No return

Your prompt reminds me of two real-life stories, which do not directly connect to the song, but are about leaving and returning.

STORY 1

We are holidaying with an aunt. A strange looking man appears in the courtyard with a piece of ginger in hand. He wants ginger tea.

The family looks scared, but my uncle treats him with respect. Ginger tea is served. 

He is insane as we are told after his exit. He committed a fraud and left the house to escape arrest. His wife suffered hardship to bring up the children alone. He returned after a gap, but was not made to feel welcome in the house. 

The result is what we see – an insane person roaming the streets in another town.

STORY 2

Years later, a senior colleague I’ve always respected disappears. He is the secretary of the Employees’ Co-operative Credit Society and manages their funds. Stories spill out that he persuaded people to take a loan from the credit society and invest money with a builder who promised to double the amount in a year.  It turned out to be a scam where people who trusted him lost money. There is speculation that he is probably murdered by the builder who happens to be politically influential. The man who disappeared retains a certain amount of public sympathy for the soft-spoken, gentlemanly demeanour he always held. People refuse to believe he could have committed a heinous crime, and give him the benefit of doubt.

Indian companies do not pay the terminal benefits of an employee for 7 years, if the person disappears. After 7 years, they assume the person is dead and then settle dues. The family faces a lot of financial difficulties. The children are compelled to take up jobs instead of going to college.

He returns after 3 years with a story of being hypnotised and kidnapped by landowners to be employed as bonded labour. Nobody believes him. Hypnosis does not last 3 years. An intelligent bank officer could have found a way to escape.

Since he is sane and alive, he faces punitive action from the bank for long, unauthorised absence. The world is not waiting for him with open arms.

He dies of cardiac arrest in a few months.

4 thoughts on “No return

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