I Treat Her Like My Daughter And Help Her, So She Also Treats Me Like Her Father!

“Look Parekh, Sheetal from the very day of her marriage considers me as her father and treats me the way she treats her father. I treat her like my daughter as well. At the same time, I also try my best to help out the younger generation."

“Look Parekh, Sheetal from the very day of her marriage considers me as her father and treats me the way she treats her father. I treat her like my daughter as well. At the same time, I also try my best to help out the younger generation.”

It is now 7’0 clock in the evening and the sun has set, with darkness gradually replacing the fading light. Parekh sat quietly in the near empty park, gazing at the diminishing crowd. With a disturbed look on his face, he appeared to be weighed down by some problem, which seemed to be devouring him from the inside. Being a weekday, all the children and people in the park left for their homes leaving behind only a few senior citizens. Some elders were seen enjoying their conversation with others whereas some chose to be silent contemplating over some matter. Without his knowledge, tiny drops of tears started flowing over Parekh’s cheeks.

The conversation which took place in the morning between his daughter-in-law Reshma and son Shekar replayed in his mind.

“Why is your father so very non-cooperative, Shekar? I am in a mighty hurry to rush to the office at 8.30 am after seeing off Sumanth to school at 8 in the school bus. Here I am making breakfast, packing lunch for all three of us, running around completing other chores… Your father reminds me to keep his breakfast, lunch, tablets etc on the table before my dashing out of home in the mornings. He is free the whole day. He can get up leisurely, have his coffee, read the newspaper, and whenever he wants can enter the kitchen and serve himself with whatever he wants. I am really sick of the whole thing… What life is this?” Complaining thus to Shekar she left for work after informing Parekh.

Totally disturbed over this, Parekh just left for the park in the morning without having his breakfast at home and sat there contemplating over the incident till late in the evening. Suddenly he remembered that his friend Gupta was not to be seen that day.

Gupta was a close friend of Parekh as they had worked together in the same company for nearly 30 years. Both were widowers now and jokingly made the statement that their wives had left them at the ‘mercy of their sons and daughters-in-law’.

The home atmosphere on the following two days after this incident was that of uncomfortable silence and blank stares. Everyone went about their routine and Parekh’s visits to the park in the evening continued as usual. Not finding Gupta for three consecutive days made Parekh wonder as to what could have happened to him. Was he sick or has he gone out somewhere? Which was highly unlikely as both of them informed each other if they happen to leave the town even for a few days.

The next day, it was just 7 in the morning and Parekh decided to visit Gupta’s place. With a lot of apprehension in his mind, Parekh rang the bell and there stood Gupta as fit as a fiddle with a warm smile on his face.

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“Welcome Parekh. I thought of calling you over the phone today. I was busy at home the last three days as Sheetal, my Bahu, had to meet some deadline at work and so was my son Sonal busy travelling out on business. Come have a cup of tea ‘prepared by me’ which you never may have tasted.”

“The entire household is silent. No sign of Sheetal or Sonal. Have they already left for work today? Where is your grandson? He also is not to be seen,” saying thus Parekh walked inside.

Just then Sheetal and Sonal came out of their room. Sheetal remarked on seeing Parekh, “Namaste Uncle. How are you? Looking at Gupta she continued, “Papa, sorry I woke up late today. I was tired after the hectic schedule of the past two days. Have you already made your tea?”

“Beta, why sorry? Tea is ready for you and Sonal in the kitchen. Just add sugar and warm it a bit. Also I have cut some bendis, cauliflower and tomatoes for lunch. You may see whether they are enough and start cooking. By the way, I tried my hand at ‘poha’ for breakfast and looks like it will be edible! Just taste and let me know! If you need some help, ‘I am at your service, Your Highness’, joked Gupta.

“Papa…., aap bhi na” smiled Sheetal. Soon, Saran, Gupta’s grandson, a handsome guy of 7 years came running from his room and hugged his grandpa.

Parekh and Gupta were chatting over a cup of hot tea. The clock stuck 8.

“Hey, Parekh, just be reading the paper and magazines, I will get Saran ready for his school and get back to you”.

Parekh was surprised at the way the chores were being carried out. There was division of labour and things moved smoothly. Parekh saw Gupta help Sheetal and Sonal in packing their lunch boxes, stuffing the umbrella in Sheetal’s handbag etc.

Soon the school bus arrived and Saran was off to school, “Bye Dadu, see you in the evening. I want samosas for evening snacks. Can you get it for me? Please Dadu. Also you must complete the Tenalirama story tonight, okay?”

“Sure Munna I will”. Waving to the little one, Gupta was back “So what news from your end Parekh, how are things at home, how is your health…” continued Gupta. Parekh had come with the idea of complaining about his children but soon dropped the idea.

Sheetal, as she stepped out of her house, said, “Papa, I have kept your lunch in the hot pack. Do not forget to take your tablets. I remember your telling us last night that your medicines will last for just another couple of days. E- mail me your medicine list and either Sonal or I shall get them when we return home. Be careful. We will keep calling you during the day. Papa, the electrician is expected in the afternoon. I have left the telephone number on the tea table. If he does not turn up by 2 in the afternoon, just follow it up with him. Just in case, if the gas delivery boy comes home, I have left the gas card in the side cupboard.”

Turning to Parekh, “Uncle, have lunch with Papa and spend some time. Both of you must be having lot of news to share. Enjoy!”

“Bye Beta,” said Parekh.

As soon as everyone had left, Parekh was anxious to know more about the harmony prevailing in this household.

“Now, tell me yaar, how come your Bahu is so affectionate towards you and how is it you are so involved in the house hold activities?”

“Look Parekh, Sheetal from the very day of her marriage considers me as her father and treats me the way she treats her father. I treat her like my daughter as well. At the same time, I also try my best to help out the younger generation. After all we are mobile today with maybe certain minor health issues, which can easily be controlled. We have been working in offices for long and are now in a position to lend a helping hand to them at home. Financially also we are comfortable and can pitch in some amount now and then and not necessarily depend on our children for every small need of ours. Our children have started their life and we need to give them full support. I do some small jobs which ease their morning tension. They are happy and we have a sense of satisfaction as well. And then of course we have the whole day at our disposal to spend it in the manner we want. Do you not agree, my friend?”

Parekh gradually realized that there was nothing wrong in his Bahu’s words and that they were said out of frustration, and was on his way out. ‘Yes, yes. Will meet in the park today evening.”.

“Thought you will stay over for lunch, Sheetal is a very good cook. Just taste her cooking” continued Gupta.

“Some other day perhaps. I have got to go home and help Reshma, who is also doing a wonderful balancing act of managing a home and a successful career like what Sheetal does,” replied a smiling Parekh.

Finally Parekh’s agitated mind calmed down and he returned home a changed man with a totally new perspective of his role in the smooth running of his family.

Image source: shutterstock

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