After a grueling day at work, I and my colleagues decided to enjoy a couple of drinks at the bar. Moving out of our workaholic demeanor, we loosened our neckties, unbuttoned our collars, twisted our necks and stretched our bodies.
Aadil, my chum friend, booked a cab, and we all sat in for a frolicsome night ahead.
After grappling with the satanic traffic of Delhi, we eventually reached the portals of our destination. We were assigned a table for four, and the attendant in a very sophisticated manner approached us with a notepad and a pen. All four of us read the menu extensively and placed a traditional order of tandoori chicken and masala papad.
As I was looking around, my eyes caught attention of a teenager dancing and drinking beer with his friends. I was enjoying every bit of it until I learnt who actually the person was. It was none other than my own nephew. I was astounded beyond limits, and it had already ruined my day. He too looked back at me but did not show any signs of remorse or embarrassment, rather he came up to me and asked me to accompany him to the dance floor. I thought to myself how drastically time has changed.
There was a time when we could not even dare to drink or smoke in front of our parents or elders. Once I went to a variety store near my home and asked for a pack of cigarettes. The shopkeeper resisted and as a signal coughed to make me aware of my father’s presence at the other end of the shop. I somehow did not pay heed and asked in a rather harsh voice. The shopkeeper instead said in a loud voice, “Chacha Ji, what else do you want?” On realising the gravity of the situation, my blood ran cold, and I with all my might ran home.I was rinsing my hands with soap when my father arrived and said sarcastically,” If you had asked for cigarettes, you must have got them,” and threw a packet before me. But who would have the courage to pick that up!
Habitually, I used to smoke on the way to the shop every morning. Once I reached the shop and just 3-4 minutes later, my elder brother came. Had he come a bit early, I would have been caught. But what happened next was a bolt from the blue. My elder brother said, “Look, either you smoke fast or walk fast. Because of you, I had to linger on the road for no reason.” That was again respect, a mutual recognition between father and sons and brothers unlike today’s generation that does not even show any respect whatsoever.
A version of this article appears in print on February 04, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.