by KParthasarathi 29 Oct 2008
“Shyamala !” I was startled as I lifted my head from the book. I did not expect my husband Rajesh to call me so loud though I was sitting adjacent to his bed in the ICU.He was still connected to various equipments with tubes crisscrossing over his body.
“I will agree to the divorce. Call the lawyer for signing up the papers.”
I looked around and found no one within earshot. The nurses were busy with patients in other cabins. I said putting my fingers on my lips “shh…shh.., this is not the time to speak or worry about such matters. Relax please.”
“I am at peace. After what I witnessed, I concluded that there is little point in saving our marriage.” He said panting slightly for breath.
Shyamala and Rajesh were married for five years. It was an arranged marriage. No couple could be as incompatible as they were. She did not like the people, things and the values he liked. They were diametrically opposite to each other even on the food they liked or disliked. She hated his mom as much as he loved her. While he was an introvert, she was a bubbly fun loving extrovert fond of meeting people and outdoor activities. To make matters worse, they had no children. He worked for long hours and returned late. She came back home by 5.30 invariably. Though they never quarreled, she was sulking always and went to her parents place on most weekends.
She started confiding her problems with Shankar her colleague who gave her a patient ear. He empathized with her and took her out to coffee shops whenever she was low in spirit. They became friendly and had similar tastes. In the course of a few months he occupied her mind totally and she longed for his company even on weekends.
He also liked her very much. Being a decent guy and knowing that she was married to someone else, he kept the intimacy within boundaries. When he had come to her home one day when her husband was on tour, he did not encourage her advances. He gently explained to her that she would regret such relationship and suggested that she first take a divorce from him. He added that he would wait as long as it took to get the divorce.
When she sought separation from her baffled husband, he was not willing to agree. He said most young couples work for long hours in the offices in the competitive environment and that she should cultivate other meaningful hobbies to keep her engaged. He did not understand that the estrangement was not only due to physical distance but also mental remoteness. She insisted on a divorce by mutual agreement as it was quicker than through the legal methods. He demurred and told her to wait for a year more expecting some change of heart.
Coming back to the present, she asked “What is it you were saying that you witnessed? Why the sudden change of heart? “
"Tell me the truth. Don’t you remember the events of yesterday when you and your friend were here? You might have thought I was dead and gone when the doctors were endeavouring their best to save my life.” replied Rajesh
She recollected the events as they happened the day before. When he had some discomfort while in office and was quickly admitted in a nursing home.Shyamala accompanied by Shankar was at his bedside within a matter of minutes. As ill luck would have it, he suffered sudden cardiac arrest.They were asked to stand outside the cabin. She could see what was going on inside The doctors resorted to giving him shocks with a defibrillator. He did not respond immediately and there was anxiety writ large in doctors’ faces. They did not give up and continued administering repeated shocks. She surmised when he did not respond, he was a goner and leaned on the shoulders of Shankar in a state of shock. He also put his arms tightly around her to comfort her and said “Do not worry. Everything will be fine.”
Rajesh continued “When they were giving the shocks, you did not see me floating in the air over my body. I saw clearly you falling over him and the warm hug given to you by that fellow and his assurance that things would be fine soon. You thought I was dead and that the shocks failed. It was at that moment one of shocks worked to revive my heart and brought me back to life. I didn’t know earlier about your secret liaison with this guy. Fortunately or otherwise, this para normal experience opened up my eyes. Now that I know the way things are, I would not like to stand between you and your lover. Even though our nature is very different, I loved you still. But after this revelation I will give you the freedom and sign the papers anytime you bring them.”