Sakhi's Laghukatha

Posts Tagged ‘Death

Angst

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.

Amen!

*****

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!

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….


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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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