Every family has its problems. We have had ours too. The recent political attack, of course, was the worst storm! But not once in all these months, has either my mother, or my father asked me for an explanation, a clarification. And yet I've known that they have been worried. There were phases when my parents looked anxious, and there were phases when they looked distressed. But the trauma was within the confines of the home, the stress was within the house boundaries. When the pressure became too much, they've expressed it to us. And we have tried what we could, to lessen their anxiety and pain. It was much later, when one casual morning, I was in the garden, having tea with my father. He, reading his newspaper, and me, reading mine, when he very briefly, very politely asked me, "Bete koi galat kaam to nahin kiya hai na?" His this one sentence was enough to torment me. Until then, I had taken the backlash in my stride, said nothing... kept quiet. But suddenly I was not sure if what I was doing was right. If my own father, after reading all that comes out in print, can get confused, the damage had to be serious! Also, if today it is my father, tomorrow, my son can ask the same question. To make matters worse, 'The Times of India', around this time, in celebration of their 150 years, published a book, carrying the front pages of the newspaper over these years. And in it, were these flaring attacks on 'Bofors', on us. All for posterity! I was then that I decided that enough was enough, I decided that I had to clear my name, stand up for my self-protection. Not so much for myself, but for the sake of my loved ones. My parents... My kids.
Both my children are reaching that age when they're beginning to understand things. There are moments now, when they question me about what's appearing in the press, and I answer them to the best of my ability. We've never imposed our ideals on them. But by the grace of God, they are growing up fine. They are warm, sensible, normal children, and have, so far, at least not given us any opportunity to complain. As parents, Jaya and I have always encouraged them to come and speak to us about whatever they feel, frankly. And most of the time, they have. If there have been moments when I've found them upset, I've called them across and had a chat with them, and it's been all very fair, very open. Without barriers. But then, who knows, they might be still wanting to keep something from me. Though, I don't think so. At least it hasn't happen so far. Maybe in future. Maybe not. One can't really say. These are delicate matters.
Children, sometimes, have this tendency of hiding things from parents. I did so too. But somewhere, a certain law has to be set. Our parents instilled the ground rules. When we were young, out of childishness, we often took liberties, but they overlooked out this misbehaviour. I hope, I too, will have the graciousness to overlook their mischief, and provide my kids with the same leeway. For ultimately kids pick up only from examples. I was lucky that when my kids were growing up, I neither smoked nor drank. I didn't drink until I started working. Smoking, yes, but it was that one odd cigarette, that too more for the thrill of it. My father always said, "Smoke, drink, dance, go to the races, but with your own money." And I remembered that. Until I started earning my own money I did neither. And when I did, I informed them about it. They knew exactly when I started drinking, or started smoking... In all these years, I've never smoked in front of them. Nowadays, I do, sometimes, but that too only in the presence of my mother. Because I'm more casual, more relaxed with her. Also, I'm extremely careful, for I'd never want to disrespect her. And I hope that when my kids grow up and do the same, they show the same consideration towards me. With my father, the question does not arise. I'd never dare.