By Hiranya Borah
Copyright 2016 Hiranya Borah
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The story of ‘a father’ is based on an imaginary character. However, I come across some old fellows who claimed to have some similarity with the protagonist of the story. Now, it cannot be thought of such a person who can openly mix up with other ladies in the vicinity of one’s own premises. But it was not long ago, a powerful man can indulge himself in such an audacity. So readers are requested not to try to find out any character of the protagonist nearby you nor nearby me.
Once again thanks to my readers and Shakespir for their cooperation all along my journey.
Chapter I: An Enigma
He had never been a good father to his children. He was relatively better for one of the five children he had. But as a social man, he was a very good man for the society. He was helpful to the common man, man on the street. He was physically strong and extremely brave. He used to like ladies and ladies also like his company. As a result of that he had a very bad married life. I was not sure his children knew about his character, but we all knew about his extramarital affairs with many ladies, some married, some never married, some divorcee, some widow; you name any category of ladies, you will find at least one girl friend of Banamali Barua in that category. We condemned him as a character loose person as we heard from our parents, villagers from our childhood days. But after attaining my age, I admire that person like a demi god. Why should we, as third party blame him? I have never heard he forced any lady to love him nor he forcefully (rape) had any physical relation with anyone. However, I fully justify his wife’s unhappiness with him as she was the only affected party in the whole situations.
Recently I met, Pankaj, third child, second son of Banamali Barua and a classmate of mine, my friend at a marriage function of his cousin. Banamali Barua has recently expired suddenly without any major ailment at the age of 82.
After exchanging good wishes he took me to the outside of the venue and told, ‘I have a special request for you; if you oblige I shall be remain grateful to you till my death!’
I looked at his eyes. ‘Will he ask some money from me?’ I thought. But in the next moment I thought, ‘He will not ask anything like that. He is financially sounder than I.’
When I looked at him with an obvious question mark on my eyes, he said, ‘I came to know that you became a writer. Though I have not read a single book that you have written, I am told, you can depict a character giving equal weightage of the pros and cons about the personal life of the character.’
‘I do not know who told you that I can depict a character properly, but yes, I try to do that.’ I actually liked his sycophancy. ‘Now you tell me, about whom I have to write?’
‘About my father. You know everything about him!’
‘I knew him as an outsider. You have to tell me about him as an insider. Only in that case I can have a balanced view about him.’
In the next one hour what Pankaj told me, I shall reproduce as far as possible in verbatim in few chapters. My observations and comments will be given after his version ends in each chapter. I do not know whether, you will have sympathy for his family or not, but my observations will be neutral as far as possible.
Chapter II: A Neglected Child
He was a neglected child of his father though he was the eldest son after three sisters. He was neglected by his father due to weird reason. Banamali Barua’s father was a school teacher and lost two sons within one year after their birth even though they were provided best possible care. On the other hand, all his three daughters survived without much care. When Banamali Barua ‘s father Rangman Barua thought, if his son would not be given best of the attentions, he had a chance to survive. Surprisingly he survived. Banamali had two younger brothers who also lived a very long life, in fact they are still alive.
Banamali Barua was a brilliant student. But due to financial condition and lack of interest on the part of his father, he could not take admission in the Medical College despite of the fact that his I. Sc. (Intermediate in Science) was extremely good. Due to his inability to take admission into medical college haunted him throughout his life. His father’s reluctance to send Banamali to medical college made Banamali an estranged son throughout his life. Non availability of science courses in the degree standard in the nearest college made Banamali more depressed. Pankaj could not tell me much about his father’s college days. Reasons for not knowing about his father’ college days might be due to communication gaps between father and son. Further, Pankaj knew very few college mates of father. The friends of Pankaj’s father also kept a distance from younger family members of Banamali Barua due to some unknown reasons. Occasionally one or two elderly person(s) used to tell Pankaj that he was /they were class mate(s) of Banamali Barua. After uttering one or two sentences about their father, they preferred not to say anything further. However, from their one or two sentences, Pankaj can gather one information very clearly, as a student; his father was very brave and helpful to others. But About his weakness, nothing was known to Pankaj or to other siblings. Pankaj, however, doubted his father’s extra concerned about the lady classmates as when his father was angry on his mother, all the siblings of Pankaj used to hear one specific sentence quite often, ‘I could have married any girl who was more beautiful and intelligent girl than you. But because of my father, I had to marry a dumb and ugly girl like you and spoiled my career, life and everything!’ After that sentence Pankaj’s mother used to weep. She never uttered a single sentence after that! Therefore, Pankaj and his siblings thought their father must have some good relations with some of his classmates and his father, Rangman did not encourage those relations and imposed his clout to marry Pankaj’s mother against the will of his father. By imposing his will on his son, made the life of his son hell, his daughter- in- law’s life hell and further made lives of their children also unhappy lot. But in those days, such a situation was not uncommon. Most of the sons used to compromise with the situation, but unfortunately Banamali Barua could not do!
Whether Banamali Barua loved someone seriously or not, Pankaj could not confirm. But what he said about his father was something exceptional for a son to describe.
Chapter III: The Curse
I once read a story of a son, who peeped through a window to see intimate moments of his parents. When his father came to know about that, he cursed his son to suffer from leprosy. Immediately the son started suffering from leprosy. Then the son asked forgiveness from his father. The father advised him to go to a particular temple and pray for his relief from the curse. When the son reached the temple and tried to offer his obeisance to the deity, the temple revolved on its axis and doors went to the opposite side to block his prayer. The story is basically written for discouragement to know about the character, sexual activities of the parents or their sexual preferences etc.
Pankaj also never tried to know sex life of his father. But one day it was thrust upon him by his luck.
He was in class three when this particular disgraceful incident happened to Pankaj. He was playing hide and seek with his brothers and sisters along with two cousins who came to their home during winter vacation. Pankaj thought hiding under the bed of his father was safest as none dared to go to his room without father’s permission. After few minutes he heard the sound of closing the door from inside and he heard his father saying someone, ‘Don’t worry, none dares to enter to my room!’
Pankaj’s blood froze in fear of catching by his angry father for entering to his room without his permission. Then he heard the lady was whispering something to his father. His father laughed and said, ‘Are you teasing me? You know that you need not have to worry for your sister. She knows all our activities for so many years. How she will ask any question to me or you now when she did not dare to ask any question on the first day when she saw you on my lap. After all, your drunkard husband sends you to me to take some money for his expenditure on country liquor for next few months. Can he do something with you?’ Pankaj then understood the lady was none other than his own aunty, younger sister of his mother.
His aunty whispered something which Pankaj could not hear. He could hear the laughter of his father. ‘Do you want another baby?’ Pankaj heard his father asked her Aunty.
For the first time he heard Aunty’s voice, ‘No, no. Two are enough!’
Again Pankaj heard his father was laughing.
Pankaj did not see anything; but he heard some unusual sound coming from the bed shared by his father and Aunty, mother’s sister. Initially he thought Aunty was in pain; but her giggles made him to understand that she was enjoying. After one hour both Aunty and his father went out from the room.
After their departure, he also slipped out of the room where he never went that room without his father’s permission till he became an adult. However, from outside he noticed many ladies went to that room with his father in the pretext of important discussion or writing some applications for getting benefits from Government. Normally door was not bolt from inside, but sometimes it was bolt from inside. Neither mother had ever complained about ‘those discussions’ nor the visiting ladies. Now he cannot authenticate that every lady who went to that room had physical relation with his father or not; but few, may be limited to one or two, of them definitely had.
What was the reaction of his mother on that account? She never showed any annoyance overtly to anybody, including her close relatives. However, one day she told Pankaj, ‘Your father may have many bad habits; but I will remain thankful to him on two accounts. He never spent money after ladies and he never threatened me to divorce or abandon me. Whatever he earns, all are spent on the children and me.’
‘Did she not know that her husband was spending on her sister’s family?’ I asked Pankaj.
With a very weird smile, he said, ‘My mother said, he spent on children and on her. Ironically she was right. All the close relatives of us, including my mother know that my cousins are actually my step brothers. My uncle was impotent which was known to everyone except my mother for first few years. My aunt used to stay in our home for a month or so in the harvesting season and on two such occasions she delivered babies after eight to nine months of her departure. These stories were told us by my paternal uncle when we became adults.’
Chapter IV: As A Relative
As a relative Banamali Barua was a person who always used to respect his relations, whether from his own side or from his in laws’ side. We have never heard that he had any other relations with any of his relatives from both sides, other than the socially permitted relations. He always behaved all his sister in laws as his own sisters except the only sister of Pankaj’s mother with whom he crossed all the limits. But many people say that Pankaj’s Aunty took the initiative to have a child with full support from Pankaj mother. That might be the reason why Pankaj maternal side never objected to that ‘open secret illicit relation.’
So far, relations with other ladies, he was limited to official relation only in most of the cases. However, probably he never refused to any lady who was willing.
As per Pankaj’s version, many a times he observed, the door of father’s room was not bolted from inside initially when he entered to his room with a lady. However, in rare cases, after some time he used to bolt from inside his room. In most of the cases, once he stayed with a lady in the closed room for once, he used to bolt the room from inside from her next visit onwards. None of these ladies were his blood related nor related from his in laws’ side. He was always respectful to the wives of his friends.
Apart from those bad habits (closing doors from inside with a lady) Pankaj observed his father was an extremely helpful person to all the persons who asked help from him. From morning till evening whenever he was available at his home, a stream of people used to come to seek different types of help. To be fair to analyze his character, Pankaj admitted that ninety percent of help seekers were either male or very old ladies whom he normally used to address as Aunty. Most of the old ladies always reffered him as an umbrella for the destitute and poor old ladies.
It would be wrong if we colour him as a character loose person only. He was the only person who was approached by any villager for an application to bail out from starvation, at anytime, anywhere and in most of the cases he used to oblige. At least in one occasion which many people of the village know, he refused to sleep with a girl when her own father offered her as a token of gratitude. His statement was also discussed when his mortal remains was consigned to flame few months ago. ‘I never helped you expecting something in return. Your daughter is like my own daughter. I would have considered your offer, if it would have been for your wife and she would have been reasonably young and beautiful! That too because, she is not a relative of mine and you are not my friend.’
Probably those particular sentences have summarized his sexual orientation. He was never adverse for any lady who was compatible to his age and had little bit of attractiveness but not a relative and not a wife of friend.
Does Pankaj loves and respects his father?
Chapter V: As A Father
As a son, Pankaj used to hate his father up to a certain age. As he grew older, he saw his good side also. But one day everything has changed for him.
Pankaj fell in love with a girl who was not from their caste and class. The girl was two-year junior to him and she belonged to a very poor family. Pankaj was damn sure his father would never agree to the relation. He confided with his mother. His mother was also in the same opinion. Pankaj thought of eloping with the girl without knowledge of his father. But good sense prevailed and he gathered courage to face his father.
When he told about the girl his father asked, ‘Are you sure you loved the girl? If you think you will be happy with the girl, I have no objection; but you have to promise me that you will not cheat her or leave her once you marry her.’
Pankaj was really surprised to hear those sentences from his father’s mouth, who himself had all along cheated his mother in numerous occasions! His surprised look invited another shocking statement from his father, ‘Perhaps, you are surprised to hear when I asked you to promise me that you will not cheat her or leave her once you marry her. You are surprised because by the time you may know many things about my relations with some ladies out of my wedlock. Yes, I am a bad father or husband in your eyes. But why I am bad only your mother knows. Some day you ask your mother she will tell you. But for now prepare for your marriage after promising me that you will not cheat her or leave her once you marry her.’
Pankaj promised to his father that he would not cheat her or leave her after his marriage to Anita.
Till toady, after their marriage twenty-six years ago, Pankaj never cheated his wife Anita and still he loves her like before. Anita also became the best daughter in law for Banamali Barua in due course of time.
Now going back to childhood days, when he remembers how he thought always bad about his father, he feels very bad himself. Now he realizes, how the old fellow sacrificed many things for the children without their knowledge. Thinking about his father, he feels how much great he was!
Chapter VI: As A Husband
Apparently, he was the worst husband a lady can aspire. But his wife, Alaka did not think so. Before her death she called her all children and told them, ‘I know you all think that your father had never been good to me. But it was not true. On the very first day he told his pain of leaving his love for dictatorial father’s wish. He also knew that I also had to leave my love life behind which my father did not approve to blossom. I was given a choice to leave him and marry my lover. But that was not possible for me. Then both of us agreed to a workable solution: none would interfere each other’s life. But sleeping together at a young age for days together led us to become parent of you five. In the eyes of the society he became a bad person; but he never divulged the secret of our first night to anyone. He never divulged to anyone about my first love to safeguard my dignity. Thus he made me a tragedy queen and himself a villain. He never forced any lady for giving their bodies. Many ladies actually loved her. He could have abandoned me, which he did not do. He always gave me all the all rights of a wife in the society. I am always thankful to him. Another thing I have to tell you before my death. You might be aware that Jitu and Mitoo are not only your cousins but also step brothers. He was reluctant initially, but I requested him; because as elder sister I understood the pain of living with an impotent husband whole life. Further for not having a child, the lady has to bear all the blames from the relatives even though she may be capable of delivering a child. As your Aunty is much younger and beautiful than I, your father started like her company more than mine and she also started loving him. Yes, as a wife I felt bad for that. But I actually cannot blame him for that because I started the game’ She paused for few minutes.
Then the old lady started saying, ‘He had physical relations with few other ladies also. Some of them are much younger and beautiful than I. Many times I felt bad for that. But at the hind sight I think, he could have brought someone to this house permanently also. But he never did that. I am always grateful for that. So never hate your father for his apparent treatment for your mother. He is a good man; he is helpful to everyone. Some of the ladies try to repay him through their bodies which he always refused. He confided everything me as his best friend. He made physical relations with those ladies who were attracted him purely as a strong and brave man. People say he had relations with hundreds of ladies; in realty only with a few. Bolting door from inside gave an impression to others that he was having physical relation with the lady inside with him. That was not true. Many of the ladies who used to spend hours with him in close doors were like his own sisters. He bolted the door when he wanted to concentrate his mind to write some applications. Every time he had some physical relations with someone, he invariably told me. He never slept with any married lady whose husband was alive except my own sister. He was more a friend to me than a husband. I not only love him, I always respect him as a good friend and brave helpful man.’
She wanted to tell something more about her husband. But she became very tired to tell something more about her husband.
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
21. Two Stories
22. My Mother: Dashami Borah
26. First Attempt
Connect with him
When he told about the girl his father asked, ‘Are you sure you loved the girl? If you think you will be happy with the girl, I have no objection; but you have to promise me that you will not cheat her or leave her once you marry her.’ Pankaj was really surprised to hear those sentences from his father’s mouth, who himself had all along cheated his mother in numerous occasions! His surprised look invited another shocking statement from his father, ‘Perhaps, you are surprised to hear when I asked you to promise me that you will not cheat her or leave her once you marry her. You are surprised because by the time you may know many things about my relations with some ladies out of my wedlock. Yes, I am a bad father or husband in your eyes. But why I am bad only your mother knows. Some day you ask your mother she will tell you. But for now prepare for your marriage after promising me that you will not cheat her or leave her once you marry her.’