I am sitting in my quarter all alone, almost 2500kms away from my native place.
I joined a renowned government school in West Bengal, far away from Kolkata. It was my first job. A secure government job, a quarter in my name and a good pay package with all the perks and benefits. I should have been on the seventh heaven. But life has something planned for each one of us!
My husband and I were from Kerala. I was just 6 months into my marriage when my husband met with an almost a fatal bike accident. After being in hospital for a month and struggling, he recovered physically. But mentally, not yet!
We moved from the hospital to my in-law’s place. I was only 24 then. With a post graduate degree backed by B.Ed., I was on my way to make a mark in the teaching world. But for my in-laws it was my fate. According to them, taking care of my husband should be one and the only focus. I did not shirk from this. Deep in my heart, I believed that he will recover fully. So, each day, morning to evening and even in the nights, I had to take care of him as he was now childlike.
One day, my Father visited us. He was devastated. Seeing me struggle, he commented ‘Go get a job if you wish to provide best of medical care for your husband’. Immediately, my in-laws strongly objected to this. They were of the opinion that I will not look after their son when I get a job.
I started preparing for the competitive exams and I cracked at the first attempt. And so, here I was, in my quarters, helpless. This place was secluded. The school and the living quarters are inside a sprawling Army camp. During the weekends, an Army truck or coach used to take us to the nearest town. While we could buy the daily necessities from the shops inside the camp, I liked to visit the town just to take my mind off. However, this presented another issue – the language problem. The remoteness of the place did not allow my husband to be with me. He was in Kerala with my in-laws for the treatment.
There were and are many rules in government schools. One of them was, I could apply for a choice transfer only after spending five years in a remote school.
Having spent the time, I applied for a transfer to Mumbai. I was allocated a quarter and the specialty hospital was not even 2 kms away. I brought my husband from Kerala to Mumbai and earnestly started with specialty care. He can now do his daily chores all by himself. My parents visit us often. While they say that they miss me, I am sure that they want to help me by taking some load off me.
I am grateful to my Father for motivating me. I am now able to take care of my husband and also do what I like most – teaching.
Thank you Papa!
***Story told by a teacher in Mumbai under conditions of anonymity
***as told to Coena Mukherjee