Monday, May 14, 2012
Being Tehsildar’s Son
My father retired at that critical moment when the government had just raised the age limit of retirement from 58 years to 60 years and he is still fighting for his rights. I’d always been repulsive to any sort of government issues because at that point of time, I felt that I can do nothing about it. Sometimes my father used to assign me some work related to his pension and I used to do it just for the sake of doing it. I didn’t ever try to see the “Hope” he had put behind all the efforts that he was putting by sacrificing his sleep. For me, it was a spreadsheet assignment and nothing more than that. I had dyslexia towards economic and political related topics and it didn’t interest me at any point of time. He always talked about TP, ZP, RI, VI, APMC, DHO, SPI, Scale-1, Grade-1, Batch 1970, what else and whatnot. I didn’t even bother to listen to him once even for the sake of curiosity. I thought that my world of “dreams and poetry” is perfect and I am meant to be a man of words someday. I was wrong; in fact, I was proven to be wrong.
I had this unconditional respect to my father even when he was working. I never entered in his office without waiting for the peon to say that ‘saheb bula rahe hain… ab aap andar jaa sakte ho…’ I didn’t take any pride in showing off that I was a District Magistrate’s (Tehsildar) son. Though we stayed in a small town, the position that my father held was very respectable and people all over the state knew about his dedication and honesty towards his job! (Thanks to the President of India for recognizing my father as “Best Citizen’s Servant”) He was even being threatened by many ministers for not taking forward their cases and blindly signing them just because the ministers’ land acquisition files were on my father’s desk and he’d not approved them for some legal issues. He had such aura of authority spread all over; but the day when he retired; the number of people whom he’d helped selflessly; the relatives whom he’d helped to get jobs; most of them weren’t able to do anything to help my father when he was in need.
I silently watched him suffer, but I couldn’t say anything to him because the relatives whom he helped; the people whom he helped; all of them had their hidden agenda and they were total strangers to me. I once tried to talk to my father and said him, “Why couldn’t you just say NO, when the help those people asked was too much to have asked for?” to which his reply was, “You’ll not understand. Leave it.” The work that he did was very much related to his emotions and self-fulfillment. He felt more relieved when he did everything by himself and made everyone happy about it. He overtly suggested me often to take up IAS and do something good, but I always had this ideological difference with him regarding keeping oneself happy. Today, I realize that whatever he suggested was for the same cause and whatever I did, was somewhere around the same cause too. The only difference was in the dedication. My father put in all his blood and sweat to see that he does justice to his presence in others’ lives. That scale of dedication and that activeness was missing in me, massively. He is now 62 years old and still roams in the city bald – headed doing all the official work. I feel ashamed sometimes that I sit unproductive in this air – conditioned cabin and still claim to produce world’s greatest ideas. I am wrong!
I just have this proud feeling that I am his son and that thing always keeps my head high even though I am lying in deep shit of creative briefs. It won’t help the purpose of me being ‘expressive’, but I too need to fulfill the ‘persuasive’ purpose and that is where “paradox” comes to play with me. Learning is not a problem, if yearning is active all the while. Smiling is one of the methods that I’ve found out to keep myself active. Maybe I am solving a different problem altogether, but ultimately the people around me are HAPPY, and that is all that matters in the end, no matter you are paid to keep people happy or not, you are always paid back by their appreciation which is more than any monetary compensation to a lost soul. I’ve missed my father all these days and this is reminder to him; “I still love him no matter what I become in the end; a popular joker, or a ruined copywriter! I promise that I will make him proud the way he made me proud of him.”