I was indebted to time to face the changes in my life. I was accepting the truth of life that day when my only son was to leave for abroad after attending the last rites of my wife, who was with me for about a golden jubilee period. He knew that I would be alone in that mere house, which was a sweet home because of his mother, so he emphasised me to be careful regarding diet and health. I knew that my bird had flown forever with the memory of the past.
I had a memory of three generations, sufficient to recall – my childhood with grandparents and parents and life with a devoted wife who was in the photo then, leaving me alone. She had broken her promise to be with me forever to take a last breath together. It was not in our control and time again proved to be a strong ruler.
We had been married at the time when the country was taking strides towards growth and development, to be at par with other developed countries. In those days, a boy, either having a government job or remarkable ancestral properties, was considered suitable for marriage. She came into my life because of my job. We played the music of time together and wrote many memorable chapters for ancestors and self. One day, she wrote a beautiful living chapter to add one baby to the new generation, endangering her life, to be complete to pay the debts of our forefathers.
Time was not waiting for anyone or anything. But many things were changing and many old concepts had paved the way for new thinking, controlled by the outcomes of developments. We were also affected. Those villages, where we grew up and saw less selfishness in relationships, appeared to be unattractive, unhealthy, and backwards, as compared to growing cities. We visited our villages on certain occasions to complete rituals but decided to restrict ourselves to cities for the sake of our son, and better education and infrastructure. My parents never lived with us for a long time due to the village’s attraction and we could not leave the city because of our son’s better future. My parents, one by one, left the world forever for the unseen world and our joint family disintegrated into a nuclear family. All brothers and sisters were scattered in the country in pursuit of a better life and the village’s population had declined. We all met occasionally. Our children could not get time to mingle and they became unknown to each other. Our interests, with the passage of time, became detrimental to many established thoughts and we tried to be part of the show business of society.
We were developing. The wheel of progress was moving. The self-contained time passed at the same pace. One day, our son got admission, in the desired subject, to the top-ranking institute in the country. He left the home for his wings to fly. I got a promotion in my job with more responsibilities and less time for my family. The son was away. I was involved mostly both in the office and at home, paying the price of the job responsibilities. My wife, who had her life for us, became alone in that big home, which was her heaven. She became silent. Her smile was occasional. One day, she lost all hopes to be together again when our son declared his decision to go abroad for a lucrative job. We tried to convince him to stay in the country but he became prey to the brain drain.
History repeated the self. Our son had left the country for a good job. I had left my village for the city for a better pasture. We both had the same attitudes but in different ways. We, barring our parents, became part of the crowd. The development and desire to excel consumed relations. The stories were the same but the scene was affected differently. We were in the nearby city to our village and could go regularly to meet our parents but, in our case, that was not possible. That condition affected my wife the most. It was aggravated by my job’s condition. It had not permitted me more time for family, as if the company was fully dependent on me. My wife became very alone, only active to complete her duties for me. She became very silent.
My home had been a hotel for me and she had been a statue. One day, I analysed my financial needs and decided to leave the job for ourselves. But my request was rejected by the authorities. Even my application for leave was not accepted. I could not give more time to her. One day, her condition deteriorated and she was hospitalised for treatment. All symptoms were related to her anxieties. I knew the reason and called the son to be with her for some days. She recovered fast and I got my wife back in normal condition.
I asked, rather than requesting my son to continue here forever, for his mother. But he logically and diplomatically expressed his helplessness. Once again, history repeated itself when he told that we settled in the city due to a lack of basic needs related to infrastructure. That was also applicable in his case on a larger scale. He recalled the memory of difficulties in getting the work done in various offices. There were no facilities as compared to his present country of stay. I smiled to know the change in attitude. He said that he had seen venomous political debates on channels of TV, wherein everyone tried to be right, dividing the society on various grounds and having strategies for the growth of the country. Most of them had changed political parties many times. Their principles had changed for getting tickets in elections. People did not have traffic sense and respect for children and aged persons on the roads. Ease of living norms was not present even after so many years.
I could not admire his analysis. I guessed that his stay was not possible because of his experiences in a new country. I took a chance to convince him. I recalled the thinking and analytical potentials of our ancestors and valuable literature, full of findings, related to all walks of life from nature to the universe to the almighty, given to the world. Those were useful in the present day also. Because of those abilities, we had the qualities to excel. When opportunities knocked, we grabbed them but other countries were using us in the form of a brain drain, alluring us, as the money mattered and facilities attracted. We had many things to give to the world as a family. Everyone is looking towards our country for peace and cultural richness. You might be missing there in a new country.
I accepted his denial to continue as the fate and destiny of my wife. We, as parents, blessed him with a bright life ahead. I had seen waves deep in the eyes of my wife while kissing the head of her son. She missed him a lot. I took voluntary retirement after continuous persuasion to look after her. We had a memory as treasures.
The success of our son in life had bought pleasure and recognition in society. We were judged as the best parents. We had seen proud moments and now we were facing problems. After a few years, my wife left me alone. She, at the last time, was seeing towards the door, waiting for her son. Her son came to attend her last rites, but he was worried about me. I was thankful for his concern but he could not continue in this country. I was not having hope anymore.
After his departure, I enquired in many institutions and old age homes about my stay for the rest of my life. I realised, for the first time, the plights of old people in society. In our youth phase, I gave priority to hay days and forgot about doomsday. I was alone with many problems. Developments took their toll. I felt that life was not financial management controlled by fund managers but it needed a highly devoted service manager. Money in the bank’s account chided me. I assumed the conditions of my parents, the last time when I had become a parent.