A trip of a lifetime

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(Featured post and Pick of the month for August 2010. Click here to read it at Kadzilla’s Lounge)


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This is my first attempt at fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to any person, living or dead, is just a coincidence.

lovely_illustration_of_parents_daughter_watching_snail_on_leaf_wallcoo-com

My husband, Ramesh and I were waiting at the New Delhi International Airport to board a plane to US. Ramesh has deteriorated so much and he looks so weak. Our neighbor’s daughter Gita who had been there, gave us some information about the flight. She said it will take almost 22hrs for us to reach there. I would have never wanted to fly to the unknown land, but my son, Sonu is there. Sonu went to US when his company sent him on a job there.

“Ramesh, Do you want some coffee? Wait, I will get it for you”.
“That’s fine. Dont take trouble. ย I know how your joints in the leg pain whenever you walk”
“No wait. I will get it”


He was right. My legs are losing their strength. I am getting old.
“Bhayya, can you give us two cups of coffee?”
The prices I tell you, these days everything is so costly that we can hardly survive with Ramesh’s pension. So recently, he joined as an accounts officer for a truck company near our house. But I keep getting worried about him since the job is so demanding. At the age of 70, how can you expect some one to work like a 25 year old?
“Have this coffee, Ramesh. You will feel better”

We boarded the flight. It is such a long journey. Ramesh dozed off as soon as the plane took off. He must have been so tired. He was working for this whole week. Whenever I am alone, these thoughts keep crossing my mind. Our son left to US six years back, saying he was on a project for 2 years. I did not approve of it, initially. I asked him why he could not continue with his job in India. He is our only son. But he told me that it was the question of his career. Now how could I say NO? Initially, he would call us every weekend. Then it became alternate weekends and now he talks to us, once in a month. Once when I called him, he scolded me “Just because you have nothing to do, don’t keep calling me like this. I am busy at work. I will call you when I get time”

We have just flown for 7 hours now.
“Ramesh, the lunch is here. Eat something. I am sure you must be hungry. Oh! looks like you have fever. Why is your forehead so hot?”
“Let me sleep for sometime. I don’t feel like having it. You have it”
“Here, take this paracetamol. You will feel better”

Our only dream was to search for a nice bride for my son. I had bought jewelry for my daughter-in-law, when Sonu was just in school. Since he is our only son, I had lot of dreams about his marriage. Not all dreams get fulfilled. Sonu has married some girl, from a different caste. He told me after 6 months of his marriage with this girl. When I asked Sonu, he said “If you trust me, you will trust my choice ma.”. We had no other choice, other than to accept her. We cannot severe our relationship with our only son. Can we?

Here comes the air hostess.
“Can I get some water beti?”.
“Here it is. Can I be of some more help to you?”
“When are we landing at the JFK airport?”
“It will be another 10 hours ma’am”
“Oh. We are very old beti. This is too long a journey for us”
“Are you visiting someone, ma’am”
“Yes. Our only son. He went to US, some six years back. He did not come back even once to see his old parents. He does not want to make a single trip to India. He says – India is polluted and populated. But tell me beti, he spent his 25 years in India without any complaint. This was the country which gave him food, shelter and education for 25 years. Now he does not like this country? But we cannot stay without seeing our son. I miss him so much. When I told him this, he asked us to come to US. Ramesh missed him more than I did. He talked me into going to US, to meet Sonu. We had to spend almost all our savings to make a trip to US”
“Oh. Please tell me if you need any kind of help, while on the flight Ma’am. Please don’t hesitate to ask me”.

My neighbor’s daughter, Gita got so much for her parents, when she returned from US. She kept asking me what our son sent from there? He sent nothing. When I told him that Gita brought so many things for everyone in her family, he said “Ma, there is nothing available here which is not available there. Everything is so costly here. Do you have any idea?”

Finally the plane landed.
“Ramesh, we are in US. I cannot wait to see our son, Sonu. Where did he say he will be waiting for us?”
“No. He will not be waiting. Your son is a busy man, Lakshmi. You cannot expect him to stand here for hours. He has given his number. He will be here, as soon as we call him”
“Let’s call then. But this coin phone looks so weird. How do we operate this?”
“Excuse me sir, can you help us call our son. This is the number”

Some gentleman helped us call Sonu.
Ramesh said “Sonu beta, this is your papa here. We are at the NY airport. We landed here at JFK airport”
“Oh is it beta”
“But…….”
“Okay.”

Ramesh turned towards me. “Lakshmi, your son is busy again. He asked us to take a train from here. He does not have the time to even pick us from the airport”
I was shocked “But we are new to this country. We don’t know anything. How are we supposed to go to his place?”
Ramesh said “I know where we should be going to. India”.

Inspired from some real life incidents I have seen actually happen. Your parents sacrifice everything in life to make sure you get good education. But funnily, people find it hard to extract time from their busy schedule for their own parents.

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87 thoughts on “A trip of a lifetime

  1. Yes. Busy. But busy for what ???

    Do we have to run after things so much that we even forget about life ?

    Life, which only becomes meaningful in loving and caring for those who love and care about us…

    No wonder such ‘busy’ people who don’t have time off their ‘busy’ schedules for even their parents, get on the receiving end when they have kids of their own.

    As they say, life does come round a full circle eventually…

    A very nice attempt at your very first fiction. ๐Ÿ™‚

    *** I would like to mention here something which my best friend said to me a few days back.

    While shopping for a dress to take home for his little daughter, he said he really cried while spending those sleepless nights caring for her when she was born. He said, he cried not because she troubled him, but because for the first time in his life, he realised what his parents had gone through for him when he was born… ***

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    • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚
      Yeah exactly.. Money has become soooo important to people these days, that they neglect all the other relationships in the world. And that scolding mom for calling part, I got inspired from my friend, who scolded her mom for calling. And you wont believe, this girl was not ready to visit her parents, even though her mom used to beg on phone. And she was not busy studying or anything, she would keep partying all the time and say she was busy. I was like she is your mother, for godsake! Such people will definitely receive similar treatment from their kids too.

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  2. A very touching story. It’s an excellent piece for a first attempt at fiction.

    I am shocked at the way kids at times behave with their parents. I liked the way you ended it. a son who has no care or concern for his old parents, should rather be left on his own.

    Keep up the wonderful work Avada.

    Cheers!!

    Like

  3. Liked it, like it, liked it!!
    First attempt? Doesn’t seem that way, seems written by a seasoned fiction-ist…
    Reminded me of my “Proud Parents” fiction, that too was inspired by real life incidents…
    And u know, Ash, i love the heart u put in ur words, makes it impossible to not like anything, however simple it may be. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hats off, dearie!

    Like

  4. i find it unfair to label it as moneyminded. Not caring for parents..yeah..i can agree to that a bit. But these mite happen anywhere..not just in foreign land..suppose the kids doesnt turn up in Central station or egmore does that make it less of a crime? agreed that in unknown land it wud be more nervous and scary and people shd be more considerate to parents. But somehow with this particular story i cudnt agree on the ending.

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    • Maybe there is a flaw in the way I have written.. but cant their son take a day off or permission and pick his parents or ask someone else to pick them or ask them to wait in the airport.. I just wanted to say this – he is least bothered about them, and doesnt want them and once his father realizes that he thinks it’s better to go back instead of taking favours from such an ungrateful son. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Inspiration: a friend of mine who treated her parents so badly that her mom regretted visiting her ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I agree with Guria this one doesn’t seem to be your first attempt… and regarding the plight of the numerous parents what to say … I too have seen such people who don’t really care for their parents but people do get paid back in their own coins ….

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    • not entirely.. some scenes extracted from real life incidents, I happened to witness, like scolding mom for calling etc
      And also a friend of mine who treated her parents so badly that her mom regretted visiting her

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  6. Just because you have nothing to do, donโ€™t keep calling me like this. I am busy at work. I will call you when I get timeโ€……

    I guess this is one of the most happening situations specially for parents with kids working in corporate .
    I liked this post very much both for its contemporary relevance and a practical ending. The narration is touching and did bring the emotional connectivity very well.

    Keep writing more on social issues.
    Waiting for your next post ๐Ÿ™‚
    All the best ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

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  8. Don’t tell you you write first time!! Too good, excellent plot!! Loved it Loved it!!

    See na, how people forget their parents in old age! It really hurts to see such kinda people!
    Good topic girl!

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  9. There are people who very well know these things are happening around them but still don’t bother – worse, do such things to their parents. Their strange logic is, ‘I am anyway going to shower wealth on my kids, so they will come behind me all their lives!’ They are generally on some cloud till the exact situation mentioned in the story happens to them!

    Even in your story, try to find out how the parents of today treated their own parents some years back…

    Like

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  12. Good work, AK! Very good, for a start! ๐Ÿ™‚
    And yes…such children do not deserve parents!!!
    I personally know someone who, within a week of the death of her father, went on a leisure trip (because it had already been planned 3 months ago!) and later told her mom to “better book an old age home right away…” coz staying with her “while you’re healthy is one thing…but once you become old, it’s a totally different scene”. *&^%$%&*()!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • oh my god.. can’t believe someone actually told that to their mother.. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ such people do exist on this planet right? so unbelievable.. and a trip within a week of father’s death is too much.. It looks like some people just dont keep any sort of emotional attachments.. come on write a post about it Priya.. would love to read your point of view on this topic..

      Like

  13. It’s sad indeed! I never encountered this kind of incidents before but I have heard that these kind of incidents happen a lot. If not, there won’t be any home for aged, outnumbering orphanages. I ve visited orphanages but I m quite nervous to visit aged. May be because my case is total opposite.

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  14. Thanks for sharing the link Avada !

    Lovved the story !! and even I had seen such things happening ! this is not just fiction ! but honestly, it wouldve been even more realistic, atleast closer to what I had seen, if they still managed to reach their sons place in a train or a cab. Thats what parents would do; they would still take that extra effort to be with their children.

    once again, lovved it ! Keep ’em coming !

    Like

    • yeah very true Vimmuu.. any parent would have taken a train and walked for 2 miles to visit their children.. and that is what happens in real life.. no matter how badly their children treat them, they take that extra effort to be with them.. I just wanted to give a happy ending and wanted to atleast encourage parents to kick such children and move on with life.. because shedding tears for such people wont be of any good to them.

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  15. I am shocked that a son could be like this….somewhere parents have faulted in their upbringing.

    Many parents suffer because when they were young they didtheir best for their children, but worst for their parents..and children always imbibe their parents.

    But then its sad to see old parents struggling.

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    • oh yeah that is kind of true. children usually learn from their parents.. but then sometimes children act like that even without any fault of their parents.. have seen such children too.. In a family of 4 children, even though 3 of them care for their parents, one might turn out to become Sonu.. it’s really sad to see how people easily forget relationships..

      Like

  16. Very nicely written ๐Ÿ™‚

    And yes I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen similar stuff in real life ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s sad really…
    Such kids should be beaten up!!! ๐Ÿ˜ก

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  17. This is one of the topic which is very close to my heart. I always end up arguing with people here about the way parents are treated especially when they are summoned to take care of a daughter or DIL and her new born baby. I have seen many many such incidents and always wanted to write about it. But with the kind of Tapori writing skills I have, am afraid it would end up like a circus of a post ๐Ÿ™„ My heart aches when I see the old parents dragging a laundry basket full of soiled clothes between themselves to the Laundry room. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    Well written and congrats for all the picks ๐Ÿ˜†

    Ps: When i first started reading and came to the part where you said my son Sonu is there in US my jaws almost dropped. I was mortified thinking of what all I wrote under your comments in Vimmu’s place pulling your legs. I thought how could I do that to an elderly lady :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Haa after that i scrolled up and saw the disclaimer ๐Ÿ˜

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    • Thanks Sakshi.. welcome to my blog! ๐Ÿ˜€
      Oh yeah I have seen all these things happen ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And that is what inspired me to write this post.. hehe.. I am not so old to have a son in US ๐Ÿ˜‰ thank god I thought of putting a disclaimer..

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