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     Volume 8 Issue 55 | January 30, 2009 |


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Musings

Imperceptible Distance

Nusrat Jahan Pritom

Recently a life was lost in the ashes of time. It was a life of 75 years during which fame and prosperity as well as humiliation, helplessness and adversity were experienced. With the vast and piercing contrast between his earlier life and the last days of his existence anybody would be forced to ask the question, "What kind of a society are we living in today?"

After bearing many sacrifices and uncountable hardships-elements typical of parenthood- he was unlucky enough to discover his own flesh and blood ungrateful, cynical and full of apathy. Even outsiders had more compassion for him than the two daughters for whom he was willing to and had in reality given up his time, money, energy and life. At present, one of them is abroad and the other in the country, making sure that to his last day he does not live in peace. And what an irony, she succeeded in doing that! But do you know why? All because their fathers would not sign the property to them. As the cliché goes- money is the root of evil. The elderley, vulnerable man was thrown out of the house. He found refuge in the mosque for 14 days. His friends looked for a shelter for him and had even found one, but by that time he already had a brain stroke and despite the many efforts of restoring him, he finally breathed his last on January 17. His family probably let off a sigh of relief that day!

These daughters who probably sat on his lap at one time and listened to stories, who at only a space of time had spent the most colourful days with him-where have they gone? They have changed, changed completely and people like this makes one wonder, "Do we really know anyone in this God forsaken world?"

We feel pain when the outside world bites us. It cuts us, chokes us. But when the bitter bite of reality comes from one's very own-from those one loves the most-that is a mighty blow for anyone, especially a parent.

Is his story a new one? Hardly. This tale just like many other similar ones have become so common that we no longer hear reports on them. Although this phenomenon is widespread never does it make headlines because somehow we have all come to accept it as a social norm. Our attitude of humiliating and abandoning those who took the most pains for us have become so common that we don't even raise a frown anymore when we hear of it.

If all this is true, then how can a father look at the divine face of his baby in the cradle and trust that it would not also become a demon in days to come? How would a mother rely again that the little part of her she is feeding now will not one day eat her alive? They say the role of parents is such a role in which sacrifices are made and seldom acknowledged. But is it also a rule that such sacrifices and pains are not supposed to be reciprocated? Do all parents, at least in our culture, bow down to the fact that their own children will not look back at them when they have once been raised and established?

We hear some people say referring to their parents "They were supposed to feed and clothe us. So they did. That was their job. So there is nothing exclusive about it-it's not like they are doing us a favour!" I myself have heard it from many people around my age. Do these people tend to believe that one day when the tables will turn, and they too become a father or a mother, they will not be shattered to hear their own children say these very words?

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