A Good Man
He was a good man. He lived a good life, with a wife and three beautiful children. He always wanted to get away from India. He thought that any place outside India would be heaven for him. He was a doctor by profession but he wanted to fly high. He was not ungrateful by any stretch of imagination. He was a believing man and a caring man.
His family was his entire world and he wanted to take them all over the world. He just didn’t have the means. He tried to get visas to different countries, including the UK, USA, Norway and Sweden. But he was not successful. His medical degree was not accepted in other parts of the world, because it was not an MBBS. It was something like LMP or GCIM or some such thing.
She watched this man get older and not have the means to make his dream come true. He finally became a physician for the ships that came into the harbor. Just talking to the foreigners was a great thing for him. They would give him bricks of cheese, scented soaps and samples of perfumes. He would bring them home and share them with his family. He was on cloud nine, because he was able to communicate with white people!
Finally, after several years of languishing, he was sponsored by a relative to go to the US. He thought he was eventually going to live his dream. He couldn’t work as a physician because his degree was not recognized there. He found a job in a research lab under an eminent physician. He saved some money and brought his wife and children over.
But the fast life of the American society developed a greed in his heart. He wanted a new car, and a new set of TV, Stereo, furniture, all to please his children, even though at that time he couldn’t afford them. The wife would tell him to back off, and not to spend money like it was growing on the trees. But he had the magical almighty credit card with him. He could buy whatever he wanted. The relative who had sponsored him tried to talk to him about his spendthrift nature. He would just smile— he had such a bewitching smile. He would say that he was doing well and taking care of everything.
But he was not taking care of anything. He was in debt to the credit card company, and he took on another job to help pay all the bills. This made everyone very sad. His young son who was barely fifteen, started working at Steak and Shake after school. Things were going down rapidly. And then, out of the blue, he was asked to come to Dubai and work there. He sent the family and followed them there. For years he worked there, diligently, but realized that India was the best place for him to be in, with his relatives and family. So he left that city and returned home to India. He led a good life, working for a Swedish company.
He traveled a lot, all over Europe, and whenever possible he would go to the US, to be with his relative who had sponsored him. He still continued to have the greed and the pent up desire of what-ifs of a different life. The grass on the other side always looked greener to him, and it seemed as if he had some resentment that he didn’t do as well in life as his relatives. But he said he was grateful and that he had settled down and was happy.
On a trip from Dubai to Madras in the early 90s, he stopped over in Bombay for the night at the Taj. In the middle of the night he had a massive heart attack, and died on the way to the hospital. The family waited for him at the airport and went back home, only to receive the call from Bombay that he had died.
He was my brother. My beloved innocent brother.