As I was listening to him, it struck me. For the first time in my life, I realized.
He is my colleague. His large, dark-framed glasses, graying hair and faded shirt underlined his retiring age.
“Now-a-days, if my son wants to talk to me, whatever be the job I’m doing, however important it may be, I just keep it aside, and talk to him patiently. It would be better, if I say, I listen to him patiently.”
He paused, sipping the hot steaming tea.
“Why, sir? Is anything wrong?”
My amateurish question was brushed away in his smile.
“The time we spend with our children is very less. After they come back home from school, they are engrossed in playing video games or watching TV. When they study, my house is drenched in tears, watching daily soaps. Then, I spend my time watching news channels, and go to bed. I felt each one of us was like an island, though living in the same house.
School-life is the only time children are close to us. The only time they come back home everyday. After that, when it comes to college, career…they start moving away. From then on, they are another guest in our home.
Deep inside, I feared, if I don’t spend time with them now, then never will I be able to get closer with them. There would certainly be an invisible veil between us, forever.
He took a deep breath, “Age, you know…” and continued, “So even if my son talks about very trivial things, I listen attentively. Even, if he interrupts while I’m working seriously, I don’t lose my nerve. On the other hand, my son is also happy, and shares everything with me; about his friends, teachers, and sometimes even about his girlfriends.”
He chuckled, winking at me.
“Since my approach with him has changed, I can see a difference in him, too. He also thinks that he should make me happy, and concentrates more on his studies - than before. Though, I was never very strict about his academics.
Now, we both are like friends. Next year, he will be off to college. Far away. Though I’m happy now, I regret for not being like this from his childhood.”
In a meditative tone, he added, “Every father would have this fear, at least when their hair begins to grey.”
He touched the silver hairs in his head, and drank the last of his now cold-tea, in a gulp.
“I think my long impromptu must have bored you, young man!” and left hurriedly without knowing what it had done to me.
I moved to my cabin. Without giving a second thought, I took my mobile and called my father.
“Tell me, kanna…What happened? Was your resignation accepted? His voice was restrained but anxious.
“No pa…I’m not going to put in my papers.”
“…..” He was silent.
“I have decided to be here….in
“….Is’t true? Why? What happened? Whenever we said you refused, but now suddenly….What’s the reason. Met any girl?”
“No pa! I just understood…" I paused, and added, "the friend in you!”
My dear reader, can you hear my father and mother’s gleeful voices filling the air?
This fiction was originally written in Thamizh, and was translated to English by none other than my Self :-).