REFUSE TO FAIL
Viru was a clerk in a shipping company in the port town of Visakhapatnam. He lived with his widowed mother, wife and five children in a small house very near to the port. He was blessed with two girls and three boys. He worked from morning to night and sometimes worked overtime to provide for his large family. The children were all healthy and played and frolicked and had their best part of their life as is natural with families blessed with many offspring.
Viru’s wife Lalitha was naive and worked hard from morning till dusk cleaning and washing the clothes of the entire family. Sometimes she had to go without food as there would be little or none left after feeding the entire family. But she thought the none of it and remained happy and cheerful with the little her husband could provide for her. As the children grew older necessities increased and Viru’s mother grew old and fell sick. So the additional responsibility of providing for her medication also fell on VIru’s shoulders. All that he earned was spent in providing for the basic necessities of the family.
Now Viru’s second son was born deaf and dumb. So he couldn’t be put into the same regular school where his other children used to go. He was to be put into a special school for the deaf and the dumb which was in another town at the time. Viru could not afford to send him to a different town at that time because it required an entirely different establishment in that place. Also there were none to help him and there were no boarding facilities available in that school.
As time passed by Viru’s two daughters came of age and he had to marry them off. His mother who had grown terminally ill had passed off. He got his daughter’s married with the little savings that he had into good families. Meanwhile his other two son’s studied well and landed good jobs in prestigious companies that required them to move away from their home-town. Viru and his wife were very happy that they had relinquished their responsibilities well and that and that all their children were now happily married and well-settled in life. They would now come to them with their children during the holidays.
They now had only one concern and that was about the future of their second son Sriram. Poor Sriram had become emotionally insecure and would throw tantrums off and on. But Viru believed that his other two sons who were well settled in life would not only care for them when he grew old and infirm but also take care of Sriram. After Viru retired, he had to vacate the accommodation provided by the company and so he had to search for a house which was difficult as he could not afford the rents that were charged. His wife Lalitha fell sick quite often and he could not provide her the best of medication. It was at this time that he started reading books on homeopathy so that he could provide relief and cure to small ailments or maladies without having to see the doctor. When he broached the topic with his sons that they would now have to care for them now that he had grown too old to live and care for both Lalita and Sriram – they took them on the condition that they would have to stay for six months in each of their houses.
Later in his son’s house it broke his heart to see his daughter’s in law treat Sriram with disrespect and contempt. Poor Sriram who had the emotional quotient of a small child would be given stale and left over food, when he was hungry. His daughter’s in law persuaded their husbands to put them in an old age home so they could live peacefully. His hen-pecked sons welcomed the proposal and searched for homes that would take in Sriram also. Lalita was meanwhile so shocked and disillusioned at her son’s behaviour that she had lost the will to survive and she breathed her last.
So Viru and Sriram were put into an old age home. Luckily for Viru they were cared for well at the home. Though he was saddened by the fact that his children for whom he had slogged throught his life could think of him as a burden, he continued reading his books on homeopathy and gave medicines to the other inmates of the ashram. Soon registered medical practitioners also consulted him for acute problems incurable by allopathic medicines. Viru had honed his skills to such a finesse. He had gained the respect of the other inmates of the ashram and even his children would consult him when bogged down by maladies.
Thus Viru who refused to mope around, chose to make himself useful to man-kind and he got back the respect from the same people who had scant regard for him and had discarded him. He had refused to fail.