The Control freak
Mr. Sen was on his customary morning walk that Friday dawn. It was an unusually pleasant morning and Sen was enjoying the aroma of freshness around. He was also in a pleasant frame of mind having been informed last night of his younger son’s Sujit’s decision to agree to marry the girl he had chosen for him after after a long and sustained search.The walking was brisk and measured of a man wanting to still make the most of it on the other side of sixty. Sen was a strict man; both on himself and his family of two sons Sujoy and Sujit and wife Madhu. He was born in a nondescript village a few miles from Dacca and had a hard and impoverished childhood. He came to Delhi as a refugee from the erstwhile East Pakistan ,upon partition, fortunately got himself a Government job and over a period of time acquired an education which ultimately made him into a successful lawyer and then a judge of the lower court from where he had retired recently. His phenomenal success from such a humble background to be living now in a big mansion in the upmarket locality of South Delhi, got into his head and turned him into a control freak who fiercely protected and ruled over his family with an iron hand. He looked like a stern schoolmaster and behaved likewise with his children and wife. Wife, Madhu was a typical housewife who kept to her domain of the kitchen and home, was awe struck by her husband and submissively accepted all that her husband dictated as the gospel truth. Her attachment to Sen was more about loyalty than love. Sen demanded and ensured he was respected without any dissent on any matter whatsoever and his decisions on all issues were final and binding on his family.
Sujoy and Sujit therefore had a strangled childhood. Brought up in a stringent and regimented home where exhibiting obedience to the patriarch was far more important than say laughing , where all small and big diktats of the father were only to be blindly followed in contrast to healthy debates and where dissent was unthinkable the children grew up into young men with strong juvenile tendencies and remained childish and personalities who had only learnt to obey. Sen however saw to it that they acquire a decent education . Sujoy was accordingly decently employed in Bangalore while Sujit went over to a foreign land for further studies. Both considered themselves lucky to be away from the military camp of their father.
The first salvo of defiance was fired by the elder one Sujoy who was three years elder to Sujit, when he finally declared his intentions to marry a Gujarati girl at Banglore after stalling many attempts made his father to get him a wife. Sen, not used to toe any decisions other than his , with regard to his family over reacted. And immediately severed all connections with Sujoy, refused to be a party to the wedding, forbade the mother and brother too from any relations with the elder one and banished Sujoy out of his protected family . Many thought time would heal things and Sen would ultimately come around and water down his judgment; but not Sen, they had not accounted for his strict and severe demeanour.
Years passed by. Sujit meanwhile acquired a Polish girlfriend, and started living with her unknown to anyone of his family. Sujit having witnessed his father’s reaction in Sujoy’s case,thought it best to keep his affair a closely guarded secret. His involvement with Melina the Polish girl grew over time, so much so that she got pregnant with his child. They decided to have the child even though not married formally, and were like any other formal family with an infant.
Having been stabbed on the back by his elder son , Sen in right earnest searched for a bride of his taste and liking for Sujit and having found one in Maya, the docile obedient daughter of another strict refugee like him, did not want to waste any time. Sujit was told to immediately come back home and marry. Sujit wished he could come out with the truth but lacked the courage to spell it out to his father.
Fortunately Sujit spoke about his predicament to his partner Melina, who initially found it very funny and laughed heartily. “Why can’t you just tell him you are a father now. Where’s the problem? she said unable to fathom the problem. “You don’t know him. He will throw me out like he did with Sujoy” Sujit explained. “ I really don’t follow. Just pick up the phone and tell him the truth. Why can’t you tell the truth to your own father howsoever shocking it may be for him. He will know of it one day in any case “, she reasoned with him. Sujit while appreciating Melinda’s point of view , hesitated… he could never dream of telling the truth to his father having never done it so far.
So it was decided that Melina would accompany Sujit to India and she would break the harsh truth to the stern Mr. Sen. Sujit told his father on the phone that he was coming home which the father believed to be his consent to marry Maya and had accordingly informed her father. He was in a happy frame of mind.
Quite unexpectedly there were no fireworks at Sen’s house hold that morning. Sen was too stunned to react. He listened to Melina as she spoke while Sujit looked passively “Dad he was afraid. He fears you. He couldn’t tell you the truth .Wonder why? My father and us,we too had a hard hard time during the War, you know. We fought it out together. We were afraid of the enemy but never of each other. He should have informed you, we are sorry for that.”
The little girl from Poland had made her point making the old Sen wonder where he went wrong.