The mass of humanity had a life of its own. All individuals had fused into one mass that moved across from one point to another. Amidst all that, Namdeo noticed a father and son walk hand in hand. It seemed incongruous in the circumstances. The boy must have been just about six years old and was clad in school uniform. The school bag and a water bottle were slung over the father’s shoulder. They were in an intense conversation mode. The father was trying to convince the boy the importance of going to school and getting an education. The boy was absorbingly listening to the golden words from his apparent role model – his father.
This scene transported Namdeo to his own childhood when he had to fight for the opportunity to go to school and how his father had refused permission calling it a waste of valuable time which could be used to generate some additional income. But it was Namdeo’s persistence and the timely intervention of the local social worker that had led to the changing of his father’s thinking. He not only let Namdeo go to school but also supported all his academic ventures which required additional financial resources by working extra hours to ensure that Namdeo could study all he wanted and make not only the family but also the village proud. This, Namdeo felt, had its downside too, as his father had got so busy in making that additional money for his education that he hardly had any time to spend with him. He had started writing plays and articles while in school, for the local newspaper which paid him a pittance but gained him a standing in the local populace. In the bargain, he lost all meaningful communication with his father who would leave home before Namdeo woke up and returned when Namdeo was asleep. There were times when he would catch his father staring intently at him and it would make him uncomfortable and he would turn his back on him or get up and walk away. Never had he bothered to delve into his father’s feelings for him. Strangely, it had never occurred to Namdeo the famous playwright of social problems that his father missed spending quality time with him. And his father was too old fashioned to express his love for him in any other way than working hard to bring in that additional rupee for him. Before long, he had finished his school and then acquired a post graduate degree in Marathi literature.
Today was the day that people in the urban world celebrated as ‘Father’s day’. He saw posters announcing this on huge hoardings and exhorting children to do that extra something for their fathers. Namdeo’s eyes moistened at the thought and how he wished that such days existed in villages too where expression of love was so understated that one lived a life time without even thanking one’s parents apart from the routine ‘feet touching’.
Namdeo looked up and wished his ‘Pappa’ in heaven ‘Happy Father’s Day’. Better late than never. His father would understand as he always did. Namdeo swallowed his tears and felt a sense of happiness that had evaded him for a long time.
This post is dedicated to the Tribute to Dad contest at Blogadda sponsored by Pringoo