early…You know… what will she do?’

‘What will she do?’

‘She will learn till 12’O clock…Poor boy… he is yet to understand a girl!’

‘None can understand a woman!’ I teased her.

That day, I had to travel to Kochi for an official training program and to my surprise Mr. Ramnath was my co-passenger. He started talking about his literary life and real life. And at last the discussions reached the saturation point: the studies of his daughter.

‘Premji… I am not getting enough time to spend with my daughter because of her stupid tuitions...’

‘I am sorry… Sir’

‘Why do you say Sorry? You must be proud of him,’ he said calmly

Days went on.. And one day, Meera was returning home with us. I stopped the car in front of an Ice-Cream parlor. My sons jumped out in uncontrollable joy as it was the first occasion in their life, eating an Ice-cream form outside! Meera was sitting there in the car itself.

‘Meera, please come with us,’ Abhi requested.

‘No… Abhi.. I don’t like ice-creams… They contain Gelatin, made from hoof of dead animals,’ she said while rejecting his plea.

‘That’s an interesting piece of information… Anyway… Please join us…At least for a company,’ I told and she she followed us… ‘That’s a good move… listening to elders,’ I told her while getting into the parlor.

‘I want Butter scotch,’ my younger son shouted…

‘I like to have Vanilla,’ Abhi said…

Waiter returned with Ice-Creams and boys started eating in big scoops thinking: ‘Dad… today, we are going to drain out your pocket!’

‘Uncle… why don’t you have something?’ Meera asked.

‘Because, you are not having anything.’

‘Waiter, give me one Strawberry… One for Uncle too,’ she shouted…

‘One for me too,’my younger son too joined her!

The children had a nice time there. I felt the radiance of happiness on their faces.

‘Kids, this is the spirit of sharing and caring,’ I said.

‘It’s really interesting, Uncle,’ Meera told.

‘Then why don’t you avoid your tuition teachers? You and Abhi, just share your knowledge each other, then you will become the best students in Kerala State! Do you know that? How much time can you save?’

‘That seems interesting,’ Abhi and Meera, they told together.

‘Then you can teach him too,’ I showed them my younger son. ‘Meera, not even a single time in life, you father had taken any tuitions! And he has achieved the finest post position an individual can achieve in this nation.. Indian Administrative Service… Keep that always in mind… You know he is missing you a lot because of your tuitions’

‘Uncle... how do you know all these?’

‘He told me’. She kept quiet. ‘Meera, how many Ice-Creams do you eat everyday?’

‘Three or four’

‘That’s why you are getting stout… reduce the numbers… check the ill-effects of Ice-creams in the internet… Never forget this Meera… your Dad used to study under lamp posts, even during rain… He was not rich enough… Have you ever seen him wasting a single paisa for luxuries?’

‘No’

‘That is called thriftiness… Meera… you have the best role model ever in your home itself… Your Dad… He is a living example of hard work.’

‘Yes…Uncle… I love him… Respect him… I follow his footsteps,’clouds of tears were forming in her eyes.

‘The purpose of education is not good grades… or getting a good job…it’s beyond all these… it’s a highway to a better individual… a refined human being! Competition should be there, only healthy competition… Beyond every competition, there is humanity…Meera.’

‘Thanks…Uncle… you have opened my eyes,’ Meera wiped her tears.

‘Not me… Your Dad!’

‘Thanks Dad’… They all said together….

‘From tomorrow onwards, we all will travel by our School Bus. What do you say, Uncle?’ Meera asked.

‘That’s a great development… go forward...’

‘Hoooooooooo… Done,’they laughed.

Ramanth had to cut every Tuition Master, though his wife was shouting like anything. Meera was very happy that day as could spent a lot of time with her father. She asked him a lot of questions so that she can share her additional knowledge with Abhi. He inspired her quest for more and more knowledge. She used to spend a lot of time with Abhi. Naturally my wife was suspicious.

‘Will anything go wrong between them?’she asked.

‘You were behind me even from School days… Did anything go wrong?’

‘Nothing… But times are changing,’some elements of anxiety was there in her voice.

‘India is emerging very fast… God knows... will there be marriages after ten years?’we laughed

Meera was busy reading ‘Stigma,’ the new poetry collection by her Dad. She loved the fresh smell of that book like the freshness of those poems. Beyond that, the book cover was one of her paintings. ‘If you commit a mistake in selecting the right soul mate…your life will be nothing but another hell’… She underlined that line with a rose pencil and slept off while reading. And she woke up little late next day.

‘Ktnin..’

Mrs. Ramnath ran towards Meera’s room. She was shocked to see her daughter shivering with anger, with that ‘Stigma’ in her left hand. The large mirror fixed on the cupboard was missing…Broken glass pieces were scattered all over the room.

‘Meera… Have you gone mad?’she shouted…

‘Get lost….’

‘What did you say?’

‘Bloody hell… just get lost from my room.’

‘What the hell did I do to hurt you to shout on me like this?’

‘What is this? See what have you done to this book?’

‘What have I done?’

‘What have I done? You… you had used… the first copy of my Dad’s book to cover that large tumbler with steaming milk… See every page is wet... You spoiled it and talking shamelessly’

‘Who cares your Dad’s stupidities?’

‘Stupid, illiterate, rich woman like you, doesn’t care the merits of her husband… How can a donkey understand that world is not flat!  The social status you enjoy everyday is the reward of his stupidities… Not of your Dad’s filthy money, accumulated through corruption…’

‘Youuu...’

‘Get lost from my sight… Wait… I will not talk to you any more in my life,’ Meera shouted aloud and started crying...

Her mother walked away quite confused...

Meera and her parents visited my house to attend our younger son’s birthday after one month.

‘Congrats Meera… I am going to recommend your parents for the best couple award of the year!’ I told her while serving her another cup of Ice-cream.



Premji

 

  • Author: PrEmJi PrEmJi (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: June 10th, 2021 06:24
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views:

Comments2

  • Fay Slimm.

    Meera and girls like that will have to learn and absorb the real life and become as awake to realities of wealth however accumulated --- the child has to experience the unity in diversity too - another piece of food for thought Prtem.

    • PrEm Ji

      Thanks dear Fay...
      They are the beams of hope!

    • L. B. Mek

      'daughter of a multimillionaire
      and naturally,
      a snob herself,
      due to lack of proper education.'
      there's two snobs in this line
      one - formed of opinionated bias
      the other: blatant
      if objectivity's spectacles, utilised...
      let us choose empathy and humility
      over judgement and ridicule
      whenever possible

      • PrEm Ji

        Thank you…
        Even In small cities in India, you can meet such people… they buy son in laws



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