The boy, now a young man, took up a job as a clerk with the state government in Kolkata. Most of his siblings had also settled down in Kolkata by then. The young man, lets call him P, had given up on his dreams of becoming a magician and a doctor, continued to work as a government employee and passed his spare time mostly in gambling and drinking. The money left by his father for his and younger sisters education and marriage vanished into the blue with his elder brother’s film making business.
P wanted his brothers to help him, but they had their own life to take care of and besides his drinking and gambling did not go down well with the Bengali middle class household. His brothers tolerated him but did not approve of him. P, in turn, felt more rejected and stayed away from them. The guidance, the anchorage that he thought he deserved from his brothers and mother, never came his way, or lets put it like this that he rejected what came his way.
P was a talented young man, he played cards well, he acted well, he could sing well, he was the reigning billiard champion in YMCA and to boot, he was a reasonably handsome and charming man. Hence, the inevitable happened. A young girl, in the neighbourhood, fell head over hills in love with him. While P liked her hero worship, her longing for him, he was not ready to be married just yet.
The girl, lets call her S, insisted on getting married, and P could not resist. They got married. The marriage lasted for five years, during which love, passion, disillusionment, betrayal and bitterness became their companion. During this time, a baby girl was born to them but that did not help the matter much. Finally they parted ways, but through death. S died of a sudden illness when she was just 29 years old. Some say, P was responsible for her death; some say the unhappiness pushed her towards her death. P chose to remain silent about what happened between S and him.
His relatives started pushing him towards re marriage, P stalled them saying, he was afraid that another woman might not love his daughter the way her mother did. It is possible that P was not really ready for another commitment, another set of relationship just yet.
After that, P’s life took a turn for the worse. He just did not know what to do with the little three-year-old toddler and considered himself ill equipped to take care of her. His elder sister came to his rescue and took the little girl home with her. But that is another story.
P’s continued his life like a nomad. His little daughter continued to grow up in his sister’s home, while he sometimes lived with a relative or two, and sometimes in boarding houses. His gambling and drinking habits became his regular companions and his relatives continued to look at him with disdain and disapproval, as they believed that he was shrugging off his responsibility of looking after his daughter. P, on the other hand, had convinced himself that he was not competent enough neither was he ready for another set of responsibility and accountability.
The rest of the story is not very interesting as not too many things changed for P from then till the next twenty years or so. His daughter grew up pretty much by herself, and when she got married, P finally settled down to live with her and her family.
P lived a fairly long life and passed away when he was 84 years old.
Note: My hunch is that after my mother’s death, my father had given himself the freedom to waste himself and his talents. The magician who used to reside within the little boy, never really had a chance to come out to the real world. He was a loving and affectionate man, who remained in his dream world most of time, having little touch with reality and pragmatism. Lack of feeling loved and a high degree of emotional depravity somehow ensured that he remained a “boy” who wanted to be, but never became a “man” who was. What a waste!