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Friday, 28 October 2016

One More Independence Day, Please!

Swaraj was tenth passed but doing farming along with her wife Asha. He had a daughter named Bhavishya. He had some land sufficient enough to house a small mud shack and open space bordered by a number of trees like a curry-leaf tree, a drumstick tree, a guava tree, a jamun tree, a mango tree, a tamarind tree, a small patch of plantains and a plot for kitchen garden. The tree cover was a blessing not only for fowls, a pair of goats and a cow but also for his only girl-child to play and swing under. It was a self-sustainable home  with a plenty of paddy, millets, pulses, milk, eggs, chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables.  But no doubt a poor underdeveloped family.

One summer his brother Sevak came to the village  along with his family as usual. But this time with a great offer for Swaraj! Sevak said, "How long you live this poor life?" Swaraj couldn't understand. He continued,  "Your child is growing up, at least for her sake you come to my place, I'll try for you a job in my company." Asha who's listening from behind prompted Swaraj to accept the offer. The undestandable husband said, "OK!" Swaraj had given a serious thought to the idea and finally disposed off all of his live-belongings to the other villagers within a weak or two.

After receiving a message from his brother, he left for the city along with his family. As he's tenth passed he's appointed as a supervisor for the ongoing construction works. Bhavishya was also joined in a private school nearby. The husband was doing a job in a company,  the daughter was studying in a private school and Asha herself was busy in getting audio-visual lessons on TV concerning the modern city life through serials with intermittent  ads on sophisticated gadgets to make the life practical. At last it's turned into a small happy family. No worries and no tensions!

One day Bhavishya came home from school complaining that she's developing pain in her tummy. Within a few minutes she started vomiting. She's taken to a hospital. Many tests were conducted. No traces of any infection. Later advised to take to a nutritionist. The nutritionist revealed that the problem was due to adulterated milk. This might lead to kidney problems also. One day she came home complaining persistent headache. There's no any serious probem, only thing was that she'd to use spectacles. She's then a complete student with a huge backpack of books and cute looking spects. Both Mom and Dad were happy as their girl was looking smart and getting modern schooling!

One evening Swaraj came home from work coughing, wheezing and feeling breathlessness and tightnessness in his chest. Asha forced him to visit a hospital. Doctors had conducted spirometry test and told that he's  developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) due to the continuous inhalation of pollutants. They suggested him to avoid dust and fumes  and to eat smaller but more frequent meals, to take rest before eating and to take nutritional supplements. After branchodilation he returned  home with a long list of medicines and a modern inhaler. He became a complete man with a cellophane in one hand and an inhaler in the other!

After a few years of the adapted city life the mistress of the family started experiencing nervousness, sweating, difficulty in sleeping and distinct facial flushing. Visited a woman specialist. BP was checked.  It's  140/90. Madam advised her to visit after three days. She went as per the schedule. High reading on sphygmomanometer! No doubt.  She'd developed hypertension. Then she got a long list of prescription along with a number of instructions - "Don't sit in front of TV for hours together. " "Don't eat too much salt." "Take more fruits and raw vegetables." "Reduce body weight." "Go for walk." And so on. But she's looking heavily smart!

One day power was off. Mistakenly Asha got some time to think about her family and home. It's a complte home with all modern facilities like a TV set, gas connection, a mixer, a fridge, a washing machine, a couple of ceiling fans and sufficient furniture contrasted to that of the past rustic life. Though they couldn't get unadulterated milk and uncontaminated fresh fruits and vegetables to keep health they'd get a plenty of pills and syrups to survive from not only infectious but also degenerative diseases. They're living in the area dotted fully with concrete towers encircled by drainages and fast running  bykes and cars over.  Though they couldn't listen birds' songs and get cool breeze  there, they could keep their ears busy deafening to hustling and bustling noise of vehicles and sense of hot smoky winds non-stop. But one thing's certain that people used to consider them as "civilized" and "developed".

Meanwhile the power came back followed by daughter  and husband in the evening. She found her husband seemed to be a little disturbed. Face was gloomy and greasy with a trickle of sweat. She softly enquired,  "Why're you so dull. What do you want, my dear?" He gently replied, "Independence Day!" "What ......?"  "Yeah!  I need independence from the dusty and smoky atmosphere, from the adulterated food and diseases and from the ever escalating cost of living, medical bills, debts and tensions." He continued, "I want the past glorious life of my village where I was the boss of my own small estate, full of clean air, water, food, peace and happiness!"