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Radha shows us how hard a marriage in India can be.
The author Jai Nimbkar has written this short story in the year 1983. It is about a woman named Radha, who has married a man with the name Shripati. Shripati’s mom is a woman with a serious and strict mind, the aunt of Shripati also lives with them, but she is more kind than the mother-in-law. Radha didn’t live with her parents, because her mom is dead and her father she doesn’t see, this means that Radha did not come with dowry. There was no payment from her side. The mother-in-law did not like Radha, she was only going to show a little bit of consideration because Radha’s pregnancy. She knew, that Radha was carrying her grandchild so a little consideration, was needed from her side. Radha enjoyed the consideration from her mother-in-law, because at other times she had always been a coldhearted person towards Radha, so she could do nothing but accept and enjoy this temporary period of consideration. Shripati knew that his mother and his wife did not get along very well, but he believed it could be changed. At least so it seemed, from his perspective.
He also comforted her by saying“ Don’t worry so much, Radha. I will come and see you whenever I can. You will be all right.” When it was about time, that Radha was to give birth to a child there was no signs, for the birth to be happening. So they said, that sometimes it takes longer when it is a boy for the birth to happen. They waited in hopes of the birth taking place soon, but when the nine months had passed and now the tenth month was going on, they had at this time only called an old lady, who knew a little more about this than they did themselves. When Shripati came home, he asked why his wife had not been brought to see a doctor in Songaon. They said that they had called the midwife, which Shripati clearly was not pleased with. He felt like they had not done enough for his wife, who was overdue, bloated and in pain. So he took Radha to see a doctor, whom then told Shripati that there was no baby in his wife’s stomach. There was no baby, but there was definitely something in there. A big tumor was what was inside her stomach. A big tumor, which could have been removed a long time ago, which means all the pain she had had could have been prevented, if they had just taken her to see a doctor a long time ago.
The tumor was then removed and they could come back home, but with no baby. Radha’s mother-in-law was not pleased with this and she wanted her son, Shripati to marry another woman. It was said that you should not do this to a marriage, you should not ruin a marriage like that, but the mother-in-law did not care. At this time after having been through what they have, Shripati started to go against Radha just like his mother did. She felt alone now. And then it happened as the mother-in-law wanted it to happen, and she got the dowry, which she also seemed to be happy about. Radha now left her mother-in-law’s house and her husband, because now he had a new wife. She left to a vasti, which is a small community/village. Here she told everyone about what had happened to her and told every little detail, which gave her the reputation and name as a madwife.
One day she was talking with some of the people from the small community, and they talked about Shripati and about asking him to come. Years later, one day Shripati suddenly came to see her. They both started out politely, but then it ended up in a discussion, when Radha asked how his mother was and he lied. Shripati told that his mother was right but Radha had heard the truth elsewhere, she knew that her former mother-in-law was not healthy and dying and that the new wife of his was taking care of her. Radha said that she did not envy his new wife, not even a tiny bit. She would rather work out in the fields, than take care of his mother. Shripati then got angry and asked if that was why Radha had asked him to come and see her.
Radha then got very confused and knew that the conversation she had had some years ago, had made the men send a message for Shripati. Shripati was about to leave, when Radha then said, that she had something to show him. She called out the name Mahadya, and a small dirty boy came out. Shripati wanted to know whom this was and Radha answered“ He is my son.” Shripati asked if she had no shame and asked whose son he was. She answered that he definitely was not his. Radha ended the conversation between them by saying “When are you going to marry again, Shripati? How many times will you marry before you find out that you will never have any children?” Shripati left and Radha could focus on herself and her son and live a happier life than she had ever lived.