Two of my friends, who also read my blog regularly, happened to tell me that I have a flair for writing and I should seriously think upon considering writing as an option at some point in my life! Ironically, both of them opined this during the last one week in two separate instances. Needless to say, I was thrilled to get that feedback for my musings. I did give these feedbacks a serious thought and since I had not received any negative feedbacks yet :), thought will give a shot towards short story writings! So here I produce my first of hopefully many. By the way, the title of this blog is the title of the short story.
Rajiv was a bright young kid during his school days. He was the only son of his parents. Rajiv’s father was a clerk in a government office and really strived hard to manage the financial affairs of the family. Indeed, there were times when they found the cash box nearly empty about a week before the month drew to a close and before the next salary arrived. Rajiv’s father had worked extremely hard to reach wherever he was, given his modest educational background. Rajiv’s mother was a simple homemaker whose universe was restricted to her husband and son. She was happy managing the chores of the home and lending support to her husband during lean times. Rajiv was their only hope of a bright future and they prayed to the Almighty that Rajiv be given the best in life.
Rajiv was good in studies and topped his class almost every time. He loved his parents a lot like any other kid. Being the only child, he was pampered too. Don’t they say GOD gives us shoulder to perfectly align with the responsibilities we have. Rajiv too demonstrated that he realized his responsibilities. He had witnessed his parents discussing the sad state of finance at home many times. He had seen his aunt coming home and handing over cash to his mom. He had particularly observed the modesty in his mom’s face when she accepted the money. Gradually, he started realizing the realities behind the parents’ talks and discussions as he grew up.
Something surprised Rajiv a lot. One fine morning while he waited for his next door friend to accompany him to school, as was the routine, his friend told him that he has been gifted a new bicycle by his father the previous evening. That is, Rajiv would now have to walk alone going forward. This is not what made him think. What did was the reason why his friend had got a bicycle – he had secured 62% during the recently concluded examination. Why did this surprise Rajiv? Because he had just absorbed his mom weeping and scolding him for securing just 78% in the same examination and losing the first rank to somebody. Rajiv was 12 years old then, and did not quite realize that performance is always compared against expectations! When he was old enough to realize this, he had a tough time in convincing himself that it is socially and universally perfect to gauge one’s performance against somebody else’s expectations. He did not question how his friend’s dad managed to do so well financially even despite having the similar job as his father. He had heard his mother discussing this with his father one day. Apparently, uncle used to study after office hours and teach what he learnt to a group of students during the weekends. The tuition earned him more than what his job presented him. Rajiv’s father, however, was not thrilled with such idea of teaching without having a proper degree since it amounted to cheating and misrepresentation in his mind-book.
Rajiv did not encourage all such thoughts beyond few hours at best. He kept demonstrating his willingness to respond to his parents’ expectations. He topped his school in the all important public examination. He did not demand a bicycle from his dad even then. But he was thrilled and overwhelmed to see tears in his mom’s eyes and the pride in his dad’s face. Rajiv was a happy little boy then.
Rajiv was an avid reader. He had cried inconsolably when alone, reading about stories of selfless and unconditional love and affection that parents shower on children. He remembered all the times when his parents had done so many things for him all these years. He vouched to keep his parents happy at all times.
Rajiv decided to take up a job so that he could support his father’s meager income. He used to study along with his job and made the most of his time and energy. He was determined to improve the financial state of his family. Many of his friends took up engineering and medicine, the fashionable and lucrative courses of those days. The only hitch was the exorbitant cost of such courses. Rajiv decided to become a graduate and continue working to avoid putting his parents into a tight spot with demands to take up such courses. Slowly but steadily, the family came out of the mess and his parents were able to repay all their obligations to relatives and friends.
Rajiv’s father had retired when he turned 27. He was doing well as a senior accountant in a trading firm in the nearby town. However, he wanted to fulfill his dream. A dream that was well-hidden amidst his journey towards financial freedom. A dream that he had nourished as a little boy... His dream was to become a school teacher. He yearned to interact with little kids and help them shape their future. However, that would mean quitting his better paying job. More importantly taking up something that was considered the least socially desired option and becoming a school teacher was taken up by people considered useless. Rajiv ignored the social stigma and ventured out to express this desire to his parents. His father did not talk to him for days together after that. His mother cried uncontrollably for days. They pounded Rajiv for being stupid, arrogant and selfish. How could a young able educated boy take such a stupid decision, they contended. What would the neighborhood family think whose son had gone on to become a doctor and was earning handsomely well. They opined that Rajiv was being outrageous. They suspected that he was an under-performer at his work and hence wanted to quit. They almost concluded that he was a lazy loser.
Rajiv could not push himself too much against the expectations of his parents. He could not, though, wonder how slightly fewer salary impact his family condition now since they are doing fine. He argued in his mind that he had not thrown tantrums and had not complained when his father was not able to earn as much as his uncle or when his mom not being able to cook as well as his aunt. However, like ever before, such thought did not stay in his mind beyond few hours.
Rajiv went on to become the chief accountant of the firm. He was earning twice his earlier salary. At 30, he was the only man in his family history to be at such a responsible and socially appreciated position. His parents were extremely happy then. The end…
Concluding thoughts: Are most of us yet another Rajiv? Aren’t parents supposed to be the closest representatives of unconditional love? Wasn’t Rajiv demonstrating it better? OR should Rajiv thank his stars for having such matured and practical parents who could guide him out of a blunder in life? Don’t the parents deserve much better lifestyle for all the nard fought years they had seen through?