This is the post I had in my mind before I wrote FATHER’S DIKTAT. It is an incident which is over ten years old but is still fresh in my mind.
We had shifted to a locality which had mixed categories of houses. We were in a flat while at stones throw there were good bungalows. The residents were mostly upscale people. During my walks in the morning I used to see an elderly couple taking rounds of the park. I placed him to be about 5 years my senior which would make it 60. I learnt later that he was actually 66+ at that time. He was greeted by almost everyone of the locality and he had warm smile for each. After a few days we were introduced by a mutually known person. That is when I learnt that he was a retired senior officer from Government. They were originally from Gujarat but had settled here. Everyone addressed him Kaka and his wife Kaki. They had been in that locality for more than 15 years in their modest bungalow. They both were ever so helpful without any hesitations.
We started exchanging polite greetings whenever we met. They visited our house a few times and so did we but to find them home was difficult as they were mostly on call of helping someone or the other. Our relations were very warm but we did not ask any personal questions. Whatever information we had of each other was voluntary. However we shared a lot of common interests due to our keen passion for wellbeing of the society.
A couple of months after we were introduced a mutual friend came to our house in the evening stating that Kaka was in ICU of a hospital a little distance away and Kaki must be alone with him. I accompanied him to the hospital. On the way he filled me up with Kaka’s personal details.
They had two sons. Elder was in Army while second, younger by two years, went to USA for studies after science graduation as he was keen on becoming a research scientist. Both were married. Elder one liked a girl who was a fellow officer’s cousin and had come on holidays to place where he was posted. Her father was no more. Her mother was working in a private company taking care of her and son who was younger. They got married as Kaka and Kaki felt that happiness of the couple is more important than any other reason. Younger one was married to a girl of Indian parents who were second generation American citizens. So the girl was born and brought up in that nation. Kaka and Kaki went to USA for the wedding. Though it was traditional Indian wedding but had a lot of flavour of that country. They visited them again after a year or so. Their son wanted them to live there but Kaka did not agree as he saw that his brother in law who was married was living separately though his father had a fairly big house. He felt that their daughter in law who was working also would have different thinking. They however remained in touch. Kaka along with Kaki visited them twice again on birth of their daughter and son. They had visited India a couple of times only all these years. Exchange of e-mails and videos had been main source of contact apart from periodical calls.
Unfortunately elder son had died about 5 years ago in a freak motorcycle accident. His motorcycle skidded on loose rubble on a sharp turn and he suffered open chest injury due to sharp iron rods lying on the side which were to be put up in the road divider. He was conscious enough to call up his unit. He was picked up within short time and taken to hospital. There were broken ribs as well as shoulder. Doctors made all efforts to see that he recovers but he went into coma after four days as infection developed in open chest wound reached brain. He passed away two days after that. He was survived by his wife, a son of 2 years and daughter of 4 months. His wife did not get any pension as accident was not attributable to service but she received money from insurance, provident fund and gratuity. Kaka advised her to put that money in fixed deposit for making it grow as they would take care of her and children. But her mother made her move to her place putting her money in business with her younger brother. Kaka was unable to make her understand risk factors as her mother did not let her alone to discuss it. He kept in touch by making telephone calls but there was hardly any reciprocation. They visited her place on birthdays of their grandchildren and Diwali to give them gifts. In all this time she visited them only once or twice.
We reached hospital and found Kaki with another lady & two children. I learnt that she was their daughter in law with their grandchildren. Kaka was in operation theater. Few more persons from our locality had reached there. We all were saying silent prayers for his recovery. About an hour later he was wheeled out. The doctor told us that he is out of danger and will come out on anaesthetic affect in a few hours.
He was fit to be sent home in little over a week. During this period I made a visit on daily basis, at times alongwith the person with whom I went on first day. I found Kaki or their daughter in law there. Kaka was very liberal with praise when he introduced me to their daughter in law. During one of my visits a day or so before he was discharged their daughter in law told me as to what had happened.
For a couple of years all went well at her mother’s place. Her brother gave her money in return of her investment in his business. But gradually he started delaying it and stopped it totally in the past year or so. He stated losses in business as the reason. Her mother supported him. Being a graduate without any specialization she took up job of a receptionist in a medium sized company to ensure proper education of her children. She never told this to Kaka. However in the past 6 months she was forced to part with a large amount of her salary for household expenses. Matter came to boil a fortnight ago when her mother told her to withdraw her children from reputed school and admit them to government run school to save money for household. She refused and was told to make her own arrangements. She shifted out to a locality which was just a shade above slum. Kaka called her up as routine a couple of days after that. She broke down and told Kaka everything. Kaka told her that why did she shift to such place when her house is here. He alongwith Kaki went to her house to bring them home.
They had packed up their little belongings and put those in the car which was a little distance away. As they all settled down, there was a sudden shout by a lady. On looking up Kaka saw two persons on motorcycle had snatched that lady’s purse and were heading towards him. As they came abreast, Kaka shoved them. They stumbled and fell. Kaka caught hold of the one who was holding the purse. On seeing this his partner whipped out knife and lunged at Kaka, stabbing him on arm and side of waist. By now a large crowd had gathered and both culprits were caught by the mob who started beating them up. Their daughter in law made a call to Police on emergency number. A PCR van arrived within 15 minutes and took Kaka to hospital while leaving a constable to guard the offenders with help of some persons who volunteered. Kaki accompanied him in PCR van while daughter in law followed in Kaka’s car. On reaching hospital Kaki made call to the person who came to our house with this news.
Though we shifted out of that locality a year later, I am still in touch with Kaka. Their grandson is now in college while granddaughter is in 11th. Their daughter in law apart from running the house teaches underprivileged children as per Kaka’s wishes. The lower court convicted those culprits and their appeal is pending. However they still have scars and limp from the beating they received at the hands of crowd. Kaki is no more. She passed away two years ago. Kaka told that she went with her head in their grandson’s lap and a content smile on her face.