Ramesh and I were classmates in school during our final years. That time it was Higher Secondary , 10 + 1. Both the final examinations, for 10th as well as 11th , were conducted by University unlike CBSE now. Though after school we parted ways to go for whatever career we chose but remained in touch even when we were in different cities. No mobiles or internet e-mails but good old Inland letters through Postal Department. We met at least couple of times a year. After I retired and settled in Delhi we had opportunity to meet more often as he too is settled here. We live in different localities but that did not deter us for meeting at least once a week in club. Needless to say that we were together on special occasions in each family.
Like us they also have two children , elder being daughter and younger a son. Daughter was married about 14 years ago and went off to USA with her husband. She had just completed graduation then. She took up higher studies there and started working thereafter. They visited annually in the initial stages but later once they had children it became little infrequent due to their own commitments. Ramesh and his wife visited them a couple of times, last being about 4 years ago. They too like us believe in letting children have their own life without any interference but support as required.
Their son, Pawan, dilly dallied and consented to marry early last year. Ramesh had told him to let them know if he was keen on someone but the boy left it to parents to select. They found a girl from family with similar background. He insisted for son to meet the girl and decide. So Pawan and Disha met after office hours and spent an hour or so together in a Coffee House. They both consented. They got married in March last year. Of course, all of us attended the wedding.
A couple of months later I found Ramesh to be in a little pensive mood when we met in club. During third such meeting while we were sipping beer I asked him why he seemed lost in his thoughts. That is when he shared something which I least expected.
He told me that Disha was not yet settled down inspite of their best efforts. She had been told by him as well as Pawan before marriage that they all would be together as a family and she was most welcome as new member. She was advised that if she faced any difficulty she should not hesitate to share it. He told that she had been insisting for Pawan to move out and live independently. He added that her father seemed to be interfering as he also had told Ramesh a couple of times to let Pawan & Disha live at their own. He said that his reply was straightforward that it was upto Pawan to decide and they would not interfere. Pawan had categorically stated that he would not leave his parents. He said that this caused undue tension between the young couple which affected the harmony of the house. He said that he and his wife were keen to see Pawan & Disha happily settled. They were thinking how to ensure that without making any outward show of it. He asked me for advice. We discussed some ways including frank talk with her in presence of her father but ruled that out. Ultimately I told him to take his own decision after giving thought to every aspect.
A week later he told me that he had informed Pawan that their ancestral property at native place was likely to be usurped by tenants due to their neglect and their presence is a must to save it. So he with his wife would be moving there in a week or so. Though Pawan suggested that they make frequent visits there to oversee the property but he insisted to shift there for some time. So they moved to native place leaving Pawan and Disha independent in the house here. We went to see them off when they drove away. Pawan kept in touch with me on regular basis, calling up at least once a week. They also visited us at times.
After couple of weeks of shifting there, Ramesh started a remedial school. The idea was to keep children from underprivileged class, who mostly go to state run schools, interested in studies by revising what had been taught in school and help them to do home work. As per him a lot of such students are taken off studies by parents once they fail a couple of times and made to work. He charged a meager amount of Rs 20 pm from students but put such funds back into school by giving them stationary or books as well as snacks. His efforts are bearing fruit and they have a large number of students.
Disha is friendly with a young lady, Simi, in her office. She did not know that Simi stays in a housing complex close to ours and is known to us. Her father in law and I had been together in one of the organizations and keep in touch. Simi alongwith her husband and young son of 3 years are with his parents, my old colleague. It was only when Ramesh had confided his problem in me that I learnt the organization Disha worked in. So I requested Simi to keep an eye on her but without letting my name out. That is when she told me that Disha is already friendly with her and confides a lot in her. She told me that even before marriage Disha used to talk of having an independent life and used to wonder as to how did Simi stay with in laws. Simi said that she has been telling her that it is a boon to have elders with you as they are such a support in every way. On Disha’s saying that there would be so much of interference, she told that it is upto those involved to develop trust by mutual understanding and adjustments. She also told me that Disha’s father interferes a lot.
Last week Pawan told us that Disha is in family way and there are some complications. Doctor has advised her not to strain herself much. She wanted to shift to her parents place and wanted Pawan also to shift as she did not want to leave him alone. He refused. Then she asked her mother to be with her but she showed her inability as she did not want to leave husband and son alone. So now she wanted Ramesh and his wife to come back. Pawan had spoken to him but Ramesh showed reluctance due to his running remedial school. Pawan wanted me to persuade his father to come back.
What do you suggest Ramesh and his wife should do? Should they abandon students who are doing well in their respective schools and come back? It is felt that once Disha’s need is over she would again want them to go away.
In my opinion Ramesh may keep looking after school and visit on alternate week ends while his wife may come back to take care of Disha. I know it will be a strain on both of them.