Monday, October 27, 2008

The Final Acceptance

by Ayesha Parveen 24 Oct 2008
Category: Others
This story has been read 251 times.
Shravan, at the age of forty, left his village. Unable to accept the injustice done to him by his father, he severed all ties with his family.

Throughout, Shravan’s younger brother Rahul had been their father’s favourite, although he had done nothing to earn it. Even when their mother was alive, Rahul managed to get the bigger share of everything, starting from parental affection to sweets. Perhaps, the reason lay in one of the most deeply-rooted biases in Indian society: the shameless worship of light complexion. Rahul had fair skin but Shravan was dark.

Not allowing his parents’ favouritism to ruin his self-esteem, Shravan had worked hard in school, excelling in academics as well as co-curricular activities. Nevertheless, he would often feel sad about his parents’ injustice; his father, in particular, would socially flaunt only Rahul.

While in school, Shravan’s best friend had been his neighbour, Deepa. It was she who seemed to understand him totally and had always supported him. For Shravan, Deepa, over the years, had become more than a good friend; he secretly nurtured hopes of marrying her. However, not all dreams in life are meant to be fulfilled, and Deepa, after appearing for the intermediate examinations, married the son of a rich land-lord from a nearby village.

Hurt to the core, Shravan, nevertheless, accepted the reality and wished Deepa the best in life, consoling himself with the thought that she had loved him at least as a friend. Putting all his energy into running his father’s business, Shravan was comfortable with himself. As the years went by, some of his friends and an uncle started persuading him to get married but his answer was always in the negative; Shravan knew he would not be able to love anyone, other than Deepa, as his wife.

Rahul, meanwhile, had completed his studies and married. However, he remained as irresponsible as before and kept on getting and losing a series of jobs in the city he had moved to with his wife. By this time, Shravan’s mother had died and his father had become seriously ill. Shravan nursed his father back to health and for some time, it seemed that the old man was at last proud that Shravan was his son.

Then, one day, Rahul and his wife returned and very soon Shravan understood that Rahul was still their father’s favourite. Although he was hurt, Shravan accepted this fact and went on with life.

Exactly three months after Rahul’s return, the full amount of three hundred thousand rupees was stolen from the family locker. The key to the locker had been with Shravan’s father, who would put it under his pillow when he slept at night. Being an old man, he would not lock his bedroom door at night as he felt he might need to ask for assistance if he became unwell. Moreover, only his two sons and the daughter-in-law were in the house, along with him, at night.

The police came for investigation and when Shravan’s father was asked if he suspected anyone, after some mental deliberation, he said he thought Shravan had committed the crime out of jealousy for his younger brother! As the bewildered Shravan was being taken to the police-station, Rahul broke down and confessed to have stolen the money. He added that he had done so as he had incurred debts in the city.

Parents are supposed to love and protect their children. Here was a father who had all along been unfair to his son. Shravan decided he no longer wanted such a parent. He had loved Deepa like he had loved no one else but Deepa had chosen another man. So, is there nothing constant, nothing true in life? As he lay awake the whole night, in the darkness, bereft of all human love, he felt a re-awakening of another love: it was the love that had stayed dormant in him for years.

Yes, Shravan would now live for that love. In the morning, he told his stone-faced (stone-hearted as well, needless to say) father that he was leaving the family and the village for good. Cutting all earthly ties, Shravan, whole-heartedly and finally, accepted the one constant in his life: the love in his soul; the love that was manifested through both joy and sorrow; the love that would never reject him.

Shravan understood:

“Vaasudeva sarvam iti”
(Bhagwad Geeta, 7.19)


Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

KP - Chennai on 10/24/2008 2:38:58 PM
An inconsiderate and partial father,the unrequited love with Deepa,the loss of mother and the false accusation despite the earnest attempt to help his dad in times of need, literally drove Shravan to the only source of lasting comfort and peace.A very fine story written in good English.

Swetha Amit - Mumbai on 10/24/2008 3:37:39 PM
A nice one which depicts the bitter truth in life. Live for yourself instead of others. you will be a lot happier.

Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

Dr.P.V.Vaidyanathan - Mumbai on 10/24/2008 6:51:04 PM
Nice story, Ayesha. I feel that in this world, one's true and final responsibility is only to oneself. At the core, every human being is selfish--not out of choice, but because that is how nature had made him. But years of conditioning make us look towards others for happiness and joy. But, unlike Shravan, not all of us are fortunate before our end, to realise this truth--that ultimate joy or peace can only be found by taking complete responsibility, and by turning inwards. Turning outwards and looking for happiness almost never works. A good story, in which you have brought out the very essence of life on earth.

sharmishtha - kolkata on 10/25/2008 12:18:07 AM
lovely story ayesha, but i still firmly believe that all people are not guided by look, so a day comes when most of us are blessed with the company of those who accept us just the way we are. you are one of the very best writers of msn, you have been absent for too long.

Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

Rajesh - Hyderabad on 10/26/2008 9:16:24 PM
Wow, very well chosen topic to write on. Yes, blessed are those souls who see lot of hatred in life, coz they are the ones who realize Vasudeva Sarvam Iti. It is indeed very difficult for humans to attain virakti, it is the people with hatred in their hearts who actually help many others attain this state of equanimity, which is also why our culture talks love, for even the one we see as wicked is only playing his role.Absolute LOVE comes only after one sees rampant hatred, that is the way nature is and so are humans. Very good article Ayesha, thanks a ton.

sk jaiswal - new delhi on 10/24/2008 8:48:18 PM
hey bosss...just want to say - WOW on this story. Heart stopping and very emotional one. but what does it mean - “Vaasudeva sarvam iti" ??

Ayesha Parveen said...

ayesha parveen - kolkata on 10/25/2008 5:51:03 AM
Jaiswal-ji, "Vaasudeva sarvam iti" means the Supreme Godhead Vaasudev Krishna is the cause of all causes directly or indirectly and He is the final comfort for all. Thus His presence is there in all things we go through and He is the best friend of all creatures. Once Shravan realized Vaasudev's love in his soul, all earthly expectations and disappointments were washed away by His grace. Thank you for the comment and the question.

MSN Reader's comment:

sk jaiswal - new delhi on 10/25/2008 5:56:44 PM
bosss...i m just overwhelmed and speechless on your explanation of "Vaasudeva sarvam iti" AND Sharmista rightly says....ur the best..

nabadipa said...

Wonderful story on the essence of life: living for what rings true to your conscience.