A NOVEL IN SHORT STORY FORM
THE WOMAN IS IN STRUGGLE
Th story of an Indian woman ‘Itu Dash’
The writer pens her own introduction as an Indian writer and publisher. Her remark on this story depicts such as writer’s remark--- ‘’Look at me I am a writer and publisher who writes and publishes book with very less charge , just I demand the expenses of publishing with free service, special discount for women, I am an woman writer so, I made concession for women oriented stories. Hurry up give me your tragic stories I will publish soon, a contract, a package with lot of attraction, black and white cover page with many colorful images inside, with hard lamination and binding, preserve it for ever, take the offer soon, get it signed by me’. Then she started explaining her first offer.
The woman is in struggle Itu started writing a real story about her friend who requested her to write a story, her personal anguish and tragedy to throw light upon women society who are the same sufferers with her sharing the same tragedy and experiences she had undergone.
A scene of bedroom is described here to add special effect to the story, a scene of honey moon, fourth night, the most beautiful day for a married couple. The room is decorated with flowers, garlands of jasmine flowers and tube roses, red roses are the symbol of romance and sex which attract two lovers to be united in one bed or in one body, two bodies, two minds become one whole. The fragrance of the room make two lovers in reaching at the ecstasy of their passion in love . Morning they had performed rituals ,yangya and homam in the sacred fire. They took oath to be loyal to each other for ever in their married life, both are life partners and friends , at night they will mingle with each other in one bed,two bodies will be one , two soul will be bound in spiritual love. Two human bodies will be one in earthly passion and desires, both will care for each other pleasure from that day, the beginning of a new married life, life partners they will be forever. One is for other, mutual relation in togetherness, emotional bondage, sentiments, care for each other it is said, sacrificing each other ego and selfishness.
Everything, the scenario changed turned in to anger and stubbornness when itu denied to follow the rigid rituals while her husband was insisting her, giving more emphasis on rituals as he was instructed by his mother. He is a very obedient son of his mother after his father’s death. His father died earlier leaving his mother alone , from that day, he was very sincere to his mother. His mother had great influence on his life. He was very obedient to his mother, blindly he believes in rituals in the name of religion.
‘You must obey the rituals, according to puja and homam. You must not sleep with me today, you can sleep on fourth night, today is third night, ‘we must maintain sacred relation’ my mother said so, said Itu’s husband.
‘So you want to follow the rituals as an obedient son to your mother. What do you want ? No one can impose rituals and rules on me. It is my life, my idealism, what I feel correct, I will follow. Yes sex is not the way, not in a single day we can feel our love or we can fix our relation, it takes long time to know each other. It takes long time in achieving real pleasure in sex’ said Itu.
‘No, you have no self control on you, you are so much against rituals and religion. It is a vice, if you do not obey rituals of god, which has been predicted before by tradition, you must obey. It is my mother’s command you can feel so’, said Itu’s husband.
‘I never disobey elder’s command but, if we sleep together in a bed then how can we follow piousness of religious rituals,, the idealism of your mom’s and god is contradictory to the practical thoughts of the life’, said Itu.
Suddenly her husband was angry, he just outburst in anger, he felt his wife is disrespecting his mom.
‘Okay then I am leaving the room and going to sleep in the hall’, said Itu’s husband.
Suddenly Itu discovered the seriousness of his husband’s religious biased thoughts. He is a ritualistic and having a lot of religious blind faith, which his mother is manipulating in a negative way in separating them, then she was scared in discovering such bitter truth. She could understand her husband is blindly influenced by his mom. So she thought, it is better to be silent instead of arguing with his husband’s illusion or misconception. Whole night, they spent in a wedding bed without loving each other but, just being serious in their ideologies searching for their ethics and moral root. itu’s husband spent whole night doing puja, chanting and prayer. Itu could not determine his personality. Whether is he normal or more spiritual or extra serious , conventional type of man. One thing made her very anxious and suspicious that, whether her husband would be guided by her or by her in laws.
The fear in Itu’s mind was more stronger while the days were passing slowly and slowly. They had to spend some days with their in laws as it is the custom of the marriage that, the newly married bride cannot leave the house immediately., then the bride can get a chance to mix with her in laws. Itu was not allowed to do any household work but, she was surprised soon discovering so many truths or secret of the house. Her in laws , brother in laws and sister in laws are just guided by the head of the house who is her mother in law, a very strict widow who knows to rule like the Hitler of the house. All are obedient to her order even if she says wrong but, no one has voice to go against her. She is very ritualistic in her life style.
She had kept all in a very rigid way like vegetarian cooking, non vegetarian cooking separately in a very strict and rigid way, all the utensils, stoves are kept separate. If by mistake, non vegetarian food is mixed with vegetarian then, she throws all food out side again, new food is prepared for her, Itu observed her co-sister in laws are prompt in obeying her order, any time they were ready to cook food according to the need and demand of the house anytime, one must be mentally ready to cook delicious food like pakoda, cutlet, sweet and cake along with the preparation of lunch and dinner. Itu could feel the home more as a restaurant or hotel then a homely atmosphere. Everything was dealing in a commercial way of dealing, all were very serious about their own lifestyle, just maintaining a stereotype of life, typical Indian family style, giving more emphasis on cooking and rituals. Women , mainly daughter in laws are supposed to do all housework themselves, male persons feel humiliation and degradation of their status in doing housework like serving their food, cleaning their clothes etc.
Most peculiar and odd thing Itu observed that, women had no choice of their privacy or choosing their sexual relation with their husbands, it was decided by the mood and interest of their husbands who used to find the convenient time at their hands , ignoring the wish ,interest and mood of their wives, as if the women have no choices of their own . There was absolutely no freedom in their own lifes. They could not go out alone for shopping or to visit their mother place or relative house. First few days itu had to struggle a lot to adjust with their in laws adopting their rude and stubborn ,arrogant temperament and shrewdness, cunningness of her mother in law.
Most shocking story for Itu was her nephew’s tragic story, who was a small kid of four years old but, was tortured badly by his parents and in laws, he was beaten very badly for his studies he had to live in a ragging session whole day, from early morning till late night. He could not be allowed to sleep early morning or early night. He was living more strictly in his house than a gurukula ashram. Itu was scared seeing the physical torture was given to the child like he was being beaten by stick. Itu had been brought up in a very liberal family, her parents , brothers and sisters led very relaxed ,homely life in a happy laughing and merrymaking environment where, they never keep the home atmosphere so serious , stressful for small things.
While Itu was leaving her in laws house, she was feeling bad because, her nephew clasped her tightly in a complaining voice, he cried ‘do not leave me aunty, if you go then, no one would love me, the atmosphere will remain serious, all will remain busy in their work , all will force me to study only, whole day and night. Actually Itu could realize the seriousness of his allegation yes, it was true. He is forced to study whole day at a time more than twelve hours continuously, the child was feeling restless during his study time ,he never concentrates in studies in such a serious and restricted schedule of timing. His grandmother was so strict that, she beat him with a big stick if the kid forgets multiplication table up to twenty five. She applied the rule of her mathematics in a small kid in her own orthodox style, like fitzee or IIT coaching, his parents were expecting him to be the most brainy child in his school.
If he did not get first rank , he is deprived of all facilities whatever he used to get in a very restricted ways. The child is not allowed to play outside, he is treated as a pet animal, even pet are cared properly , they can speak so many things ,they demand so many things by barking or making noise, but the kid was helpless ,speech less unable to express his feelings out of fear, even if he expresses not as a demand but as a request but , it is rejected with lot of objection, shout, humiliation and more restrictions.
His childhood lacks all basic requirements of love, affection motherly care, play mates and above all childhood games. The child was brought up in a quarrelsome ,conflict atmosphere under the over consciousness, an possessiveness of his parents where, his mother had no voice of her own. She could not say anything in the protest of her child, that feeling of insecurity created one rivalry and revolutionary spirit in the child’s mind which Itu observed as a negative sign. She tried her best to console the child up to his satisfaction, she gave her the false assurance that, she would come back to Odisha to stay with him for ever.
Itu now settled with her husband in the big metro city leaving her native place,. She took time to adjust with the new atmosphere, new locality and new people. She was very sociable and the occult to manipulate the situation in order at her hands. Everything was okay under her efficient supervision. She could be able to do all household works efficiently herself. Her husband was happy with her. She was feeling lonely inside being separated from her parents and relatives. She was planning for a child in the mean time to make her family happy with the appearance of a child or a kid, who would fill the hearts of her family members in happiness. Itu was pregnant soon, but, she had to take lot of exertion, travelling many times from Bombay to Bhubaneswar which was not good for her health, sometimes she quarreled with her husband that why is he so careless about her pregnancy, she had to take a lot of physical as well as mental tension. precaution due to so much exertion.
After her delivery everything was okay, but her mother in laws insisted to take the kid to her house immediately after being discharged from the hospital, which irritated Itu badly, she was upset, she could not take things casually now, she started fighting with her in laws now, her husband was out of any practical knowledge of the situation, what the mother feels with a small kid , how she feels, what does she require for her essential requirements, all these things were overlooked by her husband, he just left her there and escaped from the situation to his respective working place. Here itu had to suffer all problems alone with the small kid. There was no medical facilities, no doctor near by. Her in laws insisting her for homeopathy treatment where as, the high fever or diarrhea type disease could not be recovered so soon by homeopathy, it takes time. allopathic treatment could heal the disease quickly. Even the mother was feeding the kid so what type of care and attention she requires that also her in laws ignored. She could not give breast feeding properly in times due to her house work, she had to work all house hold work like cooking, cleaning and washing.
After delivery the mother needs special care more because, she feeds her kid in each two hours. So the kid was neglected, she weaned her feed so early as she was not getting satisfaction from mother’s breast feeding. She used to cry for a long time if Itu comes late to feed her, she is irritated to suck her breast feed, out of acute hunger, she cannot drink. The baby feels her mother has abandoned her. She could not be accustomed with unfamiliar faces because, she wanted to be cared by her mother, no one else. She needed more care , love and attention by whatever feeding it is but, the baby feed is fed with motherly love ,care and patience which she totally lacked.
Itu felt very uncomfortable in her in laws house so for the avoidance of all quarrel, she went to her husband place Bombay within a few days alone with the kid. It was god’s blessing , her kid was healthy and very active so, she could manage with her in the big city then, the neighbourers were very helpful ,they helped Itu a lot in sharing her house work, they kept the baby whole day with them in their houses, they were very happy with the baby. It is said the own blood relation could not deprive of the baby’s right, demand and love from her babyhood, the unknown people who became her own now, a relationship of previous birth, it can be said. They were desiring for a small kid also in their lonely lifes. So they accepted the kid as their own. How the children were brought up Itu could not know.
Itu could discover truth that, she must do something for her career because she was getting bored and feeling lonely in her life as she had to manage her own children alone, her children were expecting her support. As they were not so free and comfortable in dealing with their father so, their father knew to command expecting his children to be obedient to the parents always. He was expecting his children and wife to obey him as a dominating head of the house , one type of formal, official relation, something he could not be free as a friend with his children, even he was expecting itu to be very strict with them. He was a very possessive, selfish type of man who never learnt to share his feelings freely with his family, so that he was behaving very differently more as a teacher than a father with them, he created serious atmosphere at home. The son carried the inherited quality of his mother, the dominating, over possessive power of controlling his daughters, the commanding authority.
The way of interaction, conversation with children resulted always in an arguing way, conflict and fight as Itu used to defend her daughters from her side in support of them, a relation as a casual, formal and easy type more acceptable way of loving children not creating serious ,ridiculous , defending way of life style. Any way itu had been habituated with this serious atmosphere of her life style, she discovered the truth that, this man would never socialize in his life, he would never take life easily ,normally. He would just dominate and command over his children, even he expects itu to behave like this, his own life style he imposes on her so easily, the way he likes to live. He expects all must be serious in their lifes .
everything must be perfect without any difference in a single day. All must attend him , all must obey him the way he expects. Sun rise and sun set never forget their ways like this, the daily routine work never change. It becomes so monotonous and boring , which he can digest as medicines as a patient but how can children digest such thing!!!. That he never understands. He thinks , all are helpless , dependent beings who need his help always ,who are bound to obey him without complaint if they disobey and complaint then, Itu’s husband considers they are being influenced badly ,they are in bad company, they have been demoralized . He never tries to understand things logically.
He never perceive things from other view points, he never tries to see society, what society wants , the social demand of the children, the social image of the children. He just gives emphasis on family relationship, a family who must be cutoff from all attachment , emotional bondage from all their relatives, and friends. This type of dominating, selfish attitude Itu could never adjust with him. She was silent for the sake of her children. Any way a healthy marital relationship has to be carried out as long as children become independent. As a mother she has to sacrifice all. She gave up thinking about her social image. As she knew that, her career is not more valuable or inevitable. She must sacrifice her career for the sake of children, if she struggles to establish then , she cannot pay attention to any other relation of her life,, any other duty what other expect from her. She had proved herself more holding qualification and academic degrees at her hands then her husband , but she could not make use of those degrees in time.
Now she had to concentrate on what she could be able to preserve or restore regretting over what she had lost in her life or could not achieve in her life. Yes she was confident of acquiring more wealth, ancestral property and house. So she insisted her husband to purchase flats, lands on her name or her husband name which could be possessed by her daughters after ward but, she was badly opposed or obstructed by the interference of her in laws who wanted to grab all money from her son’s savings. The money which both Itu and her husband had saved to buy a flat was used for the marriage of her sister in law and brother in law. Then itu’s mother in law made the will of transferring all lands and houses on her other children names instead of sharing equally among all children which shocked her badly. She could not understand the crooked conspiracy of her in laws.
So, Itu had to take a lot of mental torture in explaining the conspiracy, hypocrisy of her in laws to her husband who was totally out of practical knowledge or reality with the truth of the life. He was influenced and guided blindly by his mother . As if they were very confident of his government job, it’s power, who could have done any thing for their parents, whenever they need his help, he would be forced to misuse his power. As he was in a very dignitary post, so, it was natural in India that people know how to use and misuse both the power. Where as Itu was badly prevented and denied to use government power for which, she is entitled also like the use of all medical facilities.
As a wife’s right, she never demands her right. She never got her right. Neither they could afford for a costly maintenance of their family’s needs or demands nor could they use government facilities which she was supposed to get which, created a lot of chaos and complications in their family lifes. In the mean time her in laws suffered a lot , her brother in laws lost their jobs, her nephew was not able to get any job ,all these things made her husband very weak mentally so, he wanted Itu’s cooperation now. His arrogance and ego hurt him badly, he could not accept the reality easily. Itu tried to convince him making him alert of the situations previously again and again.
How people are changed, blood relation is changed with the passage of time. Instead of realizing the truth, he became more revengeful, aggressive in taking revenge on Itu. He thought it negatively as if, it was his insecurity ,ego complex which created fear in his mind as well as a revengeful attitude against Itu. He misunderstood her . He took it as a itu’s arrogance ,humiliation and pity towards his husband, who is enjoying the bad situation of her husband. It took a long time to reconcile with adverse situation of their marital life.
He was expecting a lot from Itu. He was expecting everything would be all right and perfect ,if anything bad happened ,he accused Itu as the cause of all his bad happenings. He was thinking Itu as a goddess who could save all , who has abundant power of tolerance and insightful learning to visualize the things. Who can solve all problems if occurs. Who can handle all situations but she is not cooperating deliberately. He had developed the sense of suspicion within himself. His failure of his life he tried to impose on the name of negligence, hatred and revenge. He made such a cruel allegation on her wife where as she had sacrificed her career for his family.
Now itu decided to serve the society. As well as she can look after her business career. She must do something for the establishment of her image. She must do some creative and literary work making use of her talent in writing and publishing, she can use her creativity, she can get a social recognition. But she did not know the condition of society was so miserable, so lustful, crooked and selfish which was more complicated , a struggle in further life when her husband did not support her, he opposed and denied her strongly rather.
Again the struggling of her life started with new creative work, the business career of her life. Itu thought she should now be involved in social activities, creative activities to set up her own image nicely, she wanted to be popular in highlighting her works. She had the confidence of getting her aim fulfilled as a good writer achieving the target of that good label of writing, certain books, articles in the magazine by influencing the readers towards her. She tried a lot for that. Whenever she was getting free time ,she was keeping herself busy with lot of writing ,editing and publishing works.
She found it easy to do business work at home, an infrastructure of home cum office base, instead of joining in schools for the fulltime job which was not at all easy for her family situation. She wanted to avoid quarrel , misunderstanding with her husband. she knew well, her husband would never cooperate in domestic work ,rather he would shout at her always, reminding her to give up the job always. Some thing happened her husband was ready to give her five thousands monthly in lieu of her regular job, which was a attraction of earning money without extra effort but, it was in turn one agreement to run the regular house expenses like milk bill, water bill, gas bill maid salary, a diplomatic negotiation, so Itu could discover her husband’s conspiracy soon, she could understand ,the mentality and the attitude of the men who knows to dominate over the family in the name of financial power,
they like to exercise financial power, taking for granted the helplessness of the women, whom they call as weaker section as they are not financially independent but, always the situation never goes the way they think or predict. Time comes when , money becomes a curse to their lifes, they try to save money, which they never be able to save, it works reverse to their command, their prediction.
They want to take possession on human beings by money power which is proved as false in the long run of their lifes, at the end, their lust, greediness can not meet an end to their worries, tension and helplessness. Either they cannot take it easy with any loss of their physical property or in the loss of their faith, moral human faith from their relatives. Selfishness, hypocrisy , pretence make them mentally defeated ,they are defeated by their luck. Only truth is the true relation they keep with their own real life partners , who save the regular expenses of the money in a more planning, economic and innovative way.
Itu thought Some husbands are not practical and logical. They work according to their whims and imagination. They never try to perceive things and situations from other point of views, they become so selfish and antisocial ,that they never see society, social lifes, they never tolerate negative and rebellious attitude of the society. They want a very divine, moral high standard of society, what they want, how they command, how they predict, things will work that way. If they become failure then, they impose such possessiveness, command over their wives and family whom they want to be obedient and loyal only. They want to get all, they become serious in disobedience, protest and rebellion. They never judge the self esteem , self ego of their own family members. They live in wrong notion that his family members must be very moral, divine souls who never go against their command, expectation , rule and dominance.
Such type of people suffer badly in their lifes. When bad time comes in their old age, they live helpless, they search for other help. Itu knew that as long as they have finance power and government power such type of people do not care for other sentiments, they are least bothered about other sentiments,.
Itu did not know the image she tried to setup for her as an writer and publisher will demand her work more as a social worker ,social activist then a writer. As society is in need of true social service so, people weigh or value the talent of the writers who are not associated with any dignitary influential person, whose husband must not carry any responsible job or govt dignitary. If she is associated with power, she must be expected to do free service using the name of her husband or his power at the time of need in the name of social work. In the meantime they had shifted from Bombay to Calcutta.
That is the concept of the Indian society, which never values the dedication, talent of the writers who are in such status or background. So her image was pictured badly. Itu was trying her best to form a women writers board, an woman committee which was badly protested by male committee, no one supported her. With the help of women writers she could manage to setup a literary committee in odiy samaj calcutta. Every year they used to publish some magazines relating to cultural , religious and social activities of the samaj, itu also tried her best to get recognition for the samaj, an official recognition getting affiliation from chandigarh kala Kendra via Bhubaneswar, odisha kalakendra office. She was successful in her attempt, people had faith in her. She got her own image as a good writer on wards.
She was more expected to be involved in social work ,which was related to women individual right, the rights they could not get, so she was expected to safeguard the rights of others where as she herself was protecting and defending her right always. She had to face more huddles and hazards now as a real writer .she had to communicate all reputed publishers , editors for the publication , distribution of her magazines, odia samaj magazines . She had to ask for advertisement and collection of donation, which was the part of her duty at that time. She was the cultural secretary simultaneously she was elected as the joint secretary welfare association of her residential society Calcutta, along with that she had to balance her own self publishing work.
She had to handle certain disputes like women non interference in administration , financial affair, they could not be elected as editors of the literary board, then case relating to harassment of the old retired owners in connection with the demand of the maintenance charges, Itu was in totally struggle of her life, social duty, she had to go through several meetings , enquiring about the correct procedures of law and order,
Daughters are now grown up. They were established nicely. They got very good jobs as their father had spent lakhs of money for their higher education taking educational loans, govt loan. Now itu’s daughter forgot the sacrifice ,her mother did for them by saving money in a very planned way. How she was adjusting with her children for small, small expenses like avoiding out side food, shopping of more fancy items etc. she prepared all fancy item herself at home how her children like ,cake, pizza, Chinese and Indian food, combination of all type of food she prepared for her children. She used to fight with her husband for small ,small things even if she did not want to fight but, she wanted to give the proper right to her daughters as she herself could not claim those such right as his wife. She gave up all her right compromising with her children rights. The demand she could have demanded as a wife as well as a mother of her children whom she gave birth, whom she brought up with lot of difficulties. She was bound to maintain a balanced marital life for thirty years with lot of struggle and mental strife, but, she could not get anything in return.
She sacrificed her career, her image in the society for the sake of her family which children could not realize in the long run.
She had lost her self esteem and ego for the sake of her children, her helplessness made her miserable to withstand her husband’s dominance, wrong arrogance of exploiting women’s self regard, self ego and prestige, playing with the sentiments of the small children under his dominance. He made all the target of his charity and sympathy, as if he is showing charity to one woman’, who is his own wife, emotional bondage is the sacred relation in between one couple that is not governed by any commercial condition or financial calculation or estimation of money, it is not the demand or necessity of the life.
Yes financial requirement is judged according to the need or requirement of the house, which he always misinterpreted with sex and financial imposition, a financial condition to impose his husband’s dominance over her, which was very tragic and pathetic for itu. He made itu one type of prostitute, a commercial condition in carrying on a marital sexual relation in return of the money, the handful of money she was needing to bring up her family affair. Love and married relation is defined as more sacredly, it is a pious and sacred relationship in between two minds as well as two bodies. He made this sacred relation a joke, humiliation and hatration.
He wanted to take revenge on her or he wanted to exploit her crossing the limit of his decency, the honesty and the religious image he had been maintaining in his government job career as an honest senior officer , a religious man with all morality and good principles. Itu never wanted to expose her husband’s shrewdness, abnormality and over possessiveness, she never disclosed the truth to her children. Children would not agree too.
Somehow Itu was able to carry on such a false marital relation for a long time for the sake of her children. The handful of money she was expecting from her husband to save the maximum expenses, extravagance of the house in the shape of minimum expenditure or monthly requirement. This logic he never realized ,this secret, insight of his married life he never understood. Itu considered him as the most unfortunate man in this world who never learnt to enjoy his happy married life which god had given him as a blessing. He was blessed with two beautiful daughters, a complete family with lot of money and ancestral property, a very dignified job, but he could not be able to enjoy all.
He was the most unlucky person in this earth. Who always tried to grab more and more due to his selfishness and greediness. Who was never contented with her wife, with his life expecting more and more dedication and sacrifices of her wife towards him which was the most tragedy of his life as well as itu’s life. Itu’s fate was bound with her husband’s fate.
Now she was strong she tried to escape from her misery and long time struggle of her life. She decided she would pursue her own professional career once again boldly and courageously, this time she is freed from all duties and bondage. She cut off all emotional attachment from her children and husband both. She got success in her professional career. She could be able to save money for her future. Her father had given some ancestral property to her so, she got some money sailing the land .
Now she got confidence in herself. She wanted to stay alone . she started staying alone purchasing her own flat, being separated from her husband. She requested her husband to leave her alone. She was neither taking revenge nor was angry with him, she just wanted to leave him so that, both can realize their fault . Both can need each other’s help, if they really need each other or can be freed from all egoistic thoughts of their own whims, arrogance and illusion . The bitterness , hatration they have developed for each other. They must search the small ,small happiness they lost in their lifes without any reason. That was the end of her struggle or not, she did not know but, the struggle now she had been doing alone , she thought again she must face alone being independent once again. She always found her independent and alone in her struggle of life. She got herself lonely in her miseries and worries , she had been struggling alone in her life, she had to face the struggle with her husband’s protest. Now obstruction was more than how far she could have been struggled alone. She thought it is better to struggle alone rather than with her husband. Both the cases are same. Always she will find her alone in this struggle rather she must learn to struggle alone, that will be more better than living together under one roof. If she has to struggle hard alone against all wrong things without her husband's support rather than with her husband's continuous protest and objection then she would prefer to struggle alone. She preferred to stay alone with her own self support. she continued to live one different type of life alone but more relaxed and happily. Daughters and her family used to come and meet her when she needs them. They very often visit her and help her if she really needs them otherwise she was fine in her single and lonely life.