Posted in Drops Of Life

Gold Standard.

My simple dad worked for the central government undertaking that imported gold and silver bars via Madras harbour. He was in charge of the delivery and accounting of precious metals. While it was understood that most before him misused their position, my father had the cleanest hands. Never touched a single coin or bar that was government property. In fact his colleagues would lament how he was blocking others from enjoying life. Remember this was not the computer era. Statements were typed out and erasex was used for typos. Gold bars were easy to be substituted with copper or other metal bars. Committing a fraud was easy and would have gone undetected. And over it all if you refused to ‘cooperate’ there were vested interests who even threatened of implicating the honest staff in false cases or eliminating them from the scene once for all. Only my father’s soft nature saved him from life threatening situations. Even the worst masterminds paused looking at this gentleman who led a puritanical life not wanting to harm him. My father who never remarried after my mother, my father who owned not more than two or three sets of clothes at a time, my father who lived as a vegetarian, a teetotaler, my father who never raised his voice or argued or picked up a spat with anyone all his life – he was one of those from last gen who we would never get to see again. Was he a fool, I wonder because, all around now I see such a corruption everywhere. Did he not figure out how to live happy. How to live a luxurious life. How to have good time. What stopped him in his 40s from marrying again. What stopped him from smoking or boozing or even going to a picture. Why did he always go only to the temple and the market. Why he never left home once after evening 6 or 7. Why did he never take a day off for a vacation. Why did he not own a car or phone that he could have afforded. Why did he sleep on a mat on the floor when he could have had on a comfortable bed. Why did he even not eat in good restaurants. My father who took the same bus route 3A from Mylapore for years to go to work at the same place indeed did not know how to live life. Which is why his life was brutally cut short who knows. I wish I knew my father better, I had spoken more to him, I had given him the confidence and I had told him that I WAS THERE for him always. Sometimes we don’t have parents telling us how to live. They show us by their example as my parents did. My parents had a very short life on this planet. It is in their absence that they raised us mostly. I owe being what I am to my poor parents who were so straight and clean and simple and honest and godfearing. My belief system is like that of my parents. My values are like that of my parents. It is enough I know if I am half good as them. That’s what matters to me really. Long after they are gone, they are remembered for the good people they were. I am someone who benefited from the m m t c scholarships during my school days. My school fees ranged from as little as thirty three rupees in my class 6 to one hundred and fifty rupees in standard 12 in the year 1986. My father’s office gave a cheque in my name for six hundred rupees every year until 1984 which was my high school year when I gave my standard 10 exams. For my higher secondary I received nine hundred rupees. Education was subsidized and/or scholarships given to children of working staff by my father’s profit making organization. Those cheques went into bank account in my name. This was valuable money in those days. My sister too received hers. This central govt undertaking was a good place to work. Hours after my mother passed away, they sent a cheque for her last rites. Health cover. Good yearly bonuses, great canteen (been there many times), airy workplace and generally a healthy place to work in. I have blogged a lot on my mom but I do owe a lot to my father too. He took a housing loan from his office to build our home that is on lease today. How many lives can employers touch. Finally with my father, i still don’t have a closure and it hurts. I was n’t even aware that such a word called ‘depression’ existed in my teens. I hope I can be forgiven for my ignorance. Otherwise my father would have lingered for a lot more years who knows.