Learning To Be Practical

The Delhi High Court, two days back, has ruled that a woman has no indefeasible right to live in her in-law’s house, if she mistreats them, as the aged in-laws have the right to live peacefully in their house. The court’s verdict came after a woman approached the court asking for right to accommodation in the matrimonial house, as she had marital dispute with their son.

This case is a bit different. There are similar stories both real and imaginative, like Hindi movie Baghban, where daughters-in-law, mostly in connivance with sons, mistreat old couples without realising that one day, they will also be in the same position. This reminds me of a story about an old couple, Balbir and Radha.

After retirement of Balbir, he used to sit together with Radha wearing nice clothes most of the time in the garden developed by Radha. Ganesh Niwas, a bungalow house, with a huge garden in the back was their lifelong dream.

Radha had planted many flowers and plants with some trees of mango, guava, burflower etc. Flowers like mogra, rose, marigold, jasmine, daisy, hibiscus, dahlia and lily used to make the garden more beautiful and fragrant. There was also lotus, orchids, crotons etc. Fresh cilantro, mint, fenugreek, green chillies etc needed for the kitchen also used to be there. These plants and flowers were witnesses to the endless hardships that Radha had endured.

Balbir had never enjoyed the beauty of that garden, but now he had enough free time to spend there. Radha was also giving her husband a little more time. Most of their time was spent chatting on the couch there.

But their son, Mahesh and particularly daughter-in-law, Sunita disliked their presence in garden, and even in the house. Sunita stopped making and serving tea in the garden and will make her tea for herself and Mahesh. The old couple ignored their behaviour.

Sunita was not at all happy with this situation. She never missed an opportunity to taunt the so-called two lovebirds. Then an idea crossed her mind to disturb the old happy couple. She convinced Mahesh to buy a bigger car and to make a new garage to park it.

Mahesh talked to his father regarding his decision to buy a new car. Balbir was astonished,
“But son, the big car is already in the house, so where are you going to put it?”

Mahesh replied confidently,
“I am thinking of building a new garage in this garden! After all, how many more days will my mother take care of this garden? It would be better and practical to cut down these useless trees and plants.”

Balbir and Radha didn’t say anything, but talked to each other amidst babbling of their son and daughter-in-law. The next morning, Balbir made his own tea, but Radha was very disappointed. She did not go out to water the trees that day, nor did she talk to anyone.

In the evening, Mahesh asked his father again about his decision about the garage. Balbir replied calmly,

“Mr. Karan, one of my staff, is retiring next month. He will stay in this house.”

“But where?”

“In your area”, Balbir said.

“And we?”

“We’ve made you so capable that you can stand on your own two feet. Next month, you shift to another flat or the company flat, where you can live with people your age. We both will live among people our age. It’s your generation that has taught us to be practical too.”

Mahesh and Sunita along with their two children started packing up.

–Kaushal Kishore

images: pinterest


  1. Thank you, Kaushal, for this very important post that should be read and reflected upon whatever the readers age. Your story so beautifully told and presented made me smile at the end, as I like a happy ending.
    My heart warmed up at the sight of the wonderful garden created by Radha!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the story and picture. The recent court verdict reminded me. The fact however remains that such incidents are on the rise and nuclear families instead of joint ones are today’s realities.

      Liked by 1 person

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