Shreya looked up from her book and saw grandpa deep in thoughts, the news paper he was reading lay in his lap, while he gazed at something far. She realized straightaway that his mind was somewhere in the past, not dwelling on something very happy or pleasant, as the eyes showed the pain the past memory was causing him. ‘What is it Tata? What is worrying you now?‘ she asked him smilingly. ‘No, no, it is nothing’ said grandpa. But Shreya was sure that when he wants to, he will definitely tell her, so she let it rest.
Shreya admired her grandpa immensely and not without reason, for he retired from the Services after reaching the top and was known for his discipline, dedication and straight forwardness. Even after his retirement, he was still making himself useful to various members of his neighborhood and also chairing professional seminars and panel discussions on national security. His three children are doing extremely well. He now lives in a simple yet elegant bungalow, which he managed to build just prior to his retirement. All this though did not stop him from occasionally going down the memory lane, especially the unpleasant ones.
‘You know Shreya, I was rather tough on my son at times’. ‘Oh, you mean Mamu’, Shreya exclaimed. ‘He was such a cute kid’ continued grandpa ‘not because he was born after two girls, but because he was really a lovable child’. That is grandpa again, politically correct! She knew exactly what he was alluding to, for he had earlier once narrated that incident to her.
After one preliminary exam in Class XII, he never showed his results to grandpa even after repeated reminders. That day grandpa happened to meet his teacher and came to know that the results were given out to the students almost a fortnight ago. He came home fuming and fretting, walked in straight into his son’s study, opened the drawers and found a marks sheet with red ink on two subjects. He felt let down and cheated and in that state of mind lost his cool completely and gave a hard stinging slap to his son, whom he loved more than anyone else in his life. I do not know what happened after that, but grandpa still repents and reprimands himself for losing his temper in that manner.
Shreya put her arms around him and said, ‘Don’t worry Tata, could be that was the turning point in his life. Look where he is now, so successful and so well admired’. ‘May be you are right’ he mumbled, not so convincingly.
Shreya went in to get ready for her classes and when she came out she saw grandpa busy in front of the computer. She smiled to herself watching him struggling to operate, for two days back unwittingly he put himself on the Facebook, and now when scores of requests came to be his friends, he did not know to respond. Often Shreya helped him with it, but today suddenly his face lit up as he turned towards her and exclaimed, ‘You know what, my son has accepted me as a “friend”.
As she stepped out Shreya smiled and said to herself, ‘I always knew technology connects people in many ways’.