Part three – A day in State Bank office
I never went English coaching class after the day – Archana’s birthday. My summer vacation was full on rocks as I was enjoying the whole day with friends in fun, frolic and play. My father was still in assumption that I was attending English coaching regularly. It was the fifteenth day of my bunk from English coaching class. On that day I went to market with my father. While returning, we tarried at State Bank of India. At bank, my father had to withdraw third installment of business loan that he had taken for garage. He asked me to write an application letter for issuing third installment of loan. He urged me to write in English. I was able to read and write only simple English sentences but I never wrote a complete application in English till that time. I was sure that I would do lots of syntactical, grammatical and spelling mistake if I write it in English, so I tried to convey my father to write in Hindi instead of English. I plead him that the bank officer might not able to understand it in English, but my father replied, these loan department’s officers were highly educated and they usually did their work in English. I tried to convey my father for writing in Hindi by putting such few more reasons but he was in no mood to change his mind. Finally I expressed my primary concern for not writing in English, that application letter written by me, might have lots of mistakes. But my father told me, not to worry about mistakes as that application letter was just a formality, loan officer already passed our loan application so they would surely issue this installment irrespective of what written in application letter. Hence, I finally started to write application letter in English.
It took forty minutes time and five blank papers to me for writing that application letter. At the end of fortieth minute, I was ready with application letter on sixth paper. Every time I thought for some time, wrote few lines and again thought for next lines. Some time I cut down few lines as I found few grammatical, syntactical or spelling mistakes there and some time I cut down few lines as I thought the same thing can be written in other better way. Whenever page looked me unreadable due to my cut-paste operations, I threw that paper in dustbin and start freshly on new page. This is how it took me forty minutes and five (six actually) papers to complete the most difficult task of mine till that time. I was sure that still there were many mistakes in grammar, spelling and syntax in application. But there were also a satisfaction in my heart that I wrote a good letter as per my knowledge and capability. At the start, I was doubted myself whether I would able to write a complete letter in English or not, however at the end, efforts brought the best of mine till the date. Best thing of the task was that my father gave full time to me for accomplishing the task. He sits patiently beside me during whole period. I thanked to my father internally in heart for providing such opportunity.
Anyway, I handed that letter to my father and prayed to God that loan officer would not pay more attention at that application and just signed on it. My father was standing in queue and waiting for his turn, but my heart beats were running like a train. I scared how those loan officers would react when they notice such obvious mistakes in English in application letter.
It was a busy day in bank so it took one hour to my father to face the loan counter. After the long wait in queue, my father was in front of loan officer. It was four o’clock in evening at that time so most of rush went off from bank after their respective work and no new person were coming to bank as at five, Bank will be closed. Most of bank counters looked empty as compare to one hour before and most of bank officers were started wrapping up their task before closing the counter.
Anyway, my father handed over application letter with loan ID to the officer at counter. Loan officers adjusted his specs on eyes and started reading that application letter. He read the letter carefully for five minutes and then called his colleague to come and read the letter. His fellow colleague read the letter and started laughing loudly. “English Man had gone but few stupid followers of them skipped in India” his fellow commented after reading the letter. Everyone around were laughed loudly on his comment except my father. My father smiled with embarrassment expression as he didn’t know why this comment posted on him, but I very well knew why they were laughing. After that it became fun for them, most of the officers got free from their work at that time, so many came to counter for reading that letter. One read the letter, speech loudly grammatically and syntactically incorrect sentences, laughed and handed over that letter to other. Total six people read that letter in the period of twenty minutes at that time. Till that time, my father also knew why they were laughing after reading the letter. “Why you feel shame in writing in Hindi…why such annoyment from your mother tongue Mr.India…..ha…Ha…ha” one commented to my father. Another one taunted “Please don’t try to write in English next time my dear friend….otherwise English man called you Britain and offered national award to you…ha ha.” Next one twitted “if you don’t know English, write it in Hindi……why are you pulling leg and making fun of such great language …ha ..ha..ha”. Every time when anyone commented on my father, he just smiled with embarrassment and looked here and there for a while to avoid it. Sometimes he looked at me also but I turn down my eyelid whenever he tried to look at me.
The entire hall of bank was echoed with the laugh of those officers. Suddenly a fat bank officer came there with chewing tobacco. He looked like senior among them as everyone in the group pay attention to him when he arrived. ‘What’s going on here’ he asked while chewing tobacco. ‘Read this letter Mr. Gupta, it was written by this poor motor mechanic for issuing loan installment’ one folk told him while handed over that letter. He held the letter with one hand and moved other hand on his large tummy. His mouth was continuously moving to chew the tobacco but his eyes were fully busy to read that letter. Unlike others, he didn’t start laughing loudly after reading that letter but he went to my father and said after spitting whole tobacco on the wall at corner ‘I appreciate your spirit..you are like the example for others who feel shame to show their talent’ than he moved to other bank officers and said ‘why are you laughing on him….there is no fault of him in it… what can you expect from this poor motor mechanic who read English only on number plates of vehicle…MP-13-JH-5646.’ He started laughing loudly after saying this and soon everyone joined him on laughing like earlier. Earlier comments hurt me but this full swipe by fat man was unbearable for me. I felt like put a hard punch on this fat man’s mouth and extract all blood from his mouth like he spit the tobacco. My father was still in embarrassment mode; I wondered why my father was not telling them that this application was written by his son, not by him. But I felt that he needs that money to grow his garage that’s why he didn’t argue anything with these bloody bank officers.
After thirty minutes of embarrassment and shame, officers finally signed on same letter and my father got the cash. While leaving bank, neither I tried to look into my father’s eyes and never he tried to talk with me on the matter, but I could sense a disappointment, irritation and anger clearly from his behavior. On the way to home, I was scared about treatment that my father would suppose to do with me after such incident. I thought that at home, my father would be angry on me and he might pour fire-words to me. He might punished or beat me. If I attended English coaching class and paid proper attention there than this situation can be avoided but my shiftiness has blocked that chance too. Though I was feared about punishment and beating, I was feeling sorry also for my father. If I would be there at the place of my father, I throw all such cash on the face of such bloody officers. They are giving some cash on interest, not doing any big obligation to us. But I knew why my father didn’t do like that, he surely thought about his family. Whatever he is doing, all because of us only. If he denied for taking that cash than he will surely not able to grow his business and ultimately we will not get enough money for our education and comfort. Responsibilities enhance the patience level of human being. But who are these bank officers to care about it. My father means to me because he is my father and I hurt if anyone put such comments on him, but he is just an ordinary person for outside world so why should those bank officer care about his sentiments. If my father would be a big industrialist or politician than these bank officers will come to home for giving loan installment, but a poor mechanic is no one in their eyes, rubbish corrupt bank officers! If I will become a big man in future that I will surely show them what are the manners to talk with people.
Slam, sorry, self guilty and fear – these are four expression backed at very high temperature in the hot furnace of my mind during the entire way from Bank to home; Slam to bank officers; sorry for my father; self guilty for not giving proper attention to English tuition; and fear to face my father’s anger at home. My day was totally spoiled and my mood was not in control of mine. Situations made me think only about these four things– slam, sorry, self guilty and fear. I was totally disgusted by the day but real drama of the D-day was waiting for me at home.
We reached home and entered in drawing room. My heart blasted with shock and my feet started trembling when I saw Mr. Joseph sipping tea in the drawing room of our home. No words popped out from my mouth as my lips were locked due to shock. I just said ‘good evening’ in trembling voice and moved away from there. Oh My God! Have you sent to Mr. Joseph on the same day when my father is already angry on me due to such incident at Bank office!! Now no one save me from the anger of my father, neither my mother not the god. I was not in condition to go into drawing room and talk with Mr. Joseph so I opened my text book and start studying in the bed room. However I was not able to read a single word from the book as I opened the books just to avoid meeting Mr. Joseph and my father. My eyes were on book but mind was imagining only about the conversation between my father and Mr. Joseph. Mr. Joseph will certainly ask my father about me for not coming to tuition and then my entire trick will be uncovered in front of my father. How he felt when he knows that I am bunking the tuition from last twenty days. His anger might be doubled; he is paying a big amount for my tuition so that I learn English and be able to compete with those English medium students. And what I am returning, bunk from the tuition, wastage of his money, break off his trust, and such insult by people at bank office. Shame on me!
Tear drops exploded from eyes and remorse erupted in heart while thinking about both the incidents happened with me on the day. Slam, sorry and fear feeling were totally washed out by tears and what remained was just self-guilty. In the state of retro inspection, I closed the book, took the bad sheet and lie down on bed. My mother came in between and asked me what happened than I told her that I got tired so just taking rest. She returned to her daily work after hearing this and I again moved to the state of self observation. In the state of self-hiring, I didn’t know when my eyes were closed and I gone into deep sleep.
At around nine, my mother called me for dinner. I wake up, washed my face and moved for dinner. At dinner, I found everything normal, my father was watching television and my mother was busy in serving food to us. I took the plate and sit at the corner. My father was talking with my mother and siblings like every day. We finished the dinner and my father went for evening walk. I observed everyone behaving as usual except me there. I maintained silence in dinner time and again opened books after dinner to avoid any discussion on any matter as I was not in mood to enjoy the evening like every day. But one thing really worried and surprised me- why my father was not said anything to me. Now he knew my level in English and also about the bunk from tuition than why he was not showing his anger to me, scolding and beating me like other fathers. Is it the thing he already planned a big punishment for me? I really didn’t have any idea, but such behaviour of my father made my guilt like a giant and I became eyesore in my own eyesight.
Next day everything started like usually for me. But I was in dilemma whether to go English tuition or not. How Mr. Joseph would behave with me as yesterday he saw the real face of his most innocent and sincere student. He saluted me earlier due to my spirit to learn English as a Hindi medium student and now he would slam me for bunking tuition and wasting my father’s money and efforts. After thinking about all aspects of English tuition, I finally decided that I will go to English tuition, irrespective of how Mr. Joseph will behave and what happen with me there. Worries and anxiety were destabilizing mind but remorse finally gears up me to face Mr. Joseph’s temper. At 2 o’clock in afternoon, I took my notebook and was about to leave home for tuition. Suddenly I found my mother at the gate and her words shackled my feet “you know Nityam, once you were asking me that where your father goes in afternoon. So here is the answer – you must know about Mr. Patel, the landlord, who has a big form house in village. He has some farms in our ancestor’s village. Usually he didn’t sow anything in the form in summers as he has little water remain for irrigation during simmers. Your father has rented some portion of that form to sow some vegetables in that portion. This portion is just sufficient to irrigate with little water remain in the well at Mr. Patel’s farm house. Your father used all the resources like water and machinery from Mr. Patel’s farm house; And in the return of it, your father shared the profit with Mr. Patel. You know farmers usually don’t take any crops in the period from April to June, it’s not just because they don’t have enough water for irrigation, but also because they don’t want to do such hard work in unbearable hot days of Indian summers. Your father is doing that so that he can earn some extra income to pay big fees of your English tuition. Now it’s your decision what you want to do, whether to cash this opportunity and learn something that your father didn’t get chance to learn in his life or waist all his efforts and money by bunking the class.”
My mother played emotional card on me but I was already underneath that burden. This sudden disclosed fact surely elevated my guilt feeling but it also strengthens my decision to go back English tuition. I got emotional by the fact but this emotion powered up my resolution. Surprisingly my mother’s disclosure gave me energy to do something, not for my mother, not for my father, just to show myself, that I have that capability and talent to achieve my father’s expectation. Positive energy was putting me on the path of penance but still there was a trouble inside my heart, how to face Mr. Joseph now. I prayed God to help me there.
God helps to those who want to help their self. I already stepped in to resolve the things and now it was god’s turn. But god is the big boss of all as he already accomplished his task by the means of my father. Anyway I went to tuition, entered in the room. Everything was like as usual there. Everyone was same there except me; same environment, same students, and same Mr. Joseph. I greeted Mr. Joseph and sit in the far corner of room. Mr. Joseph was busy in explaining something to a student so he didn’t pay attention to me for next fifteen minutes. During that time, I remembered about the treatment and punishment that Mr. Joseph gave to few English medium students earlier who bunked the tuition, so I was scared by expecting the same from him for me that day. After fifteen minutes Mr. Joseph called me to come closer to him. I went near him and stood like a guilty. ‘How are you now?’ Mr. Joseph asked me. ‘I am fine sir’ I replied in trembling voice. I was surprised why Mr. Joseph asked me like this. ‘Your father was mentioned that you played a lot in hot afternoon of these summer days so suffered by dehydration from last few weeks’, I surprised. I didn’t know anything about this fact so I maintained silence. ‘Don’t play in afternoon these days and intake more water and glucose to avoid such dehydration’ Mr. Joseph advised me. Then, he assigned some work to me and told me to sit at the place close to him. I was in full shocked mode. Now there was no need to explain anything to myself as Mr. Joseph’s words were self explanatory. No blood pours from vessel if someone byte me at that moment. I never imagine, not even in dreams that my father tell lie to Mr. Joseph about my inability to attend tuition in last few weeks. Hat-off to dad! You told lie to protect my innocent, sincere and studious image in the eyes of Mr. Joseph on the day when you endured such a shameful insult at the bank office due to my inability of writing correct English. You did everything to become a great father; it’s just me who was not able to work like an ideal son. My heartily salute to you, dear dad!
Mr. Joseph shifted me to evening batch after few days. In evening batch I met some college students and few business people who came to learn English. These were folks who did their school education from Hindi medium and now struggling on English language front in higher studies. These people had almost the same level in English like me at that time. I was the youngest in that batch. My hesitant broke in that batch with the people at my level. I participated actively in all discussion and lessons. Many times I helped people there to learn the lesson about grammar, syntax and speaking English. This thing helped me a lot in learning and exploring this language. In the short duration of three months (April to June) at Mr. Joseph’s English coaching class, a strong foundation of English language has build for me. And I must say a bright future was waiting for me on that foundation that soon I had gone be build by exploring myself in the ocean of English and other languages.
In the month of July Mr. Joseph informed us that he is going to his hometown in Kerala forever. He got a good job there so moving to his roots now. I disappointed when Mr. Joseph informed us about it, but he was very happy on that day. After all he was moving to hometown forever. Mr. Joseph came to meet us couple of days before his departure. He met my father and appreciated me for sincerity, eagerness and talent, I shown at his tuition. My father thanked him for accepting me as student and gave a chance to learn from him. My father took excuse from Mr. Joseph for a minute and asked my mother to prepare tea for him. After this, my father went to bed room and opened the cupboard where he collected the cash that he got by selling vegetables from Mr. Patel’s form. He took two thousand rupees from there and handed to Mr. Joseph as the two month’s tuition fee. But to be very surprised, Mr. Joseph denied taking it from my father. Mr. Joseph explained that he taught me not for money; it’s because he love to teach students like me. But my father again insisted him and put cash in the front pocket of his shirt. But Mr. Joseph extracted the cash from his pocket and again put in the hands of my father with such argument – ‘Give this money to a person, who has pursuit to teach something to his children like you.’ My father was speechless at this time. If I had a camera than I must captured that moment, Mr. Joseph handed money in the hands of father with such overwhelming dialog. I felt very great for my father on that day. Mr. Joseph’s words realized me the greatness of my father that was mostly hidden from me because of his silence.
Days spent and I completed schooling and joined college. I did my bachelors degree in science stream but selected English literature for masters. As a science student, I had a good aptitude and at the same time I was good in languages also. I prepared for civil services and by the god’s grace, I got selected for Indian Embassy’s jobs. Due to my hobby and profession, I learned many languages and wrote a book also. I got everything in life just because of my father’s quench to teach me that he never gets chance to learn. I still shared the same relationship with my father – relationship of silence, patience and love. He neither appreciated or hugged me on my achievement nor beat me on mistakes; but I always felt his emotion through his eyes and efforts. I still didn’t get chance to say him that he is the greatest father in the world; but I will surely be obliged to him in my entire life. My mother was mostly narrated me about my father’s feelings but truth is that now I can read everything from my father’s eyes. He spent his whole life in repairing motor and vehicles but his dusty palms with full of oil and grease, curved my future colourful and bright.
Mr. Joseph’s classroom and the insult of my father by bank officers still alive in my memories. Especially comments on my father at bank office are pricked to my heart like thrones, even today. If I have power to move into past, than I surely go into that day at bank office and uttered to those officers that my father is not just ordinary person, he is indeed great. He didn’t want that letter to be in English to show off his class or greatness; he wanted it to be in English so that his son gets chance to nurture his knowledge in real life. Every father look the answer sheet and notebook of his children (in which they wrote application, essays and answers) to check their progress; but tell me about a father who gives such opportunities and support to his son to cultivate his lessons in real life. He didn’t say even a single word to me but his efforts portrayed all what he wants. Doctor’s prescription list, English newspaper, Rapidex speaking English course, English coaching at Keralite teacher, farming at Mr. Patel’s farms and encouragement to develop the leanings in real life – my father always showed me the way by his actions. When I see people beat and tick off their children for study, I feel great for my father. Parents should not drive their children by just words or fear; they should drive them by their efforts, silence and dignity like my father. My father’s silence always strengthens my resolution and his patience powers up my dreams and confidence. He gives me full sky of my own choice to fly but always be there to show me the right way by invisible threads of his love, efforts and silence.
So here I am Nityam Rathore, son of a great father, and this is my story. Now, whenever I write or do something, I just keep one thing in mind that no one could complain or insult my father due to my work. I pray to God that such situation will never occur now; hope my pray remain true in my entire life!