Excerpts from Mrs Rao’s Diary
September 12th 2011
How do I start? Do I Introduce myself? No, I don’t think people do that while they are writing diaries, they simply write what they want to, not really bothering about formalities. But supposing tomorrow after I am gone, when this is found, how will anyone know who it belonged to? , so I better introduce myself so that everything is methodical and in order. Let me write down a few details about myself !
I am Shalini Rao, a middle aged lady, bored and fed up of life because...not now, I will come to that later! I am 59 years old and feel as though I am 112 years old and frankly ready to call it a day. I have lived all my life in this house and spent most of my days within the confines of this room where I am now sitting on my bed and writing this - whatever one may call it , a blog, a diary or a narrative or a suicide note! I got the idea of writing down my memoirs (sounds grand doesn’t it) from a C grade hindi serial, no not Ekta Kapoor’s ( her serials get the highest trps ) but someone similar with similar ambitions of making it big, though frankly I had my own doubts about that and when the serial was taken off after the first 6 episodes I was justified in my thinking.....However, let me not stray from the main idea of why I am planning to write this memoir, diary, narrative or whatever !!!
The reason why I hit upon the idea was to tell my family, being my parents, elder sister and my two sons, why I took this drastic step and decision of ending my life. At this juncture I hope no one would think of calling the police and the ambulance - That is if someone reads this or snoops around which often happens in my house when I have my in laws around!
Where was I ? So, let me start from the very beginning.
I come from a middle- middle class family and the sole ambition of my parents was to get me married to a steady ‘boy’ belonging to the same community, gotra and sub class as ours and they found one for sure in my dear husband, who later showed all his true colors in a way I couldn’t even have imagined ( no more straying from the narrative, I promise). I saw or rather I was shown, to my would be husband Sreenidhi Rao at a wedding reception and felt that he was ok looking (I genuinely consider myself much better looking than him).
Right from the beginning or should I say right from the early days I realised that he was a very shrewd person who never missed a single opportunity that came his way, whether it was in the form of good money, career option or a pretty face, of course a female one! That way he was straight, no complaints about that! Anyway, things worked out for me and for my parents and I was congratulated by all the members of my family close and distant, for having caught the eye of one of the most eligible bachelors in our community and I was blessed indeed to have been approved by him.
To continue with my narrative
I was married and thereafter settled down into domestic bliss, for a while that is! Then came the children and along with that came problems too – hoards of them in all forms. Those were very trying times since my husband never believed in helping me out nor did he ever care about my own position and the innumerable problems that I had to face with regard to the children, his own family consisting of his parents who treated me more like a glorified ayah, whenever they decided to spend some time with their dear son and his family and his siblings who were least bothered about me anyway ..
To come back to my own married life, As far as he was concerned, he had married me, hadn’t he ? also contributed in bringing those two children into this world, so now all that was required of me was to take the money that he gave me every month ( for household expenses and services rendered) and leave him alone, while I minded the house, children and of course myself. One thing to be told about him, he was generous where money was concerned and as for me ,having been brought up frugally and on middle class values, managing the household well with roughly 60% of what he gave was easy enough while I was able to save the rest of the money.
Thank god, I was not extravagant nor a spendthrift and had the sense to do that which, when I look back has been a blessing in disguise. Today, I can at least not worry about that part of my life! Something positive coming out of a hopeless situation ! Never thought of it that way!
Years passed, the children grew up and I and my husband steadily grew apart both physically and mentally and emotionally, so much so that we hardly had anything to say to each other while we were together. It was good that he had a job that took him away from home for at least a fortnight each month since he was a marketing manager.
This was the only silver lining in my otherwise torturous life which was becoming unbearable as months and years passed. I and my two children had a blast when their papa was away, we could be ourselves and do what we wanted, and not pretend to be some alien creature, a robot that moved around as approved and commanded by the lord and the master of the house. The children too were feeling the strain of these very stressful interactions with their father. However, thank the lord for those small mercies which would take him away from home sometimes for two weeks at a stretch.
Now my children too are gone and the frigid atmosphere that was part of our household has shaped their personalities in such a way that they have grown distant from both of us. Mr Sreenidhi Rao , their papa of course doesn’t care since he has no time to waste on such trivialities, his mind, attention and eyes being engaged elsewhere in the form of Miss Eva, a bank officer ( this I have come to know day before yesterday from one of those ever helpful neighbors who get to hear and see everything ) and, I had thought that he had gone on one of his work related tours....
I better not say anything more since I don’t want to feel smaller than I already feel. This is because of what my older very critical sister and my very partial and one sided parents told me - About not being able of hold on to my man, so what else can be accepted, he is bound to look elsewhere etc etc; and that comment of theirs really hurt ! The hurt feeling has nothing to do with my overflowing love for my husband by the way, more about my own low self esteem.
All in all, I have decided to end my life today itself instead of planning about it vaguely like I did in the beginning, since I don’t see anything much happening in my life. In fact, when I look into the near future, I can see my sons leading their own lives and growing even more distant , and Sreen ( apparently that is what he is now called by Miss Eva ) painting the town and local pubs red and orange with Eva hanging on to him and my close and dear relatives sniggering and gossiping behind my back , and I am sure making much of Sreen while he is around, talk about double standards !
Do I have any better choice, other than ending it all and pouring cold water on all those sniggers and gossips ! I am planning to take 45 sleeping tablets that I have painstakingly collected since the past few months, and after the final phone call to my two sons and my dear husband too, I want to give him a piece of mind before I quit ...
P.S : How life changes for the btter of course !
I have of course cancelled all my plans of suicide and now decided to fight back with hammer and tongs , this after my son hammered some good sense into me and advised me to hold on and teach Sreen (I like this name a lot better) a lesson. I have the finances ( thank god for the money that I have saved) and have some talent for writing so why not try my hand at writing ,painting and may be even go for some much needed cosmetology to help me restore my self esteem and fading looks.
Before I forget, I saw Sreen and Eva yesterday at the film theater where I had gone to see Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with one of my many true friends (who incidentally has contributed in many ways in my downward journey and present status by not being there when I needed her). I looked back at them and waved gaily at both and had the satisfaction of seeing them nearly fall off their seats after which they did the quick disappearing act. This act of mine also silenced my true friend. I am waiting for Sreen to come home, which by the way is registered in my name and he can do precious little to dislodge me from here...life looks much more interesting and challenging right now !
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