Saturday, September 17, 2011

'Tis a Father-Son thing.

  'Tis a Father-Son thing.

My Mother shouted for the twenty-second time from the living room."We are waiting for you.Can't serve each time someone turns now..he next..."She was referring to my brother who was behind the closed doors of his room.I quickly(unwillingly though) closed the chat window on FB and signed out.My mind was still on that latest compliment I had given to...well never mind.

The scene was ever the same.My Mother was there:half tired,half exasperated.She could
soon be placated-a heartfelt compliment on the sambhar would do the trick.I had to focus my energy on Father now.He sat there with his lips pursed,trying to control an outburst of rage.He controlled it everyday-but it didn't spare us from going through those tense moments before dinner each day.Let us say it was a ritual.It was no different today.I always wondered why we had to have dinner together...but then we had to."It is the rule"Father had declared long ago.And of course we had to follow!!

Presently my Brother came and sat next to me.He has this-well-nasty habit of sort of impulsively shaking his legs too often.I did not find it particularly annoying.But then Father doesn't approve of it at all. Mother's eyes went all expressive when she hinted my brother should stop but  to no avail.
She had just served some delicious looking sambhar when Father said,irritated "Stop that!How many times to tell you....that is something downright arrogant."All of us now knew where this was heading.
"You do that in front of an interviewer and he will throw you out before you introduce yourself"he continued,halfway between irritation and anger.His gaze was on me now.It was sort of a reminder that I was sitting jobless at home,after graduation.I brought him up-to-date on my latest efforts to get a decent job.
"You can't always wait for a decent job...go do whatever you get!! You should never be a burden to your parents after 21.."He repeated stories from his childhood when he had been forced to do all sort of odd jobs to make ends meet."We carried dry wood on our backs for 4 Annas"He had said that a thousand times."You were plain unlucky" I had said once and he had left dinner half finished.I decided not to repeat it. 

"I could always refer you somewhere.."he said.(Again this was a standard line of conversation).
"No."I said firmly."I want a job for my qualification,on my own.I want to be known by my name..not as my Father's son."I regretted the second line as soon as I said it.But then it seemed to amuse him.He laughed. "You will have to fill my name when the application asks your Father's name.To hell with your values.Be practical.Atleast you tell him"he added,looking at Mother.My Mother is always passive to this discussion-she was the same today too.
"No."I repeated a little louder.

Mother served some curd rice.It seemed to have distracted Father a little as he reached for his favourite lime pickle.I was sure he would be back at it-like always.This phase was always a little more embarrassing."You don't get a job...and you won't get a girl."he said.My ears were starting  to go red.I could feel the blood rushing.Not again.Not in front of my brother!
"Stop it Father.Who cares about it now!!" 
"All boys of your age say the same thing outside......"
"Nothing doing.."I retorted."Nothing for an other five years atleast."I could feel my ears getting hotter by the second.
"Of course.Even for such a miracle to happen,you need to start working now.And have a decent job atleast then."There was no retort to this.He had won hands down,like everyday.

I was still smarting when he said,as he washed his hands after dinner "I worked hard so that I could take care of not just your Mother and you two,but my parents as well."
I was desperate to get one back and replied rather hastily "So you basically want me to earn so that I can take care of you and Mother??"
"No."he said. "I want you to earn so that you can atleast take care of yourself.Even if you don't,I can support you for a lifetime".He simply smiled and retired for the night.It was not the smile of a winner,but of an affectionate Father.

I suddenly felt a rush of respect for him.It is a Father-Son thing.This Generation Gap.

Note that the conversation is majorly fictitious,laced with a sprinkling of reality.