Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tribute

Raja was waiting at the school gate for his dad to come and pick him up. his rickshaw driver was ill that day so his dad had to pick him up. He can see some of his friends' parents come and pick their kids after the school, he can see them come on bikes and in cars, he can more importantly see them not come on a cycle, which his dad will invariably come on. Being an obedient kid that he is, he would never say this to his dear father but he would love to see his dad come on a bike and not on a bicycle. He would prefer anything, even an old moped to the bicycle. For some weird reason he never understood why his dad didn't didnt buy one. His dad would never be late for the after school pick up, but today was an exception; he had some work to attend in his workplace. raja actually preferred it this way, being picked up late so that no one could see him go on a cycle. None of this friends would say anything, too matured for the age of eleven, but he would see something in their eyes that would say it all or was it just his imagination ? Now that it has been almost twenty minutes since the final bell rang, the traffic before the school thinned and he could see his dad coming. Seeing his dad raja became conscious, conscious of the fact that he would be going on the cycle. He became uncomfortable. he felt as if he was caught doing something wrong. He started looking down so that his eyes doesn't meet with anyone he knows. As soon as his dad stopped the cycle before him, he quickly got on to the back seat of the cycle. His dad always insisted on him sitting in the baby seat in front of him, so that his legs wont fall in the wheel. But raja felt he was a grown up now and that sitting in the front 'baby' seat would make every one think he is still a baby, which he thinks is unfair, given that he is already 100 cm tall. He expected some resistance from his dad for sitting in the back and is all ready to back answer. He badly wanted a reason to get back at his dad for insulting him before the entire school by coming to pick him up on a cycle. But that didnt happen, may be the look on his face said it all to his dad or may be his dad felt that he need to pacify raja for being late. His dad asked him the usual questions on the way back home. He asked him if he had finished his lunch box and other things concerning his health but nothing related to the academics. This further instigated raja, for he does reasonably well in the class and would have loved to brag about his acheivements in the class. About how he answered the social questions or about how he solved the maths questions. His dad fell silent after the initial couple of questions and now raja has to wait untill his mom finishes her house hold work to brag about his acheivements, this further raised the boil a couple of inches. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, with his dad making a couple of general remarks about the people passing by, as raja spent his time sulking and trying to get his displeasure across, with out much success. Reaching home and the thought of cricket made him quickly get rid of the things he had been carrying for some time; books, lunch box and the misery of coming back from the school on a cycle. He forgot this 'insignificant' problem or is it the problem of being insignificant as soon as he was faced with much bigger problems, the problems of bat, ball, wickets and runs and by the time he came back after his daily dose of cricket he was his usual self.

Seven years after that incident, raja was sitting in a chair watching TV. He can see the helpless face of his mother from the corner of his eyes. Though his eyes are watching the pitchers on the screen, nothing is getting registered in his mind. His mind went blank some moments ago or rather full, full with the thoughts of rage, anguish and self pity because he had an heated argument with his dad. he is in the first year of his graduation and like a typical adoloscent, wanted a bike to vroom in the streets but was flatly declined by his father. His mother,like all mothers do, in those circumstances, took his side against his dads, but in vain. After the first round of 'argument match' his dad gave his mother one of those looks without words which made his mom quit taking sides. raja never understood what tacit agreement will be reached everytime one of these looks are exchanged, irrespective of the source. Once his dad left the room after pronouncing a justice chowdary like final judgement, "what ever be the extent of sulking a bike will not be bought", his mother tried to pacify him with some conforting words and logical arguments. An emotional person can rarely be logical and no logic is going into emotinal raja's mind. He can hear his mom's repeated murmors, the essence of which is, that he actually doesnt need a bike as bikes are not allowed in his colleage and that he willl be able to use it only when he is in his home town during the two month summer vacation, and that it is not worth the effort and money. Instead of having a postive effect, this further stired up his rage, for, now he felt that even his mother is not able to understand his feelings - The way he feels when he needs to go to the theatre or to a friends house on a cycle. Though he never realised nor remembered, its the same feeling he had way back in his school days when his dad came on a cycle to pick him up.


Time flys by whenever a person is on the right side of the age and before he realised raja passed out of the colleage, well equiped with a well paying job to face the cruel face of life. After six months he came back to his house, for the first time since he joined in the job. Corporate life took its toll on raja and he spent most part of his vaction sleeping. It was towards the end of one of those seista's that he overheard a conversation between his parents. His dad is explaining to his mother that he would buy a second hand car instead of rennovating the house as it was his dream to own a car. Raja can guess from the passion in his voice that he always wanted to buy a car/vehicle but had to postpost it to accomodate for his studies. Though raja didnt let the disappointments affect his relation and attitude towards his dad, he still remembered them. Occasionally wondering how it would have been to sit/ ride a bike or car. Now he got the answer: his dad buying a bike would have ment that he didnt go to the best school and colleage. He felt shameful remembering the way he behaved with this dad when he refused to relent on the bike issue. jus as he was diving even deeper into the thoughts, he heard the sound of gate open and the sound of his dad pulling down the cycle stand signalling the end of the conversation and his pretention of sleep. He got up from his bed, not streaching his body but by streaching his mind to quickly find a way to execute the thought he just got. He has already made a list of the things he need to do once he goes back to his work place - which includes bargaining and zeroing on the best deals given by banks.

10 comments:

yesh said...

Superb narration ra..
Long time I listened/read to some good thoughts and self examining ideas from you apart from the job and other cliched conversation..
Liked it a lot really..

Pappu said...

Boss, that was a brilliant narration! The words had an emotional appeal. It was simply appealing..

Nikhil said...

I agree with yesh...
Brilliant Narration....
One of the few good articles I have come across....
It was like I was Sitting next to you while the various incidents were happening...
Good one ra...
Keep going...
Looking forward for many more such good posts...

kads said...

This is what I call profound writing.. The way emotions are portrayed in this article, it’s just amazing!!

Partha said...

Good one Naveen!!!

Partha said...

Good one "In the shadows"!!!

sri said...

hi naveen....ur narration is thought provoking,,and simply superb..

navatha said...

raja,an excellent piece of work.I'm spell bound at the emotional appeal it has.The naration is so well put and articulate.Truly a just tribute to a father who has done so much for his children.

Bebhin said...

Well said.

Shriyalicious said...

I agree with everyone, the way you built the narration felt so much like you were sitting right near me recollecting an emotional old memory... :)