Father Returns by Emmadi Srinivas Rao SignUp
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Father Returns
by Dr. Emmadi Srinivas Rao Bookmark and Share

An unwitting and an unlooked-for wake up………

A transit of blink and perplexity ensued for a few minutes. A feeling of awe and alarm ………

A stare at dark surroundings………...

Blinking eyes turned towards the clock showing 3 am.

Is what I glimpsed real or a dream? ………………..

Do dreams come true? Let hope reign supreme that it won’t happen. Some think that dreams hold a mirror to reality. Some others contradict with this. I was driven away into introspection. I rolled to both the sides, still lying on the bed and unable to come to terms with what I witnessed during sleep. Had it been of excitement sort, I would have slipped into sleep. But it was something gloomy. I thought a glass of water would take me back to sleep. But I was wrong. I failed.

I did not venture to disturb my wife who was deep into sleep. I was overshadowed by a sense of serenity and solemnity. Tears rolled down my cheeks with the gravity of having involved in a real situation. All other thoughts were overshadowed by this dream. I was overwhelmed with his thoughts. An eerie silence gripped my mind. How grief-stricken I was!

How hard it was to discover the passage of time! One awful dream, and nothing else, subdued my thoughts. Slowly I slipped into a couple of hours of sleep.

It is said that dreams vanish after waking up. But I was wrong. As day dawned, I focused on my usual tasks of the day with a half-hearted will. But the dreadful dream kept haunting me and my mind was preoccupied with it through the day.

I went down the memory lane. Innumerable layers of memories, both gloomy and exciting.

Stream of memories ……….

The day I bade adieu at the railway station and ………

I still remember my visit to Hyderabad along with my ailing father to consult a doctor………, for multiple ailments, of course.

‘It was getting dark. The clock showed 6.30 pm. A slight drizzle outside led us feel a bit chill. Secunderabad bound Howrah Express was about to reach the destination. It was 4 hours since we had boarded the train at Bauddanagar. I woke my father up who was relaxing on berth no.45 in S 6 coach.

“We are about to reach our destination. We should get ready to part,” I alerted him.

He groaned, “How long do I survive with this ill-health? Should ill-health affect me alone? What harm have I done to others?

I am sure I have never troubled anyone in my life. Beguiling was unknown to me though I had adequate opportunities with the gullible. Though they were unaware of the weights and measures used in our groceries shop, not even an iota of dishonesty cropped up in my mind. I never swerved from the path of correctness.

He moaned in pain reciting ‘Rama Rama, an ardent follower of Him till his last breath.’ His usual worship towards the Gods lasted for at least half an hour a day after his bath.

“Nothing to grieve, dad. Normalcy is going to ensue in all affairs. It is a matter of time. We are consulting a noted doctor. His services are known across the state. He is said to have given a smooth exit even to the most complex cases. He has been a consultant of your favourite actor, Rama Rao,” said I, in a soothing tone.

The train halted at the station.

“Vinod, let’s take the luggage on to the platform,” I alerted. “OK,” said he.

Both of us held father with our hands and led him to the platform. There was a lot of hustle and bustle on the platform as passengers were emerging out of the compartments like ants from holes.

“Do you want cooli, sir?” came rushing four or five draped in red. “Initially, we want a wheel-chair for our father.” A wheelchair was brought in a few minutes. We were led out of the station.

The groan of our father made us realize that he would not be able to tread.

“What shall we do? He is not able to walk even a foot. We have to go to a lodge,” said Vinod.

“It’s not much distance, of course ……… but, when body is not in consonance with mind, even an inch stretches to a kilometer or even more,” said I.

Now the need of the hour is to move out of the station and rush to the nearest lodge.

“Shall we stay in Padmaja lodge? It seems to be very near to the station. We can lift our father and go there easily.” Tomorrow we can move with ease to Sai Hospital at the appointed time.

Both of us lifted our father and reached the lodge without much discomfort or effort. I brought rotis for my father. He ate them and swallowed the regular tablets to be taken for diabetes and went to sleep. Both of us went to the food section and had food of our interest. We came back to the room and found that the father was comfortably slept. Since it was a strange place, it took some time for us to go to sleep.

We were engaged in a conversation. Various issues poured in.

“I wonder how philosophical he is. Notwithstanding his illiteracy, he talks about many issues. He often talks about the value of time ……… money ……… and relations,” said I.

I remember what he often says, “Money earned may be lost but, values remain forever. Ships turn to bullock carts and vice versa. It’s all a matter of time.” His citing of various instances during usual conversations is a common phenomenon.

His concern for the servants is also remarkable. He seeks pleasure in sharing, whether it be joy or sorrow or food. The number of times he assisted them in times of turmoil is beyond count.

“He is an illiterate but, is aware of many things. For every problem he relates to fate and Karma as often quoted by Lord Krishna. He is worldly wise. He is taught by nature and bitter experiences. His keen observation also added,” I think.

I was reminded of my cozy association with him, may be perhaps, five years ago. We were here to grace an occasion, a betrothal ceremony. It is of our elder sister’s, at RTC Crosss Roads. I suggested an auto, but he declined. We had to walk from Secunderabad to RTC Cross Roads which was no less than 5 kms.

He said, “I am used to walk to the fields every day. Have I ever gone in a bullock cart, though it was within our reach?”

Our father was thrilled to stare at the skyscrapers while walking. He loved to witness such tall buildings.

His attention was suddenly drawn towards an old man standing on the pavement. Mercy overflowed from his heart. Without a second’s wait he asked me to offer him ten rupees. I was a bit shocked. The little amount we brought to Hyderabad to meet the hospital expenses was borrowed from Ranga Rao. We are yet to get financially potential.

See, how health plays truant with human lives. Sometimes, I go suspicious whether it is self-invited or destined. Some say, it’s our own, on account of our food habits. But I disagree with them. If that is true, Kishore, a health conscious relative of our own would not have passed away in the prime of his youth.

Our father often cites. “It is all Karma. What is destined will happen. It is not in our hands.”

Engrossed in such talk, we slipped into sleep………

As usually father woke up early in the morning and started his usual conversation on the goings on in the village.

He seeks immense pleasure in talking about families and relationships. He quoted only good qualities in others. He seeks delight in the company of relatives.

How long their talks used to last………!

It was a feast to his ears and mouth…………….

He loved to continue in the same vein but, I reminded the appointment of the doctor.

Our scheduled appointment with the doctor made us get ready at a brisk pace………;

We were at the hospital at the appointed time. All tests were done in an hour or two. The reports were ready.

The doctor said, “It is a matter of diabetes coupled with aging factor. He will be alright. What he needs is hygienic food and mental peace.”

We rushed to the Pharmacy and took the whole medicines prescribed. A hired auto dropped us at the Railway station in an hour. I appealed to my father to stick to the advice of the doctor.

He responded in the regular tone, “Life is a journey. Fate determines everything. We are what we are destined to be. Nobody can evade destiny. What is already destined will certainly take place. Time heals all woes. We are such stuff as lives are made of.”

He turned philosophical………

I took leave from them as I had to attend to duty as scheduled. Tears streamed down my cheeks while parting them.

I was back to duty in the college. As usual, a hectic academic schedule ………. Five days passed.

I received a heartbreaking telegram. This dropped us at the native place. It was three days since my father breathed his last.

……… a heart stroke………. They said.

My parting at the railway station was the last glimpse of him. I was dismal. My woe was unconquerable. Known and unknown people were pouring in. My deep distress made me languish and remain speechless. I failed to combat my gloom. Emotions and memories overshadowed all other thoughts.

Clock knew nothing except moving and actuating, leaving behind us many untold and indelible impressions. Twelve days elapsed in the company of the whole members of the family. All talks streamed to one, about him only.

People say, “such a noble man …….. a rarity nowadays. Skirmishes are unknown to him.”

I introspected, “Perhaps this is the root of reverence one gains in others’ hearts. Neither wealth nor positions, as father used to quote, brings honour and dignity.”

“The thought of meddling in other people’s affairs had never crept into his mind.”

His words on a series of occasions ring fresh in my memory, “sometimes, trifles will widen the gap between people and families. All years put together fail to bridge the gap. A harmonious accord ascertains bliss. Conformity to chord is a reprieve to all ill-thoughts. This will make all the difference in building relations.”

Finally, after fifteen days of stay together, the day arrived for our parting to our own respective abodes. Our elder brother who was in the forefront and instrumental in performing all the rituals responded, with tears strolling down his face, “I wish, something memorable must be done to keep his ideals and memories fresh and alive. Only then his soul will rest in peace. Let’s all collectively take a decision to pursue in the same vein.”

A horde of proposals emerged and a cordial discussion followed. Each had its own valid point and could not be denied. Opinions vary but, a unanimous consent was waited for a fruitful one.

‘I think, a Charitable Trust in his name will serve the purpose. We can render services through the Trust,’ said he.

“It is a wonderful idea. But, a statue of his, if erected, will add a feather to his cherished values,” echoed others.

The proposal received commendation from all. We resolved to have a get-together of the whole family members and reap the harvest of the proposal by next Dussarah festival and pay rich tributes to him.

It has been thirty years since he left us. Though we still feel the pangs of his physical absence, we are blessed that his words keep ringing in our ears sending messages of lore and get convinced that he has been with us in his good deeds and legacy.

As Dr.Stephen R Covey avers, “We can give only two things to our posterity: wings and roots.”

From this perspective he gave us everything. Since then all of us make the best use of every opportunity to interact and discuss various issues with one another. If needed, suggestions and assistance of any sort follow. We also have a family reunion once a year on Dusserah and share the joys and sorrows. None of us like to skip however far we are placed and whatever we are preoccupied with. We never feel it as an achievement of any one of us, but a legacy bequeathed to us by our father, who, with his unassuming style of life taught us everything that we need to learn.

“Each generation is a nation,” says a great man.

But each generation can lend its shoulders to its children and help them achieve more and more, and see beyond the horizon, become blessed souls in the service of humanity. Had my father been alive, either he could have taught this to his grandchildren or they could have learnt on their own through being with.

“Aano bhadrah krathavo yanthu vishvatah” – says Rigveda (May noble thoughts come to us from every side.)

If this humble piece of mine can inspire anyone, I will be the happiest soul.

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01-Oct-2022
More by :  Dr. Emmadi Srinivas Rao
 
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