Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mahatma's own country... (Final Part)

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I took my time to wake up. Jenny woke me up with a cup of chai, like always. I looked out of the window and the day seemed perfect, perfect to finish up my story. My mind wandered off to the cold and wet morning more 30 years ago, when I landed to a typical rainy morning of Vancouver...

It was raining hard when we landed in Vancouver. This time I didn't promise anything while leaving India because I hated making promises I couldn't keep. The first thing you notice when you land in a western country is the freshness. The fresh air fills your lungs to the core and you know you are in an alien world. We went through the security and then proceeded towards the immigration. The immigration officer checking our papers was a balding white man, probably in his 50s. He checked our papers and then told us to wait couple of minutes. He went inside a small office and came up with an envelope. He handed the envelope to me.

"Sir, this is for you. It has $1200 cash and a key to Vancouver International Hotel. We were told by embassy officials to pass it onto you", he said looking pleased.

I opened the envelope, took out the key to the hotel and returned the envelope back to him.

"I have enough dollars to live for this month and I will be getting my paycheck after that. I don't want to start my life in this country by being a burden on its society. Give it to back to the embassy officials with my sincere thanks. I will take the key to the hotel for one week and return it after I find a place of my own.", I said.

The officer looked at me for few seconds, then got up, extended his hand and said, "Welcome to Canada, Sir. We need people like you."

We moved to a rented place within one week and I started my work at Univ of BC from the very next day. I was a professor by day and researcher by night. The initial years were tough for both me and Jenny because we were settling to a new country but our previous experience in US helped us settle quickly than most people. There were a lot of punjabi people in Vancouver at that time but most were uneducated laborers, working in mills and farms. It was hard for me and Jenny to assimilate among them as most punjabi people didn't identify with educated people. We were considered as outsiders among our own people. On the other hand, my job was very satisfying for me personally. Jenny was also working as a social worker and day to day life kept us busy. Over time, I published lots of papers, books and was even featured in the national newspaper. I gave lectures all over the world and was honored by few universities including the Benaras Hindu University back in India. All this was very satisfying.

Few years back, I retired from the University and started living a quiet life in Victoria. It was then I started thinking about my life so far. What did my life meant? How did I lead my life? What did I achieved and most importantly was I successful in leading the life I always wanted to live? I knew that I led a good life, maybe even privileged one compared to so many people. I achieved a lot in my life, personally and professionally. I fought for my country, I fought for my job, I fought for my love and sometimes I won, maybe not the win I always wanted but a win nonetheless. But was my life successful? I have thought hard and long about it and my answer is No. I consider myself a failure. I worked hard all my life, achieved a lot but could not achieve the success I always wanted. I may have won individual battles but overall there is something missing and the sad part is that I know what it is and how to get it but still something is holding me back.

This is the last chapter of my book but I don't want to end the chapter of my life as a failure.

It was one of those hot dusty afternoons of Sabarmati, when I found myself in company of Bapu, who was spinning the wheel very slowly. I craved for such moments of solitude with him because he always seemed to be surrounded by people. I took my chance and asked him,

"Bapu, you were living in South Africa and had started the fight for your rights there. Why did you came back to India? You could have fought there itself, considering that people in that country were more oppressed and needed you more than here"


He looked at me as if he was waiting for someone to ask this question for a long time. He stopped spinning the wheel, gave me a smile and started speaking very slowly like the spinning wheel, "There come moments in one's life which changes one's path. The train incident in South Africa was one such moment for me. I fought for my rights but over time I realized that my soul in the fight was missing. I came to India to see what I can give back to India but instead India gave me back something, my soul. I now truly believe that your soul lives in the country you are born and you can live and work anywhere in world but it would never give you full satisfaction because your soul is missing. I came back and found my soul back. I don't say that don't goto other countries. Go, explore the world, learn from them but do come back because you may not need your country but your country always needs you. "

Note: This is a fictional story where most characters are real including the protagonist but the situations, conditions, interaction between characters and incidents are a work of fiction. Any inaccuracy in the historical data is due to my limited knowledge.

19 Comments:

Blogger The Bhandari's said...

today am bit early then mehak to mark my entry :D
have to read now and ricky u said it is small seems to me quite long one let me read and comment then

and to post this my word verfication : igdhqdaj

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Mehak said...

Finally last part is Up!!!

I liked the story...but found it confusing at times...guess maybe the length of it....But excellent effort...& hope to read many more stories at 17tamatar.

tc

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Mehak said...

@Preeti...iss baare GOLD maine tujhe deh diya hai!!! Aish Kar!! :p

8:58 PM  
Blogger Riddhi said...

it was a good story overall but i think too scarce to describe a life...it leaves one unsatisfied...maybe what you can do is re-read it once yourself, edit and rewrite it again?? it's definately got potential...but again, it's missing a bit of soul and quite jumpy sometimes...

9:01 PM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

loved all parts of this series, took me to my long lost history in which I was week no veryyyyyyyyy week. I found the series interesting and very well written, loved the last para of last part. I agree to my heart as both of us have always felt that our roots are always in India and we plan to settle and spend our life there only. So I can co-relate myself with the last para.
I didn't felt it was jumpy etc. although part four do put me in some confusion which was cleared on release of part 5
keep it up Ricky

Word Verified: cqgzo

9:20 PM  
Blogger faith said...

you can live and work anywhere in world but it would never give you full satisfaction because your soul is missing

so true..

wow!! a nice write up ..i can say u have so much patience to write a good long story.. good imagination of incidents nad moments of history.. very well written.. but sometimes it was a bit difficult for me relate all parts.. but forget it.. its my problem :P you did your job very well..

chalo smile now.. :)

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

payal says:
hey..its a nice story, n honestly, u have so much patience to write such a long story ..but i agree with others...there is sth missing..i duno.mayb u dint claerly define the feelings inthe last part...the last para is baeutiful though.. missing your country haan? :) pls dont mind my commment, i just wrote what i felt - n i actually like the thought behind the story. :) hope we get to read more such stories.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Juneli said...

Wow! Final part is already there. Let me read and comment :)

still there word verifications :(

"dbuov"

But ti's not code but the word I typed :P

11:21 PM  
Blogger anks said...

looks like everyone has started to complain about word verifications now!

I don't agree that there was something missing in the story, but I do agree that there it is a lot like random paras put together that sometimes seem unrelated. Like a child stacking up the lego blocks without any sense of structure!

and my question is still unanswered :(

the word i typed - cjeimbms

3:11 AM  
Blogger Marlee said...

ricky, i hope u continue writing. im not commenting on the writing style coz i dont think im that good a writer myself to be commenting on another's. But the story was interesting :-)

12:30 PM  
Blogger Sadik said...

Hi again dear punjabi...

et tu a labourer?? fie fie... i m just kidding... :)

nice one bro.. i liked the idea a lot.. perhaps i cud sense something u feel, being out there in canda, so far frm home...

9:38 AM  
Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

Wow the final part is here!in short I loved your story ,it could have done perhaps with more organization,I feel at times there's a randomness about it.But I liked the way you ended it.Great job Ricky!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Juneli said...

Finally, I'm here to comment. Hope I'm not too late :P

All said that there is confusion in the story. I think it's due to the time-slick in the story that you didn't mark. You could have marked it either by asterisk or dashes. So due to this reader would not have felt break in the flows.

I know this story is very close to you and it speak about your true feelings so no criticism. I really liked the story. Your style of writing reminded me the book (Nepali) "Modiaain" by B.P. Kairala (one of the great writer of Nepal and one of founder of Nepali Congress, PM ­ Manisha Koirala's Grandpa). In which he wrote the story of the period of Mahabharata and the lady Modiaain (wife of Modi) tells the Kurukhetra's Yuddha to 'I' the character of teen age boy when he ask it. Very well written book.

So I want to suggest you (my honest) to work more on this book and I'm sure it will turn one of your best stories. Wish you all the best.

"gzqqhnyj" gurrr kitkit

10:46 PM  
Blogger Colors said...

Ok...well, I have to admit, I'm still a bit confused and I guess a 2nd continuous read of all parts will clear them up. Overall, it was a nice read. Its not easy to write a fictional story based on real people and real incidents and you have done it very well. Kudos to you for that! Some of the things you have written is so true and thought provoking. This is a wonderful begining...hope to read more :)

PS-> why is everyone typing down the verification word in the comments?

2:04 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

the bhandari's - Yes, aapke yahan subah jaldi hoti hain na...he he.

Yeh, word verification toh tabahee macha raha hain :P

mehak - Yesssss, finally :)

Thank You jee!! Yea, too many things in a short story, I guess.

riddhi - Thanks!! I am too tired to re-read it again. Maybe some other time but I kinda agree with your observation.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

the bhandari's - LOL!! Thank You jee!! I am glad you could relate to some part of it.

faith - Thanks a lot. I am happy that you liked it :)

payal - Thanks!! As a writer of the story, it is sometimes difficult to pin-point what is wrong. so its great to read views from you and keep it in mind for next time.

I don't mind jee, actually thank you for your comments, means a lot to me.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

anks - LOL!! I don't know what's the big fuss about.

Isn't that like life? A lot of unrelated chapters of life. Maybe this was a story of someone's life and it was as random as it gets. I think I will answer your question :-)

marlee - Thanks Marlee!!

sadik - Hi Bengali Babu, kem choo? Kaun se bhasha main baateya rahee ho bhai sahab :P

Thanks!! Ummmm...maybe its somewhere in back of mind.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

fuzzylogic - Thanks a lot!! I am glad you liked it and your positive criticism is duly noted :)

juneli - Its never too late. Ok jee, point noted.

I just wanted to narrate this story and so I did. Yea, I have heard about Koirala Sahab. I am sure I am not that good ;)

Thanks!! Kitkat khoge :P

4:21 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

colors - Thanks Colors!! I am glad you liked it.

Aree pata nahin sab mere achee se word verification se itna kyun pareshan hain :P

4:23 PM  

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