Two Sons. Two Faces
Two Sons. Two Faces8 mins 218 8 mins 218
We often say “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Most of us believe in the inevitable law of karma which tells us that good begets good, and bad begets bad. All of us strive to do only good karma. This story about two sons of different parents goes against this philosophy and presents before us a unique dimension about the universal laws.
THE BAD PARENTS:
Vivek was born to poor parents, but it was not their fault that they were impoverished. His father worked as a hammal (one who engages in lifting heavy goods) in Pune and never had enough money to sustain his family. Vivek was his only son, but it made no difference to the family. As a child, Vivek would often find himself alone in the house. His father spent most of his time on the streets of Pune while his mother foraged for whatever she could gather for the day’s meal. Vivek often went hungry and had long stopped crying for attention, with no one around to listen to his cries. His father squandered his meagre earnings on alcohol and women of ill repute; his mother preferred to beg rather than work.
Vivek was regularly subjected to beating by his frustrated parents, and love and affection were alien to the child. As he grew, his father took Vivek along and made him do menial tasks where he worked. Vivek would wait out on the streets while his father spent long hours in the bar getting drunk. It was during these long waits that he got to visit the evening school near the bar.
Children and some young men gathered in the school for education. They were being tutored by a group of young girls whose hobby it was to teach poor children. It drew Vivek to education like a moth to the flame and began attending the classes.
When his father found him one day sitting in the school instead of waiting for him outside the bar, he got enraged and thrashed the boy mercilessly. Vivek was warned not to stray away from the bar. Despite this, Vivek continued to attend classes, ensuring that he did not get caught again. A fire was burning inside him to learn and get educated.
A few years later, Vivek realized that the evening school was no more adequate for his learning. He now desired to attend a proper school, and one day he asked his father to let him go to a proper school. His enraged father beat him till he was bruised all over and almost half-dead.
That night Vivek ran away from his home and parents, for they had nothing but hatred and violence to offer him. In the morning, the parents discovered that their only son had disappeared, never to return. After a few weak attempts to locate him, they gave up.
Seventeen long years rolled by and now Vivek’s parents were old and weak to work and sustain themselves. Vivek’s father suffered from multiple ailments and his mother could not care for him any longer. After Vivek’s disappearance, his father had blamed his mother for neglecting their son and began beating her regularly. There was no one who could take care of them and as each day passed they waited for their inevitable death and release from their misery.
One day the parents had a stranger visiting them. A tall and handsome man knocked and was staring curiously at them. Who was he and what did he want? The man looked around the room with sadness in his eyes. He looked at the couple and it was hard for him to acknowledge that they were his parents. His father, once virile and violent, was not even a pale shadow of himself. His mother too had transformed into a haggard old woman.
When Vivek told him he was their long-lost son, they could not believe it. They had all but forgotten that they had a child. But what surprised them most was why did he come to see them after seventeen years? After all that they had done to him?
Vivek asked them to pack up and come to stay with him in Mumbai. He was now a rich man and a practising Chartered Accountant. When his parents stepped into the large apartment in Bandra and witnessed the opulence, they could not contain their feelings and broke down in guilt and shame.
“Why?” his father asked finally. “Why are you doing this for us? All we gave you was humiliation and hatred.”
Vivek smiled and put his hands lovingly around his parents.
“No father. You are wrong. Had it not been for you, I would have never left the house. Had I remained there, I would not be here today.”
Vivek’s parents lived the rest of their lives with their son and his family. They were loved and respected, and when they eventually died, they died in peace.
The Chitle household is one of those families where positive energies radiated from wall to wall. Mr Chitle was a government employee, owned a small but well-equipped house in Pune, and was a God-fearing man. Mrs Chitle was religious, and she spent the best part of her day in the small temple inside her house, in front of pictures and idols of her Gods and Goddesses. She thanked them every day for making their lives so pleasant and bountiful. She thanked them for giving them a son, Vikas, and making it possible for them to nurture their son with kindness and love.
The Chitle couple was proud that their son was brilliant in studies and sports in equal measure. They felt elated when their relatives and neighbours admired them for giving Vikas excellent values. The Chitle’s felt the Gods blessed them to have a son like Vikas.
Vikas never felt wanting for anything. If he wanted something, he had only to tell his parents and they would provide without hesitation. His friends were jealous of him, for unlike their parents, Vikas’ parents gave him everything.
Vikas grew up into a handsome and strong-willed young man. He had his own dreams, aspirations and ambitions and was confident of fulfilling them all. His parents encouraged him to study whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted. So engrossed were they with their son that they hardly noticed that he thought only about himself? HIS dreams, HIS ambitions; that was all Vikas could think. That was his universe, and he was the sole master. There was no space for anyone there, not even his loving parents.
Vikas loved his parents as much as they loved him. They were giving him everything and asked for nothing from him. They wanted nothing from him. So it was that Vivek grew up taking all he wanted from his parents and giving nothing to them. They seemed perfectly happy with this. Their son was progressing and doing well. What else could they ask for?
The Chitles never realized that their loving son was drifting away from them into a space of his own, where he would not need his parents anymore. He was now less and less dependent on them, having gained the skills and means to gain all he wanted and more without them.
When Vikas went to London to work there, it thrilled his parents. Everyone around told them that their dreams would now come true. Their son would soon ask them to come to London and stay with them. Mr Chitle was anyway retired, and the couple had little to do now at home. The house felt empty and lifeless without Vikas. His absence haunted them, and they now longed for his return. London was thousands of miles away from Pune and they realized that their son had gone very far away from them, out of their reach.
They would eagerly wait for him to call. He did every week without fail in the beginning. Then Vikas called once in a month and then once in three months. Now, he barely called or spoke to his parents. He was a busy man with no time for his loving parents. Their friends would ask them every single day: “Did Vikas call?”. They would lie to their friends and tell them that their son had spoken to them.
The Chitles were puzzled about their son’s sudden transformation. Why had he stopped calling them? When will he come home? What is happening to him there? Their entire life revolved around their son and now their son was gone. Their life had stopped.
Years passed by. One day their son’s school friend, Prashant, visited the old and now ailing couple. He had stopped by to enquire about the Chitle’s and was shocked to see them looking quite ill.
“Uncle, Aunty. What happened? Are you not well?”
“ It's nothing. Old age and illness can’t help, can you?”
“Uncle, I was in London a few months ago and guess what? I ran into Vikas at a restaurant! I could not recognize him, but somehow he remembered and could identify me. He is a very rich man now. He took me to his palace-like house, and we had dinner together. His English wife is beautiful and so is his daughter, Nisha. We talked for hours about our school life, and I remembered how you would buy him the latest toys and books. We used to be jealous of you, and I would sometimes wish that I was also born in this house. He was talking fondly about the two of you.”
When Prashant left the old couple and stepped out of their house, his heart was heavy with sadness. He knew the truth about the Chitle’s and why they were so ill and depressed. He had indeed met Vikas in London and had dinner with him at his house. They spoke about the good old days and remembered friends. When Prashant asked Vikas about his parents, Vikas seemed reluctant to say anything. All he said was: “ My parents? Oh, they are fine. They are living their own life, and I am living mine here.”
The Chitle’s never told Prashant that their son did not talk to them anymore. Nor did they react to the news that Vikas had married in London and had a daughter. They said nothing, but Prashant could hear their loving hearts break into a thousand pieces. Where did they go wrong, he thought to himself?