Untrue Father (A short Story)

By: O.P.Somani

Kallu was a tenant of Santosh Kumar Nayak. Santosh Kumar was a businessman in a small town of Utter Pradesh. So far the rent is concerned he was charging the rent very much according to the prevalent rates. Santosh Kumar was not contended with the rent alone Kallu was paying. He apparently had a self-interpretation that Kallu was really paying him a meager amount and that had to be compensated altogether by using him for a regular cleaning and washing of the house. He once authentically instructed Kallu to clean and wash the large floor as well staircases, which became a wont later on.

Santosh Kumar was a slick businessman and investor. Some four years back, a petrol pump was opened in that town which was situated about one km away from the main town area. He dexterously planned to purchase a big land just opposite to petrol pump by paying a trifle amount. His fellow businessmen deemed it a foolish idea. Later on the area developed so well in about an year that all those who considered it a preposterous idea went themselves for purchase of land nearby his property but costs of land already soared to five times.

Santosh Kumar constructed a big shopping complex facing the road and two storey apartments were built on the backside. He shaped the house especially in the modern way and provided attached bathrooms and toilets to all rooms, which was a rare facility in the town. Thus, his name was included in the list of few persons who had this kind of facility in their houses. He could easily rented out most part of the house to a mineral exploration company with a heavy rent normally beyond the means of an ordinary citizen of town.

There was a large storeroom near the entrance on the backside of the house, which was full of junk material yet, there was some vacant space and this slot was rented to poor fellow Kallu. Santosh Kumar was clever enough to prepare a list of items and comfortably conveyed it to him and also seriously warned that he would be easily behind the bars if any thing was found missing.

In fact, Kallu was not disturbed much due to the oppressive and risky conditions dictated by the owner Santosh Kumar. He accepted all the conditions indiscriminately ordained by the house owner.

Because his true problem was different. He already crossed the age of twenty-five. In the small places like he lived in this age was considerably greater and the boys of his age were proud fathers of at least 2-3 children. It all generated a disappointment in him but he was helpless because in such matter he could not help himself. The parents and relatives arrange marriages in rural areas.

Kallu’s father also lived with him but he was mostly away for work. He used to call him Daddu. Delhi was the main center of attraction of work for the labor class of the area. In Delhi, they used to get higher wages. Therefore, Daddu had a regular practice to push on to Delhi. Kallu’s mother died untimely after a severe illness when he was eighteen years old. He did not know about the disease of which his mother passed away. When anybody used to ask him, “ Kallu, what was the disease your mother died of". Kallu did not know in fact, he simply replied, “ she was sick", he repeatedly used to response in the same way. He never knew about the disease so his reply was also plain.

Kallu had not many known relatives. He had one sister in a nearby village. Initially he had some hope of support from his sister and brother in law. His brother in law however assured him of marriage. But laid a condition and once and astutely told him, “ Kallu, if you want to see yourself married, you have to have a deposit of minimum ten thousand rupees with you.

So that anybody giving you a girl will be assured of his daughter’s welfare and I will talk to some people known to me".

Kallu was a poor fellow and a deposit of ten thousand rupees was a distant bubble. Whatever he earned it was quickly exhausted in arrangement of his own food. Though occasionally he saved some money but he had to spend some money for his father’s food also whenever he was in the town. Daddu did not hold the habit of work whenever he was in town considering it a recess period. Daddu though earned more than Kallu being at Delhi, but most of his money was being squandered for he developed ill habits such as drinking alcohol and gambling.

Kallu however tried to save something and determined to work hard. He learned about some company where he could deposit his money with handsome profitability of interest. Thus he opened a recurring account in an investment company named Sky Investment Co.The mode of payment was daily basis. He deposited Rs. 10 per day at the end of the day. A representative of the company used to reach to his house for collecting or occasionally he found it convenient to deposit whenever he was passing by the office of the company.

His account was progressing well. Kallu was very happy for the richness of his account. His book was furnished with almost 365 entries. He was expecting a good interest amount as well. On the 366th day, he was waiting for the representative of the company. It was already 7 p.m. but nobody turned up to collect the money. Kallu was little worried but then reliantly decided to go in person next day and deposit Rs. 20.

Next day he went to the office of the company located in the main town quite before the time the sales representative used to arrive. So that he could personally deposit the money and enquire why sales representative could not march yesterday. The office was locked. He saw a big lock, many people already gazing, and desperately pointing at the lock. He dared to enquire from a person and anxiously asked, “ Why it is locked? And why the representative did not turn up yesterday." The person was quite soft and polite by nature but soon exasperatedly erupted “They all have gone to the proper hell and from there we can never fetch our money". He then however cooled down and generously suggested an idea" Kallu, go and cry for sometime so that your soul will be alleviated for the pain of death of your money". Kallu now understood that his money was gone. There was an uproar that company had run bankrupted.

Kallu like hundreds of many was awfully cheated. There was a blurting noise in the press as well as in the political people. However, as usual nothing could be done. Few people got their money hobnobbing with administrative and political circles. Rest opted to hobnob with the ‘god’ only.

Being a simple fellow his friends also betrayed him so many times. Once he suffered a big loss of money. Kallu was very much interested in films. He and his friends made a plan to watch movies. In the town, there was no movie hall. There were so many TV and VCR were available on hire. So Kallu and his friend made a plan to watch movies and hired a set of TV and VCR. Kallu will pay for it. It was decided and Kallu happily agreed. They all watched three movies in the whole night. They all enjoyed well and Kallu arranged a good meal for all his friends. Kallu was very happy because after a long time he watched movies and socialized himself. Next morning when everybody had gone, he thought of cleaning the room, as it had become very dirty. He also decided to wash his clothes. He then took off the clothes hanging on the thick nail fixed into the wall. He then immediately remembered that he had kept 700 rupees yesterday in the pocket of trouser and to recover the same thrusted his hand into the pocket. He was taken aback after knowing that his hand incredulously retrieved empty. He searched in all the pockets. There was no money in any of the pockets. The money he kept it yesterday was missing. He thwarted at once all his plans of cleaning and washing which he initially prioritized and began intensive search of the money. He thoroughly scanned the entire room but did not succeed to find his money. He was convinced that he had been cheated again. He was downhearted by the loss of money and regretted for blind faith upon friends.

He however recuperated and concentrated on saving the money without wasting a single penny. Whenever he used to discuss to his father about his marriage. His father used to rebuke him and commanded in turn for paying attention on depositing money. He then learned some more skills of savings and succeeded in saving some five thousand rupees. Daddu also came back after working for six months in Delhi.This time Daddu too saved 1000 rupees. This was for the first Daddu was mentioning of any money he earned or saved. Kallu became very happy. He commiserated a great respect for his father and thought “ Daddu has changed and started worrying about my marriage therefore he also saves some money now".

Kallu told to his father that he had saved 5000 rupees. Daddu was extraordinarily amazed by these words. And assured “ now I will fix your marriage, you leave it to me." Kallu happily handed over all the money to his father for arranging the marriage.

Daddu became very busy now. He used to be away frequently for an extent of 2-3 days. He would disclose some stories of the girl and the families he claimed to contact. He narrated a story that he talked to one, named Panna Lal of village Sonrai. He was very much prepared to engage his daughter with a condition that the boy should shift to his place. Daddu said, “I straightly refused and angered that my son would never be depended upon you". His father’s decision and a plain reply satisfied Kallu. He remembered the fate of one of his village friend when he married and became a dependable son in law. He was treated there like a donkey and nobody respected him. Kallu thanked his father for the wise steps he had taken by refusing to the damned proposal.

Daddu again disappeared. He turned back after about one week. Kallu as usual came back to home after work in the evening. Kallu saw two children in the veranda one boy of 13 years age and another girl of 10 years age; both were playing in and out of his room. It was obvious that these children were related to him but he did not recognize them. One late middle-aged woman was doing household chores in the room. He was puzzled to see them all. They seemed to him some intimate relatives but he never met them before. Only Daddu can solve this conundrum. Daddu was not there in the room. He went away for some shopping. Kallu had to wait only for few minutes. Daddu arrived soon. Kallu asked Daddu “ Who are these guests". Daddu said deftly and calmly “ she is your new mother and these children are your brother and sister. He then paused and continued “I have tried enormously for your marriage but could not come off and all the worries about your care and food inspired me for this step. I hope you understand."

Kallu understood everything. His father whom he considered ‘entire world’ after his beloved mother’s death turned untrue.

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