The Proud Parents



My son will be going to New York. America!

Right now there is no other soul in the world as happy as my wife and I.

Of course, Roma is also scared, our first-born and all. She is afraid of sending him away across seven oceans, to a completely new country, amidst new people, with no one to take care of him. But then she is a mother, and it is Roma’s nature to fret over her children and worry excessively.

I am, however, very happy and very proud. Had anyone in our family ever thought that they will go and live in a foreign country? And I thought I couldn’t have been prouder when Babu, the son of a clerk, became an engineer.

We first came to the city when Babu was very little. Roma and I had decided that our children will have the best education, it didn’t matter what sacrifices we would have to make, all of them would pale in comparison to what our children would achieve. And we had been right. Babu is an engineer and already earns more than his father. And Pinky is in Class XII doing equally well. Roma and I had great dreams for our children and they are all coming true.

I went out to send a telegram to our village, they should know of this great news. Half of our villagers probably don’t even know where America is. I would also have to tell my colleagues at work about our great fortune. Has any of their sons gone to America? Then on an impulse, I bought a hundred rupees worth mithai from the market

For the last 10 years we have been renting the ground floor of a two-storied building. Our landlord, Mr. and Mrs. Basu, an old couple, now in their 70s, had been very good to us. They were helpful, kind and warm people. They were there when Pinky had been terribly ill, celebrated with us when babu passed college, never hard on me or Roma when the rent was late. Mrs. Basu has been like a mother to Roma.

They also have a son who lives in America and had married a foreigner. Mrs. Basu keeps talking about her son, especially after every third week of the month when she receives his letter. I knew they would understand my joy. So, with the mithai box in my hand I made my way up the stairs to the first floor.

Mr. Basu opened the door.

“Why, Mr Dey, is it the first of the month already? You here?”, he joked good-naturedly, as soon as he saw me.

I laughed, “Actually, I came to share a good news with you and Mrs. Basu. I know you will be very happy.” Mr Basu went to call his wife. I seated myself in the sofa. Mrs Basu came out and sat next to me, “You have some good news, beta?”

I held out the box of mithai and said, “Yes, it is about my son.” “What’s with the mithai? Is he getting married?,” guffawed Mr Basu, from the chair opposite me.


“No”, I replied with a small smile. Turning to Mrs Basu, “Actually Babu has been selected to go to America to do his internship by his company, and after a year he will be a full-time employee there only.” It all came out in a rush, the words, the pride.


Mrs. Basu was as joyous as I had expected. She started clapping and undoing the knot on the mithai box, while keeping up a flow of praises and blessings. But not Mr. Basu. From the corner of my eyes, I saw Mr. Basu’s face become grim.


 Mrs. Basu didn’t notice, she was still talking. I tried to focus on her, ignoring Mr. Basu’s inexplicable change and lack of enthusiasm. “Do you know beta, what privilege it is to give your children the education they deserve? Ramesh is our only child but we had to go through the same pains like you to bring him up, and then send him abroad. Why, remember dear, we used to go without new clothes, and cut down on electricity? We didn’t even buy a fan until much later. But it all pays in the end. Look at Ramesh now. He lives in San Fransisco and works in a big company.”


Suddenly she turned around and looked at the clock on the wall, and exclaimed happily, “Arre, it is one o’ clock already! The postman will be here any moment! Do you know, beta, my son writes to me every month like clockwork, and I always get the letter on the 21st of every month.”


No sooner had she finished, the bell rang. It was the postman. He handed a happy Mrs. Basu her son’s letter. Mrs Basu said,” Arre, postman-ji, have some mithai, Mr Dey’s son is also going to America. You will also bring his son’s letters to him now!”


Mrs. Basu proudly showed me the envelope and said, “Beta, you won’t mind, will you, if I go in now, I want to read what Ramesh has written.”


Mr. Basu was very quiet till then.  When Mrs Basu left, he spoke for the first time after I’d told them about Babu, “Congratulations, Mr Dey. I hope your son does great things.”


He stood up and held the door open for me.


As I was walking down the stairs, puzzled, trying to decipher his strange behaviour, he called out to me from his doorway. “Mr Dey, don’t educate your son so much, that you yourself cease to be worthy of your own son.”


I was baffled, and angry. “What do you mean?”


“I mean, I have an understanding with the postman. The letters my wife gets every month like clockwork, are actually written by me”, said Mr. Basu, as he closed the door.



N.B. Do let me know what this story made you think. G.



I wish Every One a very Happy and Prosperous Durga Puja. I’m off to  celebrate the Pujas in my City. I am leaving with this short story. I will be back with the best of Calcutta Festivities, 2009 after Vijaya Doshomi/Dussehra, a complete documentary, with all the photos I can manage. Till then, take care, smile and keep blogging!  G.





Image courtesy: gorillaarcade.com ; improventures.com

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About Guria

An Artist in Science - I am a Misfit 'cause I choose to be one. "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform" And I am a Maverick, because, I'm... umm... brilliant?
This entry was posted in Creations, Non-Fiction, Novelette, People and Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to The Proud Parents

  1. Tharangni says:

    I think Mr.Basu's son died and he did not relate the news to his wife. So, to not to make her grieve over her son's death and to live their final days happily, he keeps writing and sending letters addressed to his wife in the name of his son who is resting in peace.

    Like

  2. Kay says:

    Endearing and sad

    Like

  3. HaRy!! says:

    sniff! nothing else i cud say:( …for a mo i thought the title has something to do with this story…but! hmm our generation has to learn more than just the basics of education…education of life!! at least am not like that…i call my mom and dad regularly though am thousands of miles away!! claps for this story!!!! yu the best!…cya soon

    HaRy

    Like

  4. Hey sreya,
    What you've said is so true.. they do forget their own parents after getting a life for themselves.

    Like

  5. Paritosh says:

    Brilliant!! Damn brilliant!!

    Like

  6. Aditya says:

    Faboulous writing guria! Sheer creative thinking and lovely writing.
    Loved the post!

    Advice: Take off the bold letters at the end. The words are enough to create the necessary impact , they dont need any extra cheese( bold)

    Just a friendly advice, you dont have to follow it. Lovely writing again! 🙂

    Like

  7. Karthik says:

    This is my first visit to your blog and I'm glad I did so.. 🙂
    Well, about the story, it was pretty easy to guess.
    But your narration makes it a fabulous read. Loved the flow. Will go through your posts one by one.. 😉
    Happy Dussehra! 🙂

    Like

  8. Vinz says:

    Gud story..
    With a great substance in the subject…

    Very true… High education never guarantees you good education..!

    Like

  9. Neha says:

    lovely story gal…very crisp plot…

    I will be waiting for the pics…tc..:))

    Like

  10. hm… this story is a painful relity to many peopl.. unfortunately..

    I know people who havent seen their parents in a decade.. whatever the reasons may be..

    Beautifull written..

    enjoy dushera and do come back with lots of pics. 🙂

    Like

  11. arey this is superb..this is so bad with these people who are so ungrateful to their parents…

    nice presented…

    Like

  12. wowww girl.. this one was a masterpiece.. tooo goood.. such a touching story.. Yeah have seen some sons/daughters who dont care for their parents once they leave the country. I can give you a classic example of my own roomie who dint go back to India once she came to US.. her mom would beg her to visit once but she wasnt interested.. her mom would call my mom and cry but no use.. she just dint care.. some people are selfish

    Like

  13. Karthik[:)] says:

    nice one
    but definitely not a generalized scenario…it isnt the same with all guys in the US or anywhere abroad for that matter 🙂
    anyways..u seem to be the mistress of the twists and turns eh??
    keep it rolling!!!

    Like

  14. R S V says:

    the story made me feel disgusted at the so called ungrateful sons….
    they should be held as criminals and punished like anything..

    Like

  15. Samadrita says:

    Well I have this habit of guessing the ending of stories while reading them.
    And I guessed this one correctly as soon as I encountered the word 'letter' 😛
    Nice write btw! 🙂

    Like

  16. Vishnu says:

    a story which raises a very important issue.. indian parents are always very attached.. but the now generation doesnt understand that.. they try to imitate the western culture of not living with your parents.. either the parents shd learn to let go or atleast the present generation shd learn to atleast remember the parents if not take good care of them.. the obvious point of money doesnt bring in happiness.. nice story..

    Like

  17. Check out my blog.. Have some surprises for you 🙂

    Like

  18. olive oyl says:

    nice 🙂 i liked what you wrote. 🙂

    Like

  19. Hey..

    I read it twice to enjoy the emotions mingled in it ..U expressed them superblyy..keep it up ..

    Now, i don't think educating children will keep u in pain, where the education is something extra to the class works and degrees. Educating children is also about letting them know how important our relations are, how important are the parents and love,..educating children is also about telling them or showing them how society would reciprocate to them..etc..

    real education is very far away frm the education frm books, colleges, degrees..etc .. these are all just a part of it, to let a peron know what he does not know ..

    These lines came in to my mind after reading this.

    Finally, the education towards life is a real succes only when a child shows the same responsibility as that of a parent …its mutual..

    Thanks for this post ..:)

    Like

  20. Guria says:

    *Long comment ahead*

    To Everyone

    I returned home last night (or this morning is it?) at 5:30 AM, and didn't get much sleep. I just skimmed through your comments and just wanted to write an universal reply before doing it individually.

    No points for guessing the end of the story. It is understood from the beginning. I made it so. But it is about getting across something that was in my heart. All of us bloggers read a lot. Lost of us, when we read, we do not enjoy the story rather think on what the ending will be. Not every story is for surprising or twists!

    Let me share why I wanted to write this story:

    Two days ago the son of my grandma's friend went to my brother, a lawyer, to finalise his mother's will. He told my brother he needs to go away as soon as it is done, and please could he do it fast as he had no urge to stay even for a day in Calcutta, for the Pujas.
    Then he countered my mother's every argument as to why he should take his mother back with him (a lady of ~90yrs, with no one to tale care of her, my grandma, her only friend) My mother got so angry at his excuses as to how hard it would be on him to take his mother with him, that we had to restrain her, after all we didn't know him socially. But he came all the way to see his ailing mother, after all her Will needs to be finalised.

    I do not know about Western generations/cultures but if it means that you cannot have a support in your children when you grow old, I think it's pathetic!

    As for the story, I really hope you got the sentiments of a father who had already lost his son to “higher education” (or better life) felt when he heard that another's son is also going for the same. I hope you understood the fear Mr. Basu had for Mr. Dey. And the disappointment in his own son.

    And boy, am I cranky, I have to go out in another hour!

    Thanks for all your comments! And I do hope you enjoyed reading. Enjoying the narration is the best part of a reading, isn't it?

    Love, Guria.

    Like

  21. Hello Sreya
    Thats great…yesterday we went out at 9 PM and came back at 4 Am.

    I will see Naktala Udoyon Sandha today….we will be out pandal hopping by 6 PM.

    In Suruchi Sangha….did not have to wait much……about half an hour….we went there after 4 AM on Panchami Night(or on Shosti morning).

    Cheers and have fun

    Happy Saptami…..

    Like

  22. Sourav !!! says:

    I have nothing to say !

    Your BEST POST, I'm deeply touched ! :l

    *Read your comment about the son of your grandma's friend .. and it's NOT EVEN PATHETIC to see, how some people (Read:JERKS) can do that to the person for whom you are the world and you are just bothered about the money/will*

    P.S. Excuse me if I was too personal and abusive on the real story, but I couldn't resist !)

    Loved the post, Guria 🙂

    Like

  23. Hey Sreya

    Ashtami-r anjali dile??

    Kaal-ke north Kolkatai gechilam…… pandal hopping started after 6 PM ended only after about 3 AM.

    Cheers and pray to God that u get admission in a top US Univ.

    Like

  24. Sorry..correction:

    Cheers and pray to Goddess that u get admission in a top US Univ.

    Like

  25. Guria says:

    Hey IP,

    Dang!! Anjali to dewa holo kintu bolte kheyal holo oiti prarthonai chaitei bhule gechi! 😀

    Chhobi tulte besi byasto chhilm! 😛

    Hmm, amra kaal kichhu taratari firechhi, amr panchami theke allergy-r darun sorir kharap, tai ektu rest nebo bole. Aj abr je ke sei, 'cause now I am much better! 🙂

    Maha Ashtamir Subechha roilo!

    Like

  26. Maha Ashtamir Subechha to u too.

    No problem….I have to go to our local club for community lunch a little after 1 PM . Will pray for u then.

    Anyways, have fun tonight…with lots of pandal hopping.

    Today,we will return early….Indo-Pak match…lol.

    Cheers and Get well soon.

    Like

  27. Guria says:

    IP

    Thank you, thank you!! 🙂
    Pray while chomping on the food! 😀
    You really have a nice heart! 🙂

    Like

  28. Hey Sreya

    i prayed to Maa Durga for u and ur success in getting into a top US University.
    Now go and pack ur bags.

    Had a wonderful lunch.
    Khichuri,polao,mixed tarkari,aloo-er dom,beguni and payesh
    Though i dont like begun and payesh.

    Cheers and enjoy pandal hopping.

    Like

  29. Shas says:

    Wish you too a Happy Durga Pooja!!
    I miss home and the pandal visits.

    Like

  30. SiMbA tAgO says:

    @ guria / sreya :: so started packing bags for the US univ haan ..

    got a gift as ur outgoing…

    another award for u … u have been feted…

    kudos…. check out dear @ my blog

    Like

  31. Thanks so much for the sweet comments! 🙂

    ~Jenn (Ex Hot Girl)

    Like


  32. A Cup of cute Hello
    A Plate of crispy Wishes
    A spoon of sweet Smiles
    A slice of great Success
    Specially for You
    Subho Bijoya

    Waiting for your super post-Puja Post.

    Like

  33. You asked:
    “By the way., my post-puja “super” post, can I link it to your two posts here on Maa Durga?”

    Hahahaha…..of course you can.
    Do anything u feel like.
    i am surprised that u are asking me…..lol

    Cheers

    Like

  34. Shruti says:

    I read it for 3 days continuously!
    such an awesome post!
    its a masterpiece!

    Like

  35. pra says:

    That was a very sad story! I like the way you wrote it . But I predicted that Mr.Basu was writing letters and not his son from all the reactions he gave.
    The real story behind the story is really very sad.Now a days we can see such people around us but there are good people around too… Best of luck to you! You will get the admission no dought.

    Like

  36. Srivatsan says:

    never expected such an end.
    your last lines in every story hits us like hammer.

    Im following your blog..because of my laziness,I didn't read all the blogs i had bookmarked..browsed my bookmarks and saw your blog after a month…great changes!Keep going forward!:)

    Like

  37. Tirtha says:

    sorry for being on a break! 😦
    the last part really moved me, ur style of narration gripped me more and more into it! there's always that smooth flow when u write!
    no, no, not anymore can i miss out from reading ur blog!

    Like

  38. RSV says:

    With utmost satisfaction, i would like to inform you that this post of yours has been selected as a suiting piece to honor my newly installed wall of fame.
    So, I would like you to take out some of your precious time and gimme a small writeup introducing this post in about 40-50 words to mail address:rahul938@gmail.com
    I would also appreciate it if you could nominate some more posts(including yours) which can be pinned up on my wall.

    yours truly
    RSV

    Like

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