Old Man and a Dog
By Hiranya Borah
Copyright 2017 Hiranya Borah
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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This book is based on an old man’s perspective towards happiness. Positive thinking of the lonely man actually inspire me a lot. Hope he may be an inspiration to others as well.
Hope my readers will love the old man for his indomitable spirits in an adverse condition.
Thanks to my readers and friends and above all my family for their constant support to write something usual and unusual. I love them all. I am also thankful to Google for using the photo graphs of dogs as representative pictures on every chapter.
Thanks to Shakespir for publishing this story book along with my other books.
Chapter I: The Pair
I have seen the old man with a dog for last three years in the park adjacent to my residence. The old man apparently lives in a different world, I have never seen him in a conversation with anyone in last three years. His only companion, a golden retriever runs one point to another point of the park keeping an eye on his master, the old fragile man. As I am not a regular visitor to the park, I cannot say whether they are always coming to the park or they are also irregular visitors like me.
The dog is apparently healthy, though he appears to be old. Sometimes however, I wonder if the dog has some arthritis problem as I saw some discomfort in his legs while running. But, I must admit, he is always happy with old man.
The old man must have crossed the barrier of seventy few years ago. He normally moves slowly and always keep an eye on the dog. He sometimes gives some instructions to the dog, which are apparently heard and followed by the dog very obediently.
The pair, the old man and his pet apparently happy in their secluded company of each other.
Chapter II: Finally Talked
On a cloudy day when I saw the duo in the park, I decided to talk to the old person. But being a person of 55, it is difficult to address a person of around 75 as uncle or as elder brother as I do not know the psyche of every 75 year old person about his age. I had been snubbed twice by two elderly persons for two diametrically opposite reasons. First, when I addressed an elderly woman on a bus from my maternal uncle’s place to my father’s place as ‘Mahi (younger sister of mother). She asked me with a stern look whose son I was. When I told my mother’s name, she admonished me for addressing her as Mahi instead of Jethai (elder sister of mother) as she was much older than my mother. Again when I addressed a forty-five year lady as Aunty, she admonished me for not addressing her as Bidew (madam / elder sister), when I was barely twenty year old with an age difference of twenty five years.
Finally, I addressed the old man, ‘Sir, I have seen you for last three years with your dog. If you do not mind, can I ask you a question?’
He looked at me for a while and then said, ‘You can ask me any number of questions. But do not address me as sir. You must be a senior officer. I was a mere peon of an office though my son is also a senior officer in Government of India like you. I do not know the name of the office of my son.’ He stopped there. I got another snubbing for ‘wrong addressing’ to an old person.
‘Ok, uncle, can I address like that?’ I wanted his permission before I get another snubbing.
‘Sure, you must be my son’s age. You can call me uncle.’ The old man permitted me to address him as uncle.
‘I saw you for almost three years with your dog. I have never seen you talking with anyone. You do not like talking or—’ I did not finish my sentence intentionally.
‘I love to talk with any positive person. Initially when I came to this place, young and sophisticated people never talked to me due to my humble background. However, few old people talked me just to ventilate their grievances against their children and particularly against their daughter in laws. They always try to tell their side of the stories. From their stories, it appears, all the daughter in laws are devils. They never try to understand the problems of the daughter in laws who also might be under tremendous pressure. I do not know, as young people, few decades ago, how much they had served their parents. Now, being old they try to extract sympathy from others by saying something against their children, particularly about their daughter in laws. I did not like that habit. I stopped interacting with those old persons.’
I was surprised to hear such an allegation for fellow old people on alleged neglect by children and daughter in laws.
‘Your answer gives me a new perspective of old age. I was fearful about my own old age after my retirement. I shall definitely like to know about you and more about your thinking on neglect by children!’ I was very much interested to know about the old man.
Smiling like an innocent ten year old, he said, ‘To know about me, you have to wait for a day. I have to go home now. After half an hour, normally all my family members, except my son, who is always late from office, will sit together for a cup of tea. I cannot miss that. It is the time when all the family members see each other’s face.’
Without waiting for my reply the old man left the park with his dog slowly. I looked at the pair till they disappeared in the evening darkness.
Chapter III: Dog and Me
Next day, the old man started to tell his journey of life.
My name is Hari Prasad Sharma. I was a peon for thirty-five years in District Magistrate Office of Moradabad, UP (changed the name of the district and state). I have one son and three daughters, now all married. With a meagre salary of a peon, I was able to give proper education to my only son, Vijay. But I could not afford the educational expenditure for my daughters. That is common in almost in all parts of rural India. Though sometimes, I feel, I did gross injustice to my daughters.
Nine years ago when my wife died, my son, Vijay brought me to Delhi as none was there in my home to look after me. As a typical North Indian village man, I was not habituated in cooking and other household chores despite of the fact that, I was not from a wealthy background. In our village cooking by a male, that too by a Government servant was almost unthinkable. Therefore, starting cooking at the age of 65 was almost impossible for me.
As a man from Indian rural background, I cannot stay in any of my married daughters’ place even though all of them were staying nearby my home, though I would be more comfortable in staying in their homes. Under those compelling circumstances, I landed at my son’s door nine years ago.
Though I was financially not dependent on my son, my arrival gave his nucleus family some discomforts in their personal lives. They have to rearrange everything, from time table to living rooms for me. For some days, I was also disappointed. However, looking at the problems from their perspective, I felt rather sorry for them. I discussed all the problems with my daughter in law. Then we found some workable solutions.
In the meantime, after my arrival, my son had to buy this dog due to his second son’s (at that time he was eleven year old) irresistible demand or tantrum. He promised to look after the puppy by himself. But his interest for the puppy evaporated within a month and they were about to return the puppy to the seller. But on my intervention, the puppy was not returned and from that day onwards, I looked after him and subsequently he became my constant company.
He is my only companion for the whole day for the last few years. He has a positive impact on my lifestyle. I do not know who will go first. I am already 74 and he is 9 years. Normally his breed has an average life of 10-12 years and I have also crossed my prime and counting my days.
Chapter IV: Everyone is Busy
My son has an important job in the Government of India and he leaves for office at 8-30 AM and seldom returns home before 7-30 PM. I know his problems in the office. Being son of a peon, he does not have a Godfather in the Government. He has to work twice than his counter parts with better family backgrounds to get his normal promotion etc. When others are going for a party, he has to be in the office just not to get a scolding from his boss. I am not saying that happens always, but mostly it is like that in his long career.
My daughter in law is working in a Central School located 10 KM away from our home and has to go to a school in time. She should be always punctual in her attendance to avoid her transfer from the city. Fearing her transfer, she always reach her school by 8-30 AM for her school from 9AM. Who knows who is after her? She comes back from her school by 5PM.
My two grandsons are in some technical college and they also have to go to college in time. Their college also starts at 9AM. Though the children come back from school by 3PM, they have their daily home-works and time bound projects throughout the year.
So practically, everyone leaves home by 9 AM in the morning and returns after 4-30/ 8-00 PM. Thus, practically, none has time for me or for the dog.
Therefore, it would be wrong on my part to think that they do not want to spend time with me. I am sure, all of them have intention to spend some quality time with me, but they are helpless. Whenever, they get some time, they sit with me and asked about my health etc. For providing food etc. they have kept one servant in their servant quarters. She is taking care of me as far as possible.
Chapter V: I Learnt Cooking
In my wildest imagination also, I never think that they have ever neglected me intentionally. I must understand that they have their own problems and I must appreciate whatever they are doing for me.
After three to six months, a positive thinking struck me. We all men think that we are superior to women, as we were taught from our childhood. Then, if it is so, why can’t we do a thing which a lady can do easily, cooking.
First, I start with preparation of a cup of tea. I did not find much difficulty on the first day itself. In a few days, I was able to cook my necessary food which are essential to live in this world without depending on anyone else.
Then I stated learning other household chores as well, from my daughter in law and from the maid. Though initially my daughter in law dissuaded me from doing any household chores, on my insistence she allowed me to do so.
My positive actions inspired my two grandsons to learn cooking and helped them to discard the feeling that their mother and maid are only supposed to household chores.
However, only objections came from my daughters in my endeavours. They tried to accuse my daughter in law to make me their servant. However, getting snubbing from me few times, they stopped criticising her.
Chapter VI: Happy and Contended Man
Now, at a ripe age of 74, I am a totally happy and contended man like my dog upside down. I love my family and I am sure they also love me. But they cannot spare time for me which I have to agree from my heart.
Every old man wants that they are surrounded by his/ her family members. But is that possible? They should ask a simple question to themselves, did they spend whole time with their parents when they were young?
I have seen some of my friends who did nothing for their old parents, now they are complaining about their sons and daughter in laws. Is it right? But who cares? Every third party, without analysing their past deeds jumps upon to criticize the sons and daughter in laws, who actually learn nothing good from their parents when they were young. If you peep into the lives of the critics of daughter in laws, you will find, they are also not doing anything good for their old parents.
At this age, I am reiterating, I am a happy and contended man. I am happy with my children whatever they are doing for me last one decade with so many problems of their own.
He stopped there. I wanted to leave the place thanking him for giving me new perspective old man’s life. But he gestured to sit down for a minute more.
‘If you ask me one point of being happy, I shall tell you, I love my daughter in law as my own daughter. I understand her problems as a father. I am not a burden on her now, but I am a friend and philosopher to her. I never allow anybody to criticise any of her actions in front of me. I always defend all her actions as a father. In the process she also treat me as her father, not as her father in law.’
As I was leaving, I saw a natural glow in the face of the old man in the deem lights of the park.
The author is a Government servant and a man of vivid experiences derived from his official postings across the country, travels across India and numerous visits outside India. He is presently placed at New Delhi.
His earlier publications are:
1. Random Thoughts through a Coloured Prism
2. Dilemma of a Young Mind
3. Funny Statistics and Serious Statisticians
4. Melody of Fragrance
6. Few Cities through the Lens of Hiranya Borah
7. Guilt: Gift of Winter Spring
8. Beautiful Ghost
9. Great Fighters: Grace of God
10. All Blurred
11. Putting kids to sleep
12. How to become unpopular
14. My grumpy Face
15. Love and Worries
16. Discussion of own Birth: A Taboo
18. Indecent Love Affairs
19. My Fair Lady
20. Waiting time
21. Two Stories
22. My Mother: Dashami Borah
26. First Attempt
27. A father
28. The Portrait
29. Snapped Thread
30. Only He Knows
31. The Stupid Mother
32. The Same Old Story
33. The Old Scoundrel
34. Third Attempt
35. Some of my First Days and First Nights
36. Snubbed Twice
37. Have You Met the God
38. Frequent Flier
40. Forgive and Forget
41. To Win or to lose
42. Call Girl
43. Beyond Blood Relation
44. Lady with a Black Car
45. My wife
46. Complete Woman
47. Diwali Gift
48. Romance with a Lady
49. Open Heart Surgery
50. My First Love
52. Pebbles on My Way Home
53. My First Bengali Book
54. Murder Mystery
57. Make a Habit to Thank God
58. Killing of a Bird
59. The Hero
60. Fantasy versus Reality
61. The Party
62. Road Rage
63. Death of a Friend
64. Cannot Live with Memory Only
65. None Cares for Me
66. A Tribute to My Guru
67. Two Professionals
68. The Choice
69. The Elusive Spouse
70. First Encounter with A P
71. Plane Crash
72. Plane Crash Part-II
73. Plane Crash Part-III
75. A Bag of Currency
76. Suitable Groom
77. Head Hunters
78. My Dear Sister
79. Selection While Waiting at the Airport
80. Oh Shit
82. He Got Back His Wife
83. Beautiful Faces
84. Elder Sister
85. Good Morning
87. Pass on your Death to Someone Else
88. Colour of Holi
89. Why blame others
90. A Forbidden Issue
91. Hat-trick of Failures
92. Agony of Writers
94. Three Directors
95. An Unusual Love Affair
96. Birth Day
97. Do not Tell Anyone
99. Late By Ten Years
100. Murder in a Foreign City
101. Strange Life
102. I love You Darling
104. Lady in the Park
105. Do Anything, I Shall comment
107. Art of Flirting
108. Are We Human
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This book is based on an old man’s perspective towards happiness. Positive thinking of the lonely man actually inspire me a lot. Hope he may be an inspiration to others as well. Hope my readers will love the old man for his indomitable spirits in an adverse condition.