Saturday, 28 September 2019

Cheers to the Fathers!

I am a fan of rains. The smell of it and its overall feel always seem surreal. The leaves look greener and everything looks cleaner. Growing up in Kerala also proved that rainy day is just like any other day. Everything would to be business as usual as long as there is umbrella, raincoat and rainy shoes! The recent flood stories proves it otherwise though.

However, Bangalore made me realize something different altogether. A few drizzles here and there is just enough for routine life to come a standstill. The roads would suddenly get welled up and the already crazy traffic would get madder. Needless to say, commute becomes challenging.

A month before when the rain God decided to pour His choicest blessings on Bangalore (When Kerala was already in red/orange alerts), I had to go to the dentist.  I couldn’t work from home because I just couldn’t! Let’s not get into nitty-gritties, alright. So, the optimist in me decided that all is well and I could leave early from office and still go to the dentist. You know the Universe understands. It knows what your priorities are and the immediate requirements. The moment I tried to book Ola, in the very first attempt, I got confirmation. Well, booking and getting a positive response from Ola/Uber in the first attempt gives the same adrenaline rush as clearing the CA in first attempt (or any attempt for that matter) or successfully booking tatkal from the totally unreliable and inconsistent IRCTC.

Hiding the excitement and with a spring in the step, I rushed to get into the cab. It was just 4PM and my appointment was ONLY at 6PM; a good two hours seemed to be perfect to cover the 13KMS. NO, I AM NOT EXAGGERATING!

Listening to my favorite songs, I relaxed and closed my eyes to give them some break! After few songs, I opened my eyes, peered out of the window and noticed that we have reached nowhere close to the dentist yet; maybe still 8KMS away. I sighed and observed the damp roads and droplets across the snail-paced vehicles and those riding two-wheelers either drenched or geared up in raincoats! That’s when I realized that the other part of Bangalore was actually raining, a contrast to the world from where I dreamily climbed into the cab. My watch unapologetically showed that it is 5:30PM already!!! A quick mental calculation made me decide that I would reach the dentist place around 6:30PM. I called the dentist and let them know that I would be late. The doctor was around and she said that she would be around till 7PM and I could take my time and that she understands! Of course, who doesn’t?

The driver noticed my visible irritation and inadvertently had already overheard my conversation with the dentist. He asked, “It’s a bad day. It’s raining!” His English was impeccable and his smile was contagious. I observed that he should be in his early fifties and though he said it’s a bad day, he looked quite calm and composed.

“So are you an engineer?” he asked. I said, “No-No. I am a Chartered Accountant”. Immediately, I also wondered if he would understand what my academics are. I mean not everyone understands who a Chartered Accountant is. And if I say “CA”, people would assume I am doing something related to Computers! I mean, we all do something or the other with Computers, of course! To my surprise, he said, “So Finance?” he asked. “Not really. Audit”, I interjected.

“Basically I am BA - English and a B.Ed. I was working as a teacher in school. But they paid only 2.5K per month. I used to struggle to make my ends meet. When one of my college friends left his job and decided to take up his father’s travel business, I also pitched in. That’s how I held the car steering. Since that life has been a smooth ride!” he humored.

I was at loss of words. The crooked tricks of life always amuses me. We all have dreams, don’t we? But, how many of us are able to make those dreams come true? Rather, how many of our dreams come true? Sometimes, it’s better to transform our reality into our dream and make it big. That’s the true essence of life, isn’t it?

“Anyways”, he continued, “God has been kind to me and to my family. My daughter is now studying Medicines. And the best part is I pay around 3K per semester towards her education” he added. I could clearly see the pride in his eyes.

“That’s amazing”, I said and truly meant it. When good things happen, they just happen. And these good things have an innate ability to cheer the loved ones and inspires them to hold life’s anchor more firm.

“Yes, it is amazing”, he chimed. “My only child, my daughter, was a state topper in her SSLC and then a state rank holder in her higher secondary. With great merits, now she is studying medicines”, he added.

Although I was lost in the fairytale-like story for some time. I suddenly realized that the whole purpose of sitting in the cab was to go to the dentist. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was already 6:30PM. So I called the dentist again because Google maps and my observation indicated that I would need another thirty minutes. The doctor was gracious and said that she would wait for me. Yet, she warned, “It’s raining heavily and I have to go back home”. Of course, me too. Who would fancy to be stuck in rain!

The cheery driver, unmindful of my frustration continued his story.

“I lost my younger sister few years before. I was just married at that time. My wife never batted her eyes when I shared my thought of bringing my sister’s children home and taking care of them. She had two very young children. I wanted them to study well too. But, they were unfortunately, not very good at studies. So, I ensured that her son co-manage our travel agency and when we got a good match for her daughter, we married her off. After dropping you, I shall go to her place for dinner. She is a well-behaved kid and now is an expecting mother also”, he said.

In the middle of all the rain and chaos that I was in, his story was really heartwarming. It was filled with warmth and positive vibes. I couldn’t control that little smile and envisaged into a dreamy world where everyone is good and everything is good. A world far away from the cruelty, sadness, deceit and negativity.

I glanced at my watch again and saw that it was 6:55PM. I also realized that I was just a few meters away from the dentist’s clinic. The rain had reduced to few drizzles and the cool breeze only added to the light mood that I was in.

“You have arrived”, announced the lady’s voice through Google maps. I jumped out of the cab while also adding, “Glad that I met you. I am sure your daughter will make you and your family proud”.

I rushed into the clinic and the receptionist gave an exasperated look to me. I knew instantly that I am going to be privy of some horrible news. “The doctor waited for you till now. And just left”, she mumbled regretfully. “She had to go home”, she added as if I wouldn’t understand. I glanced at the watch and it was 7:05PM.

I wished the doctor called me to check where I had reached before leaving. I wished she could have been more straightforward and had just asked me not come if I couldn’t be punctual for the appointment in the first place. I wished it didn’t rain. I felt betrayed and exhausted at the same time. And I was angry too. The mere thought of another long journey back home irritated me. The receptionist telephoned the doctor and she apologized. What could an apology do?

I, thankfully, got another Ola. This time, since the rain had stopped, I reached back home within 40 minutes (It’s still the same 13KMS, mind you). The driver was focused on the roads and never uttered a word. And I was too exhausted to even listen to any music. Yet, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the beautiful story that I had just heard. It inspired me.

Actually, it inspired me so much that after several months Locomente managed to write as much as 1400 words. Whoohoo!!

Cheers to that girl who is studying medicines. Cheers to the man who stands tall as a great father; same as my own! If not for fathers, no daughters could near the gates of empowerment. Only through the undeterred support from the fathers can daughters learn to dream and eventually realize them!

Locomente dedicates this post to all the great fathers who live on the face of this planet or beyond!

1 comment:

  1. An excellent piece and very well written.Doting and aspiring fathers are aplenty but such a compassionate uncle(mama) is hard to come by.Keep writing regularly.