A Gift For My Father© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“I don’t want to go to my son, Doctor. I have shifted to this city to be closer to you” said the old gentleman with a twinkle of tears in his hurt eyes.
“My son is too busy in USA. He wants to help, but medical care is very costly there”. He had rushed to India with his wife as he had developed severe pain in abdomen. On the day of arrival, diagnosed as a strangulated hernia, operated, and now discharged. He was following up for a neurological condition with me.
I wanted to blast his son, who did not accompany his old parents home in such a condition, especially when they were travelling more than 18 hours.
Then I remembered Baba, my own father.
“A person you hurt will never forget you, even after you apologise. They may forgive rarely, but if it is not your family member, you have actually lost that person. Very rarely do you connect well again.” Baba said.
I often sat with Baba by an electric stove, sipping the 4 AM tea in the kitchen. The orange glowing warmth of that stove was pleasant, but not more precious than the heavenly feeling of that solitude with Baba. He woke me up for studying at that time.
“If you are upset, don’t reply. Let the anger die, let better words reach your tongue” he had said.
It has always been a difficult advice to imbibe, I have had my excuses and punishments for losing temper and hurting people, telling off the high handed where they belonged. I am quite short tempered, and have often found it difficult to deal with hypocrites and reconcile with the ill-behaved, liars or high handed. Not answering or telling them off may sometimes be misinterpreted as meekness or intimidation. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
However, after years of suffering imbeciles, I have realised that it doesn’t also help me to tell people what you feel they are! One may want to say things in the most pleasant language for once, then let go. The intelligent and willing on the other side will pick up the clues. The unintelligent and unwilling will never. But it will definitely save you many a night’s peaceful sleep. The people you tell off never stop using every chance that they can to make your life and reputation sore.
I was 30 when my father passed away. I never ever wished him a “Happy Father’s Day”, but the bond I had with him was stronger than any other in my life. He denied me many things (and I never forgot that Guitar), and many a times I disagreed with him, but there never was a question mark upon his love, his authority and my attachment and respect to both of these. There never was a formal declaration of the love that existed between us, nor was there any need for it to have been spelt in languages. Like the feeling of raindrops upon one’s face, it was a glorious, silent joy!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
The sense of ‘being different from one’s parents’ was never a part of our life, and there never was a feeling of sacrificing anything for parents or obliging them. They never turned away when you were growing up, they never quoted ‘job and earning’ when you needed them, and now when they need you, you don’t need them and their problems! Today there appears to be rampant dissatisfaction about parents, allegations of wrong-parenting and over-parenting, a false sense of ‘freedom’ is imbibed upon the minds of children, who challenge everything that is against their wont, wish or convenience. At times this results in unnecessary criticism and negativity about totally legit parents.
Today, there are “Father’s Day, Mother’s Day” and many other glorified days to celebrate these relations. The meaning of these ‘special’ days is lost in ‘gilded’ pseudo-emotional greetings and gifts. A father or a mother never want anything else than to see their children happy, expecting them to spend some time together, enquire about their health, and listen to their woes. How cruel is it then, to refuse to spend time with them, quoting ‘being busy’?
I strongly feel that a parent is not just a relation. If a wife or a husband is your ‘better half’, each parent is in fact twice yourself. One cannot think of parents as a ‘responsibility’, just as one cannot think of breathing as “work”.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
I did not call this patient’s son. He was already suffering the most unpleasant wrath of all: the displeasure of his own parents.
Having lost both my parents and my perpetual feeling that I should have done far more, far better for them, I am left with a desire to find them in every such parent turned away by their children. For the worst disease that some parents suffer from is the neglect by their own children.
My role as a doctor then extends to accommodate being a son trying to be worthy of what he received from his parents.
This will always be my small gift to my Father and my Mother whom I will never meet again.
I believe there’s no day that is not a Father’s Day and a Mother’s Day.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande