Friday, April 26, 2013

Pithru Devo Bhava - Father who went to hunt

                  Dubai, the city which never goes dark. The land of opportunities. The city with mix of all races. Native Arabs, Indian, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Srilankans, Bangladeshis, Europeans and many more. The city which is ready to give anyone the happiness, money and many more. The skyscrapers in Sheik Zayad Road, the beautiful Jumerah beach, number of malls, the tallest Burj Khalifa, clean roads ensure that the person lives in one of the best cities. But it holds sorrow of many people out there. The sorrow of separation.

1992, Mayavaram, India.
                 
                    The sun is set to give way for darkness. The car came towards the street near Mayuranathaswamy Temple. Kids were playing games in the street. One small kid ran towards the person who came down from the car.
                    "Appa I won in lock and key today."
                    "Good."
Sivasamy took a chocolate he bought for his kid and gave it to him. He went inside the house and called his wife Parvathy. They both have kid Vijayan who is two and a half years old. Parvathy is pregnant and expecting a baby in couple of months.
                   "Parvathy. I need your decision."
                   "For what?"
Vijay came and sat on the lap of Sivasamy.
                   "The time of calculating to buy everything is over."
                   "How?"
                   "This thousand rupees a month car driving life is over. Do you know Ganesan?"
                   "Yes. The driver who worked with you in travels."
                   "He left to Dubai eight months back. He earns 1200 Dirhams per month for driving car. Nearly 10000 Rupees per month. They need more drivers. Guess what? He has suggested my name and I am leaving in couple of months. Vijayan can study in English medium school. A for Apple, B for Ball."
                   "But how many months once you will come?"
                   "One month per year. Company itself pays for ticket. They give salary for that month as well. I am allowed to call home once in a month. Five minutes for free."
                   "One year once? You can live happily here with what you earn. Why should you leave us?"
                   "Don't be silly Parvathy. I have to give Vijayan and the baby good life. They should get whatever they want. They should not feel like me in future that their father didn't give them good opportunities. I'm not going there once for all. I will be coming here for a month every year. When our children settle in their life, I'll be back to India once for all."
                   After long discussion, Sivasamy convinced Parvathy.

Two months later
               
                    "Are we going to Ooty?", asked Vijayan to his dad seeing him packing his dress.
                    "Yes."
                    "Where are my dresses? Where are mom's?"
                    "Parvathy! Why didn't you pack Vijayan's dress? Pack them."
                    Vijayan was very happy when his mother packed the dresses. He did not know that this was all lie, He did not know his father would be available only one month a year from then. He was very happy thinking that they were going for a picnic. He took his favorite dress and gave it to his mom.

Next day morning,
              The car was returning back from Chennai airport after sending off Sivasamy. Vijayan woke up and found his dad missing.
                "Mom, where is dad?"
                "He went for his work. Our Ooty trip is cancelled. He sent us back in half way."
                "When will he come back?" Vijayan started to cry.
                "Don't cry. He will come in next week. He will get you chocolates when he comes back."
                "I need Dairy milk."
                "I will ask him to bring 10 Dairy milk. Don't cry. Stop it."
               Vijayan slept after some time. Parvathy touched her stomach and felt the movements of her baby. Tears came out of her eyes.

Dubai    
                 Sivasamy came out of the airport. Ganesan came to pick him. Sivasamy was explaining about his first flight experience. They went to the office where the Malayali boss of them welcomed in good manner. Sivasamy completed his joining procedures and gave his passport to the owner. It took 20 days for him to take driving license. The free telephone day came. 26 days since he came to Dubai. He didn't speak to his family till then. He called at 4:30 PM Dubai time.
                  "Hello."
                  "Hello."
                  "Sivasamy speaking. How are you?"
                  "I'm fine. How are you? Are you getting good food over there? Everyday Vijayan waits in entrance waiting for you. I'm struggling to convince him daily."
                  "Is he there?"
                  "Yes."
                  "Give it to him."
                  "Vijayan, dad is calling you. He is on the line.", called her mom.
                  "Appa."
                  "Vijayan, did you have snacks?"
                  "When will you come dad?"
                  "I'll bring you lot of chocolates when I come back. Do listen to what mom says. Okay."
                  "Two more minutes", said the telephone incharge.
                  "Give it to mom, Vijayan"
                  "No. Tell me when will you come back." Vijayan started to cry.
                  "I got struck in a jungle. I'm finding it difficult to hunt the lion. After hunting it, I'll come back. Give it to mom."
                   Vijayan gave the telephone to Parvathy.
                   "Have we taken a wrong decision?", asked Parvathy.
                   "Why do you say like like that?"
                   "30 seconds more", said the telephone incharge.
                   "Don't worry. I'm doing good here. Somethings have to be compromised in life. I don't have good education to earn more money. More money means quality life to our children. I have only 15 more seconds. Take care. God is with us."


The memories of his family made him uneasy. Ganesan took him to the beach nearby. The sound of waves gave him happiness. He heard a song running in the background. He turned towards that side and found a group of kids dancing together.

He wend towards there and he felt happy to see those kids. Vijayan's face came to his mind. Tears came out of his eyes.

                                 
Ganesan saw him crying and took him to the room.
                    "It hurts. It will. But it is not good to cry."
                    "When I saw those kids with their parents, I felt bad. Similarly Vijayan, that small kid will feel the same when he sees some kid with his father."
                     "I can understand. But things will be accustomed. It will."
                     "Parvathy is expecting a baby next month. I'm here. I will not be able to see my child for ten months. Will my child come to me after ten months? This life is not sweet for us."
                    "Sleep well. After you complete four years, you can go twice a year as well."

Next month after the call,
                    "Ganesan, God blessed us with a baby girl. She was born twenty days back. Do you know her name? Sivagami. "
                    "Very good."
                    "She is white as her mother."
                    "Very good. I'll go to your place on my vacation next month. I will take a photo of your child and bring it to you."
                    "Thanks Ganesan."

Few days after, Ganesan and Sivasamy went for shopping. He bought clothes for Vijayan and Sivagami. Ganesan went for the vacation and Sivasamy is the lone man in the room. He started to come out of sadness and took the life as it was. But he used to be upset for the two days after every monthly calls. He used to see the photograph of their children in those days.

The day came. Siavasamy's first vacation. He landed on Chennai airport. His wife and children came there to pick him up. Vijayan ran and hugged him. He took Sivagami and she smiled at him. He kissed her. The 30 days went like a minute. He started to pack the clothes. Vijayan came and stopped him.
                    "Dad. I will not allow you to pack the dress."
                    "Parvathy. Pack his dress as well."
                    "No, dad. We are not going anywhere. Let us be here in this home. I will not allow you to go out."
                    "Oh my son! Do you know what? I killed a lion right."
                    "Yes, In the jungle."
                    "I got a phone from the jungle. One more lion has come to the jungle and killing everyone over there. Should I go there and kill that lion?"
                    "Yes, Shall I come with you?"
                    "No. The lion doesn't like children. I will take you with me when you grow up."
                    "Okay."
Years passed by. The kids realised that their father was working in some other country for their welfare. One month a year visit became fifteen days in every six months. They wait for that fifteen days for being together with their father. The cellphones and internet made their once in a month calls, once in five days call.

June, 2005
                  "Two good news Ganesan."
                  "Good. Good."
                  "Vijayan scored 94 percent in Tenth exam. Sivagami attained puberty. I have to be there. But see."
                   "Don't start to cry again. Thirteen years are over."
                   "Why should I? Three more years, after my son joins college, I will head back to India. I will set up a departmental stores. Three flats and some sovereigns of gold. All I achieved. I need to spend some time with them. I will take Sivagami to school daily. I should have done this when she was in primary. But she can understand. And I will ask my son to ride his motorcycle and go with him for a long distance. No more Deira, Bur Dubai and Karama. Hereafter Mayavaram, departmental stores and time with my family."
                  "Great Sivasamy. I am proud of you. Will you give me a job in your department stores."
                  "(Laughs) With the amount you have saved, you can have your own. Infact two of them."

April, 2008
                "My last phone call from here. Last one. I will be with you all from now on."
                "So no more lion hunting, dad(Laughs)"
                "I know how bad you would have felt. Separation. It hurts. From being a kid, till now. Bad father I am."
                "No dad. You're always nice except for one thing. Now I am grown up. Eighteen years old. An Engineering student. I guess you will take me while you go for lion hunting."
                "The lions are back to Mayildauthurai(laughs). No more separations for lion hunting hereafter."
                "Okay dad. Safe journey. I'll be in Mayiladuthurai and I have to come back to Coimbatore for my semester exam. After the exam, let us do the hunting together."

At Mayiladuthurai,
                "Welcome home, Dad. Waiting to be with you for a long time. Atleast Vijayan was with you for two and a half continuous years.", said Sivagami.
                "Don't worry. Your dad will be with you forever."
                "Parvathy! You are a great woman. You have brought them up single handedly."
                "Dad", came Vijayan from inside.
                "Vijayan. Good my boy. When is your exams?"
                "Monday Dad. I'm starting to Coimbatore day after tomorrow. We have 40 days semester holidays. It is leave for Sivagami as well. Let us go somewhere together."
                "Sure,. Let us go for Ooty then."
                "The same place you took me when I was two and a half. (Both laugh)"

The day after Vijayan's first exam,
                "Vijayan! Call from home.", Murali gave the phone to Vijayan.
                "I usually used to say about the exam paper to her. Today I didn't. That is why she would have called."
                "Hello Mom today's exam is easy. I have done well."
                "Good.Vijayan (cries)! Your dad has met up with an accident and died. Start immediately."
                "Mom!"
                "Don't ask me anything. Come immediately.", she cut the phone.
   
Vijayan came towards Murali and said,
               "Bro! My dad is dead and I have to start immediately. I don't have time to inform warden. Please inform him."
               "Wait. I'm coming with you."
               "No Murali. Tomorrow we have exam. Please stay back. I'm leaving."

Vijayan went to his home. He was not able to see his father dead. He was back to college after the day of cremation for exams.
               "You came in single day.", asked Murali.
               "My dad said to my mom when he was in hospital to send me back(cries)"
               "Sorry Vijayan. Don't cry."
               "When I was kid, he used to say he went for lion hunting and it took a year to hunt and come back. He said the same still I went to my third standard. This time he went to hunt lion without informing me and this time the wild lion killed him."
             

After six years-now
                Vijayan is a semiconductor engineer in Bangalore. Parvathy takes care of Sivasamy departmental stores. Sivagami studies engineering in one of the colleges in Mayiladuthurai.