Anita Desai’s “A Devoted Son” is a story of complicated familial bonds which highlights the change of dynamics in the relationship between the father, Varma and his son, Dr Rakesh. It is all about the duty and devotion that the son, Rakesh has for his parents. The son is brought up by his father, starts earning his livelihood and then, dutifully looks after his father. However, a crisis develops as his father, whimsical due to age, starts misinterpreting his son’s treatment.
A Devoted Son is a story written by Anita Desai, an Indian Novelist and writer. After completing her B.A. from a university in Delhi she began to publish her stories and novels. She received ‘Sahitya Academy Award’ for her story, ‘fire on mountain’, her novel, ‘in custody’ was adapted into a movie. ‘A devoted son is a realistic story set in a middle-class Indian Family which shows how parents cherish their ambition towards their children and how a son should fulfil his duty towards his parents.
Genre: Short Story
Writer: Anita Desai
About a devoted son who does everything to keep his father happy and healthy.
Setting: The setting of the story is a poor suburb of India during the late 90s where lower-class families struggle hard and educate their children to fulfil their dream.
1)Rakesh: Son of Mr Verma who is a well-behaved son.
A brilliant student who becomes a doctor and gets the opportunity to practice in the USA.
He remains devoted and does everything he can do for his father.
2) Veena: A simple fat Indian woman who is loyal and dutiful.
The wife of Rakesh follows her husband’s order regarding his father’s diet.
3) Mr Verma: An oil seller at Depo and father of Rakesh who works hard for his son’s education.
4) Bhatia: Old neighbour of Rakesh and friend of Verma who participates in Rakesh’s family conversation and activities
5) Rakesh’s children: unnamed
pass time and play with Verma
The Theme of the Story
• Loyalty and responsibility
• Generation Gap
• Desire for success
The story revolves around Dr Rakesh. He’s from a poor Indian village. Varma, his father, was a vegetable vendor. His father wished for a well-educated son. Rakesh is the first member of his family to attend college. Rakesh completed his medical exams with the highest marks in the country, which is a cause for celebration. Varma informs everyone who would listen about Rakesh’s grades and how he can now go to medical school in America.
Some people are frightened that Rakesh would forget his roots. Varma is unconcerned about this and is pleased that everyone knows his son’s name.
Rakesh spends a significant amount of time in America to complete his degree; he successfully completes the degree and has job offers from major US hospitals. The awards he receives are returned to his family for them to admire and preserve. This allows him to stay in touch with his family. He adores America, but he adores his family more and has always intended to come home. He’ll return as soon as he’s gained enough experience and money. He intended to work in his hometown. His parents disagree with some of his life choices, such as why he wants to return home and why he marries a local girl with little schooling.
Varma believes he should have higher ambitions. Later, he begins working in a city hospital, which differs from the American hospitals he had previously worked in. He wants to work there because he wants to make a difference in his community. He rises quickly through the ranks and eventually becomes director.
When his mother dies, his father, Varma, is heartbroken. Rakesh no longer has as much time to devote to Varma now that he has his own family. He does not want to lose his father any time soon, so he applies his medical expertise. He forbids Varma from eating sweets to help him with his stomach. Varma tries to get candies from his grandson, which frustrates Rakesh. Rakesh wants his son to have a positive relationship with Varma, just like Rakesh does. Varma tells Rakesh and his wife that he dislikes them, but he still keeps an eye out for Varma. Rakesh finally lets Varma leave, knowing that he has done everything he can for Varma.
A Devoted Son is a realistic story set in a middle-class Indian family in an Indian village. The story shows how parents cherish their ambition toward their children and how a son should fulfil his duty towards his parents. This story also shows that children and old are similar in personality. Both cry for something they want if they don’t find it. The story ‘A Devoted Son’ also tells us that children must fulfil the dreams of parents as they sacrifice their life for their children. Parents work hard to fulfil their children’s needs. Last and not least this story shows the relationship between children and parents (Love, affection, respect, caring, etc.).