My father lost his parents at an early age and suffered from extreme poverty. He studied while staying with his maternal uncle and also worked for other people to support himself. Somehow he managed to educate himself and got a government job.
But he always tried his best to provide the best to me and my brother.
Once when I was in class 10th. We went to Mumbai to enjoy sightseeing. We were near Victoria Terminus station and were looking for a taxi to visit someplace.
My father saw an old man sitting in a corner with tears in his eyes. He was not looking like a beggar but was sitting near other beggars.
Father asked him: What happened to you?
The old man didn’t reply but was murmuring something.
My father: What happened to you?
He started crying this time and replied: Waiting for my son to receive me.
My father: Then why are you crying?
Old Man: I am waiting for almost 2 days now, but he has not come yet.
My father: Where are you from?
Old man: I am from a village in West Bengal, my son works in a jewelry market here, I don’t understand Hindi and don’t have any money. I had spoken to my son from my village and told him that I will come this day. He told me he will receive me from the station and had also given me a phone number to call when I reach here.
My father: Have you called on that number?
Old Man: Yes I have called that number many times and have spoken to a person but he is not my son, someone else is talking and is not recognizing me. I don’t know what to do now. I have spent all my money on calling that number again and again. Some people are asking me to start begging or leave this place. I am afraid of all this, I am a rickshaw puller in my village, this is so foreign to me. I want to meet my son I have not seen him for a long time he never visits us at home.
I was thinking, how could such a thing even happen? Why does his son never visit his family and why is he not coming to receive him. Is he a suspicious character or something?
My father: Give me that number I will try to talk to him.
My father on phone explained the situation to the other person on call (in Hindi ).
The receiver of call: I have no idea what you are talking about, although I am from the jewelry market and I don’t know any such old man.
My father: You must be the owner of the business, isn’t it possible that maybe he is the father of one of your workers. please ask about it.
The receiver of call: Okay. //(call ended)
The old man was still crying and my father was calling frequently to that number but the owner occasionally answered.
My mother asked the old man if he ate anything?
Old Man: No, I am not hungry. please help me meet my son.
My father: Do you have anything to eat? You should eat something you haven’t eaten anything for two days. Haven’t you brought something from home?
The old man: My wife sent some snacks she made for her son, but those are for my son and I am not even hungry.
After listening to this I was thinking he is mad. It was obvious he was weak and hungry but was not eating those snacks as those were for his son and his son is not even here to receive him. My father asked my elder brother to buy some vada pav and idli (Indian local food) for him.
Then the owner called and said: One of our workers is expecting his father and is coming there to receive that man. //(call ended)
My father to the old man: Your son is coming to take you with him, you eat these vada pavs and refresh yourself.
He started eating after some assurance.
After an hour or so his son came and they were hugging each other while crying. His son was very young and was about my age.
My father to his son: Why were you not here to receive your father?
Old Man’s son: I had given my employer’s contact number to my father but he never told me if he received any call, Even I couldn’t talk to my employer as he was busy somewhere. I came here yesterday but couldn’t find my father, since the station is so huge.
My father said: Okay take your father and feed him something, He brought snacks for you and has not even touched them.
I had no idea what just happened, we lost almost 3 hours waiting and finding his son.
Then we started sightseeing and on our way, I asked my father?
Me: Papa, why was his son not visiting his home?
My father: Have you seen how young he is, he is struggling to earn and survive here. He is a laborer with meager earnings, his villagers think he earns a lot in this big city. It is difficult for him to get leaves and even afford train tickets, so that may be the reason he doesn’t visit his village often. I have worked like that, So I know.
Me: Papa, Why was the employer not concerned about the son and father?
My father: Always remember, No one is concerned about you in this world except your parents and immediate family.
Me: Papa, if no one is concerned, why were you helping him?
My Father: Because, I have been there, I had no parents, I have always struggled and expected people to help me. Some people helped me and I am thankful to them.
Me: Papa, why was he not eating those snacks with him? We should eat what we have when we are hungry, Isn’t it illogical?
My father: Yes it is. But you will understand the reason when you become a father.
So, this is what I learned from my father. I can never ever be like him, I am sure about that.
He always tried his best, to provide us the best.