by Sanjoy Dutt
Dipak had no memories of his Mom. She died when he was only thirty months old. His Dad never remarried, instead his life revolved around grooming Dipak and his education. Dad taught him to be courteous, respectful and other good habits. One of them, to brush every night after dinner. Dipak was examining himself in the mirror while brushing. The hairs on his temples have grayed. His undershirt swelled around the abdomen, he could further inspect his slack biceps.
Once upon a time, his 5’10” structure seemed chiseled out by a sculptor. That was several years ago. In his early fifties now, he has no time for physical exercises. Life conquered by a craving, money and more money. Business meetings, saving for their only daughter, Renu’s, higher education, marriage, insurance, installments for their Audi and the farm house.
Later, he sat on the bed glued to his computer, going through an important presentation that would give him a chance to further impress the CEO.
Maya walked into the room and sat on the stool in front of the dressing table combing her silky hair that flowed and covered half of her nightgown. Dipak observed her reflection in the mirror. Maya has remained as beautiful as she was when Dipak met her. Dipak was madly in love with her but Maya’s parents were demanding. After Dipak got his Management degree and placed in a big corporate house did they agree to their marriage.
“Dipak, is this the presentation you were talking about?”
“How much raise do you expect this time?”
“My efforts have increased company profits, I’ve my fingers crossed.”
Maya walked to the bed, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, “I am so proud of you.’
“I feel bad for you,” she said resting her head on his shoulders.
“Why?” Dipak said as he felt Maya’s softness touch his elbow, her hand gently rubbing his back.
“You have to do all your important office work on the bed, you deserve a home office.”
“How can I work in the living room while Renu is watching her TV show?”
“Exactly, the living room can’t be your office sweety.”
“I can’t afford to buy a bigger apartment now,”
“That old man will see us all dead before he dies,” Maya gasped.
“Please, darling! He has been a caring Dad, father in law and a great grandfather,” Dipak said.
“Yes at eighty he looks stronger than all of us. My parents could never spend a night with me. Only because we don’t have an extra room to let them sleep.”
“Plan a weekend in our farm house that way they can spend the night with us and we will have a vacation.”
“We have been doing that for the last five years!” Maya said moving aside swiftly and sat at the edge of the bed.
“What do you want me to do?”
“There are many old age homes.”
For the next few weeks, Maya kept influencing Dipak, “After
marriage, all husbands forget their promises. Before marriage you said, I will do anything for you, now I don’t matter to you at all.”
Dipak was on the horns of the dilemma, of a dutiful son, and the peace, tranquility of a married life.
After a week of deliberation, he selected to make Maya happy but noticed no response on his Dad’s face when he told him about the home.
On a weekend, Dipak left with Dad for the Old age home. He wanted to stay there for a day or two to know Dad was comfortable in the new place.
After two days Maya was upset to see Dipak return with Dad.
“Did he not like the place?” Maya asked.
“No. I could not be selfish and desert him.”
“I understand nothing,” Maya exclaimed.
Dipak explained what happened, “I drove a lot that day yet I could not find the exact route to the Old Age home. Seeing me struggle Dad showed me the way to get there, I asked him if he had been there before, he did not answer.”
The place was covered in lush greenery and spread over some acres of land with a temple at the entrance. It housed an Old age home, a home for the abandoned children, a school, and a small hospital. The serenity of the place made me take a stroll around the property. When I returned I found Dad talking to an old priest very intimately.
Later when Dad was not around, I asked the priest, “Do you know my Dad?”
“Sure. I know you too my son.” the priest smiled between his white beard.
His answer puzzled me.
“How? I have never been here before?” I asked.
“Years ago, your Dad and mom came here to spend time with the children. One day, someone abandoned you on the stairs of this temple. Your parents were here and decided to adopt you. You can check the records in our office.”
I found my legs shaking, I was dumping the person who wholeheartedly gave me everything.
Later that evening, I saw a man touch Dad’s feet and sat on the floor although there were empty chairs and talked to him bestowing highest respect.
When I got closer Dad pointed at me and said, “There comes my son.”
The man turned around, and I got the shock of my life, it was my CEO, who I have been trying to impress so hard.
“Dipak you never told me you are my Guru’s son,” CEO said.
“I didn’t know you knew my Dad, Sir,” I fumbled.
“I wouldn’t have made it this far if your Dad had not supported me to continue with my education.”
Dipak’s eyes filled with tears, his voice choked.
“I was very mean, Dad will stay here forever, I won’t complain ever, I promise,” Maya sobbed
Dipak looked at Maya’s regretful face, “We should all go there next weekend.”
“Of course, all of us,” Maya replied hugging Dipak tight. ***