Modern Families If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking.
A late evening in June. Rain has finally stopped. Faith is preparing dinner in the kitchen. In the living room, on the sofa her son is furiously typing on his phone and her daughter is voraciously devouring articles on her kindle. In the back yard her husband is busy in the vegetable garden; taking out the weeds, nurturing them with organic compost. The nine years old dog Lucy lays by the kitchen door,nose on the paws, tails beats gently, just a thump showing her welcoming gesture to all the family members. The dog loves the weekends when all the members of the family stay together in the house either for lunch or dinner or for any celebration. Time to time she raises her head and glances from the corner of her eyes. Faith is almost done in the kitchen when she hears the door bell. We have not invited any one so who is here. She murmurs, takes off her navy blue apron, leaves it on the Granite conter and walks up to the front door.
Faith twists the brass knob and opens the front door. There on the front porch stands a tall gentleman, slightly bend from the back in a pale white shirt. His skin is light brown, sits nicely with his grey curly hair. Faith guesses that he is in his late seventies, but looks lean and strong. His big brown eyes and small sharp nose seem familiar. The dog rises from her bean-bag to greet the gentleman. Her tail is wagging rhythmically. ‘Good evening! May I help you?’ Faith asks.
” You must be Faith.” He says with a delightful smile and walks closer. ” You have a very pretty name and your face resembles a lot with your dad. It has been so many years of my departure. I am your great grand father and I have heard a lot about you from my son. He loves you more than any of his grand children. I want to meet you and your family. But do not worry, nothing to be scared, I have taken this form just to met you and your family. His long slender hand touches Faith’ head lovingly. Faith’s face is pale. ‘He is a ghost! O’ my! But really! I can not believe this. Is this a dream?’ Faith murmurs. She takes out her eye-glass, wipes it and adjusts back on her nose. O’ he is still there but it can not be true!’ What is happening?’ Faith runs to close the door but looks back . He is standing there with a warm smile. ‘May be it is my good luck that my great grand father is here to see me. He seems so nice. I need to invite him to my home and take his blessing. I should not scare of ghost. I can do it .’ She breaths deep. She turns back, walks closer, bends down to touch his feet.
“Please come in.” Faith says and both walk in to the house. Both the children and her husband are surprised to see a stranger but then Faith introduces him as one of her grandfather’s friend. She keeps the secret. Her great grand father smiles and hugs them. He sits on the cream color sofa in the living room . The large book collections on the wooden shelf to the right side of the room catches his eyes. Faith understands and says,’Those are my collection.’
He asks curiously,”Do you like to read?”
”Yes. I love to read and write.”
”Lovely. Just like your dad. Do you get enough time?” He leans back to the pillow and asks Faith.
Faith likes how her great grand father appreciates her writing. “Yes. I try my best. It is hard to spare time while I work a full-time job.”
‘What? He raises his eye-brows in astonishment. “You are not supposed to work out side. You should only take care of the house and your family, like your great-grandmother and grand mother did. Your husband is supposed to provide you everything.”
Faith smiles, tips her head . “It is a completely different time now and a different age. Now -a-days every women work.’ Let us go to the dining table otherwise it will get late for dinner.” They sit together at the oval shape oak table in the dining room where the French window leads to the garden. Faith’s great-grand father sits on the chair and looks around . On the middle of the table sits a hand crafted white vase with delicately arranged pretty pink and white roses besides a beautiful branching silver candlestick holder. Faith serves vegetable soup in pretty white bowls in golden leaf patterns on them. Spiced cauliflower in a Clarice cliff bowl, lightly fried okra in a Mason’s iron stone dish, Indian lentil and fragrant basmati rice with a dash of ghee on it. After a small prayet they start their supper. In the middle of the dinner he turns towards the grand son and asks” Why are you staring continuously at that black device? Is there something very urgent that needs your attention? You can attend them later. Always be mindful.” He takes a sip of water and looks at Faith’s husband. Then asks, ‘ Are you looking for a daughter-in-law for your son? He is almost thirty. And your daughter is a lawyer and she is ready for the marriage too. In our time the marriageable age were sixteen for the girls and twenty for the boys.’
The children lift their eyes at the same time and then they turn their head toward’s mom with a surprise look. Faith does not want to reply so she stays quiet. After dinner they sit and talk.
The great-grand-father folds his arms across the chest and leans heavily against the soft cushion of the sofa. Something bothers him. The big black square box with live pictures.”What is that?”
Faith smiles. “That is called a television or tv . It shows live news, recent discoveries on Science, old and new movies…” “Hmm! A very surprise box!” He says. His fingers caresses his pointed chin.The more her talks, the more his eyes get bigger. He can not believe that the great-grand -son does not want to marry and he wants to choose his own wife, then the great- grand-daughter instead of marriage is working as a lawyer and does not have time to think about marriage. His beloved grand-daughter is working somewhere. The children do not live with their parents. What type of family life they lead? Then he turns his face and looks at the dog. She is sleeping inside the house on a soft cozy bean bag bed bed, wagging her tail and glances at him from the corner of her eyes. The dog is supposed to be in the back deck not inside the house. The grand children in one side of the room are busy staring at their black square box and time to time smiling at their phones on their hands. He nods his head in disbelief . He does not approve the present life style at all but it may be appropriate for the time.
Around ten in the night the great grand father gets ready to leave. Faith hugs him and begs , “Stay overnight with us. I want to spend more time with you.”
He smiles warmly. “It is so wonderful to meet you and your family. I can not stay to-night but I will stop by again. I am really proud of you. May be I will come to their wedding. And you keep on writing.” He takes a step closer and hugs her one more time and says,”Your dad,your grand-father and your grand-mother are proud of you and mostly your dad for your writing. Their blessings will be always with you.”
Faith bends down to touch her great grand father’s feet but where is he? It is just the wind. She stands there on the front porch leaning against the pillar. Outside the stars arrange themselves nicely on the beautiful night sky. Suddenly everything seem so gorgeous.