Rajeev was on his way back home in the cab. From the time he got promoted in office, his responsibilities and work both increased. Sometimes, even on weekends he had to go to office, and that’s why he went to office even on that Saturday. His watch was showing 7:30 PM, and traffic was building up. He asked the cab driver to switch on FM. One nice old romantic song came out and Rajeev started tapping his foot. He was enjoying the song. Music was helping him to unwind after his long hours in office.
Aa Chalke tujhe main le ke chalu ek aise gagan ke tale …. Jahan ghum bhee naa ho aansu bhee naa ho, bas pyar hee pyar pale… This was the next song on radio. “This is the same song which babuji use to sing.” Rajeev said to himself and smiled. This song made him remember his babuji, his small town and his loving Maa and Didi.
Rajeev was basically from a small town Dehri in Bihar. He was born and brought up there. They had their own farm and cattle over there. He used to love playing with his friends, stealing mangoes, bathing under tube well’s forceful water and the greenery everywhere. Babuji was always strict about his studies as he wanted his son to become an engineer. But maa and didi were always there to save him from babuji’s anger, and they pampered him always.
He completed twelfth and got admission in a reputed engineering college. Babuji was very happy and proud that day, he distributed sweets to all neighbors. That was Rajeev’s first encounter with the big city life style. And it took him no time to adopt it and become a part of the crowd.
Four years passed very fast and Rajeev got job in a multinational company. Babuji called every relative that day to inform that his son is an engineer now and he works in a big company. Rajeev married his college sweetheart Sneha. His family behaved very modern to this love marriage and they were happy for them.
Rajeev always wanted his parents to live with him in the city. But babuji was not ready to leave his paternal home in Dehri. His ill health was one more concern for Rajeev. Many times Sneha and Rajeev tried convincing babuji for living with them, but always the love towards his native land won over the love for his child. It always bothered Rajeev. He started feeling that babuji is not happy with him or he does not consider him responsible enough to take care of everyone. Babuji never said any such thing to Rajeev; he just said that he wants to spend rest of his life in his own home only.
Last time when they came to know that babuji is diabetic Rajeev asked his parents to shift with him in the city, so that he can take care of them better. He tried convincing his father that the medication facilities are very advanced in the city and there he can attend them anytime. But babuji rejected his proposal saying that the pollution free air of his small town is his real medicine, and he has many known people here to take care of him. Some where the last line pinched the son. He decided not to ask babuji to come with him again but he was always worried and concerned for him. He used to ask maa about his health but never called him directly. The silence in the relation bought many misunderstandings in between.
Father was not ready to leave his paternal home, and son who was working in big city do not wanted to live in the small town now.
“Sir aapka ghar aa gaya” Rajeev woke up from his old memories by hearing cab driver’s voice.
Rajeev had dinner and came to take rest in the bedroom. His mind was still stuck on why his father doesn’t want to shift with him. Sneha came in the room but Rajeev did not realize it. He was endlessly staring at the ceiling. Sneha observed this for few minutes then she went and sat next to him.
She moved her fingers in his hair and asked “what happened? Any problem Rajeev?”
“haan… No nothing...” he said.
“Stop it now. Tell me what happened to you? Work load is too much?” Sneha asked again with her fingers still in his hair.
Both were quite until Rajeev said “Sneha, why babuji doesn’t want to live with us? He doesn’t like me?”
“Hey baby, there is nothing like that. You are simply thinking all this.” She said and kissed on Rajeev’s forehead.
She thought for a while and said “come let’s go out in the garden for walk. You will feel good in fresh air.”
Rajeev didn’t move at all. Sneha dragged him out of bed and they came in their small garden.
Both were walking silently when Sneha held Rajeev’s hand and asked him “Rajeev look at our house and tell me what you see.”
“What I see?” Rajeev was clue less.
“Oho, don’t reply for a question with another question. Take your time, look at the house and say what you feel about it.”
Rajeev took a deep breath, took out his hand from Sneha’s hand and looked at their house for some time and said “This is not a house Sneha. This is my home.”
“Hmmm… And?” Sneha encouraged him to speak more.
“This is my sweet home where I get peace of mind and happiness, where I relax after long day in office. This is the place I always want to come back to.” Rajeev said all that and suddenly grabbed Sneha in his arms and said “and this is where my beautiful wife waits for me.” They both started giggling.
“You know Sneha I always liked independent houses over flats. You used to tell me that I am simply spending more money, but I wanted my home to be like this only.” Rajeev continued.
“Hmmm… so you love your home right?” Snaha asked.
“Yes. of course!” Rajeev replied.
“Will you leave this place and go somewhere else?” it was Sneha.
“No way” Rajeev said without taking a moment.
Sneha smiled and said “This is your world Rajeev, which you made for yourself. This is your dream home. In this city people know you for what you are. You made your own position here.”
“Ya fine. But why are you telling me all this today?” Rajeev was not able to follow her.
“Because as this city is your world and you don’t want to leave it, our Dihri house is the home for babuji. That town is his world. There people know him for what he is. He has his own identity there. He has his friends, his known people there. That is the only reason he wants to live the rest of his life there.” Sneha said and took Rajeev’s hand in her hand.
“He never said he don’t like you. You are his only son. He loves you a lot. But from so long he is living in that town. That’s his small world now, where he loves to live.” She continued. “Rajeev we should respect his decision and not get disappointed or misunderstand it. We have to take care of him and we have to take care of his wishes too.” She continued.
Rajeev and Sneha went silent until Rajeev broke it “Let’s go inside Sneha. I want to call babuji”.
They smiled and looked at each other. And Sneha said “looks like you understood where our world is.”
Stranger in the Park
2 days ago