Candid, not Candied

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Final Surrender

'And I say, you never understood me!' he bellowed in response to her equally adequate accusation. He could have given in to his rage and raised a hand at his wife but he didn't. As always, he stormed out of the house leaving her to lament and curse her own luck through hot tears.

They were married for 4 years now. With each passing year, the decibels were rising whenever they had an argument, which was almost everyday. The heated discussion was always the same, according to her they had no money and according to him, it was just enough to lead a decent, happy life.

When he came home from work in the evening, he found her in the kitchen by the stove, mumbling inaudibly to herself. He knew she was still blowing steam from the morning's episode. Quietly, he moved into the bedroom. Peace and quiet was least expected. He knew this was the lull before the storm.

'Do you want some coffee?' she surprisingly asked .

'Yes. I'm tired.' There was no reason why he should have included the last sentence; however, it was a sort of warning for her.

She set the cup of coffee along with some biscuits on the dining table, and pulled a chair for her to sit in. She waited until he had had his first sip of coffee and then kick started the topic again, 'What is the problem in quitting your 9-6 office job? Start a business.'

He squeezed his eyes between his fingers - that's what he usually did when he was in a tight situation as this. Not again, he thought. But at least she had a calm demeanor.

Perhaps I should try and talk to her nicely, maybe she will understand, he surmised. 'It is not easy, my dear. I think we should...'

'It is never easy. What is easy? Living this life is also not easy for me!', she complained yet again like she had for all the 4 years.

In reality, they were self sufficient. He had a stable job, a salary that was credited into his account on the fifth day of every month, adequately furnished one bedroom house and also a two wheeler to provide humble transportation. Even with household expenses and once in a while vacation, he was able to save. He did not find anything to complain except his wife's wishes for extravagant spending.

She was no more born and brought up in a middle class family than his. Other than the 36 point horoscope match, this was a reason why their alliance seemed to be good enough to get a green signal.

Sadly though, the horoscopes and the family conditions were mere illusions. These two people were as different as chalk and cheese. He knew where to show maturity. He knew where and how to be content. On the other hand, she was immature as a child and always craved for more. And her 'more' was often materialistic. Prior to the days of her marriage, she daydreamed of honeymooning in Paris and Switzerland wearing a chiffon sari like one of those many actresses on screen. Although she was aware of his financial status being no more than that of her father, she secretly hoped he would be her prince in disguise. Maybe on our first night he will reveal that he is in fact very very rich and not a typical middle class, thought she, frequently.

These were her shattered childish dreams that led more bitterness into their marriage. She just would not understand why he could not start a business.

'First of all, I do not come from any business family. I hardly know how to run things that way. And secondly, even if I thought about it, I need to have some capital. I need to have a lump sum of cash before I begin with anything.', he tried to reason with her.

'We have savings. Saving from past 4 years that we have never touched... why can't you use that?', she said, well aware of his saving habit.

His temples started throbbing, and he shouted back, 'Have you never heard of emergencies? We are yet to have a kid, for god's sake! Once we have a kid, we will not be able to save as much as we do now. And I am not going to blow up all that on some whimsical, kiddish wants of yours.'

Fortunately, they had no issues to witness these arguments. She said she did not want any "hindrances" before she completed her bucket list. And as of now, her bucket list was growing by the day, since he had supposedly been incapable of providing her the means to complete them.

'Then why can't you borrow a loan from my uncle? He is rich enough. If you want, I will talk to him. If I talk, I'm sure he won't even take back the money.' She always seemed to have a back up answer to his questions. Smartly, she had avoided the whole 'kids' section. She was in no hurry to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

Her parents hardly interfered in their matters, but his folks were keen to see their grand child at their earliest. They had also recognized the fine lines of stress on their son's face. He had always dismissed their worries by saying it was the office work. But he knew they suspected marital fissures. He would not admit it to them. Not yet at least.

'I am not borrowing anything from anyone. I will never stoop to borrowing money out of relatives, yours or mine. You get that? Why don't you resume your old job at the post office? That might bring in some more money.'

'How much does that pay me? 8000 a month? No, thanks. I will not slog for mere 8000.'

Before marriage, for the lack of a proper educational degree, she worked as a clerk in the post office. But her attitude was no less than that of a Harvard graduate. She was too proud to settle for a job that paid her a measly amount.

'What if it is 8000? It is all your money, spend it the way you like it. I will never interfere. And maybe, if we save some of that too, we could afford a holiday.'

'Since you cannot arrange for extra income, you are asking me to work, eh? You are a lousy husband.'

'You have always failed to keep me happy!', she continued bawling and accusing. 'You are lazy and narrow minded and selfish too. All you think about is your good. You married me... you ruined my life.', she vehemently hurtled accusations at him. She was shaking and her anger seemed to ooze out of her pores.

He looked at his unfinished coffee going cold, oblivious to the storm around it. He did not know he was crying until a teardrop rippled his coffee. She had said these words a thousand times before. Each time they stung as newly as they had been uttered for the very first time.

He wanted to put a stop to this daily ruckus. He had loved her and truly wanted to see her happy. Even if it meant keeping her happy by giving her all that she wanted, material or not. He knew he had to give in, he has to surrender. Finally he said, 'I will see what I can do. But I will make sure you are happy. If you are happy, I will be happy too. I just want to see you happy...I want to see you smiling' he rattled deliriously and at that moment he had made a firm decision - 'You will have everything you want - Everything!'

That night, tired and listless, both of them retired early. Tomorrow is going to be a new day, a happy day, thought both of them.

The next day was a life changing day indeed, for she found a note beside his dead, bleeding body in the kitchen - "Contact this number. He is my lawyer. He will help you get my insurance money. I hope the amount you receive will make you happy"


  1. goodness me Purnima!! It shook me up. Beautifully narrated and extremely tight from start to finish!

  2. oh

    Didn't imagine it would end this way....bit dazed to comment

  3. @ Sujata, Thanks. glad you liked it.

    @ Varsha, it is sad. Although the story is inspired from real life incident, where the wife is pretty much like who we have here. :)

  4. Beautifully narrated.. was expecting happy ending ;)

  5. Hi pRasad! Probably you shouldn't expect the expected for my short stories. Welcome here!

  6. a story!!!...totally gripping and well written..
    first timer here..

  7. Thank you, Uma! hope u'll keep coming bk for some more.


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