Story 13. The Refugee. Part 2.

“…. suffering at the beginning of a life is felt to be made good by subsequent achievement. It can be seen in retrospect as a trial or apprenticeship, as part of a larger story of success. By contrast, suffering at the end of a life remains unredeemed – unless of course we look beyond this world. This is the permanent truth in Solon’s dictum (“Call no man happy until he is dead.”). It is only with death that the overall shape or meaning of a life comes into view. Calling a life happy or unhappy before the end is like calling a play tragic or comic before it has run its course.”

~ Robert and Edward Skidelsky in ‘How Much Is Enough?’

I was transferred back to Bombay in 1983 and our friendship grew stronger with four marriages in Bhagwans family taking place more or less within short periods of each other with Bhagwans daughter and son getting married simultaneously in one ceremony. By this time Bhagwan had bought himself a fancy apartment in a posh locality close to where we were living and so the traffic between the two households resumed with increased frequency.

By 1984, trouble started for Bhagwan, with his son Rohit wanting to separate from the family and move out of Bombay. Rohit did not want to be either a restaurateur nor financier and instead wanted to join his in laws in the Construction business and move to Nashik where they were located. Bhagwan had looked forward to handing over his business interests to Rohit and tried to persuade Rohit to go into the construction business in Bombay itself without success. Much unpleasantness between the elders and the youngster took place. It was eventually decided to settle matters by buying out Rohit’s share in both businesses which was duly done. This unpleasantness went on for a couple of years before the separation took place. Bhagwan soon suffered a heart attack and was partially paralysed.

Manohar, suggested that Bhagwan retire from the restaurant business and offered to buy the latter’s share out. A helpless and enfeebled Bhagwan agreed to and his life as a restaurateur came to an end.

Without Rohit’s help, an enfeebled Bhagwan soon wound up his Finance business too and having sold his flat in Bombay, moved to Mathura on a permanent basis. I visited Bhagwan and Savithri in Mathura on two occasions in 1987 and 1989. They seemed to have settled down comfortably in a small accommodation in the ashram which they used to visit earlier.

I moved to Pune in 1990 and Bhagwan and Savithri came to visit us and go to Shirdi. I had made all arrangements for them to do that and they were very happy to have been able to do that much longed for pilgrimage. They returned to Mathura in January 1991 and Bhagwan died in his sleep in March of the same year. Savithri moved in with Rohit at Nashik for a few months but decided that she was more comfortable in Mathura where she took refuge in the ashram and her guru and she too died in 1992.

Manohar’s restaurant is still running successfully, now being managed by his son. I had occasion to go to Bombay on a day’s visit a few months ago and went there to have lunch. I was treated like visiting royalty, and the meal was on the house.

Rohit is a successful builder, land lord, race horse owner and a page three personality in Nashik.

Among the most cherished possessions that I have are a shawl and a Rudraksha Mala gifted to me by Bhagwan all those years ago. They act as reminders to me of a great friendship with a very warm hearted man who became a refugee on two occasions in one life.

13 thoughts on “Story 13. The Refugee. Part 2.”

  1. i was not expecting his death.
    it came as a sad shock. even after knowing of his heart attack.
    this was a wonderful story rummy. to see these dear friends through your eyes is fascinating. you make it come to life.
    so sad though . . . the ongoing unnecessary pain of a father always thinking just because it’s HIS start and HIS business that is son will automatically want to follow it too. usually NEVER the case! and years are wasted in separation. at least in this story not terribly long was suffered.
    thank you for letting us know your twice a refugee!
    tammyj recently posted..messages. beauty of simplicity

      1. In your case, both of you were professionals and so that should have been fascinating. In our case, I really wanted Ranjan to go to my alma mater and do his MBA, whereas his mother wished that I should leave him alone to decide what he wanted to do. I acquiesced and he has done quite well for himself.

    1. There are as many rebels as there are conformists who join forces with their parents here. Many of the joiners, eventually lose the plot and often destroy the businesses built by their fathers. There are rebels who start new businesses or careers and do much better than the parents too! There are also cases where the scions expand the businesses and make old firms much bigger than during the parents’ times. Life is a very funny business over here.

  2. Interesting how family trade-lines do not always pan out as the elder expected…

    It’s bit like the English way of the first born son, taking on the Fathers name so that there is always a Jnr in the timeline of family naming.

    My poor brother was given the handle of Ingelby Thomas but within a few months granny had decided he looked like a Billy and he became Bill later. Very few people knew what his correct name was…Bill wasn’t having his son called Ingleby so he got something different with Ingleby in his second name…

    The first born daughter, got her mothers name, Mary but she is more commonly known as Molly. Which apparently, she likes more than Mary but there are contemporary family members who insist on calling her Mary…this usually causes me to think “who?”

    The rest of us were lucky…we got names often out of the hat. I had to named really quickly as I decided to be born on census night! Mother, had said “it’s a boy and he will be called Luke” (after some film star apparently) but a girl arrived! And no my real name isn’t Lukeness 🙂
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..It’s after week 6!

    1. In India, primogeniture was replaced with equal share in inheritance and that is the main reason for fractured and uneconomical land holdings leading to rural poverty and unemployment in India. Recent amendments to land acquisition laws will at least enable many of these to be sold so that some seed capital can be generated for the farmer to make a fresh start in an urban milieu.

      1. inheritance is based on what is left over at time of a persons’ death and how they want it to be divided…there seems to be lots of quarrelling in some cases after xyz has died; sometimes, drawn out by that or the estate managers be they lawyers or trust companies…

        I don’t know how big land holding are distributed, though it seems that if a family member shows interest they acquire it for themselves. Probably similar to buying a house/section with a mortgage…

        I know that sometimes a will doesn’t distribute anything to a dysfunctional family – rather left to a charity. That then causes problems – well the newsworthy ones anyway 🙂
        Cathy in NZ recently posted..It’s after week 6!

        1. Unless it is self made wealth, a will is useless in India for inherited wealth. It is for this reason that most families tend to partition wealth before grand children are born in the former case and this has its own set of problems. It is better to be born to people without any property. My three siblings and I are always grateful that our father did not have any property for us to fight over.

    1. How true -man only proposes.If only our lives can be choreographed…If only we can write the steps and scripts we wonder if this would have given us the courage to do things in a non traditional way. At times, some of the goals we make for ourselves do not turn out to be appropriate. At other times the pleasure we receive from the achievement is not nearly as great as we anticipated. Hope Bhagwan and his wife found peace and happiness at the ashram.

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