Having finished his bath Ganeshrao was putting his clothes on. White terycotton shirt and white stringed pyjama of the same cloth. From his movements his body seemed more tired than that of his normal fifty-year’s age. And why not, more than age he was harassed by various ailments like BP, Sugar and Acidity. He recollected…
When he was young he wore trousers and shirt …
That too, tucking in, at the beginning … very neat….
How changes take place slowly in human beings. …
And circumstances also have such great influence on them …
While Ganeshrao was hurrying to put on clothes and get ready, in the kitchen, his wife was unnecessarily banging vessels and cribbing aloud. …as usual…
“You are serving since 25 years … serving since so many years … and what did you earn? Not even casual acquaintances in the department. …This was such a nice taluqa place .. and we had our own house here … But they caught hold of you and flung you 70 kilometres away on transfer. .. In some god forsaken village… they thus got permanently rid of their headache …. I was telling you so many times --- true honesty is of no use. … Only honest people have to suffer like this, like us.
A sentence flashed in Ganeshrao’s mind.
Straight trees are cut first.
“Does it apply to me?”
“It does, to some extent.”
Whose quote is it?
From which book?
“I am unable to remember.”
“But it seems Chanakya has written something alike in our Sanskrit.”
His wife was continuing with her chattering.
“But who will listen to me? …Just because I am not much educated.
Common sense is always superior to bookish knowledge… But who is there to listen to me ….”
Ganeshrao could no more remain quiet. The mention of bookish knowledge had hurt him.
“Will you now stop grumbling for a while … I am getting ready to go there … Am I not going to the bungalow for that very purpose?”
annoyed, he said sharply.
“So, my talk seems nothing but grumbling to you…. Remember, all these years I have managed the household and taken care of you. .. Last time, had not my brother helped you, who knows, where you would have been rotting … in your job….
“Your brother only talks … He does not help … only makes tall claims.”
Ganeshrao was also now getting into a combat mood.
“Look. I am telling you once for all, you shall not say anything against my people,” his wife warned him.
“And if I do say something, what would you do? Will you leave me?”
“Hmm, that’s what you want, don’t you? If I leave you, you can go and get a brand new bride.”
Just then their son Vinya came out. At 25-26, he was heftily build and had a rugged face.
“Quiet …Shut up,” he shouted.
“Sala, these old-hags are making life impossible to live.”
At once, both fell silent.
What do we say to these today’s youngsters? …
He calls his parents ‘old-hags’.
But let it be, at least he addresses them with respect.
One should be thankful for these small mercies.
Their son, seething in anger, went in and again came out. Seeing that Ganeshrao was getting ready very slowly, he snapped,
“We are going to the bungalow, aren’t we?”
“Yes. I have almost finished”, Ganeshrao said pretending to hurry through.
‘And don’t just talk about your transfer... remember about my job, also. That is most important of all.”
“Yes,” Ganeshrao mumbled.
Vinya was all ready in his black T-shirt and black jeans.
“You are going to come in these clothes?”
“Yes, what’s wrong with them?”
“Why don’t you wear the dress you bought for Diwali? … The T-shirt and jeans may not look nice to meet those people in.”
“Will not look nice? Tell them that my son is always like this. And then this is today’s fashion.
“Don’t bother about my clothes and looks. Just take care of how to talk to them and what to tell them, that’s enough.”
Ganeshrao did not reply. He just waved his hand in the air as if to say, “Now what do I say to him?”
(to be contd.)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote