Monday, 7 July 2014

Evening of Life

Gopal completed his tale. I did not know what to say.He had been a colleague in a previous company and had retired 8 years ago.We were meeting after a long time. He had seen many ups and downs in a working career of over 35 years.He started as a clerk, worked his way up and was a  manager at the time of retirement. During this period, in the homefront he focused completelely on the education & wellbeing of his four children.He had the satisfaction of seeing all the four doing well,three of them boys, engineers and the girl a dentist. After retirement he was living with one of the sons in Chennai, the others working in other parts of the country. His earning these days was a monthly pension under the company's pension scheme.

Gopal had shared with me about the small, small ways his son was seemingly humiliating him.... A diabetic, he needs to go for periodic check ups. Recently,his son accompanied him but soon disappeared at the hospital. The consultation fee was to be paid at the cash counter before meeting the doctor.He searched for his son, Sajeev but he was no where near the counter at the reception. He later found him standing in a corner far away and had to request him to pay the fee.

When he finally met the doctor, he adviced him to take three dozes of an injection to avoid kidney complications.Each of the doze would cost Rs 1500/. Sajeev said he would cross check with other hospitals & confirm whether this procedure was a must & whether a less expensive medicinal doze was available. He had a doubt that the doctor was suggesting unnecessary procedures.Now one and half months had passed since his promise and still there was no sign of Sajeev taking him for the injection.Gopal had reminded him 3 to 4 times but he did'nt seem to pay attention. Now he did'nt know what to do. His eldest son  was coming from Kolkatta next week.Perhaps he should tell him of his plight and seek his help...

As he was sharing with me his problems & feelings Gopal's voice broke a number of times."You know" he told me "This sajeev was an introvert , could not speak English well and lacked in self confidence. I went and fought & cajoled a premier college in the city to accept him.I had also arranged private tutions in the subjects he was weak.Today he has blossomed in to a very confident young man. He is earning a handsome salary in a software company.He has a wife & a liitle girl who is going to play school. He has no other commitments. yet, he is reluctant to help me in times of need...."As I mentioned earlier, I did not know what to tell Gopal, how to console him.. I mumbled something like "It is sad..children should show more care..."

I waved to Gopal & moved on with a heavy heart. Today's employee is tomorrow's retired employee.I wondered what fate awaited me in a couple of years...

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