Sakhi's Laghukatha

Archive for the ‘Death’ Category


Posted on: August 24, 2019

Gopi looked at the frail figure lying in bed in front of her. Alekhya was a far cry from the tyrant that she used to be. It was almost pitiable to see her mother-in-law in such a state. Gopi believed strongly in Karma and for her this was what Alekhya had to pay for her deeds.

There was a time when Alekhya had made life of her daughter-in-law hell. Manipulative to the core, Alekhya had not left any stone unturned to harass the newly wedded girl. Well, it was wrong to say that harassment was only reserved for the daughter-in-law; Alekhya was a very bitter woman and her wrath had been bestowed on her own children since they were born. She was a very complex woman; loving and caring for all the house-helps but emotional schemer for the family members. Gopi; a very happy-go-lucky, full of life girl; had come to despise her mother-in-law to the core. It was difficult to forget for Gopi how her own daughter was treated by Alekhya.

Life had come full circle now. Alekhya was in and out of ICU wards for the past two years and was completely at Gopi’s mercy. It was getting tiring for her emotionally, mentally and financially to keep Alekhya out of pain and floating. If she was truthful to herself, there were times when Gopi wanted to strangulate Alekhya with her bare hands but now that Alekhya was at her mercy she was feeling pity instead of hatred.  She saw the journey of this once spiteful woman from being an oppressor to a living vegetable. When she took upon herself to take care of this woman when the first hospitalization happened, she had really thought it was her duty to take care of her home’s elderly. But as soon as the first crisis was over, Alekhya started showing her true colours and the whirlwind of emotions wreaked havoc within Gopi. Was it worth going through the pain again? But within a few weeks, Alekhya was in the hospital again and Gopi did not have a choice but to be by her side. One after another, there were more than 10 critical hospitalizations within a span of one year and slowly Alekhya was reduced to a vegetative painful life of not really living and not dying. During this period Gopi went through the ups and downs of emotions. She did not want to take care of this woman who had made her younger life miserable. At the same time the moral duty pulled her towards what needed to be done. She hated the fact that just because Gopi was legally and socially bound she was expected to take care of her ailing mother-in-law, who had not given any love throughout the time that they knew each other. Forget love, she did everything in her capacity to make sure that Gopi was not happy. It also distraught Gopi that since Alekhya was now old all her previous actions were to be forgotten and she was to nurse her. And yet, here she was, being well taken care by the very person whom she abused. Karma plays both ways!

As Gopi looked at the ailing figure in front of her, she wished Alekhya death again but this time not out of spite but to end the suffering of another human being.



Click Here to read Alekhya’s Life Story


Mridula opened her eyes and saw his smiling face. She took a dyspnoeic breath and smiled contentedly. At last he had come.

She closed her eyes again and went back to the day he had entered her life. She remembered his first touch all too well. She was ecstatic every time he smiled at her. How she loved it when he came running to her and hugged her as if there was no tomorrow. Her world revolved around him. His choices became her choices; starting from his favourite food to the colours to the TV shows… everything! Even her clothes were decided by his choice.

But slowly and inevitably things started changing. Other people started getting more attention than her. She felt sidelined but smiled and tried to understand. She assured herself that it is just a phase and he will come back to her as he used to do earlier. Of course, he hugged her and kissed her before leaving home every morning but she missed his undivided attention. They no longer sat together and talked about his day or watched movies together with a bag full of popcorns. He did not have time to tell her each and every detail of his life any more. Most of his time at home was spent either on phone or on the computer. She tried learning computer for him too, but he laughed at her. The laugh was not a mockery, she told herself.

As if this was not enough, she sensed other girls in his life too. She tried to enquire about them nonchalantly but he would say they were just friends and she should not be paranoid about it. But she kept a check for any tell-tale signs. She found none. She increasingly felt insecure. More she tried to hold him, farther he went.

She remembered the last fight they had before he left home for good. She had found some gift in his drawer. She kept looking at it and as the time passed she became increasingly agitated. By the end of the day, when he came home she was livid with rage. She started shouting and calling him names. He was stumped, could not understand her reaction or the things she was saying. He tried to make her understand, tried to calm her, but she would not listen. She did not know when she started abusing him. She could see the shocked expression on his face and later the tears too. But she was unable to control herself. She just went on and on. He tried to hold her tight, a hug she was longing for so long. But this time it did nothing to calm her. In her heart she knew, what she was doing, what she was feeling was entirely wrong. And yet, she was unable to control herself. She did not know for how long she went on but somewhere she heard him say that he was sick of her insecurities and sick of her hold over him. He said he needed space. And then she heard a thud, he had closed the door after him.

He was gone, forever.

That was the last time she saw or heard of him. He never called her or reached out to her. She did not know how and where to look for him.

Today, after about ten years, at her death bed he had come back. At last, her son had come to take care of her. At last he will be all hers! With these thoughts, she opened her eyes again, smiled at him once more with all the love she had for him and her soul gently left her body.

What she did not know and would never know was that he was always around her. He stood by her with all his love and care. He diligently visited her in this asylum every single day. It was just that she could not recognize him.

It was a miracle that she could feel his presence and see him for last one time!

 I carry forward this candle lit by Suda

War does not decide who is RIGHT, it decides who is LEFT.

War does not decide who is RIGHT, it decides who is LEFT! 😦

In challenging times like these when we struggle to overcome our fears and show the spirit of resiliance to not get blackmailed by terrorism, I light a candle for the people who have laid down their lives and the numerous others who have been injured in recent bomb blasts across our country.

Sridhar couldn’t sleep the whole night. It was his wedding night and he was tossing and turning in his bed. According to the rituals in his caste the husband and wife are not allowed to consummate the marriage until they have been to the “kuldevi” for “aashirvaad”.


Sridhar’s marriage to Pallavi was not a love marriage nor had they met each other before marriage for more than a couple of instances! But Pallavi’s dove like eyes, her soft smile and princess like demure had bewitched Sridhar. He had waited for this day, oops night, for so long! Damn, the rituals!


Everybody teased him in the morning as he went down to meet his new wife to take her to the temple. He tried show anger but the smile playing on his lips gave away his mood.


It had been six years since then. Sridhar and Pallavi were envied for their love and understanding for each other. They were inseparable and had become best friends.


Sridhar was very upset today. He could hear Pallavi screaming with pain from across the door. He wanted to be on her side in such pain but elders in his family restrained him from entering the labour room.


“Damn rituals!” he thought.


Suddenly the screams died down and the nurse came out to call the father of the baby. As he went inside the room he saw a little bundle in white with only a pink face glowing from inside. He would not forget this sight ever. His daughter looked so tiny and so beautiful, just like her mother! He wanted to jump around like a kid. Pallavi slept peacefully. The exhaustion didn’t show on her face.


Suddenly on the next day of the delivery Pallavi started bleeding heavily. She had suffered from secondary post partum haemorrhage and the bleeding was not at all getting controlled.


With a blow from the blue, Pallavi passed away, with the same softness sealed on her beautiful face.


Sridhar didn’t cry, didn’t cry at all! He was absolutely shocked.


He had not only lost the mother of his new born child but his wife, his best friend, his soul mate!


He kept starring at the photograph somebody from the family had got enlarged, framed and garlanded. He just kept starring at her. Suddenly he heard his baby cry and something broke lose inside him. Tears started pouring as he saw his wife being prepared for her final journey.

She looked even more beautiful than usual.


As he started to go along with his wife for her cremation he was stopped by his Tau.


Tu nahi jaa sakta, beta!


”But why? She is my wife!” Sridhar was bewildered.


Abhi teri ummar hi kya hai? Hamaare samaaj mein jiski shaadi phir se ho sakti hai woh smashaan nahi ja saktaa!


“What are you talking about, Tau? It’s only been 12 hours since Pallavi is no more and you guys have started thinking about my remarriage?” Sridhar was absolutely shocked.


“Damn rituals!”


“But, you have to think of your child also…” Tau trailed off.


“Whether I remarry or not or whether my child needs a mother or not is not the question at the moment. My wife has passed away and I am going to bid her the farewell and that’s all!”


“But, beta... the rituals says…”


“To hell with your rituals, to hell with everything….” Sridhar’s thunderous voice echoed in the large hall….


Posted on: July 5, 2008

It was Friday afternoon and the lectures were very boring. So Tina and her gang thought of bunking the classes. They decided to go on a long drive to Gandhinagar.


They thought of going to a famous restaurant, which was on the way, for a cup of coffee. As Tina entered the restaurant she got shocked! She didn’t know what to do. She just wanted to turn around and run. And that’s exactly what she did!


Rahul came after her too, confused.


“What happened suddenly? Why are you crying?, he asked.


“Nothing, please take me home.”


“Arey, but WHAT HAPPENED?” he asked with exasperation.


“Girls!!!!!” he thought


Tina was crying relentlessly now. She just wanted to go home.


No, she didn’t want to go home… never!


“How could she! How could she!”


“What was she doing here? Why? How?”


So many questions! She couldn’t think properly.


She again asked Rahul to take her somewhere, anywhere but home!


Now Rahul was also worried. He took her to his place and made coffee for both of them. He waited for her to come around. Tina had stopped crying but her eyes brimmed with tears every now and then.


“Something is seriously wrong!” he talked to himself.


He waited for her to say something on her own. He knew her moods too well; after all they were friends since as long as he remembered.


“I saw mom with somebody, some man, at the restaurant. How could she do this?” she said without a preamble.


“Arey, what’s there to get so upset about? It might be a business meeting or they might be good friends.” Rahul didn’t understand the fuss.


“But the way they were sitting… there has to be something! Her eyes watered again. “How could she do this to me and dad?”


“Dad? Tina, it’s been 12 years since your dad passed away! Don’t be unreasonable!”


“But still…” she didn’t want to give up.


“Look Tina, first of all there are all the chances that it was purely a friendly meet. And in-case it was not, if your mom was having ‘something’, as you put it, doesn’t she deserve to be happy?”


“But how could she? She is a mother, my mother!”


“She is a woman too! She is the best mom anybody could have. You agree to that, don’t you?”


Tina nodded meekly.


“She has given her best years of her life to you and your sister. Do you think it was easy for her with your dad not around?”


Tina was looking at Rahul with a new perception.


“Did she ever failed in any of her duties? Be it being a mother, a bread earner, your friend or even, at times, a father? She has done everything for you guys so that you two should not face any problems.


When your dad died you were of not more than 5 years and your sister was just of two. Have you ever imagined what it would have been for her to be widowed at the age of 29?


She didn’t remarry so you two should not get compromised…


Why should she be deprived of a simple emotion which is called happiness? Doesn’t she deserve it? And if that happiness comes from her being close to somebody, why should you make such hue and cry?


And, all said and done, you don’t even know whether her meeting with that man was professional or otherwise. Don’t jump to the conclusions…


Think Tina, think!”


Tina just stared in the oblivion…




Ting tong… Ting Tong


As her mother opened the door, Tina simply hugged her tight and started crying.


“I love you, mom. I love you”

I was in middle of a meeting when the phone rang. It was my mother informing me about demise of an uncle.

Since I am a medical person I am always expected to “rush” whenever there is any health related issues in our family. Being a paediatrician, what will I do in a case of fracture? You have to take the patient to an orthopedician. But no, I have to go. But that’s beside the point. Let us get back to our earlier conversation. My uncle’s death.

So, you see, I had no choice but to rush to the uncle’s house (It is beyond my comprehension how “rushing” now will help when he has already passed away!). And anyways I was never fond of this particular uncle. I had my reasons.

I remembered the day when the family had gone on an excursion to a religious place. As we reached “Palitana” we settled in different rooms in a “dharmashala”. We had turned in early as all of us were tired due to bumpy journey and a long walk was planned the next day. Suddenly at middle of the night we heard somebody crying for help. My parents and other family members ran from rooms. My aunt was writhing with pain as my uncle was furious over some matter and was hitting her relentlessly. I had never, ever seen a domestic feud of this intensity. I was so horrified that in shock I couldn’t even cry. I was just of five years then. He was never my favourite uncle, but after this incidence my dislike turned to fear. And as I grew up, over the years with more such incidents, my dislike and fear turned to hostility and loathing.

So when I heard about his demise I felt happy for my aunt. She was now free (I never understood how she sustained all the violence and why my family members never encouraged her to take a divorce or filed a complaint against my uncle).

I didn’t want to “rush” but I knew my mom will blow her fuse if I didn’t. And, anyways, she is always at loggerheads with me for my unconventional and socially unacceptable (according to her!) views. I didn’t want another row with her. So I reached my uncle’s place as soon as I could.

I didn’t expect my aunt to be jubilant over her husband’s demise, but I was in for a shock. She was crying her heart out over uncle’s body. She was so distraught that her 50 something, very beautiful face (even at this age) suddenly looked 10 years older. I have seen her crying when she couldn’t bear assault levied upon her body and today she was crying because her heart couldn’t take assault of her husband’s final journey. The same husband who made her life hell!

How was this possible? How can you cry for a person who has hurt you through out your life?

Was it love? I doubt!

Probably it was due to the thought of loneliness or social security or just out of habit! Probably she suddenly felt bereft. Probably….

Whatever it was, I couldn’t fathom what I witnessed.

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Sakhi's Laghukatha by Sakhi (aka Dr. Dhara Shah) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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