One more story about a spare

Submitted into Contest #29 in response to: Write a story about someone dealing with family conflict.... view prompt

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General

While seated in the back seat of the hired cab, Mrs. Deb started reminiscing. How she missed the good old days, so she leaned back at the seat and went into a trance for some time as apparently, she needed to recall the memories of her past 70 years. Being born in the ‘40s and being a girl and an elder one too was an experience of sacrifice, patience, dutifully, guardian like for her. She had always been the compliant one, always eager to sacrifice for the younger ones. Though quite young of an age, she still remembers the whirling of helicopters flying above her head, which made her look at them with awe. Little did she know it’s important then. She still gets nervous about the earthquake for she still feels the earth under her feet quivering, as she felt in her childhood (due to the world war 2 being fought then and India being a colony had to participate). Mrs. Deb closed her eyes at the thought of it even now. Mrs. Deb remembers the famine way too clearly, as it was then she had to eat burnt chappatis though soothed by her mother, as her mother hid the burnt side and asked her to eat thinking it to be a fresh chapati. She obeyed with no question. Mrs. Deb understood the suffering of her mother too. Due to scarcity of resources, even though belonging from an influential family, she was sent to her grandparent’s house, as her grandfather being a zamindar then was quite rich and affluent in resources. The house was in the most remote village of Bengal. With leaving her own home, she left her schooling too. The yearning for knowledge made her for the first time resentful towards her parents. How she loved solving the arithmetic. Mrs. Deb found herself smiling at the very thought of her teaching other girls of her age the maths. She still feels proud of it. In the village, all she had to do was running around every maternal figure of the household to help them in their domestic errands. Seldom did she enjoyed herself playing like the boys of the village would. Often she got bitten by the black ants while running through the farmland, while the wind kissed her neck, sun, her cheeks and her widened hand trying to have a feel of comfort. Once a scorpion had bitten her toe and the absence of any doctor made it worse. She had to endure the pain for two days. Though laughing at the thought of her both the wrists fractured in her childhood and “kabrej" treating it with the available plants in the village, somehow joined the bones, but the experience left a mark in her memory. Nevertheless the rights and wrongs of her experiences in Mrs. Deb’s grandfather's house, she still couldn't forgive her parents. Mrs. Deb showed her irritation out aloud, saying, “what was the need? Did I ever hanker for everything?”. The driver looked up surprisingly in the rear-view mirror but kept quite quiet, unsure whether to answer her question or not. The car drove on. The next thing that flutters in her mind is the thought of her being scrutinized by a hopeful family of a boy who had come with a marriage proposal. Being pleased with her beauty and submissive behaviour, they asked Mrs.Deb's family to initiate the marriage ceremony. Mrs. Deb never had the chance to meet Mr. Deb before the very wedding day. Dressed in red benarasi saree, with her forehead exotically decorated with chandan, being burdened with heavy gold ornaments, she first saw Mr. Deb's face after looking up from the betel leaves. But Mrs. Deb sensed comfort only by looking at him. A drop of tear rolled down her eyes. How she missed her husband now when she needed him the most. The time spent with him, Mrs. Deb recollects is the only time when she felt encouraged, courageous, worthy. Mr. Deb understood her empowered her, treated her like an equal. For Mr. Deb, she was not a burden for the first time and maybe for the last time. The landscape turned greener now that she was leaving the city. Mrs. Deb smiled again at the thought of her outwitting her in-laws by saying that she gave birth to twin girls and no boy. She found the in-laws being quite testy about it, only to find out in truth, she delivered a boy child. Thankfully she was spared. Though after two years, she delivered a girl child only to face the grudging acceptance of the news by her in-laws. But Mr. Deb was delighted at having both a boy and a girl. This contented her. Happy were the days when they together were aging towards a happy old age. They brought up the children with the best they could afford. Mrs. Deb wanted to empower her girl to recompense her unfulfilled desires. The girl in return wanted to settle down, hence both Mr. And Mrs. Deb married her off to a nice boy. Now the couple concentrated on the son and sent him away from their care to the best medical institution for his best education. All was well until suddenly Mrs. Deb learned that Mr. Deb met with an accident and unfortunately he won't survive. The death of her husband was not something she was prepared for. All her strength went away with him. The world seemed to be a lonely place for her. She now shuddered while brooding on the very thought. The driver again chanced a look at her through the rear-view mirror. Mrs. Deb asked the driver to turn off the A.C., she looked out to the scenario of nature and got lost in her thoughts again. The following years after Mr. Deb's death were of immense struggle for her coping up with all the financial, emotional, familial difficulties, finally, she thought of living a peaceful life, only to find herself in the road, discarded by her children. Somehow she managed through her life savings to build a home for herself. Mrs. Deb accepted the situation gracefully and still showered her children with blessings. Years passed. She thought of her children regretting when they recently approached her. She embraced them. The children recently innocently asked her to gift them her house. She was appalled at the suggestion. She didn't utter a word. The whole night she thought of her future. In the morning she accepted their proposal. The genuine intention now being accomplished, her children now treated her as an unpleasant, objectionable object in the house. Mrs. Deb being determined now of her only available option. She felt her unnecessary presence too much in the house. She checked her savings, nodded and made certain calls. Busy with their accomplishment her children left her unguarded. The car now stopped in front of an extravagant building. After verification of her luggage, thanking the driver she looked around only to find greenery meeting her eyes, birds flying in the sky, the wind breathing on her skin, she felt free now. She let out a chuckle, as Mrs. Deb now imagined the surprised faces of her children for she truly never left the house for them but, sold it. Being a kind, virtuous woman she was loved by her neighbours. Mr. Dutta when learned about her plight, bought her house and made all the inquiries about the best old age home in the city and made all other preparations for her. The locality was in tears but Mrs. Deb now resolute never shed a tear. Now inside the building, she was surprised by a grand welcome by its inhabitants. Mrs. Deb being satisfied with her room went to meet and associate with the other “spares". Mrs. Deb found herself now truly content with her other ‘friends’. She felt she belonged there for she too like the others present in the old age home refused to be the unwanted furnishings of the house. Mrs. Deb thought to herself, ‘if I am going to be spare, would be, but not without self-respect and not because anyone would make me. I would though only if I feel happy in being it ‘, for she understands now that every person is alone in the world and everyone needs to stand for oneself. Mrs. Deb will now live happily ever life. 

February 16, 2020 06:56

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4 comments

Ola Hotchpotch
04:26 Feb 24, 2020

This story is very similar to a real incident where a son and daughter on law sold their parents house to a property broker taking advantage of their trust. After a lot of unpleasantness from the goon broker who thought he could get away with it and offcourse the son and all involved the poor old woman was able to evict them. Nobody can live happily with such people around them People who live alone need to be cautious because they are so vulnerable.

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Deboleena Kundu
18:03 Feb 24, 2020

Actually it was inspired by one my close one..

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Ola Hotchpotch
17:03 Feb 23, 2020

nice story.

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Deboleena Kundu
18:09 Feb 23, 2020

You liked it?? Awww thank you so much..

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