A Father Answers Frustrated Son

Once one of my teachers Dr. Sahodar Pandey recited the first geet of ‘Nish Nimantran‘: ‘Din jaldi jaldi dhalta hai’. It touched me so much that I became a crazy fan of Senior Bachchan, Late Haribans Rai Bachchan, a popular Hindi poet.

In Sunday Times of India June 29, 2008, I read the following excerpts from http://www.bigb.bigadda.com. I really liked it. Perhaps as a father at the age nearing 70, it suits me. I don’t know when it happened with Amitabh, but with years passing the problems with sons or may be, with parents are getting accentuated. I shall like the younger generation to appreciate the older one that had to travel much more difficult paths.

The avenues and opportunities open to the youth today in an economically liberated India were absent in the late 50s and early 60s. After graduation what? Where to find a job? What job? How? When? And the idealism and debate and the coffee house banter soon converts itself to anger. The anger was because of not knowing what to do with ourselves. Amitabh writes:

Angered, frustrated, strengthened and armed with unreasonable thought, I walked into my father’s study one evening and for the first time in my life, with choked emotion, raised my voice at him and screamed: “Aapne hamme paida kyun kiya?”(“Why did you give birth to me?”)

My father, immersed as he always was in his writing, looked up at me with some initial surprise and then settled down to a more understanding posture and remained so for almost eternity. No one spoke. Not him. Not me. Not a sound. Just the measured clicking of the timepiece on his desk – and my unmeasured breathing! When nothing came across from the parent quarter, I turned and left. It was an uncomfortable night for me. The next morning my father walked into my room, woke me up and handed me a sheet of paper and left. I opened it. It was a poem he had written overnight – titled Nayi Leek or The New Generation.

Zindagi aur zamane ki kashmakash se / Ghabrakar mere ladke mujhse poochte hain, / “Hamme paida kyun kiya tha?” / Aur mere paas iske siwa /Koi jawab nahin hai /Ki mere baap ne bhi mujhse bina pooche / Mujhe paida kiya tha, /Aur mere baap se bina pooche unke baap ne, unhe, / Aur mere baba se bina pooche unke baap ne, unhe…/ Zindagi aur zamane ki kashmakash / Pahle bhi thi Ab bhi hai, shayad zyada, / Aage bhi hogi, shayad aur zyada. / Tumhi nayi leek dharana, / Apne baytoen se poochkar unhe paida karma!

(Pulled and torn by the strains of life and living / My sons ask me / “Why did you give birth to us?”/ And I do not possess an answer to this / That even my father did not ask me before giving birth to me, / Nor my father was asked by his father / Nor my grandfather did ask his father before bringing him. / The trials and tribulations of life and living / Were there before / And are there now too, perhaps more / And shall be there tomorrow, even greater. / Why don’t you make a new beginning, a new thinking, / Ask your sons before giving birth to them!)

How did yoou like it?

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