A man who loved everything to be peaceful and quiet, got the biggest and the harshest shock of his life when he was betrayed by his brother. This is one dark story of our family which came as a huge jolt, both mentally and financially.
Our grandfather, Mr Jugal Kishore Roy, built huge property, he had a four-storeyed building with more than fifty rooms and a gold jewellery shop at one of the busiest locations of Jharia, Dhanbad. After him, his sons took care of the property. The eldest son became the owner of the jewellery shop and the other three brothers got rent from the tenants of the building. One of my uncles lived with his family on the top floor and it was usually our vacation place. All brothers would spend time there together with their families and we kids had a gala time.
Gradually, the money that baba used to get from the rent started reducing in amount. The finance was handled by one of his brothers and baba never paid attention to what was getting distributed among all. Being the youngest he didn’t even question his elder brother as he had faith and trust in him. Then, came a time when the money was completely stopped. To make things worse, baba was also laid off during that time. Maa, who worked for the state government, never got her salary on time. For months, there was no source of income at all.
We were too young to understand the financial loss. One day, my uncle’s son came to our home and he asked my parents how did they manage everything. He was a very kind-hearted young boy and he said he can offer some money if they need, which my parents denied. From their conversation, I got the idea that things at home are not as smooth as they looked. I have no idea that with no salary and no income how did my parents even manage to take care of everything.
Things worsened, maa started a hunger strike to demand her salary and was supported by many of her colleagues. They all gathered at a nearby corner of the main street and sat there for days. I would look at her from far when I returned from school. Baba assured us she will be fine and stayed with us at home while maa was out there fighting for her rights. On the other hand, he came to know how his brother intentionally kept all the money with him and lied to him about it. Things heated up and went to the court. The brothers had an ugly fight where my father was pushed and thrashed by his brother. That scared us and we two sisters stood frozen at the corner of the house. Maa controlled the situation before it went any further.
That incident left baba with an emotional scar for a very long time. He never even imagined in his wildest of dreams that his loving brother would betray him for a handful of money. His trust was shattered brutally and he decided to cut all ties with them to maintain peace. That decision too was extremely difficult for him. Later, we did win the court case but that took away a few years from our lives. We saw them struggle and worried, they stood outside the court for hours, managed to get odd jobs to earn some money. Maa too came out as a winner; their demands were fulfilled and they received all six months’ salary together. She emerged as a leader and we saw people coming to our home to congratulate her and thank her that she stood strong for all of them.
When we grew up, maa told us stories of how they all went through that bad phase of life. She was sad she didn’t have enough money to buy new clothes for us but she thanked us that we two were very good daughters, we never raised any tantrums especially when some people purposely visited us to flaunt their new toys and clothes.
Honestly, all credit goes to my parents for maintaining their calm even when they were going through so much suffering. They never let us realize how bad things were and we continued to lead a normal life. The environment inside the home was always calm and happy, even when a hundred things were going on in their mind. This is one thing I try to follow as a parent, to gift my children a happy childhood and beautiful memories of the place they call home.
Coming up next –
K – Knowledge, Education and the Fight for it
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