Raman sat before dining table for his lunch at 10.30 am as was his usual time after the morning shower and prayer.
“You have not closed the bathroom tap after you had finished your bath. The tank is empty now”Janaki remonstrated with her husband Raman.
“Don’t talk rubbish. I closed the tap when I came out I am always careful” he replied
“We are the only two in the house. I never enter your bath room. The maid said the tap was open with the bucket full. Now she can neither wash the clothes nor the vessels, all because of your carelessness.” replied Janaki.”This is not the first time and it happens rather frequently” she added
“When I say I had closed the tap, how dare you accuse me, you brat?. You always have a notion that you are perfect and others shoddy” he shouted in anger.
“Don’t think by raising your voice, you can hide the truth. If you have forgotten to close the tap, say truthfully that you had and that ends the matter” she said
“Are you obliquely calling me a liar, you good for nothing woman? You eat your insipid worthless food. I am not eating” he said in anger and left the dining hall in a huff.
Janaki waited for 15 minutes and then went near him.”Why do you get so angry for small things? Why do you link eating lunch with such trifles? Please come. It is getting cold. I never meant any disrespect to you” she said softly
With pangs of hunger gnawing his stomach, he quietly came with her and said “Janu, you also eat with me. You must be hungry too. Don’t be upset with me. This wretched temper runs in my family. Sorry, please do not mistake me” he pleaded.
Such tiffs were regular happenings though they never abridged the love each one had for the other. The latter’s parents chose Raman out of three men despite the other two were a shade better than Raman both in looks and job for the only reason their family astrologer said that there was a complete agreement on several counts signifying perfect harmony. That was about five decades back. Though they were loving couple, Janaki never set store much by astrologers since then. The one flaw in Raman was his short temper and his propensity to say whatever comes in mind while in rage without bothering about consequences. The saving grace was that his temper was always short lived and he would soften down regretting for what he had spoken. But words uttered leave their scars.
Raman at 75 had blood pressure problem while Janaki at 72 suffered from fluid retention complaint due to poor functioning of heart. Both were on medication and managing themselves with their children abroad.
Janaki heard her husband shouting at the top of his voice from his room “Where the hell my passbook and checkbook that I left on the table have mysteriously disappeared in this wretched home?”
Janaki did not go to the room and waited for him to trace the books himself.
“Janaki, are you deaf or what? I have been shouting about the missing bank things I left on the table and you are sitting unconcerned.” He said in anger
“What do you want me to do? You kept somewhere and you should yourself find out. I never entered your room” she replied softly
“Come here immediately and help me find out, you lazy bone” he shouted
“I am not coming if you cannot talk properly” she said
He lost his temper and bellowed in rage “Then do not come. You are dead as far as I am concerned. I will learn to manage on my own from now on”
She went in and found that man in mad mood. She went near the table and started searching among the pile of things he had kept on it in total disorder.
“I told you I have already searched. What do you mean by searching at the same place? Do you think I am not smart and you are a detective?” he heckled her
Unmindful of what he was talking about, she opened the drawer of the table and found the pass book and check book on the top.”Here they are” she said and quietly left the room.
It was 6pm that evening. Janaki was lighting the lamps in the puja room. Raman was watching TV. He heard her “Can you get a doctor immediately? I am unable to breathe“ He rushed to her and found her lying on the floor before the gods pictures and gasping for breath
“Janaki, are you okay?”Let me get the doctor. I will be back in seconds” he said and ran to the adjacent apartment where a doctor resided.
Luckily he was available and came rushing. After examining her he said “We must rush her to emergency in the hospital. I will take her in my car Let us get some help to lift her to the car”
Sadly by the time they reached the hospital, she breathed her last with her head on Raman’s lap. The doctors said it was a massive cardiac arrest. Raman was inconsolable and banged his head on the wall in the hospital crying aloud “I killed you Janaki. I know why you left me. It was my bad tongue”
Very often in anger we utter words that we do not really mean but which we can never take back but regret forever. The guilt in Raman’s mind would never leave him like his short temper.