This story is in continuation with the previous parts. Please read the two parts, it will definitely make you smile.
All of them moved towards the room. They were silent now and slowly moving so as to cause as little noise as possible. My uncle reached the door and knocked. They went inside with the biggest smile on their face. Congratulations Suresh. You are now a father! They said and the whole family hugged each other. I laid in my mother’s arm and was asleep. My father took me from my mother’s arm and handed me to my Uncle. He was silent, didn’t speak a word. He looked at me for sometime and then said, “We will call her Mudrika.”
Everyone applauded the name my Uncle had chosen. Nobody ever doubted him or his decisions. The hospital gave us leave the next day and we all headed back to home. It was early morning and Gods had woken up, the ringing bells in the temples marking the start of day. We stopped by the temple near the house. The priest knew us very well. Almost every marriage in the family was arranged by him, every special occasion, every birth was incomplete until he had used his ‘Laal Tika and the Moli, he tied on everyone’s hand.’ ‘By the grace of the gracious God, Lakshmi has come to your house, ‘ and he touched my feet with his head. We asked for permission to leave. At the house everyone was so ecstatic. Nobody slept the previous night except the kids who were too busy absorbing the energy of the previous night. My Grandmother took one look at me and she couldn’t stop herself from crying. She carefully took out some money, waved in circles over me and handed it to my mother. “She is as beautiful as an Angel.” she commented and welcomed us in the house. So much commotion for someone too young to see the world, I became restless and started crying. But nobody seemed to care. They admired my every movement, everything that I did. But my father, he became too restless seeing me cry. I think he knew what was going inside me. After all, I was his part, an atom of the stature he had acquired in so little time.
Suresh, or whom I gladly address as Papaji was the youngest and the last Son of my grandparents, so he was adored the most. He was always interested in learning new things and was the best among all his brothers and sisters when it came to studies. He went to the best of schools, best of colleges all by himself. It ran in the family genes. Nobody asked for any help. But they always helped. Suresh(I think I need to address him more respectfully) chose to be a doctor and he became one. The initial days of becoming a doctor are quite difficult. Nobody recognises you until you specialize in something. Papaji(Suresh becomes Papaji here) was always good in reading minds so he became a Psychiatrist. After years of practice, he was the most sought after doctor in the entire city. With Psychiatry, he had some hobbies. He was an excellent Tabla player and a wonderful singer. “I had a huge fan following in College.” he used to tell me whenever we used to get together.
It’s fun. It’s fun talking to people about their talents, about things that bring passion in their eyes, which drips down their mouths in form of words so elegant that they make you fly along with them.
I always saw Papaji on Sunday evenings. He would switch on the Music System, play Jagjit Singh and would play along the Tabla and sing. He was shocked to core when he saw the death of his favourite singer.
That day and days after it, our family celebrated my birth with so many occasions. (There must be a DVD lying somewhere in my rack, somewhere.) As I grew up, I realised the world around me, the world outside the world of my family. Many a times I cried, many a times I wanted to shut the doors to my room. But everytime I decided to do something foolish like this, my family was always there to help me. We lived in the same house, the one my grandparents built for us. All of us. Everytime any of us needed anyone, we would just call out. There were happy times, then there were fights.I have seen my parents fight, my uncles fight and even my cousins fight, sometimes over unnecessary things(no, always on unnecessary things.) Who else fights for tea not served to them in the morning or tearing the homework(this one, I think that sounds legit). Everyone else used to watch them fight. There’s a saying, we cannot make a blind see what he cannot, so why should one try. They fought when they had no energy left and when they sat down, breathless from the hurling of abuses or utensils or my favourite Red Velvety shoes( God, I loved them), they would realise they wasted some precious time and My Red Velvety Shoes(I must have them in my trunk. I need to stop drooling now) and would hear each one out. My grandfather always said that If one can listen properly, most of the problems won’t exist. And listening for him or for any of us shouldn’t be just the said, it must be the unsaid as well.
Every Sunday morning, all the ladies in the house would take to cooking the best meals in the house. My mother always scolded me for sitting and not helping me with her work. But everyone else in the house came to my support. I had to bend to her one day when she asked me to do my hair. (I realised that I was more turning into a boy than a girl.). It was not like the males didn’t knew to cook. When my uncles and father would get in the kitchen, they would make something extraordinary (most of the times, except that one time when we had to call the fire department to save us from the fire.)
One day I was asked at the school to write an essay on what I wanted to be. I approached Papaji who had just came after a heavy day at work. “People take so much stress these days.” He commented while putting down the glass of water I handed to him. “What is it Mudrika?” he asked. Almost as he knew what was going inside me. “I have to write this essay and I don’t know what I want to be.” I said while making circles with my feet on the floor. He opened the buttons of his cuffs, folded his shirt back and held me by my hands.
“Mudrika, this family is something to which we all have given back something or the other in some form. You have seen your Uncles, your aunts, your grandparents, your mother. They all are an inspiration most children lack. Have you ever seen how effortlessly your mother works day and night so that she could make all of us happy, how the eldest uncle manages his business, how the other two uncles have made a name for themselves in politics and academics. Your Aunts are trendsetters for many ladies out there. Do you know your mother was a successful doctor before she left everything for you. The thing is I believe you are capable of everything you want to be, anyone you want to be. People say one must do what their hearts want. I say one must do what can bring a smile to the people you care about the most. We are here for you whatever happens. We will always be happy in whatever you are happy with. Always remember, family comes first and that you must respect your roots. And I think you will be okay. “ He said this to a nine year old who had just asked what she wanted to be. He went outside the room to help my mother with the food. I sat there absorbing every iota of what he had just said. Next day I went to the school and submitted my essay.
The title of my essay was” I want to be A Scientist. “
He never asked me again what I wanted to be, nor did anyone in my family. But yes, the Sharmaji’s and the Vermaji’s always did. (I always smiled on their question. My grandfather had taught me this while someone asked him what he was doing after his retirement. His answer was hilarious. “I think I might take part in the Olympics this year.” )
There were times when I failed.
Ideal doesn’t work in the real life. You don’t always win. You will fail. You will fail miserably. You will fail so hard that you would want to quit everything. But no matter how hard you fall, you have to stand up, again on your feet. Try again. Fail again. Eventually you will learn. This was the first lesson my father gave me while I was learning to ride a bicycle. Repeated several times when I was shattered during my course of life.
But he always kept hope in me. Always believed in me when I failed to do so.
What is a man? A collection of some orderly tissues and cells that together form something concrete or something more. Does the color of skin, the tone of voice or the abnormalities in a person make him someone? Why is it people cry on seeing a dying bird or don’t even blink while ordering to murder hundreds? What makes a man give his life for a nation when he has a family to take care of or makes him work in the scorching heat so that he could feed his family.
A man is much more than a collection of tissues and cells. In Samkhyan Philosophy, a school of Indian Philosophy, they believe that a man is product of Prakriti – the one unintelligent, unconscious, matter, ever active and that has three attributes which define its state; and Purusa – which is the consciousness, the soul of the body. The balance between the three attributes found in the Prakriti defines how the person would be.
I believe, a person becomes what his family makes him. A child is a clean slate when he is born. His mind is ‘tabula rasa’. The society, the situations, the people he comes in contact with defines the character he builds over time.
Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “Hate the Crime not the Criminal.”
No human is at fault when it comes to something not acceptable. Pity is something cruel to a soul. Don’t pity, just try to understand what the person might be going through and you won’t ever be misunderstood. My father Suresh told me this many times.
I remember his every word of advice, the way he walked, the way he ate. Everything right here in my mind. I have been asked many times do I miss my family.
Yes, of course I do. But when I see myself sitting here in my room among the top most researchers of the world, I think they must be smiling.
I have given them a reason to smile.
This story was a work of Complete fiction. None of the characters are real nor do they bear any resemblance to the real world. But it totally depends on you, the reader, what you want to be real. Every character here can be real or unreal. The only thing that matters is what you take with you when you finish reading this little effort of mine.
Please do comment and tell me how this was. I am highly grateful to the few people who have admired my work. Your appreciation is something I cannot define in words, although some of you claim I have a way with words. Funny, isn’t it?
You must be thinking about the question mark in the title. That question mark is something I will leave to the imagination of the reader. If this is the ending you would want or something different.
Ideals don’t work in the real life. A belief I want everyone of you to take home with you when you finish reading this.
Thank you for reading till the end.