Gautam Agnihotri is a middle-aged political science professor in a college in Bombay. He is a very ardent nationalist / socialist and is vehemently against the multi-national culture in India and particularly hates the exploitation of his countrymen by the white European and American executives of these companies. He strongly advocates driving them out of the country or at least keeping them under very strict control. He has toured and lectured in many countries and has led educational delegations. He had always found a subtle discrimination in the way Asian educationists are treated. He believes firmly that Indians and other Asians are far more resourceful, knowledgeable and hardworking than their white counterparts and wants to explode the myth of western superiority in education.
Part of all this is also personal – his father went abroad when Gautam was still young and ditched him and his mother for a white woman. All this has led him to anger against the white skins backed by his political principles and beliefs and his own experiences.
One day he receives news from America that his father and his stepmother have been killed in an accident. His father had had one last wish – that he be cremated in India and his Indian wife and son be present at the last rites, perhaps due to his guilt at having abandoned them. His body is being flown into India by his father’s other son – his stepbrother! His father who had amassed considerable wealth has also left a will with a lawyer in India, which will in some way require the brothers to work on a few things together. His father had a patent pending for an industrial invention, which is being disputed by a ruthless multi-national that will not hesitate to use its shady connections to take all the credit due to their father. The company has already taken hold of some property and money which rightly belongs to the brothers and the mother.
Gautam hates his stepbrother, ill-treats and insults him on his arrival and at every occasion thereafter. But his mother, being typically Indian, takes the stepbrother into the house. Even if she does not accept him she feels duty bound to be hospitable and at least civil to her husband’s son. Not only does he resemble Gautam and their father greatly, but the step-brother is also much warmer and more Indian than expected – he seems to have an instant affinity for all things Indian, he seems aware of the injustice suffered by Gautam and his mother and desperately wants to set things right and to correct what he considers Gautam’s unfair generalization about all white men. He is fascinated with his father’s country and wants to know everything about him and his life. He wants to mingle, he is affectionate and wants to be considered a part of the family. He manages to gain the respect of friends and other family members but struggles to break into the barrier of hostility erected around themselves by Gautam and his mother.
The story revolves around how the brothers are forced to live and fight together against the company even while fighting each other, go through suffering and happiness together, and because of that shared journey, finally achieve some level of understanding and affection for each other.
Love for one’s family is not automatic; it is because one lives with them and goes through the ups and downs of life together, fight, share and enjoy life’s sorrows and joys together. That is what binds people together, just a blood relationship is not enough.
This story is inspired by a Bobby Deol look-alike here in my office! The resemblance is striking except for the fact that this guy is about 6.4 feet and as wide!