Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Son That Was

Gitanjali was in her usual rush. It was getting 8 a.m., and it was time for Ramesh to leave for his 9 to 5 job as a clerk among the teeming millions that ran the great city of Mumbai, India. "Chalo beta, make it quick, na? Raja you will miss the train again...". "Haan Ma, just a second.... abhi aaya..." came the reply.

She saw him off with the usual "Hare Krishna....Come safely....and make it quick....Tell Ramji that you cannot wait late daily. Your timing is only upto 5 na? Put up a strong front today, ok?" The recent terrorist bombings may have been forgotten by the newspapers, but try and convince a mother's heart to believe that it won't happen again. A quick nod of the head, a resigned sigh, and "O.K. Ma" later, Ramesh was off onto the bustling Bandra street, making a beeline for the Railway Station. Gitanjali settled down then, for the best part of her day. She nestled into the couch in the sit-out, one of the only ones remaining in the crammed city, with the quintessential cup of teekhi chai that she so relished. She looked out to the slums below, and saw two kids playing about in the muck. Her eyes filled with tears, as she fell into that all consuming deep crevasse that is the past.....

"Push...push...harder...just like that...." went the encouraging voice of Dr. Rekha, and Gitanjali pushed with all her life and then some more. The pain was mounting. Just when she was sure she was breathing her last, the pain reached a stunning crescendo.... and then all that was left were her tears of joy, and a new life was born. She stared elatedly at her Ramesh, lying vulnerable in the sheets by her, and she could feel God in that moment, shining down upon her.

The brothers grew up extremely quickly, and when Gitanjali finally took stock of the situation, Ram was already at the end of his IIT education. It was only poor Ramesh that worried her, a paradox to his brother...bottom of the class, thin as a stick, timid little vulnerable child. Only she knew what a horrendous time that child had to see when he ventured out from under the umbrella that his elder brother had been.... Who would say that this was the brother of a class topper, a literary genius and sports great?

Over time, fate and fortune had its way....Ram was on the flight to Stanford, and Ramesh on his almost broken-down bike to the dingy corridors of Bidhanwala College. She kept feeling for her younger son in the depths of her heart, but nobody seemed to see the calibre in him that she did.

A few years later, she received a jubilant e-mail(letters were now "passe", "obsolete", you know? ) from Ram, announcing that he now was a proud Green Card holder. She wondered, in the back of her mind what made him so proud at all...but put up a mask of happiness. Then she made the request that she had so longed to make for all this time... "Beta, why don't you try and do something for our Ramesh there? Get him a job somewhere...You are in such a big position na?" Pat came the reply from the meritocratic dastard,"Hey mom, this is a world where its only hard work and merit that gets you places... He's got none of them. I will not do anything for him. Let him learn the hard way." She put down the phone, cursing herself for having had such a son in the first place.

Gitanjali and Ramesh lived in the family home on Ramesh's meagre earnings and the few dollars that Ram cared to send home. Ram was now coming of age. Gitanjali started quietly looking out for a beautiful bride for him. After a whole lot of deliberation, she decided on a quiet, homely Brahmin girl. She was waiting for his next call, so she could break the news to him and call him back home...

Crash!!!!! The tea was all over the floor. In her reverie, she had forgotten all about it's existence even. She swept the place, and got on with the grind of her insipid life...

A few days later, that much awaited call did come, but Fate had different plans for her... She lovingly inquired about his health, and then was just about to break the good news to him, when he cut her short. "Ma, I completely forgot to tell you about Anne. We've been having a live-in relationship for a year now. I was busy with her pregnancy for some time now." Gitanjali felt her whole world collapse around her like a stack of cards. "I'm so glad, Ma. She just delivered today, and John looks just like Dad!"

That conversation done, she picked up her unfinished cup of tea. Then she put it down. She needed something harder today....


  1. this is pretty bad dude... you started blogging and i came to know after 12 days :(
    anyway... your foray into short story writing is good. but a bit cliched. anyway keep writing... am waiting for your coming posts.
    one more thing... take care of teh font size and add the title bar... small things make a big impressino