The balance sheet

In this mechanical world, a certain amount of fond expectation cant be avoided.

I cannot forget what the renowned litterateur and Jnanapith award recipient Masti Venkatesha Iyengar told a senior citizen acquaintance of his when the latter bitterly complained about his being neglected in the evening of his life by his only son, whose upbringing had been his life’s mission.

“My son seems to have forgotten the love my wife and I showered on him and the sacrifices we made to see that he was given the best upbringing to make him what he is today. Now that he is married and is able to set up his own family his attitude towards us has changed and he is engrossed in his own world in which there seems to be no place for us!”, he lamented tearfully.

“I do understand your anguish and disappointment, my good friend”, said Masti beaming his characteristic reassuring smile. “Just think from a different angle: when your son was born he brought light and immense joy to you and your wife.

As he grew up, you rejoiced in every prank he played and you filled your eyes and heart by the inexplicable charms only a growing infant could give to the parents. Your little world then was resplendent with all the hues of the rainbow.

Can you quantify the extent of pride you experienced when he excelled in his studies and got settled in life? If you total all these, don’t you think he has more than adequately settled the emotional account for all the efforts and sacrifices you claim to have made? This is the balance sheet of life and be satisfied that it is a fair one! If you get something more beyond this, consider it as bonus on which you should have no expectation.”


Great words of wisdom indeed! As a very senior citizen myself I can visualise through these words a soothing silken bond capable of bridging the generation gap with down-to-earth appreciation of realities of life and the constraints experienced by the persons involved.

In today’s fast-moving mechanical world, a certain amount of fond expectation cannot be avoided in the emotionally- barren pattern of life that seems to be looming large by the day. Nevertheless the situation can be circumvented by a touch of magnanimity. Take a look at this for instance:

A good friend of mine, whose only son is settled in the US, was critically ill and on learning of his condition the boy visited him, stayed with him till his treatment was completed and left telling his father that he should have no hesitation in asking for his presence again should the situation warrant.

Unfortunately the old man’s health deteriorated within a month and the doctor gave him no hope of survival. Knowing well the problems that would be inevitably encountered by the young man in visiting again at such a short interval, especially at a time recession was causing anxiety in that particular sector there, he decided against giving him the real picture during his son’s daily telephonic enquiries.

“My dear boy, you have done everything that is expected of a dutiful son for which I am immensely happy and proud of you”, he said. “In case of any sudden and unforeseen development regarding my health you are always with me in my heart and soul!”  As if meticulously planned, the old man passed away within a few hours, not carrying with him the guilt of causing painful dilemma to his son.

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