The the post. When his father’s health begins

 

The
story ‘A devoted son’ by Anita Desai is an exploration of a son’s devotion to
his father through waning and difficult times. Desai’s story focuses on
the theme of relationships between parents and children. It portrays and
represents the growing disillusionment of a father who misinterprets the
concern and affection of the titular ‘Devoted’ son despite his own deep attachment
to his father and remains loyal and obedient to the story’s end.  This
story most namely shows the changing dynamic of the parent-child relationship
through the strains of time as well as dissolution of the dichotomy of
traditional familial structure. Further, the ability to rely on structure
and external reality to provide an understanding of these dynamics is a recipe
for personal unhappiness. 

 

Rakesh’s
father believes his son to be dutiful and devoted to his every wish and being.
Rakesh seeks his father’s blessings every time a milestone is accomplished in
his life. When the results of his medical exams are declared, in which he
scores within the first division, his father is the first person Rakesh reveals
the news to. The family is so happy that the neighbours visit and come to
congratulate him. Years later Rakesh still touches his father’s feet for his
blessing after returning home from the USA. This should not be misunderstood; the
father is also very devoted towards his son’s ambitions. He makes a lot of
personal and economic sacrifices to fund his son’s education. He is extremely
proud of his son and the success and fame that his son has achieved. As
though Rakesh is a vessel for his father’s achievements, Rakesh and his father
are living vicariously through one another; Rakesh through his father’s
appreciation and pride of himself and his father as an extension of Rakesh’s
accomplishments.

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Rakesh
is also dedicated to his mother and respects her every wish. Rakesh marries the
girl of his mother’s choice and nurses his mother amidst the end of her
mortality. He quickly becomes successful and opens up his own clinic. He then
takes the role of supporting the family after his father retired from the post.
When his father’s health begins to deteriorate, Rakesh takes the initiative to prepare
his dad’s diet to help his health. He would bring him his morning tea and would
read him the newspaper every day to him. Everyone is envious of old Varma for
having such a talented son who respects and honours his father. But old Varma
takes a different view on things. 

 

He is
hurt by the authority in his son’s voice and the fact that he is denying his
father the food he likes. Soon everything that the old man likes eating is
replaced by everything boiled from the vegetable to chicken. He feels that
life’s pleasures have been taken away. Rakesh is taking the time to care
and support his father even in a time in his life when he is very
busy.  There is an ironic difference in perception of the father and
the son. On the one hand, the father sees his son as heartless and insensitive,
ungrateful for the sacrifice made for him. But the son feels duty-bound to look
after his father’s health and therefore deprives him of thing that would harm
him. 

 

The
household dynamic changed by Rakesh, being not merely his parents` boy but
physician, did him every bit good. Mother and son bonded on her death bed but
the male parent, Varma, had trouble accepting his son’s authority and
prerogative as his physician. With the impairment of the father`s wellness came
the impairment of their relationship. A regulated diet was mistaken for
discourtesy. “A boy who really refused his male parent the nutrient he craved?
No. it was unheard of. it was unbelievable. ” All doctor’s orders from his boy
were interpreted as a diminished devotedness even though the world was the
exact antonym. “Outwardly all might be the same but the reading has altered:
his consummate efficiency was nil but cold coldheartedness. his authorization
merely tyranny in camouflage. ” Although his boy was merely seeking to maintain
the old adult male in the best wellness possible to protract his life for every
bit long as possible. with old age diminished wellness and the loss of his married
woman. He, bit by bit, started to go disgruntled and, eventually died.

 

This
short story is most profound and subtle about the theme of degradation
alongside respect. As though the two are hand-in-hand, Rakesh and his father
feel the full fulcrum of the pressure of earning and obligating respect as the
dissolution of genuine respect manifested itself onto a spiritual and physical
reality. Irreconcilable as it is, both Rakesh and his father suffer the
father’s fate. Despite these glaring issues with respect, it seems most
pertinent to accept that their problematic relationship is largely due to a
varying change in worldview; for example, Rakesh stops feeding his father his
favourite foods and begins feeding him boiled vegetables and meets. Rakesh’s
priority seems to be prolonging his father’s life whereas his father wants to
experience his joys and pleasures after years of hardships. 

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