Mrs. Sharma's Earrings

Mrs. Sharma's Earrings

8 mins

Sharma ji is stuck up in a very critical situation these days. For the last three to four years, he had been comforting his wife that he would definitely buy earrings for her as soon as he gets the arrears after the implementation of the recommendations of The Seventh Pay Commission. He had also promised to get her a sari and shoes after the salary hike. Mrs. Sharma used to keep silent on hearing these promises. She would go on working round the clock keeping herself ever busy. Getting up in the morning, she would prepare breakfast and send the children to school. She would then clean the house, clean the clothes, prepare meals twice, prepare evening snacks and attend to all other work of the house silently. She did not get time for seeing TV after doing all the work. After all Sharma Ji’s TV was a mere showpiece. The same TV which Mrs Sharma had brought from her house during marriage was still there. The children teasingly called it a junk box of daddy. The children had mastered the art of operating the TV. The moment the TV failed to work they gave two big slaps on its head. Mrs. Sharma felt hurt by the way they treated the TV. She had not given so many slaps even to her children. With how much of love her father had bought that TV for giving as a dowry! The relatives coming to the house were not allowed even to touch it. Father had given strict instructions that noone should touch it.

When it was new it had a sonorous sound. Picture quality was so good that while Madhuri Dixit danced it appeared as though she was coming out of the screen. The whole neighborhood used to listen its sound. But everything has an age. Is it not the time for this TV to retire? At its retirement age, it is getting beaten. After all what can Mrs. Sharma do when the children too wanted to see TV. She had no time for TV. When she used to get milk in the evening at Ramesher's milk booth all women would be discussing different TV serials making her sad for which she would curse her fate. Whenever she wanted to see TV she would say, ”Look Tiwari Ji has LED TV, Pashwan Ji has a 40 inch TV and see we have a junk box.”

Sharma Ji had decided that once the recommendations of The Seventh Pay Commission were implemented, then he would buy a big TV on installment. Poor mother of Chunnu Munnu was so fond of watching TV, sitting on a sofa, spreading her legs.

The day the government announced the implementation of the recommendations of The Seventh Pay Commission, on the same day, there was a lot of news on TV that the salary of the government employees had increased so much, that the country was under heavy burden. However, the increased burden on the country had reduced the burden of Mrs. Sharma’s since she felt her heart lighter. She started feeling that all her suppressed desires would be fulfilled soon. The newspaper also brought the news there was a substantial increase in the salaries of all government servants Mrs. Sharma felt that she was standing in the midst of a heavy rain and the cold showers were drenching her in the form of wage increase.

Her mother and father also congratulated her on the phone, saying - "That is why we got you married to such a house. See your brother, Lallan, is a manager in the bank, but the poor fellow’s salary does not increase."

Mrs. Sharma remained silent on this. The dream of the increased salary based on The Seventh Pay Commission held her in such a hold that she thought it insulting to say anything as she remembered well the comment of Lallan's wife on her old sari when she met her last time. She said "At least on the occasion of marriage, sister-in-law must wear a brand new sari". She started impressing by showing her new gold chain and bracelet. What would Mrs. Sharma do when she wore ornaments which she got during her marriage in rotation. For the last two to three years she had been adamant for getting earrings which Mr. Sharma assured of getting for her after The Seventh Pay Commission. The salary of Lallan was more than that of Sharma Ji. Starting as a bank clerk Lallan was drawing more salary today than Sharma Ji. He was the Manager of a big branch. He had a nice office the rent of which was being paid by the bank. Sharma Ji was stuck up at the same post for the last 20 years.

Ever since The Seventh Pay Commission was announced, Mrs. Sharma's face had become enchanting. Sweets began to be purchased on credit.

“Poor Chunnu-Munnu craved for one or two cashew barfi. Come on eat my dear son. From now on you will get sweets everyday,” said Mrs. Sharma.

It was mango season. Sharma Ji came with half a kilo of mangoes while coming from office. Mrs. Sharma said indignantly, "You will remain the same forever. This salary has increased so much. There is so much of talk in the whole country. Not that I mean you should come with a box of mangoes. You have come with half a kilo of mangoes. We do not want to eat your mangoes.

Sharma started explaining- "Let me get the increased salary once after that you may do whatever you like."

Mrs. Sharma had already decided about the jewelry shop from where a jhumka was to be purchased.

"Listen, now the price of gold has fallen. If I get a chance, I shall get a diamond earring", Mrs. Sharma would say

"Yes, we will make it” Mr. Sharma would reply.

"Dear, how much will be the rise in income and how much arrears will you get? ”- Mrs. Sharma asked with the curiosity of a child while pressing Sharma Ji’s legs”.

"Oh! I feel great ... keep pressing. After how many years someone has pressed my legs "... Sharma Ji said.

"Yes, as if I have never served you and keep breaking the cots sitting ” said Mrs. Sharma, grimacing.

The idea of ​​making that expression of grimace was to make Sharma ji remember the days when they were newly married and he used to like such expressions of his wife. Since then, they got engrossed in family matters so much that they never got any time for such talks.

"If the government brings The Pay Commission every year, how good will it be? Sharma Ji told closing his eyes.

"Oh, there is no better work for the government except setting up The Pay Commission for your sake.." OK please tell me how much rise will be there in your salary and how much arrears will you get? ”Mrs. Sharma again pleaded.

"Oh, I do not know dear. I shall get as much as everyone gets. Why should I break my head from now on" Sharma Ji said.

Sharma Ji felt that there was a change, of late, in his landlord's behavior. One day his landlord interrupted him getting an opportunity ”Sharma Ji I hear that the house rent is going to increase for all of you. Brother, it is a golden opportunity for all government servants. The government increases the pay from time to time. Please keep us in mind”. The landlord Gupta Ji told with a meaningful smile.

Sharma Ji somehow wanted to get rid of Gupta Ji and run away.

"Yes, of course," said Sharma Ji hurriedly.

"From next month the house rent will be double, Sharma ji" Gupta Ji threw his bouncer.

Sharma Ji narrowly escaped a fall. "What happened Sharma ji ... Why are you so upset?" Hey brother, when the government is increasing the house allowance, then why should you have a problem? The house allowance is increased only for the landlords, isn’t it?” Gupta started speaking like a preacher. Sharma Ji somehow got rid of Gupta Ji on the pretext of going to the office and quickly stepped out of the house.

One day Sharma Ji decided to go to the Accounts Office and find out as to how much rise would be there in his salary. Sharma Ji went to the dealing assistant of the Accounts Branch and asked him hesitatingly, "How much rise will be there in my salary? Has any calculation be done?”

The dealing assistant said smilingly, "How much do you expect, Sir? Please sit for two minutes so that I may take it out from computer."

"After deducting your income tax, the total amount will increase to three thousand four hundred and thirty six rupees, which will go into your account," said the dealing assistant.

Only that much!! Sharma ji shouted so loudly that everyone in the branch started looking at him. This sudden attention of the staff shook Sharma ji. He again gently told the dealing assistant, "Is it only that much?"

"How much had you expected." The dealing assistant asked with a smile

"Earlier you were in the income tax bracket of twenty percent, now you will be in the bracket of thirty percent. So you will be paying more tax now."

"By this calculation, even the arrears won't make much ...?" Sharma ji was now muttering.

In the evening, when Sharma Ji left for his home from office, his felt his legs getting heavier. The white egret seemed to have flown away skyward taking with it the earrings. In the show case of the shoe shops, the shoes were teasing him. The man of the vendor cart was screaming ... Langda, Bombayya, Maldah, Chausa. Gupta ji's face turned like that of Yamaraj and the voice of Gupta Ji came from far away echoing into Sharma Ji’s ears., "From next month the rent will be double, Sharma Ji”

No sooner SharmaJi reached his house, Mrs. Sharma smiled and said, "Dear, do you know that Lallan's wife is coming here next month for consulting a doctor here "Then she asked very naively ..." By then hopefully you would have got the arrears money, is it not? "





 © Neeraj Kumar

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