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Nostalgia of bittersweet days

A real life story

The landscape of marriage is painted in my heart in the best of proverbs, that ‘’marriage are made in Heaven’. To me, though the actual meaning was not so clear at the time I first heard it, I was than eight or nine years old, but somehow I correlated the two words, not even knowing the actual spelling of these two words, and draw my own landscape of life with the dream of heavenly marriage like a fairy tale. Yes, that was my fairy tale.

After a long journey of life, my heart and mind fought with each other over a tough question, who is my enemy? My heart is always ready with the answer, my husband. No doubt about it. From the age of sweet sixteen, after a marathon love affair of ten years with several breakups, we got married. Almost thirty-five years of ‘live together’ with two sons, at the age of fifty-five, my answer still remains the same; my first and last enemy is my husband. Why?

The list is too long. Out of them, I can mention more than ten points, like there is no friendship between us, any common liking and disliking. I love music, he hates music. I love books, he hates books. I love cinema, he hates cinema. I Love people, he loves loneliness. His passion is Money, my passion is spending. I trust everybody, he never trusts me also. The list is Never-ending. The ultimate verdict is we were never ever made for each other. Still our family is one of the so-called ‘happy families’ with a modern stereotype that sound good. At the age of sixteen, it was not ‘love’, but a simple experiment of adolescence. At the age of twenty-two, that was a compromise. After Parents' retirement, I found marriage was a better option than becoming a burden for brothers. With a nice MA degree in my Bio-data, I was not in a position to waste time in searching for a job because ‘time’ did not allow me to take opportunity. With all my ‘Do or die’ conception, I prefer to marry my Childhood lover, knowing very well that my decision was almost ‘suicidal’. At the age of fifty-five, life teaches me a good lesson of truth, the truth of love. We never share our Emotion, problems, needs, social obligation, romance, not even anything interesting between the sheets. We only share the Roof of our house and the so-called duties and obligations of our spouses.

My inner voice always warned me not to be very touchy, not to be very sensitive. Who cares? Why do you spoil your mood for others? Life is an ocean with lots of mystery. Fly in the sky with wings of words, dive in the ocean with your heart, take a piece of paper and write. Something very painful, a very destructive attitude, or too much dominating atmosphere slowly and slowly built a high wall between us, which forced me to make my own world where nobody can enter. The World of my ‘pen and paper’, my heaven. After that, my journey took a new Dimension, just watch and wait. Every step of your walk will tell you something new. Listen that whisper of wind and write. World is yours, life is yours, words are yours. Why wasting time? Go and grab that forbidden love of ‘Self-respect’. Magic started, slowly and slowly a new horizon with silver lighting bloomed in the dark corner of my life. I started playing with ‘words’, just ignoring all my painful history.

What else do we all expect from Life’? God is laughing. He expects more from me. Whenever I feel there is something good about to happen, God plans something else. In every turning point, he himself set a tough question paper for me, which is completely out of syllabus. My husband, Manab, is too scared of any ‘change’. He is comfortable within his own world. When life gave him a big chance of Promotion with transfer for the first time at the age of fifty-four, he could not accept that. Since there was no other option, he accepted the promotion and moved to a metro city.

For me, that was an excellent opportunity. Yes, golden days of my life. Manab could not adjust with metro life and became too restless. After one year, with the help of a doctor, I was bound to put him in an asylum. I was completely shattered. Nobody was there beside me to wipe my tears. I detach myself from all relations so that I can cry, scream, cut my finger to see the colour of blood and make myself ready for anything. Anything means ‘Anything’. Doctor advised me to protect myself from Manab, remove all the weapons, small and big, hide all the keys of doors, but lock your bedroom’s door from inside when you sleep alone and never eat anything if he offers. After ten days when Manab returned home from asylum, I could not stand in front of the mirror for the next few months. It was not for my tiredness, it was for my self-pity.

According to the doctor, Manab’s immediate and only available enemy was his wife whom he tortured to vent out his own frustration. Have patience but ready to act within a Spark of light. After five years, when I looked back and tried to remember all the incidents of those days, though I want to forget all the Incidents, I only admire my attitude, with a heart full of hate and frustration, I never disown him. After six months when he was almost fit for office work, another out of Syllabus question paper landed. Office offered a VRS option though he can work for another five years. This was quite unexpected for Manab. Only a three months’ notice period is enough for a second attack of schizophrenia.

My Helplessness cannot be my strength to fight another war of madness. Manab accepted the VRS option and moved to our native house with only hope of peace. My dream of ‘famous writer’ washed away with the high tide of Schizophrenia. Whom will I complain? Destiny or lack of my foresight?

After coming back, Manab joined the family business and his absence from home from 9 am to 9 pm was a great relief for me. Least communication, least confrontation, least frustration! With peace and dream, my life took a new shape. With lots of ups and down, again my ‘pen’ became my best friend. I started writing in different papers and magazines, published my own books, got several prizes and recognition with least attention from Manab. For him these are all wastage of time and money. According to him, who cannot earn a single paisa; have no power to waste a single paisa. What the hell will I do with all this rubbish stock of useless books? Be practical and try to earn money. The hidden unspoken words between all these words are’ my loyalty’.

My ladder or lover? At what cost, my business of ‘pen and paper’ is sailing in the ocean of give and take? I am confused. Should I protest or ignore? My inner voice never misleads me. If I protest, I will lose my peace of mind, if I ignore, I will lose my peace of heart. Thanks to Manab. The idea of ‘lover’ is not at all a bad idea. Should I explore that? In a deep corner of my heart, a golden peacock already started dancing with nostalgic tune ‘love, love me do. You know I love you’. Nothing, nothing is impossible in our life. On 29th may, 2014 at 10 O’clock morning, Manab suffered a mild stroke when he was walking on the road.

He slowed down his speed of walking for a few seconds, as he could not breathe properly. It was a matter of a few minutes. But when he returned home, his red eyes and unstable steps sent a signal of warning. He was not at all in the mood of talking. He completely ignored my concern and queries, left for his daily work with great satisfaction. My intuition warned me. Something is very wrong. I kept my fingers crossed. Within a week, the whole scenario changed. My younger son, like Hanuman, flew down from Mumbai to escort us to Kolkata for Treatment. From 6th June to 16th July, each member and relative of my family consulted all specialist doctors of every subject because Manab was then already diagnosed with multiple disorders. All major organs started non-co-operation. Heart was too tired, kidney became lazy, twenty two year old most obedient diabetic master wanted a pension with gratuity and last but not the least, king of my house, lord of depression had a different attitude to treatment. Manab never believed in anything, which is costly and modern. According to him, whole world is a full of cheats and beside him, we all are fools. He was completely stable and healthy. All reports and advice of doctors are manipulated to earn money. I was totally frustrated. I could understand the importance of time. He needed two major surgeries but was not in a position of compromise. With lots of Anger and complaint Manab agreed for surgery.

Though doctors were not so confident about the result of the surgery due to lots of risk factors, I and my sons took the whole responsibility.

When Manab was admitted in Hospital, a sense of great relief gripped my whole existence. My duty is over, now destiny will take care. If God again prepares a topic out of syllabus, I will fly in the sky. No more, grace marks. After seventy-two hours, when I saw Manab in Intensive Cardiac Care Unit (ICCU) bed, my first reaction was ‘I won’. When Manab saw me, he smiled, full of tears rolling down from his eyes and a painful expression, I forgot everything, my past, my present, my surrounding, I hugged him and kissed him like a little girl.

That was my first kiss. Death is more powerful than love. I was only sweet sixteen and Manab twenty-two. Nothing is out of Syllabus in our life, not even death. Today is my thirty-second marriage anniversary. What will I Do? Be happy or be repentant about my Fairy tale?


The writer Shyamasree Dasgupta

wrote the above essay at Kolkata

on 14th August 2014.

Currently she lives in Guwahati.


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