Middle Class Malady
Middle Class Malady6 mins 86 6 mins 86
Pritam knew he had to succeed at any cost. Too many mouths were dependent on his success. Since his father had been bed ridden all the pressure fell on his shoulders. His mother was as it is burdened with the back breaking household chores with no rest and holidays. There were five mouths to feed in the house. There were two sisters to look after who were younger to Pritam. The elder one had grown up enough to start helping her mother so there was much relief for the mother. But she had now to devote some extra time to look after her ailing husband who was totally dependent for all his needs. Pritam was sitting for the last exam paper of his graduation studies. In a few months the results were out and Pritam cleared with distinction. Very soon Pritam secured a job with a food delivery company and due to the income he started to receive his family came out of the struggles. Good days returned to Pritam 's family. His father also became quite fit and got a job of an accountant with the local grocer. Even better days now with two incomes. But all this was short lived. Not even a year had gone by. A deadly pandemic struck the whole world. Every where there was lock down and many people lost their jobs and livelihood. Pritam and his father both had lost their jobs.
Again the nightmarish time returned to haunt the family. Luck would not let them come face to face with happiness. They had resources for barely a few months. Pritam didn't know what to do and how to keep his family afloat. His father fell in depression. His mother again had the burden of running the household on a shoe string budget. As schools were closed indefinitely now both the sisters were inducted into the household work and help their mother. Pritam was at a loss of ideas but he never lost hope. He kept on applying for both government and private jobs online. Many months passed but there was no job offer for Pritam. He got interview calls and appeared for them virtually. Hoping against hope that he would be lucky to crack one. The pandemic situation improved and Pritam did get a call from his employer. But after working for a couple of months the situation became so bad that the government had to declare another lock down. The whole country was in the grips of a so called second wave. The deadly virus was multiplying at a frenzied pace and the population could not be protected with the vaccine at the same pace. As a result the whole economy had to huddle back again into lockdown mode.
Again Pritam was made to sit out at home. His father had never got the recall by his grocer employer.
The situation at home was very bad. They had ration and provisions for just a couple of weeks. There was hardly any money at home. Pritam 's Bank account had been drained to the last rupee.
With this panicky situation on hand, Pritam sat idly with a grim face near the window at his bedside . With his mind burdened by more than bearable weighty problems. So much to worry about and no solution in sight. Pritam had the feel of a middle aged man with the responsibility of giving a daughter in marriage. He could hear in hushed tones the animated discussion his parents were having in the next room. The talk was from managing the day to day expenses and ended with the marriage of their two daughters. Pritam caught the story from there and continued down the highway of idle thoughts. He knew that the responsibility of marrying off his sisters ultimately lay with him because his father had no income and no savings. The very thought sent a shudder down his back. At such a young age Pritam knew what the cost was of an average Indian middle class wedding. He knew that even if his sisters didn't marry early, they had to be educated. The cost of modern education is also well known. Responsibility had burdened Pritam so much that his thinking became like an old man. Despair and despondency had engulfed Pritam in a tight iron like embrace. He sometimes wondered if any time in his life he would come out of this mess. Mind burdened with heavy thinking, he could see nightmares in the day with eyes open. The thought of not being able to take proper care of his sisters bothered him most.
Pritam in his day dreams could anticipate the challenge in front of him. Education or marriage of his two sisters. He could see in his mind's eye how his sisters were being humiliated. One was returning home after being humiliated so much that she could not bear and had to return home. Another sister wanted to study medicine as she was a good student but could not get admitted in medical school despite securing good numbers at the admission test. Because her family could not bear her educational cost. Pritam was sitting in deep melancholy at his failures and not being able to make his sisters happy. Although his sisters never complained and always praised their brother's untiring efforts. Feeling of guilt was smothering Pritam like a huge albatross. Success kept alluding him by a wide margin. Only sadness and depression. Life had become a big bother. Pritam felt fed up with his life and was feeling rotten. He never could imagine that a happy go lucky chap like him had burden like the huge Himalayas on his shoulders that was breaking down. Depressed and sad as he was, he saw how his efforts to get a certain work done was being blown away in the wind.
How long Pritam was engrossed in his little reverie he had lost count. He was engrossed in the typical middle class malady.
Then all of a sudden he was startled and was made aware of his surroundings with a rude jolt. When he was sitting depressed in the pensive mood, his sister had taken his smart phone, the only one in the family to play some game and browse the net.
A short message which was received in the phone made Pritam 's sister jump and shout in excitement.' 'Dada, you have a job offer and have been asked to report for work in two days' ', excitedly shouted his sister . Startled at the excitement of his sister, Pritam took his phone from her and read the news. He had really been called to report for work. This was a call from a big MNC who had offered him a senior position with a jaw dropping salary. Now completely out from his stupor Pritam gazed at the twilight sky and thanked the setting Sun for blessing him.