— This story is divided in 2 Parts —
Rohit Deodhar was a 49 year old Automobile Engineer staying in London, along with his British wife and a son. He was working with an Automobile Company in London for last 25 years. He had recently lost his father, who was widower and was staying with Rohit’s sister in Indore.
One Sunday morning, Rohit saw a letter in his letter box. So, he curiously opened it. His curiosity turned into surprise, when he understood that the letter was from his sister, Geetanjali.
The letter read:
I know, you will be very surprised to see a letter from your sister. I also know that I could have easily phoned you or could have emailed you; instead I chose to write a letter. The reasons are little sentimental: when you first left the shores of Mumbai to pursue higher studies in Harvard, I remember, the only mode of communication between us was letters. I also recollect how fondly Daddy and I would sit together, mostly on Sundays and would write letters to you. So, I just attempted to re-live a slice of those beautiful memories by writing this letter.
I remember, we had a rough childhood. You, at least had the good fortune to play alongside Mamma but I hardly remember her face. All I know is, after our mother’s early demise, Daddy did not remarry because of the fear of a stepmom not getting along with his kids. However, he did his best in ensuring that we don’t miss our mother. He tried to purchase the entire happiness in the world and that too just for us.
I remember, Daddy couldn’t swim. However, every evening, after his office hours, he would take us to Madhav Sir to learn swimming. He wanted us to become expert swimmers… which we are today.
I remember, our father worked as a Clerk in a small firm. His income was limited but his love for his children knew no limits. He even went to the extent of selling our ancestral house in Ratnagiri, so that you can go to Harvard for higher education.
I remember, how angry I was with you when you had decided to marry Jennifer – a Britisher, who couldn’t even differentiate between Indians and Red Indians. It took more than a week for Daddy to persuade me. Surprisingly, Daddy never had a single complaint about the lady, who was set to become your ‘better half’. This shows the magnanimity of that man’s heart.
I remember, Daddy was not a tech savvy person but he only learnt computer so that he can keep in touch with you and your family in London. He, with a curiosity of child would browse through your FB profile and would ‘like’ every photograph and video of yours. Every new FB post of yours would dominate our dinner discussions.
Lastly, I remember how reluctant Daddy was, when I asked him to leave Mumbai and to come & stay with me in Indore. He was uncomfortable even at the thought of staying in a house that belonged to his son in law. However, his deteriorating health subdued his self respect and he finally agreed to come to stay in Indore. Also, our Mumbai house, by then had become nothing more than ‘a nest without a bird.’ and so was Daddy’s heart.
Daddy lost his battle to cancer last month. You were fortunate enough to have never seen his pain but I was the unfortunate one to see him die, not once but almost every day. I have no complaints from you, with regards to Daddy’s treatment. I know, you ensured that Daddy was taken to the best doctor of the city and he was treated well. I also know that you never allowed me to spend a single penny from my pocket on Daddy’s treatment. Bro, what you did is commendable but so is commendable, the deed of any philanthropist, who donates money to old age homes. I am not a Harvard Graduate like you so please help me understand the difference between a son and a philanthropist.
The ‘Responsibility Allowance’ that you used to transfer into Daddy’s Bank Account, every month, has largely remained untouched. I guess, Daddy never required that much money, he only needed his son to be by his side. So, please transfer back whatever is the balance left into your account and let me know; so that I can close Daddy’s account.
I hope your son becomes a better man and does not treat you the way, you treated your father.
With tears in his eyes, Rohit went into his study room and started drafting an email to his sister.
Dear Mrs. Geetanjali Shrikant Raje…
— To be continued —
Link to Part II of this post : A nest without a bird & a bird without a nest. – PART II