Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Déjà vu

One evening while the elder one was at home glued to his computer, the younger one had not arrived from the college. I enquired from Sunny as to where Dilraj was. He told me that since it was the last day of their semester exams, so he had gone with his friends to celebrate and would come late. I could imagine the thrill the last day of the exams carried. During our days, on our way back from school on the last day of the exams, we used to do crazy things like throwing our clipboards and other stationery items high up in the air till these were shattered into small pieces. Some would plan a movie and some others a small party. That day, though both my sons had finished their semester exam, yet, one of them decided to stay home and play a game on his computer while the other one had gone celebrating.

It was getting late and I was getting concerned when he had not arrived till nine p.m. I noticed Sunny having received some calls on his cell phone. After some conversation on his mobile he told me that Bunny wanted his help as his friend’s car had broken down. I offered to take out my car and go wherever they were calling from but he declined my offer and said that he would take one of his friends along. I smelt a rat and firmly told him that I would come along with him. After a few more calls on his mobile he gave up and told me the actual story. Bunny’s friend Arun (name changed) with whom he had gone in the latter’s car had taken a few beers and had passed out. He was not in a position to drive. Bunny knew driving but did not have a license. Since Sunny had a driving license so he was being called for helping them out. I immediately took out my car, took Sunny along and reached the spot where the two boys were waiting. Arun was lying flat in the rear seat. Thankfully, Bunny was absolutely fine. Arun’s father, a medical doctor, was staying at Agra and had provided an apartment and a car to his son at Gurgaon – perfect ingredients to spoil a child. It was past eleven p.m. and it was no point taking him to his apartment and leaving him there in that condition. So we decided to bring him home. While Sunny took the steering wheel of Arun’s car, I followed them close behind, keeping my fingers crossed that they should not run into a police check post. The police can some times act very nasty without any rhyme and reason and this would have been the ideal situation having three youngsters driving on Delhi roads in a car with UP number plate with one of them lying flat in the rear seat. We reached home safe. After parking our cars, I jerked the boy into consciousness. He was reluctant to come indoors and said that he would lie down in the car only. I got annoyed on this but my sons sent me away and said that they would handle him. Meanwhile I took the boy’s mobile phone, checked the phone book and informed his father at Agra. He offered to come immediately but I told him to relax and come in the morning. Agra is about four hours drive from Delhi. I asked Bunny as to how he got into that mess. He explained that they had planned to go to some fast food joint to have some soft drinks and snacks but his friend insisted on having beer and took one too many despite Bunny’s objection.

This incident had a striking similarity to something that had happened with me about twenty years ago. I had a close friend from my college days. While I got commission in the Indian Army, he joined an Insurance Company. We always met whenever I came on leave and I would spend a few days with him at Chandigarh where he was staying alone. He had taken to drinking heavily and I noticed that his drinking kept increasing with every passing year. I warned him against that but to no avail. Even his parents would also complain about his drinking habits but he didn’t care. When I got posted at Jalandhar Cantt he, one day, visited us in the evening. I offered him a customary drink. After a drink each, while I asked Jeet to give us dinner, he continued drinking and polished off the remaining bottle. He asked for more, I refused and he left our house. Though initially I did not stop him as I was upset due to his behaviour but later I felt that it was not safe to let him go out in an inebriated state. I chased him on my mobike and caught up with him in the market. I somehow managed to bring him back home. After putting him in one of the bedrooms I locked the door from out side, lest he would leave again. At night I checked his room several times and found him fast asleep. We woke him up in the morning. He was normal after the night’s sleep. He freshened himself up and left our house without saying a word.

My sons were facing similar situation yet again but with a difference. The boys had successfully convinced their friend to come indoors and after Jeet gave him some lime juice he became fine. We all chatted for some time. He apologized to me several times and promised not to behave like that in future. One major difference between the two incidents was the exhibition of better emotional quotient by the boys than what my friend and I had reflected twenty years back.

5 comments:

Sruti Sankar said...

Well written Sir. Reading this, I am tempted to join the blogger's list.

Renu said...

That is what I also think that my children are much more capable of handling anything then I was at that age. May be the difference in upbringing or changing times

Balvinder Singh said...

I think it is due to changing times. Today's generation is exposed to the outer world at much earlier a stage.

Indian Homemaker said...

Thanks for sharing this :) Your son was wise in both not attempting to drive without license and in calming his friend. I am sure it must have worried them, but even you handled it wisely!

What I found really endearing here is Sunny's willingness to help Bunny, even without telling you :)

I think sometimes parents become careless towards guiding young boys, thinking, 'boys will be boys', like Arun's dad had done...

Balvinder Singh said...

Thanks IHM for getting here. So that's what the great dads go through. Yes boys will be boys but some incidents like this suddenly make you realise and say "oh, my boys have become men".