A Slice From the Journey of Life
Written by Rajeev Moothedath
“The court is adjourned. The final decision would be given at 4 PM” declared the judge of the family court. Vivek’s face was pale like that of a ghost. During the proceedings in the morning, most of the time he was fidgeting, running his fingers over one another. He was also red faced. It could not be said with certainty whether the colour on his face was because of anger or pain at the discussions in the court. Now, he took leave of his lawyer as everyone got ready to have lunch. .Vivek said he preferred to eat lunch alone, at the hotel across the road. That was one hour ago. Now, everyone in Bharadwaj’s office was waiting for Vivek. He hadn’t turned up even at 3.15 PM . Mr Bharadwaj was fuming as he sat at the table in his chamber in the court premises. “Where has this fellow gone? I had suggested to him that we eat at the canteen next door but he just wouldn’t listen!” Now it would be awkward if he is not present at judgement time. Further, if they lost, it would become his, Bharadwaj’s unpleasant duty to break the bad news to the guy who already appeared very agitated and exhausted,
Mr Bharadwaj dialed Vivek’s number thrice but the fellow was not picking up. He told himself that he would try just one last time. This time someone answered. “Sir, this is the city hospital. I am the ward boy. A patient was brought here with head injuries. This phone was in his pocket.
He is not likely to survive sir. Well…., I don’t know very much of the details… . It appears a bus hit him while crossing the main road. Bystanders brought him here in an autorikshaw. They did not wait for an ambulance.”
Mr Bharadwaj rushed into the court hall in which his client’s petition was to be decided. He would request the judge to defer the announcement of judgement to another date. In any case, it wouldn’t matter if his client were to die. He was hoping that the other party would appreciate the circumstances and not insist on a judgement today.
When Mr Bharadwaj made the plea before the court, Sarita felt herself suddenly going numb. She thought that today would be her victory day. But this, this was most unexpected. She could not think clearly. She hugged Akshita tight to her bosom. As the car moved towards the City hospital, Akshita was trying to steady herself. That her father was sitting beside her was some solace. In fact, her father had all long been counselling her to take the ups and downs of life in a detached manner without getting unduly affected by either.
The events of the past few years flashed quickly in her mind. Vivek could not be called an evil man. But they had many fights related to her career
“Is this the time to come back home after work? The little girl needs attention of her mother!”
“We have discussed this many times Vivek! The last week of the month is very crucial. We are all busy at the office. Reaching home at 10 PM is itself a concession extended to me.”
“I told you to give up this job and take up something that will enable you to attend to the family too. But you are so adamant!
“I have done a tough, demanding professional course so that I can work in my area of interest. Would you be willing to work at a job compromising your career?”
Sarita was vexed with his attitude and lack of support in respect of her career. Job demands required her to stay away from home for long hours which included occasional travels. With each passing day, Sarita was convinced that Vivek was an outdated male chauvinist pig who felt that it is the wife who had to sacrifice her career when it came to attending to needs of the home. It was true that he was very attached to Akshita and couldn’t spend a day without cuddling and playing with her. But if she listened to what he wanted, it would amount to sabotaging her career.
As it is, there were many colleagues who resented women occupying high positions. They had this notion that women worked less hard. It was her mother who was able to understand Sarita’s circumstances and gave her full support. “You know my life was ruined because I was born in an older generation. I was a topper whole through my academic journey. Yet, I was not encouraged to pursue a career. I was discouraged in so many ways” she had said.
The car took a turn and was almost reaching the hospital. One harsh word had led to another and before long most of the little time they had together was spent in shouting and arguing. Vivek did not want a divorce. But Sarita felt that there was no point living like this and had filed for divorce. Now, this had come as a bolt from the blue. Perhaps Vivek had walked on the road in an absent minded manner as he was wont to these days and may have missed seeing the vehicle that hit him.
The incident had already softened the heart of Sarita. While earlier she could only see what was wrong with Vivek, she now began to look at his good qualities as well. Vivek was generally a soft spoken person. He was gentle in behaviour and loved his family. Perhaps his deep attachment to Akshita was making it so difficult for him to come to terms with the scenario of a divorce.
Sarita abruptly began to have anxious thoughts in her mind. The lawyer had said the head injury was serious and that his client is not likely to survive. “Please give us Akshita and I, a second chance dear God” she prayed … On talking to the reception, they were told that an emergency operation was to be done and that they were only waiting for relatives to reach and sign the consent forms. Sarita signed the consent forms. She was still his legally wedded wife and there were tears in her eyes as she did it.
The operation had taken more than five hours. In all this time, Sarita refused to budge from her place of waiting. She requested her father to take Akshita to the canteen for something to eat and eat supper himself. Finally the doctor came out of the operation room. He looked tired and grim. Sarita and her father looked expectantly at the doctor. A brief smile breaking at the corners of the doctor’s face was enough for Sarita. She hugged and kissed Akshita. “What a big escape! The good God has showered mercy on us.” she sighed….
All Rights Reserved