November 14, 2009


"I have been in and out of the country more than you can imagine… so I know".

The statement hung in the air for some time, before an out of focus pair of blank eyes, came back to reality. Colonel Gupta, now 57, looked like 75,stopped himself from a sharp retort.

Just like he had done for the last 24 years.

A well travelled officer, a decorated officer, meticulous and extremely proud of his country.Col. Gupta was well respected by his peers and seniors .He commanded a huge respect right from the Jawan on the front to the Field Marshall. He had fought wars leading from the front and won medals of honor, and was in the process of becoming the youngest Brigadier in the country.

The telephone call concluded, and he sat back with a sigh...he'd just been offered a role as a defense attaché in Amsterdam. He had to make a choice - decide between serving the nation or the corporation. It was a difficult one.

He took up the job with one of the big MNC's in town shutting his memories and burying aspirations of becoming the next Defense Attaché. Sacrifice had called him again.

How else was he going to fund for that foreign degree that Arun wanted? How else would Arun ever get out of the mediocrity of it all.? ‘Besides a foreign degree would reduce competition for him’.

How else was he to support his only son, whom he loved more than his own life.Col.Gupta thought a little more about Arun, and gulped the lump in his throat, sitting alone with two of his best friends, the couch and loneliness.

Crossing over to the corporate from the military was tougher that he imagined. Over time, he numbed his feelings and adjusted to this new corporate life. The only connection he had with his past were - two ice cubes, water and whiskey ! He would sit quietly in a corner of the dimly lit living room and stare into the empty skies and relive his glorious past. Since his wife had passed away a few years ago, longer if you count mentally and physically, he had become a man of few words ,a stark contrast from where his words would inspire scores of soldiers to go out and lay down their lives for their country or their next best choice - their beloved commander. His savings and health both deteriorated as his wife's medical bills and his son's education fees kept mounting. Yet he had fought on, like a true soldier - never to give up.

Today, his son Arun was home after an assignment in Amsterdam for a prestigious IT company.Conversations were largely limited, mostly close ended or mono syllabic.

Arun was eating when Col.Gupta inquired

‘did you get to eat properly in Amsterdam?’

‘did you get proper accommodation- after all they asked you to leave at such a short notice?’

After a long pause...which seemed like an eternity - Arun’s responded with a modern ‘yeps’?

‘It must've been very cold, did you buy some warm clothes?’ asked a concerned father.

‘Yeps’ was the response again.

‘Did you bring back the muffler I had given you?’Col.Gupta eagerly continued as his face lit up…

‘It is the one I wore when we were facing the enemy in the moun...’

‘ufff Stop this nostalgic stuff Paa’ interrupted a visibly agitated Arun.

‘I've been in and out of the country more than you can imagine, or have ever done, besides how would you know what it is like in Amsterdam - so relax, I know to handle things ’ and Arun left the table,a whiskey glass, and his fathers heart ...empty.

Gyanban Thoughts- We have often come across stories of sacrificing mothers, however sacrificing fathers largely go unnoticed. This is a tribute to them....and mind you...all stories are not fiction. This is about the fathers who have sacrificed their entire lives for their families and yet go unrecognized in their efforts – after all that is a man’s job to work and earn isn’t it? No one realizes the price one has to pay to make this happen. The sacrifice one has to do to make this happen.

So the next time, your old man wants to spend some time with you, discussing his glorious past, give him some time…give him some patience…someday you too will need it in big time.


  1. The end was really touching.A true depiction of the younger generation. Nice post.

  2. Thanks for appreciating -@ roshmi & Old monk.

  3. nice story..
    like the narration..
    take care

  4. Beautiful!!

  5. Mersi @ aria and @ catawampusme

  6. I very sad situation between father and son. The tension between them utterly palpable.

    Yeah, the sacrifices of fathers often do go unnoticed.

    Very well written!

  7. Very well written

    Its really strange how sometimes children lose touch with their parents and never try to ignite the relationship again.

  8. I just saw a tweet which read - going for grandma's xray how boring...

    and I reverted - what goes around comes around !

    @ Margaret - loved your blog. It's people like you who help demystify the often misinterpreted India to the rest of the world.!

    @Survivor - i really like the painting on the post..did you draw it or is it from some other source?

  9. Hi Gyan. That was a nice piece starting and ending well. Short and sweet portraying the feelings of a father.
    Keep it going Gyan.

  10. @Well thank you am glad you liked it.


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