Oh! The Sweet Old Days
“You are in the disgusting habit of harking back to the past when you write anything .You need to forget the past and start living in the present ?” I was advised by my fellow passenger in the train. ”But everyone has the habit of going back to the past to bring back sweet memories and draw good lessons for the future. Futher being older than you I have much more memorable experience.” I quipped.
Memorable past events
I had struck an acquaintance with the middle aged man travelling like me to Asansol, a coal mining and industrial metropolis and one of the busiest centers in India. It was about a four hour journey from Howrah by the mail train. Besides, since I was travelling alone I sought to strike up a friendship in right earnest with the passenger who was browsing through a newspaper. Looking closely at my laptop, he introduced himself as a Chartered Accountant who loved to read books and travel frequently. When he came to know that I was a freelance writer, he said “Oh: I have read your few essays. They are good but………” .
A game of the past
One sided dialogue
He rattled off criticizing my delving into the past but I , however, could not convince him why everyone looks back fondly on the events which are all past history. So instead of trying to waste my time on such a futile exercise I changed to another topic asking "You have a good job which is much in demand these days”. “You see , my grandfather had different opinion on my career. He was a barrister. He had lots of properties and also donated a lot. He had suggested I should take up his profession”. “So you have chosen your own career”. I chipped in.”That was another old story. My father was a very strict person and almost an autocrat. He insisted on my becoming a doctor since we have not many doctors in our close relations. You know what he did? One day when he had heard that I was not sitting for my medical entrance test he flew off the handle and wanted to oust me from his house.”. “So you must now be very happy with your chosen line of activities” I tried to console him. “There was a savior for me with my grandmother. She was so nice a lady that when she heard the evil news she at once called for my father and threatened to go on a fast for an indefinite period if my own choice was not accepted.” “You seem to be very rigid in your stance. Does this stand you in good stead?” I sought to change the topic. “Oh I have not yet told you about my mother. She was an ideal housewife and her grandfather had amassed huge properties in the city and country side but then robbers decamped with most of the valuable ornaments and cash. Subsequently they faced litigation over the properties and thus became penurious.” I was getting bored and in a bid to have a respite from his one way prattle I opened my laptop and logged onto Hubpages. “Your thoughts must now be beginning to drift back to the past times which are better forgotten. You will be busy jotting down some useless old tidings to write stories when you will be back home”. He tried to draw me in his one sided conversation.. He continued brushing aside my urgent business ”My mother, a very intelligent lady, accepted my father as husband who was a businessman. How he could get back some properties of his in laws was another story”. It was too much of a mental torment and I began to show signs of indifference and at last made a quick exit on the pretext of looking for a betel roll vendor. When I had to return to my seat ultimately he again began “Talk about betel leaf! I know many stories I have heard from my grand parents. When I was on the verge of telling him “Don’t nag me. Leave me in peace” he received an urgent call from his office advising him to immediately proceed to another destination by change of route.
I ultimately got a respite from his continuous chatter recollecting old events. When he bade me goodbye I thanked God telling him “Thank you for your pleasant company. That will make another good story in my next hub. Good bye”.
© 2013 ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE