The Miserable – A Short story in English
Written by Swati Joshi
November 30, 2018
“Is there anybody? Please help!”
“Ma, wake up; look at Shashi, call the doctor. Hurry up!”
“Shashi, please talk to me. What is happening?”
Madhavi was running absurdly for help as her husband Shashikant had a paralytic attack early morning. Somehow, with the help of neighbors, they managed to take him to the hospital. There, after doing thorough examinations, doctors diagnosed him to have Hemiparesis due to stroke he had this morning. This hemiparesis-a kind of paralysis had hatched him to be bedridden for an uncertain period.
Shashikant ran a small shop where he sold fertilizers and other chemicals, used in agriculture. Madhavi, his wife was a non-graduate but hard working woman having two kids studying in high school. There was his widow mother also living with them. The family solely was banking on Shashikant for income. This mishap had fetched the family to a contingent unfold.
There was an ocean of uncertainty against Madhavi. What to do? How to do? Where to start from? Shashikant’s treatment, children’s education, day to day living and what not. Luckily they owned the house they were living in. But, it was not that relieving when compared to other problems they would be facing.
Madhavi tried hard to get some work that would pay her their livelihood. Finally, she found a job in a textile mill where she had to work as a production worker. She took the job as it would be helping her with their bread and butter. The salary was minuscule compared to workload and duty hours. She had no choice but to do it.
Now, as every familiar person knew about Shashikant being incapacitated, many of them started visiting their home in the name of helping them. At work place, many men were checking on Madhavi considering her equally maim as her husband. But, she was a woman of courage to save herself from such scoundrels.
Life was getting on track slowly. Shashikant started managing his own daily households. Both the boys went to the hostel run by their community for helping such needy, aspiring students. Madhavi had been promoted to a supervisor due to her hard work and dedication.
But, Life is not what we read in fairy tales or watch in movies. It is a brutal rogue for many of us. The same cruel, atrocious miscreant it was for Madhavi. Her mother-in-law died after a short illness. She was Madhavi’s backbone in their tough days. She was taking care of Shashikant and home both and that was simply making Madhavi’s life little easier in any setback of their life. On the other hand, both of her sons started earning but never returning back to face or to help their mother as both of them were thinking of their future and this never changing condition on their mother’s side. They went to Middle East, taking different jobs. The boys had sympathy for their father being disabled so, started sending money as to be proven sensible and responsible.
Here, Madhavi was not in a condition to leave the job as the money sent by her sons was not sufficient for Shashikant’s treatment and as fate did not believe Madhavi to be burdened enough, there was one more issue rising promptly. Shashikant started drinking and gambling with his so called friends. These friends started pouring venomous things about Madhavi in Shashikant’s ears. That led him to be zetetic. He started behaving cynically with Madhavi.
“Where were you? Don’t you know it is too late?”
“Shashi, it was second shift in the factory. You know how my job is.”
“I know, I know about what you call a job! That Sharma is your job and priority both, Isn’t he?”
“Shashi! You are out of your mind right now. You are drinking too much that is loosening your nerves.”
“Don’t you dare to pinch me on that you arrogant woman! And if you are thinking that I am on to you then correct yourself at the soonest (abusing her) I am not depending on you anymore. My sons are earning quite well and my friends are also rich enough to give me a quality life a kind of I want. I think I will have to show you your real place you….” He kind of fainted due to over drinking.
The situation was worsening day by day. Madhavi was unable to turn on any of the conditions in her favor. Now, Shashikant was refusing giving her any money their boys were sending. She tried to communicate her problems with her boys but they concluded proving her to be an inefficient person and a failed wife as well. Blamed her too for never being a good mother and on the contrary, they advised her how to handle their poor father affectionately.
A month later, Madhavi just had returned home finishing her morning shift. Shashikant threw a bunch of papers on her face. It was divorce papers reasoned with Madhavi being an unfaithful wife, incapable of maintaining healthy relations, being incompetent in taking care of a disabled (!) husband and for not even being a good mother for Shashikant’s kids. Madhavi stood still. Her mind was blown and her senses were all gone leaving her body aghast. Before, she could ask something, Shashikant, on wheelchair, brought her suitcase and closed the main door on her saying that he could not stand her deceitful face even for a moment.
Today, at the age of fifty, Madhavi is trying to get her life settled. Doing her job, living in a small rented house; she keeps on thinking about what went wrong. But, there aren’t justifiable reasons for being fate struck. She is still fighting for alimony but as she is working, court hasn’t done anything in her favor yet.
Life is not a story with a happy ending always. Neither it is a photo album with jubilant faces and events to cherish for everyone. The notions like hope, belief, trust, reliance, faith etc. might not be true for everyone. There are lives around us which are full of dejection. There are people like Madhavi- wretched, despaired, afflicted and fate struck around us. Any hypothesis on karma and all may fail when destiny lists you as “The Miserable”!