Hrushikesh’s Hope12 mins 591 12 mins 591
Hrushikesh usually cannot sleep in train. He feels as if train passes very fast in night with his flash back memories rapidly, passing. When Biswaranjan was a small boy, he had a lot of likings, he used to enjoy village theater, opera watching and awaking whole night in village. Hrushikesh could carry his son ‘Bisu’ on his shoulder and walked miles and miles away to distant villages for jatra and melas, now also he can carry the load of his grandson on his shoulder. Now his son Biswaranjan has no time for his parents, at least to write a letter for his mother also. As in remote village, people do not get proper phone line so, they wait eagerly for the post man, bringing any message of their near and dear one. Hrushikesh was not alone in the compartment. He got a friend in the mean time, his name is ‘Ayodhya Dash’, from Balungaon. Hrushikesh got up from Berhampur. Ayodhya Dash had been visiting Bombay several times to her daughter's house. Her daughter has been staying in Mumbai since a long time back, but, Hrushikesh Pradhan is visiting Mumbai for the first time.
Ayodhya Dash asked, "What job is your son doing?" Yes, Hrushikesh was waiting for such question, he answered immediately and proudly, "My son is a senior manager in Crompton Greaves Company, very reputed one. He has got a big flat and company vehicle, other so many facilities also. Transport, house furnitures, canteen, many facilities are provided to him. Company has provided all essential things."
Now Ayodhya Dash said interrogatively, "Then I think, you may stay for a long time happily with your son in Bombay metro city." Hrushikesh laughed in reply as he did not know the correct strategy of his position, relation with his son now. He has come to discover that.
"Yes I have come for my grandson’s birthday party. I must spend some days with them but my wife ‘Suruchi’ did not come; she is alone in village now," he said proudly.
"Why did not she come?" asked Ayodhya Dash. Immediately Hrushikesh Pradhan said, "Oh, she does not like crowd, fast Bombay life, very fast life. She said,'Oh you are proud of your son, he is in great post, great job, so you go there. I am happy in my village, what shall I see in Bombay? Only crowd, a crowd of human beings, trains, buses, traffic jam, nothing else. All remain busy in their day-today life, no one has time to gossip there, care for other there , our place is good I am happy here, if my son wants, he can come and visit me in my village. Why should I visit him?’" Then both friends started laughing on this comment.
After some time both friends felt tired, they had their night dinner in train only, they could not like the dinner but were forced to eat as there was no alternative for them. They ate chilly, hot sambar and rice. "Next time I will bring food from my house getting all packed," Hrushikesh said. Already one day two nights have been passed, still they have not reached at their destination in Mumbai. They are expecting that early morning they will reach in Bombay. Now two friends said good bye to each other, they wanted to sleep, they checked their luggage’s properly, they kept their money in secret purse which, they again kept in their hand bags for more security and safety, keeping their hand bags in a very secured place, down their pillows, but, Hrushikesh could not sleep properly as he was expecting some imaginary fear of theft and awkward incident. Super-fast train is going faster now at night, day time it runs like bus stops in every station. Now it is running faster as if the past time is running very fast in Hrushikesh's memory, all childhood days of his son, along with his own youth time, appearing in his memory and mind as the flash back picture, a beautiful movie type.
Early morning two friends reached at their destination in the sea of crowd, Hrushikesh did not move from his seat, because his son said, he would come to pick up him. After a long time of waiting, Biswaranjan arrived there. He picked up his father from the crowd. Both friends said good bye to each other, they promised, they would definitely meet in Odisha and left for their destiny then. Hrushikesh was scared of seeing the condition of local trains in Bombay, how passengers are getting into the trains and getting down from the trains, the train just halts for five minutes in each station. It is just like the magnetic force; thousands of people go inside the train and come out of the train within five minutes as if the luggages are thrown in to the luggage compartment.
After reaching at home, Hrushikesh was very happy that her daughter-in-law has taken a official leave for him but, after ten minutes this wrong notion vanished when Nisha said, "Daddy you take rest, I am going to pick up Printo from his school and," Suddenly interrupted in the middle by Hrushikesh, "What? Will you go by local train?"
"No, no, by local bus. Do not worry, the maid will take care of you, she will serve the food, then bye, see you again in the evening," said Nisha. As soon as Printo reached at the home, he saw his grand father, he was very happy that today some one is waiting for him to greet him at home after a long time. Hrushikesh was extremely glad by getting his grand son after a long time of departure. He said, so many stories to his grandson, stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata.
Printo knew only the stories of Donald duck, Mickey-Mouse, Moogly and Spiderman all cartoon characters of the television serials. Like this some days passed happily. Then slowly, slowly Hrushikesh felt boring. In the morning, all used to go to their respective destination bidding goodbye to each other. Only Hrushikesh stayed alone at home. He felt lonely staying like a non-living statue of the house. The house was very small but was considered as a big house in comparison to Bombay. Wooden furnitures looked good with glamorous glass fitting. Some statues, show pieces looked marvelous in the drawing room, decorating the show of the drawing room.
Many days passed away but, Biswaranjan never got time to spend with his father. He never found time for gossip, enquiring good and bad of the family, village and village people where, he has been brought up, where he spent his all good and bad memories, his past child hood. Daughter-in-law, Nisha was staying always busy with her friends, gossiping over phone hour and hour. As many things as she was enquiring about other families, other lives, if she could have bothered a little time about her family, would be really make it worthful and precious of her time, making a more strong relationship with her husband and son. But no, she was taking interest in other lives.
She was very conscious of her father in-law's health so, she used to calculate the calories in his food. She had made a diet chart for Hrushikesh how much he works that much he must consume the food, more if he eats, it will be stored as extra fat, which will create health problem in his old age, so she was more concerned, extra conscious of his health taking reading of the calories in his diets. She used to do microwave cooking, all boiled, steaming food with less spices and oil, even fish, chicken she started cooking in oven. Hrushikesh could not be able to eat boiled fishes instead of fried fishes in oil. He was thinking it is better not to eat fish, which was his most favourite dish, almost he had given up eating all delicious dishes like fish, chicken, pakoda, samosha all delicious dishes. Cheese, oil, ghee, butter were banned in the recipes as if they were poison for Hrushikesh Pradhan.
Hrushikesh’s grandson Printo’s birthday, the most desirable day also passed away for which auspicious holy day he had come to such a big metro city. What a bad experience he had on that day, it was better that Suruchi had not come. If she would have been here, then must have insisted for a small puja or would go to temple for ‘satyanarayana puja’ observing a small holy ceremony of ‘hymn, jagyan or havan’. Printo’s parents do not believe in such puja. As Hrushikesh knows her daughter-in-law ‘Nisha’ is a modern type of lady, she considers all these things as superstitions. God has no role in making the life, fate and future of a child. They think, it is the parents who make the lives of their children, human beings not God, can make and change the destiny of any one’s life.
Hrushikesh thought the rituals or puja is related with spirituality, definitely makes a child morally and psychologically strong but, this advanced modern generation makes humans morally weak, human beings spoil their lives going to astray developing the habits of alcoholic and drugs the more sophisticated modern culture or false ego and vanity, the tradition of party culture. Mr Biswaranjan kept a small party in his house for the occasion of his son’s birthday, there Printo was instructed to sit in the party till all the guests say good night, goodbye and leave the place. All the guests had hold glass of wine in their hands. Hrushikesh’s daughter-in-law Nisha had worn a garget white dress exhibiting nudeness of her body shamelessly which she thinks as the modern culture. Printo was surrounded by all gifts like elephant, horses, aeroplanes and spiderman. Hrushikesh felt like to bring his grandson to other room with him from that crowded place but he was scared of his son if his son would scold him as an old foolish father has come from a village, who does not know the high class sophisticated modern society and modern culture. Already Biswaranjan had lost his village old fashioned life style adopting the ultra modern life style, again he was drunken loosing his sense, so, Hrushikesh did not dare to say any thing to his son only stood as a helpless person in such high class aristocratic party.
While returning from his son’s house after a long stay, Hrushikesh was feeling sad, his daughter-in-law packed food for him, some stuff of boiled vegetables of very low calories without spices and oil, some chapattis with it. His son gave a bundle of cash money in a purse to his father, Hrushikesh could not accept it. He returned the money, price of his love, in the name of blood relationship to his son. While coming back his grandson cried, enquired, "When will you come grandpa [dada ji] again, while coming must bring grandma with you, I am missing her too." Hrushikesh felt very restless on the way, he was very sad, could not feel like to eat; he just gave the food to the beggars boys who were begging him food.
Suruchi was really happy seeing her husband returned from Bombay to the small interior village. Hrushikesh also felt happy in his small thatched, cottage house, village house, he laid down on his bed to take rest for some time. He could see the sun setting behind the coconut trees, very light shading of sun rays falling on the earth with beautiful shining color but darkness was following the sun rays as sun is going to set in the horizon behind the blue screen of sky like the old age of his life too. He was imagining his Biswaranjan has come with his daughter-in-law to meet his mother as he has been hungry from a long time back to eat the delicious food from her mother’s hands. Her mother used to cook for him pure village food fresh mung dal, curd brinjal, fresh small fish with mustard paste, coconut chutney, spinach with mixed vegetable kurma, dosa and idly, yes he is always crazy for her mother’s food, he will definitely come back to his village.
Yes, Hrushikesh was imagining the day dream, he will be carrying his grandson on his shoulder to the vast paddy field, coconut field the empire of his ancestor’s property which he has been taking care of alone since a long time, now he will be relaxed from all responsibilities once his son comes to the village to supervise the fields, yes his grandson is very clever he will not fall down from the high level height of verandah, he can run, play very tactfully, as he is the ancestor of Hrushikesh Chowdhury, the landlord’s grandson. Suddenly, Hrushikesh face became pale in agony of loosing his son, he thought, if he would die without seeing his son, he visualized the situation, his son would be crying near his bed, begging excuse to his soul saying ‘Dad, forgive me, forgive me, I am your culprit, you were unhappy, angry with me while coming from Bombay, you were very unhappy disappointed mother said, yes I am your useless son, I broke your dreams, smashed the dream of Taj house by modern civilization in to pieces’.
‘I could not reach up to your hope, expectation, forgive me dad, I am the richest person but today I am feeling so helpless, what is the use of my money if it was not used for my dad if, I could not use for the well-being, treatment of my father, my father died seeing my way,’ Hrushikesh cried, tears rolled down from his eyes, the flood of tears will drown, wash away the modern civilization, modern society in his tears. Now he repented again for his mistake he thought, he must excuse his son and excuse now, as his son has cried a lot and repented a lot for him even if, he has not repented, he would repent and realize in future so, he must forgive him before his death. He was ready to go out. Suruchi asked, "Where are you going?" He said, "I am going to give a phone call to my son, he must be worrying for me." Suruchi could understand the mental agony, worries of his husband. Though she understood but, did not express her feelings rather she said, "Oh my son will do one responsibility for me, he will give fire to my body after my death, as son has right to burn fire on his mother’s dead body so, he has the right to do so, but bit her tongue ‘Oh what a wrong thing she is telling’."