Raja Hakim was a renowned Aurvedic-cum-unani physician
of the time, about six decades ago. He had established his flourishing business
in a big clinic in the ground floor of his residential house. Raja Hakim was a
handsome, well built, young man of catching courtesy and winning demeanour. The
fame of his quick healing methods of treatment, of all sorts of ailments, spread
far and wide in no time. And soon, his clinic became a beehive of suppliant
patients. Naturally, he remained always busy all the time. So, he was left with
only brief breaks for meals in between.
As a result, he could spare but little time to spend with
his family, comprising a good number of children that he had. The brunt of
upbringing well educated offspring fell to the care of his spouse, Rani Hakim,
who proved to be a versatile lady. Rani Hakim husbanded his earnings well. She
saw to it that all their children grew up to the mark and were well settled in
life. High ambitions took the promising children to far off places to settle
there on good jobs and business as per their own leanings. Only the eldest son,
Ravinder remained with his parents at home. He was employed in the same city at
a high post.
In the meanwhile Ravinder had his own children. His mother,
Rani Hakim had now to take the double charge of her overworked husband, children
and grand children. Her daughter-in-law, Reeta herself was in service and could
only partially help her mother in-law in their family affairs. Indomitable
spirit and dedication to domestic matters kept Rani Hakim going smoothly with
the ordeals facing her from time to time. An atmosphere of perfect harmony and
peace prevailed all through. Old customs, rituals and festivals as well as
oriental, Kashmiri-type relationship were imperceptibly adjusted according to
the semi-modern concepts of civilizations. The family unit improved its image
and established its place of honor in the developing Kashmiri Pandit society.
Slowly and steadily the ongoing rush of work in the clinic started to tell upon
Raja Hakim's own health. He began showing signs of tiresomeness. He began to
complain of fatigue.
"To hell with all this strenuous work; din and noise
that pesters me all along," would automatically pour out of his mouth.
"But no, how can I give up this lucrative business?
How can I maintain my family? what will sustain me and my wife's life?" he
will mutter within himself off and on. Every time he rose bravely to the
occasion, girdled up his loins and resumed his work at the clinic.
And as Raja and Rani Hakim grow older and weaker month
after month and year after year, deep wrinkles are drawn across their,
otherwise, plane ruddy cheeks. Their hair changed color from jet black to gray.
The wrinkles on their cheeks sink deeper and deeper into groove-like furrows.
"O, for a brief period of relaxation, at least after
lunch!” he whispers to Rani Hakim off and on. "Yes dear, I too feel tired
and tardy now. But, I am concerned at your plight. I simply can't bear seeing
you so exhausted after clinical work". She replies. But, the family chores
and the clinical work continue going side by side with groaning whispers of
helplessness in the matter. "O what is that thing called, 'rest' which we
shall never enjoy?” they now begin to think aloud every moment they meet each
other. And yet they carry on and on.
Ravinder Hakim and Reeta Hakim often over hear these loud
thoughts of restlessness both individually as well as collectively. They simply
meet and discuss, meet and discuss. But every time they don't come to any
The hither to welcome mobility and tumult of brisk public
dealings lose their vigour fell. The domestic expenditure increases with the
increase in family strength and, increasing demands of higher education of
growing grand children.
Ravinder Hakim and Reeta Hakim reach the age of
superannuating. They are about to retire soon. Dreadful shadows of darkness and
gloom spread over the otherwise prosperous family. They are enveloped in an
atmosphere of helplessness.
Worried about the future of their children, Ravinder Hakim
and Reeta Hakim meet in their bed room at night and ruminate over and, discuss
the situation calmly once again.
"I have enough leisure time before and after my
official duties. What do you think, if I
lend a helping hand to my dear father in my spare time? After all the whole
income from the clinic goes to replenish our domestic expenditure. This goes a
long way to feed and maintain not only my age in parents but also us and our
children", Ravinder Hakim argues with his wife, Reeta Hakim.
"Yes, my dearest, you are perfectly right. But, will
your daddy agree to it? How are we going to convince him of our earnest desire
and ability to render him all possible help. We have not retired yet."
"Dear Reetaji, don't we both hear them complaining
aloud about their tiresome feelings resulting from over work and aging?",
replies Ravinder Hakim.
"Yes Swani, let us go to them together to offer our
services and full cooperation both in domestic and clinical. work."
With the cooperation of Rani Hakim, they are able to
convince Raja Hakim and obtain his agreement in the matter.
Ravinder Hakim resumes dispensing work along with the
permanent incumbent and learned the art of dispensing work. Besides himself
being a senior accountant in Government service, he becomes an adept in
maintaining the accounts of the clinic, side by side managing to sit by his
father picking up a thorough knowledge of diagnosis of diseases and their
treatment from him. In course of time he proves to be an asset to his father who
now gets more spare time to spend in the Company of Rani Hakim, both freely
chatting and relaxing together. But, deteriorating health seeps Rani Hakim's
health and compels her retain only financial control while transferring the
management of household affairs to Reeta Hakim, her daughter-in-law. The
arrangement continues working smoothly till Rani Hakim's depressing ailment
compels her to hand over the financial control too to Rita Hakim's care.
Raja Hakim's relaxation time is now channeled towards
nursing his ailing wife. The few left over grand children keep the old couple
company in the mornings and evenings while they remain away at school during day
time. And, by and by, in due course, alas! the hands that had always remained
downwards with their palms facing the earth, were destined to turn upside down
with their palms now facing the skies.
Raja Hakim and Rani Hakim who, all through their life-span,
so far were in the habit of spending enough money to meet household expenditure,
on education of their children and grand children and maintenance of high status
and standard of living in a cultured society. They were also lavishly offering
financial assistance to social organizations and the poor. They had now, slowly
and steadily begun to feel the pinch of need awaiting to receive something or
the other from somewhere from their off-springs. This served as a portent to
have to await facing the wrath of misfortune steeping like running floods, from
underneath bushes and heaps of bran.