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It was Sharda's fourth surgery in the last 4 year. She was lying down in the hospital bed with an expressionless face. Grey hair, sunken eyes, wrinkled face……she was looking more shell-shocked than usual. She was trying to hide her injured soul with a fake beautiful smile.
"Surgery will be a complicated one. She is allergic to antibiotics and had asthma since 10 years; we need to take an extra care during and after surgery." Doctor's anxious voice has awakened her from a half sleepy state.
"All right doctor, we will do that" her father in law has said in a sympathetic tone.
But as soon as the doctor left the room, their sympathetic tone has changed into an angry voice. "It is your entire fault. We are tired from your sickness.
"Why do not you take care of yourselves?" they asked her with a frustrating tone of voice.
She has not answered them, but millennial memories flashed through her mind. She was recalling all those moments that has changed her life forever. It was 25 years ago when she got married. She had a complete transformation from a pampered girl to a "responsible bahu". She has remembered that she was feeling overwhelming with a sudden pressure of responsibilities. She missed the comforting presence of her parents all the time. She was trying to fulfil their demands and expectations with best efforts. From early morning to late night a long never ending list of household tasks exhausted her completely. In spite of her best efforts, whenever she commits a tiny mistake, they complained bitterly.
"Why do not you do anything properly" to "your mom did not teach you anything". These kinds of conversation were usual for her.
She knew that overload of responsibilities ruining her health. It seriously wounded her self-feeling and unconsciously led her to overreact in a constant psychological pressure. Her confidence has shaken by this family stress. She had lost 10 kg weight during the first year of her married life. She knew that,
"She should take care of her selves. And she has tried to do that. But……"
"Aunty please takes this medicine" by hearing nurse's voice she returned to the present moment. She was feeling that world keep pilling the troubles and sickness on top of her and suddenly bunches of neighbours (mostly females) appeared in her room. After a formal greeting, very soon they had started the usual but annoying conversation.
"Oh! Again a surgery" one has said.
"It is fourth one right" next, has said.
And lastly, almost in a synchronised tone they had said: "Why do not you take care of yourselves".
This time, Sharda was feeling a little more upset, again the past memories of old days began to flood back into her mind. She had remembered when she was struggling with her physical condition after 2 miscarriages. These so-called neighbouring well-wishers always make taunt on her,
"Now, your marriage has been more than 2 years old. We all are still waiting for good news from you". A constant pressure from society and family for having a baby was disturbing her life. She has done all efforts to being pregnant. From intrusive testing to high dose medication, she has tried every possible thing. She knew her physical condition is not good. She needs a break from this stress.
She aware that "before being a mom, she should take care of her selves. But….."
"It is dinner time mam" And your kids are waiting to meet you. A sudden voice of housekeeper brings back her in the present. "Oh! My kids, Sagar and Somya, I want to meet them right now. She breaks down into tears as she has hugged her kids.
"I was waiting for both of you since morning" she has said with an optimistic approach.
"Yes! Mom, we are also worried about you. Why this is happening again and again". And after some time she has received the same piece of advice. "Why do not you take care of yourselves", this time, she was completely shuttered with the statement. She had thought that kids would understand her pain, her emotions, but…..
The earliest cherished memories to the toughest moment of motherhood crawled in her mind. How she can forget that after a long fertility treatment when she became a mom of her pretty princess somya, it was the happiest moment of her life, and very soon with the grace of god Sagar has borne. It was the happiest but most challenging time of her life. She was deeply engaged in their care. Their education, their health…and never-ending responsibilities of being a mommy of two young kids was not easy for her. In between, she had her first asthma attack. The attack was severe, she had decided to take a natural therapy for that, but it requires her to stay their centre for a while.
"No, mom it is our exam time. You cannot go anywhere. You had to stay with us." She had cancelled her all treatment plans after hearing their just one innocent request. Then so many times she plans a diet and exercise schedule for her health, but every time her responsibilities create an obstacle in her path.
"Mom, please help me in this assignment"
"Mom, please cook something new"
And never ending demands and expectation was putting a pressure on her health. She always prefers her duties, her responsibilities above than her selves. She never had any regrets and she felt an immense sense of satisfaction and joy of completing her responsibilities very well. But today she was feeling alone, very alone….
"Sharda, it is time to go in O.T. are you ready?" this time, Suresh (Her husband) has aroused her from the past memories.
"Hu…you will not tell me, something" she has asked him.
"Do not get afraid, everything will be fine" he had consoled her.
She was feeling a bit of relaxation, but within few minutes when she was ready to enter in O.T., she has heard the agonising words,
"Are! Bhai whole day, household tasks….she did not take care of her selves" Suresh was saying the same thing to his elder brother.
It was the most panic moment for Sharda. She has been tolerating lots of mental and physical torture for many years. She has done lots of sacrifices for her husband and family. Economic pressure or losing his job, she has helped him in each and every moment of life. She has always given an unconditional love and care to him. Whenever he wants something, she was ready to give him under any situation. Since morning, when her in-laws, neighbours, relatives….even her own kids had disappointed her. She had thought her "life partner" would be the only person, who will understand her situation. Who will understand the real reason, why she wouldn't be able to take care of her selves? But unfortunately, nobody was with her. She was feeling isolated, she was feeling lonely…
The story is a work of fiction but inspired by a true incidence. It could be a story of my mom, your mom or in future it could be a story of me or you or any mom who loves her family, who always put her responsibilities above than her selves. Who sacrifices her own wishes, happiness….even her health. And at the end, what does she get? The story has two ends, I was confused. Please help me and vote for the preferable option.
Climax 1- Sharda is waiting for the surgeons on the operation table. She had numerous thoughts in her mind. The first time, she is feeling a complete regret for what she has done in her life. She is rethinking why she has always put her responsibilities above than her selves. Why was she not selfish? Today, she has got nothing except advice, except the disheartening thoughts that why she has not taken care of her selves? She has only a deep regret in her heart and tears in her eyes.
Climax 2: As soon as Sharda entered into operation theatre, first her father in law realised his mistake. He regrets I should not talk with her in that way. She has taken care of all of us for so many years. He has said to Suresh, "Yes papa, it was not the time for offering the advice, she needs our love and affection". In next room, Somya and Sagar were talking the same thing. "Mom has done lots of sacrifices for our education, for our demands" this time it is our duty to take care of her. Now they all are realising the fact,
"Why she wouldn't be able to take care of her selves"
Now, they all made a promise to each other, they will give her a much deserve respect, love and care.