BY AVTAR MOTA
When he finished with cooking of Rajmash, it was 2 PM and he felt like having another cup of Tea. In Jammu, By this time , Aasha ji would normally serve him his lunch and he would go for his usual sleep . This was the time when Aasha ji would close his bedroom door and switch on the Television to watch her favourite TV serial.
As he started to prepare his tea , the doorbell rang. An elderly man was at the door. The guest wanted to enter and say something. Opening the door , Ramesh Kumar, ushered the guest in and made him to sit in the Lobby chair.
“ I am T. Rangachari , your next door neighbour. I am sorry I did not recognize you yesterday. You are Sakshi’s ( Sweety ) Father . The guard told me all. Are you comfortable? Any help or support you need, please do call me. Don’t feel it, my son and Daughter in law are busy and they are a little shy to mix with neighbours . You know this younger generation. Busy in their own affairs. I retired as Principal of a Degree College and we belong to Madurai in Tamil Nadu. This is our Flat and my son woks in Infosys. My daughter in law is a Gujrati girl. She is also an Engineer with Samsung. In fact we came last month only as she delivered a Baby. She is on maternity leave and is now going to her parental home next week. Her Father is an officer in State Bank of India and posted at Ahmadabad at the moment. We plan to stay a month more where after my daughter in law shall bring her mother for day care of the baby. We may come after Deepawali for another three months since my daughter in law’s mother is going to Texas USA where her own Daughter in law is in a family way. So either we or her parents shall keep coming till the baby is about two years. Once the child starts going to school, things shall get better organized and parental support may also not be that much needed. We have to provide this support to our children to enable them to work and earn for their family. That is the present reality of life Mr Koul.”
“Yes sir , Life is like that . And once the child is about two years old, shall you not stay with them?” said Ramesh Kumar .
“What for Mr Koul ? We are happy at Madurai. I have recognition and some identity over there. Here, only the guard has time to listen to what I say. Children have a busy life schedule and their demands and priorities are at cross with our demands and priorities. Should we stand against the flow, if we cannot move with the flow ? Never Mr Koul. And then this life is a highway. We have walked enough, we need to create space for others to walk freely. By word others I mean those who follow us. We must be more sensitive to their feelings and aspirations.”
“I do not get what you say Sir. You mean that as parents, we have a utility value?’
“ No! No ! Mr Kaul , You understood it differently . Children are not against us in any way. They are straight and simple. We were tricky and double talkers. They do not have time for all that we picked up from our elders to remain connected in social life. Wasn’t that a phony life?”
“Sir I do not get what you want to say? “
“Fine I put it this way. You should allow a Plant to grow independently. No plant shall grow under the shade of Tree. Every plant needs its independent share of Free air, liberal Sunlight and Natural Water. We should not create any hindrance in that flow but be agents of that flow”
Ramesh Kumar was a little shaken by this discussion and replies from Mr. Rangachari . But his adaptability made him to knock off this thought from his mind and move ahead.
“It is destined who shall prepare or cook and who shall finally eat. May be this cup of tea, that is in the kitchen, was destined for this guest. “Thinking so, he brought the Tea and some chhanamurgi that he had brought from Jammu and offered to Mr Rangachari
“ O ! Why this formality. Aren’t you having tea.?. Are you sure it was not for you? “
“ No ! No formality sir, I had my Tea sometime back. You see, one gets acidity with so much of tea. I avoid it now .”
“ What is this white white tasty thing? Never seen it before”
“ This is known as Chhaana Murgi . It is Prepared from Sugar Syrup and pieces of cottage cheese. This is a speciality from Jammu. Have you ever visited Jammu? “
“ Oh ! So you have come all the way from that Militancy affected and the disturbed area. I have never been to that side of the country but we hear a lot of things about that area. Militancy, Border crossing , Firing , strikes , Demonstration and all that . Something is even in Today’s Newspaper .”
“ I read that . That is Kupwara’s Border Area . Kupwara is a district Head quarter in Kashmir valley.Jammu and Srinagar cities are separated by hills and a road distance is about 300 kms . Jammu is also known as City of Temples. Jammu is a peaceful area. Except some isolated incidents here and there, even Kashmir is peaceful now. It is not 1990 atmosphere any more. You should also not base your opinion only from reports appearing in newspapers or Headlines flashed By TV channels. Quite often, that may not give you a correct picture of the Ground realities. Come to Vaishno Devi ji some day and see for yourself. I would even suggest Plan a visit to Kashmir valley next year.”
“ Yes ! Yes ! Vaishno Devi ji Goddess shrine . My wife’s brother is posted in Udhampur Northern Command HQ. He is a Brigadier in Army. Every time he talks to us, he invites us to Vaishno Devi ji Shrine . The militancy and the firing news keeps us undecided. I am told that the Army can manage a special DARSHAN at the shrine. My brother in law says that he shall come personally to Pathankote to pick us up in his vehicle. I do not know where all these places are. But frankly speaking, we are afraid to travel to that area.”
…to be continued
Avtar Mota is a blogger, writes for local and national papers and journals