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This story is translated from Malayalam by K.M.Sherrif. It tells us about a middle-aged man called Gopi who comes back to his countryside home after many years. However, the purpose of his visit is not to see his aged and ill mother, but to settle his monetary issues.
Gopi– a middle-aged Government Officer
Kamala– Gopi’s eldest sister, a widow
Amma– Gopi and Kamala’s mother
Gopi Comes Back Home
When Gopi arrived unexpectedly at his country home in his office car, his mother who was lying in an armchair on the veranda tried to get up. Then she told her eldest daughter, Kamala, a widow, to check who was at the gate.
Peering at the darkness, Kamala saw a bald, fat, middle-aged man walking in. She asked Gopi why he was unexpectedly visiting. Her mother asked who it was. Gopi replied that it was him, he was dropping by on the way back from a meeting at Thiruvananthapuram.
Amma again asked who it was in a scared tone. Gopi said it was him, bringing his face close to hers. Amma finally recognised him and asked if his school was closed for vacation. Kamala said that Amma did not recognise anybody recently. But her memory was still sharp sometimes, and she would ask if Gopi had sent any letter. Kamala would tell her everything was fine with Gopi, Vimala and their kids because it would make her sad to hear that he hadn’t written for a year.
Gopi said he had got a promotion last year and there were tours often, so he was too busy to write letters. Kamala asked him if Vimala was too busy to write letters too. Suddenly Amma again asked who had come. Kamala said she had told her already that it was Gopi. But Amma said Gopi was in Delhi. Gopi said he had come from Delhi.
Amma asked for Gopi’s wife’s name. Kamala said it was Vimala, District Collector Nambiar’s eldest daughter. Amma asked if there was a letter from Gopi that day. Kamala said there was a letter since he wrote every day because it made Amma upset otherwise. Kamala told Gopi to look at the way their mother talked, because he knew nothing about what was going on with her.
Amma once again asked who had come in the car. Gopi answered that it was him, and that he had come to see her, his Amma. Amma asked who his Amma was, and whether she lived far from there. Kamala said she did not know how she could bring back their mother’s memory.
Gopi’s Real Purpose
Gopi opened his suitcase and took out his things. Amma asked him whether he knew her son, Gopi- he was a well-settled Government Officer in Delhi with a salary of two thousand five hundred rupees. Gopi said he knew him. Amma told Gopi to tell him to send her a red blanket, because the last one he had bought her while studying in Madras was all torn up. Gopi said he would tell him.
Amma said the mist was not good for her and she had a pain in her neck from sitting in the armchair for too long. She wanted to stretch herself out. Gopi’s sister put Amma to bed and came back to the veranda.
She told Gopi that she knew he didn’t come back to see Amma. Gopi revealed that Delhi was too expensive, especially with four children to look after. So, he wanted to get some money by selling his share of the family property. He had come to talk it over with Kamala. Kamala said he would sell his land and go away with the money and never come back after that.
Gopi said he would come when he had time. He could see that his sister was irritated. She said it took him more than five years to find time to come here. Amma was eighty-three and wouldn’t live much longer. Smiling feebly, Gopi said that Amma couldn’t even remember who he was. But his sister asked him if he remembered Amma.
Many people ignore and neglect their parents when they grow up and become adults. Gopi is one such example. He visits his ailing mother after five years only to get money. He has almost forgotten about the woman who raised him, even though she clearly loves him more than anything. We must never follow Gopi’s path and forget our parents and all that they do for us.