Page 37 - seniors today August issue
P. 37

Jagat and his wife were in Mumbai (Bombay)
                                                              and returned a week later. The next day after
                                                              they were back, Arun went over to meet them
                                                              and narrated the whole story. It was obvious
                                                              that he had outlived his hospitality. Lots of
                                                              conversation ensued between the men and Arun
                                                              left with a heavy heart.
                                                               Jagat and his wife usually took a Kothi in
                                                              Dehradun to get away from Delhi’s scorching
                                                              heat. It was a normal thing that a lot of Delhi
                                                              families did as the men hatched the plan.
        The boys welcomed him and were delighted              Somewhere in the middle of April Arun got a
        that he was with them. Grandchildren and his          letter. His grandson brought the letter to him,
        daughter-in-laws doted on him, and Daddyji as         and Arun said, “Just read it for me, my eyes are
        he was called was a loved figure. Arun got into       giving me a little problem.” The letter was from
        a routine of life going for a walk, reading his       Jagat, saying that the tenant of his Dehradun
        papers and listening to the news. At 4 o’clock        property was ready to vacate the house and
        in the evening he went to the club, played cards      wanted Rs 4 lakh whereas the church next to the
        and returned home by 9 pm for dinner; an hour         house would buy the entire plot for Rs 8 lakh.
        later he would be asleep. During winters, Arun        Seemed like a good deal and Jagat enquired
        spent the morning sitting in the sun, soaking         whether he would like to confirm this. Arun
        in the heat. His spot was below the kitchen           kept quiet and went about his daily routine
        window. He ate a little bit of dry fruit and some     without mentioning the letter. Sunday, his
        jaggery sweets.                                       younger son came for lunch, and the topic of the
         Years passed by and he was pretty much happy         Dehradun property was raised at the table. The
        spending six months with each of his boys. Both       elder son asked him, “Why didn’t you tell us
        of them lived within a mile of each other. One        about this?” Arun replied that he didn’t have Rs
        day he told his elder daughter-in-law that there      4 lakh to pay the tenant. In an instant, both the
        were fresh green peas in the market and asked         boys said that they would contribute Rs 2 lakh
        her to get some. A week went by, and he gently        each and Arun should write to Jagat confirming
        reminded her again about the green peas. Two          the deal. A week later Arun left for Dehradun...
        weeks later there were still no green peas on the     Both the men couldn’t stop laughing.
        table. The third time he told her and asked her        On his return, it was “Daddyji Daddyji” all
        why she hadn’t brought them. That morning             over again. A couple of years later, Arun passed
        he was sitting outside the kitchen window, and        away and after the rituals of death were over
        the younger daughter-in-law came over to meet         Jagat invited both the boys and their wives to
        her elder sister-in-law, who was in the kitchen.      come for tea after which they could go out and
        The conversation which Arun heard pierced a           resume their life. “I have his will and I would
        spear into his heart. The elder daughter-in-law       like only the four of you to come” said Jagat.
        said, “Budhdhe ke muh me daant nahi hai par           The boys and their wives went, and Jagat gave
        mataron ka swaad nahi gaya” – the old man has         them the will where everything had been left to
        no teeth but can’t get the taste of peas out of his   various charities. Beyond the Rs 4 lakh there
        mouth. Stunned, he could hardly believe what          was another Rs 6 lakh from selling Shakuntala’s
        he had heard. He got up and went to his room          jewellery. They were in a state of shock and in
        and cried, remembering Shakuntala. He asked           the most polite manner, Jagat told the daughters-
        for lunch to be served in his room, but the peas      in-law the story of the green peas.
        tasted like poison and Arun flushed them into          Have you any stories like this? Do share them with
        the drain.                                            our readers. Write to

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