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  1. #1
    varalotti's Avatar
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    Default Time and Tide - Another Essay in Short Story Format!

    This is another article on family and children, again in the form of a short story. I am sad to say this is a real life incident which I took a lot of trouble to embellish to protect the identity of the family. Every one who read this said they can’t help feeling heavy at the end. But that’s life. Those of us who still have the time … well, I am dedicating this piece to them.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

    Time and Tide… I

    As they say time and tide wait for no man.

    “Hello, One moment please.”

    Though Madhavan was in a hurry to go to work, he could not ignore the pleas of his brand new wife, Malathi. Their marriage was just about a month old. The time was early seventies when the wives were not sure how to address their husbands. Calling hubbies by their first names was to become a fashion much later.

    “Malu, make it fast. I am already late.”

    “My parents are coming over here on Friday. If you can take Saturday off we can show them around Bangalore. They have not visited any place outside our village. Can you apply for leave on Saturday?”

    “No chance, dear. I have signed up for coaching classes to write the CAIIB exams, which starts on Saturday evening. Unless I pass these exams I won’t become an officer. How long do you thing I can slog as a clerk? How long can we live in this four hundred square feet house? I am working for a goal. So don’t disturb me. But what prevents you from taking them around? I’ll give you the money. I will book you people on a conducted tour so that you don’t miss any of the places.”

    Madhavan did not attempt to infer any thing from Malathi’s defensive smile. It was bland and hid a lot of strong emotions. She realised that their honeymoon was over and that she had fallen into the land of reality with a thud.

    Malathi had been brought up as a no-non-sense village girl. Though she was very soft and courteous on the outside she was rather hard inside and she never hesitated to ingest the bitter realities of life. She had the good sense to understand that her husband Madhavan, a handsome responsible man of clean habits, was fiercely attached to his banking career. The first three items in his list of priorities were number one his job, number two his job and number three his job. She knew that Madhavan’s career was his jealous first wife while she came only a poor second.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->
    As they say time and tide wait for no man. Months rolled by.

    An excited Malathi received Madhavan one evening. “Father has written that Renu’s marriage has been fixed. It’s on the thirtieth of next month. Father is insisting that we should go to our village at least a week before the event. It would be a big family reunion, which we shouldn’t miss. More than that a marriage in our village is a grand affair with feasts for three days, picnic to the nearby hillock, entertainment etc. We could not enjoy these things fully during our marriage. So….”

    Renuka was Malathi’s younger sister. Madhavan did not share his wife’s excitement.

    “Malu dear, I don’t mind your going to the village even fifteen days before the marriage. Don’t you know that next month is our year-end? I can come only a day before if at all I can come.”

    Malathi’s face fell. Her father came all the way to Bangalore to take her. Madhavan landed in the village just minutes before the marriage ceremony and left soon after the marriage-feast was over.

    By then Malathi was perfectly reconciled to her husband’s career obsession. Each man had his fault. Thankfully Madhavan’s fault lied just in his being workaholic. Had there been any other addictions or failings her life would have been downright miserable. Malathi thanked God for what had been given to her.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->
    As they say time and tide wait for no man.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

    Soon a time came where Malathi forgot about every thing else.

    Madhavan who returned late after attending some coaching classes was startled at the wonderful reception he got from his wife.

    Malathi hugged her husband and whispered something into his ears.

    Madhavan in turn hugged her and then lifted her up and danced with her. God was a little more liberal than his superiors were. Before his long-dreamt promotion as an officer came through his promotion as a father came in. Madhavan forgot every thing; but just for a few minutes. When the issue of practical exigencies was taken up he went back to his shell.

    “I have fixed up an appointment with a Gynec tomorrow at eleven. Though I know the place and can go by myself, you know, in the present condition I am a little… what shall I say, embarrassed. And I want you to be holding my hand when the Gynec confirms it. That will be a once-in-a-life-time moment for us both. So will you please come and take me there? Please… You can go to your bank directly from there. I will come home by auto.”

    Madhavan was about to yield; but suddenly he remembered something.

    “Malu, I would love to come. But right now branch inspection is going on. The work is hectic. Of course if I tell the reason my Manager would give the permission. But this is the time to impress the Manager. So please understand….”

    Malathi understood with a sigh. She went alone to the Gynec who confirmed the sweet news.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

    Last edited by varalotti; 11th December 2005 at 09:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Time and Tide II

    As they say time and tide wait for no man. Months flew.

    When she was into the seventh month of her pregnancy Madhavan had the first break in his career. He was promoted as an Officer in his bank and was posted to Mysore. He packed off Malathi to her village for a long maternity sojourn.

    Madhavan received a telegram announcing the arrival of a baby boy to add joy to their lives. He felt elated, for sure. But he was not excited enough to rush to the village immediately to see his wife and the new arrival. He waited for a full fifteen days to complete the work on hand before making that memorable journey. By the time Madhavan arrived Malathi had already named the child, Aswin.

    As they say time and tide wait for no man. Three years passed. Aarthi was born and added charm to their lives.

    Madhavan had not changed a bit personally. Career-wise he had grown to be a Scale Two Officer. Now they were living in a spacious house in a South Indian town after a stint in a remote branch in northern India. Busier than ever he did not have any time for his wife or children.

    When Aarthi fell ill Malathi had to rush to the hospital all alone. Aswin fell down from the stairs and had a deep cut. Madhavan gave instructions over phone and sent up a car to take them to the hospital. He came late in the night to enquire if Aswin was all right.

    Of course Madhavan was a wonderful provider. There was never any need for money. They lived very comfortably. But Malathi felt emotionally deprived, as her husband was not there to support her in the family management.

    As they say time and tide wait for no man. Now Aswin was fourteen and Aarthi eleven.

    “Hello, Aswin wants to see the James Bond movie that’s running in town now. All his friends have seen it. Today’s Saturday. Your bank works only for half day. Can you take him to the movie this evening?”

    “Me? To the movie? With Aswin? Fat chance. See, Malu, the annual

    audit is going on. Even this Sunday I would have to go to work. How can you expect me to take off on Saturday evening? Why don’t you take him to the movie? It will be a change for you as well.”

    “But Aarthi does not want to see the movie. Where can I leave Aarthi?”

    “You can leave her with our next door neighbour. They are very good people. That man has got huge deposits in our bank.”

    “Look here. Aswin is now fourteen and he wants to go out with you. This is a critical period in a boy’s life and he would like to bond with you. This is a period when the father-son relationship blossoms into something wonderful. It’s not just the movie. I or for that matter any one can take him to the movie. It is just being with him, talking to him and listening to him that matters. These are small but significant pleasures in life that I don’t want you to miss. When will you get a chance to know him or love him?”

    “C’mon , when did you become a psychiatrist? Anyhow thanks for your professional advice. But no, thanks. I am not taking it. Do you think I don’t love the children? I may not show that like you do. But the love is deep down within me. I am slogging only for them. These days higher education costs hell a lot of money and I am saving for that. Compared to such important things a Bond movie is a trifle. It doesn’t matter who takes the boy to such a crap. Okay?”

    Malathi did not want to argue further. She just let out a long sigh and left the place.

    As they say time and tide wait for no man.

    “You know something? Aarthi’s school day is today. They are doing a skit. And Aarthi is the heroine. There is also a dance number for her. Her teacher herself called to say that Aarthi’s performance was excellent in the rehearsals. Today’s show will be really grand and our Aarthi will be the centre of attraction. Why don’t you come early today, so that we can see the entire show from beginning to the end? More than anything else Aarthi will feel very proud if you also come along. What do you say?”

    “I would love to come Malu. But I am going to Bombay by the evening flight. There is a very crucial meeting tomorrow morning and I am doing a presentation for our bank. Please congratulate Aarthy on my behalf. Is Aarthi home? I would like to wish her all the best for the show.”

    Malathi sighed.

    “Aarthi is not home. She has left early for the rehearsals. Why don’t you understand? You have given everything to us, all right. You have provided us well. You have given us a very comfortable life, I concede. But the children require your time as well. You were not there in any of their lives’ milestones. Their first day in the school, the day they got the prizes, the time when they were ill, their school day or their sports day. How will they bond with you?”


  3. #3
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    Default Time and Tide III

    “You mean to say they will love me only when I am there to see this tamasha? No I don’t buy it. They will understand that I am working only for their welfare. Do you know how important this Bombay meeting is? My whole career is dependent on this presentation, Malu. If I do it well and convince our Chairman I might be made a General Manager soon. Think of it. GM at the age of 42. Would it not be great? Who knows I might even retire as the Chairman or at least as the Executive Director.”

    “Don’t be offended. You are already earning well. You have built up sufficient savings to see our children through. So why don’t you slow down a bit and look at the family? Only then the children will know you and can relate to you. Instead of the evening flight why don’t you take the early morning flight?”

    “No way, Malu. I am flying with our GM. The time I spend with him during the journey is very important for my career. I can discuss with him so many things that I cannot otherwise do. This is a God-given opportunity.”

    Malathi’s response was again a long sigh. She knew it was too late for Madhavan to change.

    As they say time and tide wait for no man.

    Aswin and Aarthy were growing up fast. Madhavan was steadily climbing up the corporate ladder. He was now the Deputy General Manager of his bank. But then came the winds of change. The twenty-first century started with liberalisation and privatisation of banks. Many new generation banks came into the fray. Banking as a concept went through a sea change. Madhavan who was a product of the seventies did not exactly fit into the new computer-era. The skills he had developed over the years were rendered obsolete by technology. Madhavan realised that the time had come for him. He was eagerly looking for an opportunity to quit when his bank announced a liberal VRS (voluntary retirement scheme). Madhavan shrewdly opted for a golden handshake and walked out of the bank with several lakhs as compensation. Of late he had become disillusioned with his bank and his career. He felt that the bank was not grateful to the likes of him after extracting from them several years of selfless service. But there were no regrets now; the money was good. He now had all the time to spend with his wife and children.

    ‘I am going to compensate for what I did in the past. I am going to spend every waking hour with my family.’ This thought filled him with unspeakable enthusiasm as he entered his house very early that evening.

    “Malu, Malu dear, you know something? I have thrown away the bank job. I have resigned.”

    Malathi’s first reaction was that of horror.

    “But then how can we manage..”

    “No problem, honey. They are giving me twenty lakhs. With that and with our existing savings we can lead a very comfortable life. I will be making almost the same amount of money without doing any work.”

    Malathi was pleased. She smiled and looked eagerly at her husband.

    “After all these years I have decided to spend the entire time with you and our children. You see I am only forty-seven. So we can go to your village for a week. Then visit your sister at Chennai. Why, we can even go to visit your brother in the US. Yes, we can do it, honey. But first, you and the children.”

    Malathi was as excited as she was when she learnt about her first pregnancy.


    Now Aswin was doing his engineering and Aarthi was doing her first year in computer science degree.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

    The next morning Madhavan confronted Aswin flashing movie tickets.

    “Aswin, my boy, your favourite James Bond movie is in town. After a great difficulty I got two tickets for us. They say that this movie is so good with computer graphics at its best. So this evening we are going. Okay? Now what’s the programme? I’ll come and pick you up from your college at four thirty. We shall go to the restaurant, have some snacks and be there in the theatre by 5.30 for the show. What do you say?”

    Aswin could not believe his eyes. Was this his father or somebody else? Aswin rarely saw his father. He left for college very early and by the time his father returned from bank Aswin would have hit the sack. Occasionally on Sundays the father and son would have lunch together. Even that was becoming rarer these days.

    What happened to his father? Then he remembered his mother saying about the father quitting his job.

    Aswin cast a strange glance at the semi-old man before him. For a second he did not know how to respond to his father’s jubilation.


  4. #4
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    Default Time and Tide IV

    Then he said firmly:

    “Thanks for the offer, Dad. I would love to jump on it. But you see we have the special classes scheduled today. The classes would go till Seven after which I have to go for the computer classes which will go on till nine. Well, we can go for the night show. But the problem is I have a class tomorrow at seven in the morning. Which means I have to get up at five. Movie, today, is ruled out. Maybe we can have that in my semester holidays. They are just round the corner. Just another three months at the max.”

    Madhavan was shocked by this reply. He had to take enormous efforts to hide his disappointment. He covered it up with an awkward smile and patted on his son’s shoulders.

    “Aswin I appreciate your sense of responsibility. Of course classes are very important. We can see the movies any time. Now go, it’s already late for your college.”

    Aswin left the room with a puzzled look.

    The next day Madhavan tried his luck with his daughter Aarthi. He first enquired about her college, her studies and her career goals. Aarthi was surprised to see her father talking to her. She never got to see him all these days. She was a little afraid too. She answered his questions clearly but never spoke a word more than what was absolutely necessary.

    “Aarthi I know you are a great lover of classical music. Your favourite singer Anuradha Paduwal is giving a concert tomorrow evening. Using my bank influence I have blocked three front row seats for us – your mother you and me. We will have to start by five. Okay?”

    “Tomorrow, Dad? Why didn’t you ask me in advance? Tomorrow my best friend Preethi is throwing a big birthday party. I will have to be there from four-o’clock to make all the arrangements. I will be back only by ten in the night. So I’m sorry I can’t come.”

    Madhavan was shocked. He did not know what to say. Nor did Aarthy wait for her father to say something. She collected her bag and was out of the house in a jiffy.

    The room was now empty and Madhavan felt that the emptiness was slowly seeping into his soul. He had to seek the support of the walls to prevent him from falling down. Just then a hand fell over his shoulders. Malathi. She gently patted him on his shoulders and spoke softly.

    “In those days you were very busy. The children pleaded and begged for your time. But you didn’t have time for such trifles like going to a movie with your son or attending your daughter’s school day. How can you expect them to give you their precious time just for the asking? Your time is up. And today it’s their time.”

    The words sheared Madhavan’s heart and broke up his resolve. He could not control his feelings any longer. He cried like a child. Malathi allowed him to cry out his feelings. She was stroking his head gently.

    “Certain things in life cannot be deferred. They should be done within the time. And if you miss the time once, you never get a second chance. As they say, Time and tide wait for no man. However much you may cry you won’t get back those invaluable moments which life just handed you on a golden platter. What’s the point in crying, now?”

    Madhavan continued to cry on Malathi’s shoulders.

    “Ok, dear. Forget it. There’s no point weeping over spilt milk. Aswin and Aarthi have gone their ways. But I am still here. And so long as I am alive I would have time for you. Whether it is the Bond movie or the musical concert or any thing else, I am ready to accompany you wherever you go. So get ready soon.”

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

    At least in this story the wife was there to take care of the children and finally to take care of her husband by offering her shoulders to cry on. I know a number of families where the wife is also engaged in an equally furious career battle. Are we heading in the right direction?

    srijap likes this.

  5. #5
    Chilbuli Imli's Avatar
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    Default Very True

    Hi Sridhar,
    Nice story and Very true that "Time and Tide waits for no man" Once the time is gone nothing can happen. In todays world both husband and wife are working and it is absolutely dificult to give quality time to kids. Atleast in the story Malu was there for kids and husband but i also know so many people whose kids have gone to different route like drugs and drinks etc. Parents realised very late an dthen they cant do anything as it is toooooo late.

    It will be good that we realised that along with our workwe need to spend quality time with our family. The company for whom we are working will find replacement for us when we are not there and perhaps forget us after soemtime but our family will not.
    F.A.M.I.L.Y stands for Father and Mother I Love You

    SO Start today.

    Cheers

    Chilbuli Imli (Kuch Khatti Kuch Mithi)



  6. #6
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    Default Time and tide wait for none

    Dear Varalotti,
    This is the situation in many houses. Many fathers do not want to be a part of their children's life. Later they repent. My husband is a very caring person when it comes to his son. He teaches him well and all that. But he does not share my son's interests, he even was rediculing the book reading habit and movie watching (good ones) which I inculcated in him .Now he is slowly understanding that and is trying to be a part of this other world that me and my son share. I always tell him that if I die before him, he will be stranger to my son if he doesn't get involved. So I am happy that he is making the effort.
    Varloo


  7. #7
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    Default Thanks CBI and Varloo!

    I am happy to see that you both liked the story/essay. It was a real life incident. I was a little hesitant about posting it for I felt that it might hurt some of the IL members and make them feel guilty that they are not spending time with their children.
    CBI and Varloo, we should never forget that we are what we are today only because our parents were there when we wanted them. Otherwise our lives would have been a disaster.
    I want the parents who still have the time to realise this basic fact. Hence I posted this painful story.
    Not talking of one parent dying early, if we dont spend time with our children, then when we are old, they wont spend their time with us. Mind you during our old age that will be cruellest punishment one can dream of.
    I am very happy you liked the story line. Thanks for the responsible replies.
    regards,
    sridhar


  8. #8
    Sharada is offline Junior ILite
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    Default Golden handshake

    Family has to be given priority - if not the husband will be given the golden handshake by all, including the wife! In this case atleast Malu was around for him - but in many families it is too late. The children have their own programmes, friends etc and the wife has her own hobbies and interests. At this stage even if the man tries very hard it is difficult to build emotional bonds. Many men are not involved in the growing up years of their children and miss all the happy occasions. And when kids are ready to fly the nest you can't clip their wings and say "come out with dad." At that point, who wants to?
    Sharada


  9. #9
    varalotti's Avatar
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    Default People Taken For Granted!

    That golden handshake is a revolutionary idea. Though I don't want to disturb the outward harmony of families, I wish the wife and/or the children should at some point give a golden handshake to their uncaring husbands/dads. And all these cases should be given very wide publicity. Seeing that at least many husbands and fathers would not take their family for granted. As CBI has forcefully pointed ou and as this story very poignantly tells, at one point in time the office/business might replace/throw out the man. An officer is replaceable by another; but a husband and more importantly a father is not. I wish we men learn this simple truth and try to behave. Thanks for the response, Sharada.
    sridhar


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    Default The Lost Love.....

    Hello Sridhar,
    <!--[endif]-->
    This reminds me of a poem that I read while in college.
    It was called THE LOST LOVE. I’m may not be able to repeat the exact words but let me give a try:
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    It starts like this:
    <!--[endif]-->
    “Two tiny hands
    Groped for me
    Wanting me, my hugs,
    My kisses, my love
    But I was too busy;
    busy with my chores….
    From morning till evening,
    <!--[endif]-->
    I IGNORED his smile, his pleas
    I compensated the child
    With chocolates and soft toys
    Poor Substitutes for MOTHER-
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Days passed by,
    Now the time has changed-
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Childhood has blossomed to Youth
    Ever so Busy Youth!!!
    Now I look at him for his attention
    For his love, but in vain

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->Where does the youth have time
    For the Old and withered;
    Especially when they were not
    Reciprocated with love when young

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->Now I long for his smile, his attention, his love
    I LOST the LOVE, which I had
    The LOVE that I had and IGNORED too, Long Back!!!!!!!!!

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->This is actually a lengthy poem which goes to describe the different phases in a child's life and how the busy parents, (Mother here), couldn’t enjoy and reciprocate the love the child shows and ignore most of the time hoping to get back to them later. But unfortunately, the time never waits and the child grows into an adult and he doesn’t reciprocate, as he never experienced it in his childhood.
    <!--[endif]-->
    This is one poem, which really touched me and taught me never to loose time and never to wait to show love to kids.

    The child can reciprocate love only if the parents have given them the love & attention.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->I would like to share another real life incident here.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->There was this couple with 4 children – the mother had to take up a job due to some crisis and was busy. The father refused to give any attention though he was at home doing nothing. His ego didn’t allow to atleast take care of the kids when Mom was busy. The children had nobody to turn to when young; but somehow like u said, time never waited – they grew up into adults. Forgot to mention the Mother had to live in a diff city cause it was a govt job and children couldn’t be shifted because of language problem and this separation played havoc on the children.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->The children grew up into insensitive, selfish, insecure adults. Though they were rude to their mother initially – found their mom had lost all her life working hard to keep the children intact and give everything they wanted without Father’s support.
    <!--[endif]-->
    One by one they joined the Mother soon and the father was left alone – he seemed not to bother as he was having a nice time squeezing money from the Mother and spending it on other women and lived without any responsibility.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->Later the children got married one by one and moved away; and with time, the father fell sick and gets into lot of health troubles and piggybacks on the mother; who never got his support to run the family. Just like any conservative Indian woman, this mother takes care of him though she herself is old and in lot of health problems. Today though the children didn’t get the motherly love at tender age, they understand and give her all the support; calls her everyday to enquire about her health and visits her often but none of them are interested in even talking to the Father.

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->Its LOST LOVE and its LOST FOREVER……….

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

    Meena



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