Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dada ji's time

Atul loved his grandfather with all of his heart. He liked spending all his time with him listening to his stories and talk. The old man on the wrong side of eighty doted on his grandson. The boy, though just ten year old, knew that his mother hated the old man and insulted him for anything he did or did not. Atul felt his father did not seem to care or at any rate never talked to his mother about it. He also knew that his father generally never spoke against his mom. He felt sad for the old man. He knew that his mom considered his grandfather a burden thrust on her although the old man had six sons and three daughters. None of them were willing to take care of him in his twilight years.Atul’s dad was the eldest of the lot.
The one thing Atul liked best was the stroll in the opposite park with dadaji.The old man used to regale him with incidents in his younger days. He always asked him to be truthful no matter the consequences.Atul would contest him telling “What if truth were to harm some innocent person? Would you tell it even then?”Dadaji would smile proudly and tell him that truth should always be spoken when it serves a good purpose. He never complained about anyone to the urchin.
Atul was not happy with dadaji repeatedly telling him of late ”I am biding my time. I think it will happen very soon. I want you to promise me that no matter in whatever circumstances you are placed you would take care of your parents with love and care and never make them feel unhappy.”
“Dadaji, I know you are at times unhappy. I am too when mom shouts at you. I hate her for this” replied AtulDadaji remonstrated with him telling ”You should not talk like this. I am not happy with you. Never talk ill of others whatever they do or say.”
Atul was always reprimanded by his mom for spending his time with his grandpa and she complained to her husband frequently. No one in the house talked to dadaji. His dad who came late from office spent time before TV with his mom. There was no TV in grandpa’s room that was at the rear of the building. Occasionally his dad used to walk in only to tell loudly to his father to adjust to the ways of the house and not be a source of nuisance. He would not however spell out where his grandfather failed to adjust.Atul smart as he was knew that his dad was doing that only to please his mom. He was also aware that she added extra water in his coffee and often gave him left over and cold food. She also served him just adequate and made him eat alone in the dining table much before the family sat together. After the lunch around 11am he practically had nothing till 7pm except for a cup of tea and biscuits at 4pm. Atul knew he was always hungry and would quietly bring cookies from the kitchen after he returned from school and share with him. Grand pa had a sweet tooth and he loved sweets very much but mom never gave him enough though his dad brought sweet packets frequently. She would keep them in the fridge for four or five days only to be given later to the maid.
One afternoon Atul’s mom had gone out leaving the boy and his grandpa alone in the house. He was playing computer game in his room and totally forgot about the old man. It was already 4-30pm. When he came down and peeped in he saw his grandpa opening a peda box that he must have taken from the fridge. He went to him and told him “Dadaji, you could have called me and asked me to fetch. Never mind let me also join you. I am also very hungry like you.” They finished the five pedas in the box.
It was around 7pm Atul heard his mother shouting at the top of her voice “Nothing is safe in this house. How can one lock the fridge whenever we go out?” She called “Atul, did you eat the box full of pedas I had kept in the fridge. I wanted to send them to my mom. It is missing. I am sure you would not have touched it. Who would have stolen this except the ever hungry gluttons in this wretched house?”
Atul shouted back in anger “Don’t talk without knowing. I was feeling hungry and looked for cookies. Nothing was there in the fridge except the pedas and I took them and shared with Dadaji too. What is wrong in it? There were only five pieces and not a box full as you are alleging. Yes, you can call me a hungry glutton or by whatever name you like. It was 5pm then and Dadaji hadn’t had his tea also. I hate your shouting all the time indirectly at him. I do not like to stay in this house anymore.”
The old man in his room heard the boy taking the blame on himself to protect him from the mouthful of rubbish. He wiped the tears trickling from his eyes. After a little while the boy entered the room and said “Dadaji, I have not been truthful but it was done for a good purpose” The old man hugged him tightly and kissed his forehead. “Come to me first in the morning before others come to my room. Do you understand, my little buddy?” The boy laughed and ran away
The next morning when Atul woke up earlier than usual, he remembered dadaji’s request and rushed to his side. He was sleeping quite unusually at this hour. Atul nudged him softly initially and then harder. It dawned quickly on his young mind that dadaji’s time had come.


  1. A beautiful and poignant story! Yes, there are many cases of neglect and abuse of those who are dependent due to old-age, childhood or physical/financial disability.

    Ultimately, everyone's time on earth gets over; so, why not spend the limited time we have in spreading love and compassion? We will not be able to carry our wealth or beauty or fame into the after-life; so, why do people choose to hurt others with what they consider to be their advantages?

    Thank you, Parthasarathi, for this story. It has touched my heart.

    Best wishes :)

  2. A very touching story! Breaks my heart to see people treated like that. Nicely written!

  3. It's a painful story...but cannot be denied that this happens in many houses....
    anbudan aruna

  4. Such incidents happen mostly everywhere... it's very painful sir. But you have written it beautifully! I loved the ending.

    Keep them coming!

  5. I wish people realise the importance of taking care of their elders... But as the world becomes increasingly self centered and families become nuclear, such instnces as described in the story are increasing..

    Even though people are becoming more literate, "educated" and well-off too, moral values do decline because of narrow minds..

    Perhaps, we need to introduce moral values in education and inculcate strong values in children.. Perhaps there should be more discussion and engagement with people on their responsibilities...

  6. This is a lesson some people nevr want to learn. They never realise the fact the so called burden as they say is a pack of blessings, that graces the home it resides in . We need them,they dont need us, its just that they are there because they love us irrespective of how ungrateful we are. May our homes always be blessed by our elders:)Thanks for writing a beautiful story. I just visit but you take on the inspiration:)

  7. i dont wanna cry at night :(

  8. Before I comment, let me first give Atul's mom a tight slap..

    your way of narration truly gets the reader feel like its real.. but sadly this is happening everywhere.. oh i hate all those who treat elders with disrespect.. the story is very touching..

    Last but not least.. i would like 2 say that .. your blog is truly a dadaji story time for all of us.. thanks a bunch for all those stories with moral....