The Mushroom Widow - Part I
The Mushroom Widow - Part I
It had a grey stalk, unlike the others in the bag which were all white. The stalk ended in a darkened, brownish sort of color into the head of the mushroom and I felt umbrella-like striations on the inner side of that head which were undulating sort of. They were moving like tentacles each one of which was a tapeworm.
Tapeworms are horrible parasites that cause persistent stomach infections once they get into your intestine. I had studied that they are very difficult to get rid of. I wonder what else is inside the head of this mushroom. Somehow, although it is white on the outside, it seems really murky on the inside.
We have been living in this part of coastal Tamil Nadu for the past twenty years now. We as in my family. I am here for about seven. I like it here. Sashi likes it too. Sashi, My husband.
My father-in-law is sitting on his armchair reading his prayer books. I wonder what age I am in reality. Everything seems to be tumultuous around. Two weeks back a friend of mine called me from South Africa. Her name is Camille. Apparently, she witnessed the brutal riots that were going on in Johannesburg, Durban, and the other parts, thanks to the followers of Jacob Zuma. Her friend Isabella barely witnessed a horrific incident trying to escape from a building that was burnt down by the protesters.
What was worse; there was a six-month-old child with Isabella in the house when she was trying to escape. To my agony, Camille told me that out of despair Isabella threw the child from the sixth floor onto the third floor where he was caught by her neighbor, Sofia. She was basically standing in the extended balcony, thankfully. The kid was then thrown by that lady onto the ground to be caught by the firefighters. I don’t know if I should be happy or not.
My father-in-law is a control freak and it irks me to be here in this family. What’s horrible is that they, as in he and my mother-in-law are trying to marry me off to a stranger who lives in the neighborhood. I have never ventured to get in touch with him. Basically, they want to get rid of me in a way that they don’t have to be responsible for me financially, but they still want to have me around as a support system.
As far as my opinion goes, I want to live away from this house. Somewhere, alone. Build a life with my hard work. Is that too much to ask for?
I know that guy is as controlling as are my in-laws and my mind makes a ten thousand attempts of fleeing this house each day from the time I open my eyes in the morning up until I rest my back at night. He has someone follow me each time that I move out of the house and that is horrible. I have stopped moving out as a result and it’s affecting my health.
I am doing this for the past one year. Can you imagine my plight? That is one of the many reasons I said I am not sure if I am happy or sad. I’d rather be in South Africa and be killed by a random bullet than live this life of death.
Don’t misunderstand me… I feel trapped here. I don’t know what’s in store for me. There are times these days I feel very often that the knife that I am using right now to clean these mushrooms would rather slaughter me once and for all. Because, for all I know, this is only a half-life.
But then I think about the women in Afghanistan. America recently withdrew its army troops and its consequential military existence there, opening the gates for the ruthless Taliban to come into power after twenty years. Well, if The U.S. was not capable of taking care of them why did they interfere in the first place. For twenty years they showed them false hope of a life that the people in Kabul never knew existed, and, after all these dreams the people of Afghanistan are now back to square one. Within only a week and a half, the Talibani forces have claimed their dominance in most parts of Afghanistan and their relentless atrocities are only growing by the day. I gather that the men there are now being refrained from shaving their beards, girls, and women not allowed to listen to music for fear of fallacy, and, the leaders have demanded a list of the names of the women in the country to be gifted to the Talibani militants. It’s causing me goosebumps as I happen to taste this raw mushroom out of curiosity to see if it is any different than the others that I have diced. And it is. It’s very bitter. I better throw it away.
Sashi will be back any moment now. He makes it a point to come over every now and then just to check if I am fine. He used to love Mushrooms. I am making it for him today.
He’ll be here and we both will have a simple dinner with some red wine.
I don’t usually drink unless it is with Sashi. His presence is very comforting, and, safe. And, I drink just enough to get relaxed, not a sip more! That’s when I start rambling and those are the moments Sashi loves. He is crazy! He says while I am otherwise quite composed and prefer to speak in English, when I am slightly high, I start speaking in my mother tongue and I can’t stop giggling over these observations that he makes. He’s one drinking pro I must say!
To be continued...