The Woman Who Was Jealous.
The Woman Who Was Jealous.
She rolled her eyes when she saw her best friend's snaps taken in Europe. Mridula cursed her fate and mumbled, "Rohini is so lucky to have a loving husband. She got married into a rich family. She has all the comforts in the world. Here I am spending my days like a prisoner within the four walls. Her husband always takes her out for dinner and tour." Her husband Suresh Ahuja entered the home after a tiring day at the office. He got irked up when he saw her whining over her miserable fate. " How many times do I have to tell you not to grumble? Why do you want to compare yourselves with others?" he yelled at her. Mridula turned away to set the dining table. Her parents in law and children joined them for the meal. They had a lively conversation over dinner except for Mridula. Her daughter Sangeeta observed her unusual silence. She nudged her brother Prashant with her elbow. Both of them suppressed a giggle. Prashant cleared his throat and said," I always wanted to see a volcano right from my childhood. I see a dormant one waiting to erupt after a long time."
Mridula glared at him and got up in the midst of her meal. Suresh came to Prashant's rescue. He said," Come on, Mridula. He wanted to make you laugh. I know you are angry with me. Don't vent out your fury on others. I am sorry to have interfered in your self-pity ritual." Mridula had to smile and finish her dinner. She cleared the table and went to bed.
She finished her household chores on the following day. She was all alone in the house. Her husband and children had left for the office and the college respectively. Her parents in law had gone to the temple. She picked up her mobile and started checking messages.
Mridula lamented her role as a mere housewife.
She kept her thoughts to herself. She switched off her mobile and resumed her duty. Her heart was burning with insatiable desires that were beyond the reach of a middle-class family. She decided to avoid using the Facebook and the Whatsapp. Her conscience pricked her for feeding the green-eyed monster within her.
Mridula started reading some magazines to divert her mind from negative thoughts. Her doorbell rang and disturbed her tranquility. She opened the door to welcome her neighbor, Mrs.Manju Joshi. Mridula was speechless. Her eyes were transfixed on her necklace. She asked her to sit on the couch while she went to prepare tea. She thought, " What an exquisite necklace! It must have cost a fortune. I deserve a necklace for my hard work." She carried a tray with teacups and biscuits. " What a lovely necklace!" said Mridula," Where did you get it?" Manju proudly displayed her necklace and replied," My husband bought it for me. We celebrated our twenty-fifth marriage anniversary yesterday."
They spent their time gossiping about other women. Manju left after half an hour. She had rekindled the flame of jealousy.
Mridula hated her. She wished Manju had never set foot in her house. She engaged herself in the household chores.
Manju's friend Sadhna paid a visit to her house after a couple of days. Sadhna said," Do you know that Mrs.Manju Joshi lost her diamond necklace?" Mridula felt happy but pretended to express her concern. She asked," How did it happen?" Sadhna answered," She was busy talking to someone when a young lad nicked it off. She chased him, but it was futile. He escaped on a bike with his accomplice."
Mridula accompanied Sadhna to the shopping mall. She eyed Sadhna's fully loaded purse with envy. When they stepped out of the mall, someone knocked her down. Mridula helped her to pick up the spilled contents. A street urchin was keenly waiting for the right opportunity. He immediately ran towards her and snatched her purse. Sadhna didn't speak to Mridula till they reached home.
She said," I shouldn't have asked you to come with me. You are a harbinger of bad luck. Mrs.Joshi lost her diamond necklace after visiting your house. You accompanied me for shopping. I lost my money because of your evil eye. I am going to caution other women to avoid interacting with you." Mridula quickly apologized to her and went away. She had tears in her eyes. She went to her room after reaching home. She cried until her eyes were red. She had to accept the bitter truth. She had looked at their valuables out of pure jealousy.
Mridula had an alarming thought. She decided to call Rohini to quell her worst fears.
Rohini picked up her call after several rings. " Hey, Mridula! What a pleasant surprise!" quoted Rohini. They exchanged pleasantries before Rohini dropped the bombshell. Her husband had attained martyrdom in the fight against the terrorists. She was in the final stage of ovarian cancer. Mridula eyes were moist with tears. She asked her," When did this happen? Why didn't you tell me? Last night I saw your photos with your husband on the Facebook." Rohini added, " We had taken these pictures last month. He was devastated when he learned that I had ovarian cancer. The doctors ruled out my chance of survival from this disease. He wanted to fulfill my last wish. We toured Europe and had a great time together. I was suffering from excruciating pain. However, it didn't deter us from enjoying our holidays. We never regretted being childless. He left for his heavenly abode last week. I am still counting my days. I can't wait to reunite with him in the heaven. Please pray for my peaceful death. It was lovely talking to you. Will you come to visit me?" Mridula replied in affirmative. Rohini was pleased with her response.
This conversation made her realize that the material pleasure was not everything. She picked up her family photo lying on the table. Tears trickled down her eyes. She was indeed the wealthiest woman in the world. She had a loving husband, adorable children, and affectionate parents in law. She closed her eyes and visualized how they showered their affection upon her. A pang of guilt got the better of her. She regretted passing sarcastic comments. She should not have been jealous of her friend. Her friend Rohini had cancer. She had no one to take care of her. She had lost her only support. She was on her deathbed.
Mridula realized the true worth of her family and her role as a housewife. She splashed water on her face. It was time to prepare dinner. She wasted no time in donning the apron. Her family members were surprised to see a drastic change in her behavior. She had made their favorite dishes. She smiled at them and said, " You will be glad to know that I got rid of a malignant disease called jealousy. I realized your true worth in my life. My most prized possession is my family. I can count upon them anytime. All of you have stood by me whenever I experienced any problem. You loved me in spite of my shortcomings. Thank you for being my pillars of strength. I love you all." They smiled at her and hugged her lovingly. Mridula sang a famous Hindi song from the movie 'Hum.'
They joined her in singing and dancing.