Today, in Chennai, we were fortunate to have visited the house of the last living of a species on the occasion of his 90th birthday and received blessings from the couple.
Of course you want proof to substantiate my claims. Here you go:
An arts graduate from a family of agriculturalists, he works for years in Income Tax Department as part of its clerical staff.
Files of industry captains move through his expert hands. If you know, in these offices, the clerks are the ‘real’ officers. He is a regular recipient of ‘friendly’ hello’s from these big guns on their frequent visits to the Department.
His wife’s family wallowing in old money marries her off to this man seeing his ‘potential’. They see him worth his weight in gold. After all they have seen a guy back home with similar background owning a few villages. They might have as well pushed her in to the well in their village.
He brings the bride to live with him in a chawl – a one-room tenement in Mumbai sharing a toilet with a dozen neighbors.
They eat a frugal meal in the first half of the month while living on bread in the second half.
When the lady falls sick, he surrenders his railway-pass, gets the deposit refunded and buys medicines for her.
All this while he continues to work in the Department processing high-profile cases.
When he decides to go for a change, he turns down lucrative Reliance-like offers from the clients to take up a job with a share-broker. If you’re not aware, guys like him (the superannuated) hanging up their boots at the Department (and other public-sector undertakings) are much coveted prizes for companies to bag for their knowledge and more for their ability to get around in the Department corridors.
Years later he joins a largely-family-owned erstwhile industrial giant at their sanctum-sanctorum. Works for a pittance untangling tax mess for his employers saving tons of moola for them, all by legitimate means. Their family-jewels are safe in his trusted keeping. Does not accept concessions, discounts, no-interest loans. perks above his station and other expressions of gratitude for jobs well-done from time to time.
Gets caught in the cross-fire of palace intrigues and cronyism, resigns from service.
Even today, nudging ninety’s, he continues to render token service for one of the factions of the family for a small sum more to keep himself occupied. Though he may not for long, as commuting on city’s roads from central suburbs to the business district is taking its toll on him.
Life is kind to keep him clear off financial worries through investments in stocks.
He helps gratis many families who cannot afford professionals to sort out their tax wrangles. Often times he even pays for incidentals from his pocket in this endeavor.
And the lady stands by him as ever with no trace of bitterness or ‘If only he had…’, only chiding him mockingly at times over his immoderate munificence for the utility, transportation and other services he uses from time to time.
He is not a believer……in our Gods. Who then is his God? I’ve a job to find out.
I rest my case. Would you still grudge me my claim to anthropological fame?