At your tender age your parents and elders (who consider themselves grownups, and who rightly are) scream and shout at you for the tiniest of faults they find in you. They are at liberty to do so, and at times their screaming and shouting do make sense, however, at other times they simply don’t.
But most of the times, all they tend to do is nothing but exaggerate every little mistake you make, and at other times, they blame you for something that is not your fault at all, and as a consequence you, who are the victim, suffer the consequence, as victims always suffer consequences. You have the impulse to do something different, yet you hesitate to do any such thing, for you know you will be condemned for anything contrary to your elders wish. Their wishes are law for you. You learn to suppress your feelings, for if you do not you might as well be bulldozed by the ones capable of bulldozing you. You accept, though not at all inclined to accept, that the fault is yours.
Your parents send you to school, and then, as you grow older, seeing you willing to learn more, they send you to college, and in such a place your teachers not only teach you by sweet words, but also by screaming and shouting if need be. Question their methods and chances are you will be thrown out of the classroom.
You complain you don’t like the education system; you say you don’t want to learn like a parrot, but would prefer to think out of the box; you complain your betel-nut chewing lecturers are incompetent and that they don’t know or understand what they teach, and so on and so forth your complaints are never-ending, but to such complaints not a soul pays heed, because you complain to yourself, a monologue that is. You keep everything within you. You don’t want to be rusticated. Your parents are poor; they can’t afford to send to you to some Ivy League institutes. They are doing their best, they can’t do any better. Take it or leave it. Something is better than nothing, you take it.
Amidst the screaming and shouting you have now become an able-bodied young man. You think you need to earn money, you want to be independent and do something. You want your parents to be proud of you, you want to see them smiling. It is not just money that you care about, you want respect. Your parents have told you if you don’t study and do well in your exams you will not get a good job, or money, or respect. Your teachers have done their job and made you job-ready, they told you learn only to earn, but you didn’t quite agree, yet you agreed anyway.
Finally, you got a job. Though you didn’t get it easily, but your hardship is known only to you. Unknown phone numbers flash on your cell phone, the owners of such numbers claim to be your relatives, you don’t know if they really are, but not to be disrespectful you speak with them and be as polite as you can. They congratulate you for all your successes before finally coming to the point: they want money, and if possible accommodation with you in your flat, for they have made up their mind to move to the city where now you live. They fancied living in the city you live in, and doing things people in the city do, but due to the absence of a relative like yourself they had to put a halt to all their fancies. But, here you are, a messiah to your folk.
At office, your boss let you overwork, but pay nothing for the extra work done. Your boss is concerned about one thing and one thing only: revenue! That boss of yours is the most shrewd and selfish man you have ever come across. He is one brute of a man.
You slog and never raise your voice for things you don’t like, for such a rash act on your part will mean that you lose your job. You don’t want to lose this job. You need money for survival and, mind you, you have more mouth than one to feed. Jobs are not in plentiful in the market. No; you can’t risk losing your job. So you stay mum, and allow all your bosses, for you have more than one, to scream and shout at you for more numbers, for more revenue. Don’t achieve your targets (numbers) and your bosses, all of them, will bully you.
The job you do is not an easy job by any means. Job for a common man like you will never be easy; the easy jobs are reserved for different section of the society. Knowing the fact fully well you don’t grumble at the any of the inconveniences you face every day.
You are married. Your wife is beautiful. Yours was an arrange marriage, your parents fixed it for you; love marriage was not a kind of thing you ever succeeded at; don’t forget, every time you proposed to a girl, you always took no for an answer. You are such a man that no girl understood your feelings, or cared for you even a little. But, your beautiful wife cares for you and you are happy for the same, and you care for her. You truly love each other.
You fathered two children: Lion, you named your son, and Tigress, you called your daughter. Though, you could call them by different names, but being an animal lover you preferred the two names, at least you call them so at home. You do everything for Lion and Tigress, but as they grow in proportion of body, they taunt you for the lack of something or the other, and like the wild lion and tigress of the jungle they throw tantrums at you. You regret naming them Lion and Tigress.
You start aging. You have worked for 40 years. Your hair becomes partially grey, then white. You are not as agile as you were. You have put on weight; your children, when they pay you an occasional visit once a year or twice a year, complain that you are too healthy and you are slow and clumsy.
You want to enjoy retirement, alas, you being you can never enjoy; your life is meant for hurdles. Not a penny do your children give you; in your lifetime you never saved a penny, of course, circumstances never allowed you to save any. Your only saving grace is the money that comes from you pension fund.
The old man at the table (Photo credit: arartplatform)
Your wife left the world. Now, you wait; wait for perfect time to leave everything behind, escape the screaming and shouting, go away, far away from the maddening crowd. You want to fall asleep, not an ordinary sleep this time, but a sleep from which you never wish to awake.
Copyright © 2013 RAMU DAS