Submission to Divine Providence
Mac is a Mathematics teacher of a Higher Secondary School in a district town. He has a long day schedule. He leaves home early in the morning and returns at night.
His house is situated in a village not very far from the town. It’s about an hour bus journey to school.
School starts at seven thirty in the morning, so he has to start from home early in the morning while his children remain asleep.
He married Jolly, a girl from the next village right after her graduation. His wife is an ideal housewife fully dedicated to her husband and children. Mac hands over his whole month’s earning to his wife at the beginning of each month and his wife runs everything. He even takes his conveyance and tiffin money from his wife.
Mac just cannot think of any alternative to his wife, Jolly in his life.
Jolly gets up first in the family very early in the morning, makes breakfast for Mac, and also cooks lunch which Mac carries. Jolly packs up Mac’s lunch box while Mac takes his breakfast. She hands over the lunch box to her husband with a very sweet abstruse smile. Jolly always maintain secrecy about the menu and ask Mac not to open it till lunch time.
School breaks at 1.30 noon. Mac eats his lunch sitting in teacher’s room. Menu made out of
imagination and love of Jolly gives sweet surprise to a long day’s work wearied Mac every day.
Having taken lunch, Mac loosens up for some time in that chair by squirming his body.
He thinks about his wife to whom he is ever indebted. Without Jolly his life is incomplete and stagnant.
Mac has hired a room in the vicinity of his school for three to four hours each day, where he imparts extra coaching to students in batches starting from 3.00 pm.
It takes up to 6.30 to 7.00 pm for teaching two batches. Then he returns home taking bus and reaches at around 9.00 pm.
In a nutshell, he sees his children asleep while going out in the morning and sees them also asleep as he comes back. He only meets his children during weekends.
Mac cannot foster close relation with his children due his work load. Their mother takes care of everything.
-Time will surely be there for his children in near future. Mac thinks.
-Why do you have to work extra hours, what would you do with all your money? His colleagues jeers at him sometimes.
To be true, they don’t need so much of money to run a family of four. The salary he gets is sufficient to run his small family, rather he can have some savings each month.
But Mac and his wife looks a bit further. That’s why he works extra. They dream of better future for their children based on extra income.
-All we are doing are for them. After dinner as Mac lays his tired body for a sleep, he and his wife discusses about their dream looking at the children lying in deep sleep.
Jolly deposits the excess money from the salary and extra earning from extra job in the bank regularly. She keeps account of that.
Their eldest daughter would go to school in about two years. They have a plan to hire a house close to the school before that. They want to send their children to town school unlike themselves.
A house in the town would serve the purpose in many ways; Mac would cut couple of hours for every days commuting and their children would go to a good school also. Though it would increase the cost of living a bit but they will have enough money in the bank by then. Besides, in about four years their son would also go to school and then Jolly will also try and take a job.
They go to sleep discussing about their bright future.
Mac has a habit of sleep walking and talking, that wakes up Jolly and they burst into laughter at that dead night.
In fact all the family members have the habit of sleep talking; Children talks about their fighting among their friends over silly matters, Jolly very seldom talks about smarting her children but Mac walks and talks by calling ‘Jolly, Jolly’.
That day bell just rang for closing the school. Mac brought out lunch box full of Jolly’s love.
Food was still warm.
-Time is up for Mac to open his ‘magic box’. One colleague of Mac commented while clearing his table to end his day.
Mac smiled. Indeed, it’s a magic box. His wife packs the box everyday morning keeping the contents secret. That really remains esoteric till he opens.
The box has the touch of his wife all over it and inside food is prepared with love which surprise Mac every day. This feeling jerks off all the day long weariness.
Office peon came running into his office as Mac was about to open his lunch box.
-Someone informed Headmaster over cell phone that something grave has happened to Mac’s wife. Peon gasped out.
Mac ran to Headmaster’s office.
His world balked.
Mac’s wife died leaving two minor children. None of the children understood what they have lost.
Eldest girl perhaps understood that her mother died and wept seeing others weeping. Youngest one used to cry while mother was alive but now remained confused seeing so many people crying.
Mac cried and wailed for some time and then fell into swoon. There were repeated spell of crying, wailing and then swooning. He was relieved of all agony while in swoon but as he gets back to senses the agony also comes back. Doctors suspected a grave damage to Mac’s health and pushed high dose sedative in his vein and put him in deep sleep.
Human beings die of so many reasons; disease, accident or even suicide. Onus for death can be redounded to something. But a thunder bolt from the sky fell on Mac’s wife and killed her on the spot! Who to blame for the death!
The sky was gloomy and raining since morning on that fateful day. Jolly went to the grazing land adjacent to their homestead to fetch their cattle in view of the impending rain. Only her dead body came back. Jolly did not get any of scope to tell anything to anybody. She left keeping all in dark even the incident of her death remains secret.
Who her loved one would blame for her death?
Is it a punishment? Then for what and to whom!
If anyone is punished, that would be her children and her husband, Mac.
She left before she could understand anything. Out of all who she left behind, the one who is capable to understand, failed to bear the pang and gave up and betook to shelter of induced slumber.
But life did not stand still for that. The lacerated and disfigured body of Jolly was buried following the ritual by neighbors and relatives.
All stood beside the bereaved family. They arranged for food and cared for the two minor children of Mac. Some new toys helped them to take a fresh dip into their dreamland and made them smile again.
Doctor did not allow Mac to get out of anesthesia. Doctor arranged tube pushing food and nutrients into his body.
Since Mac failed to accommodate with the fact of life, he had to be kept sleeping in the hospital bed attended by nurse under heavy dose of anesthesia.
Mac was in deep sleep on a hospital bed for last few days. The rain which brought the thunder bolt and killed his wife attenuated but still persisted till then. Sky remains overcast since that fatal day.
The storm broke down a lot of houses and trees. It also tore down electric wire immersing the area into darkness.
Mac lied on a hospital bed adjacent to a window. It’s a sub-district level hospital composed of a number of separate one story buildings. Cool wind blew through the open window caressing the eyes and face of sleeping Mac.
Mac got back to sense. He felt better.
Mac looked through the window. It’s day time but difficult to know the time of the day by seeing the daylight as it was still gloomy.
He saw an orchard of mango trees, no sign of human beings. Nothing heard other than the swooshing of sporadic gusty wind and some chirp of birds.
Storm has torn down a lot of big and small branches. Broken branches fell from the standing trees are still fresh. Some budding mango flowers are visible through the leaves of fallen branches.
All look fresh as if nothing happened.
-Oh, it’s just flowering season, and the fallen branches would bear more flowers, more fruits. It normally storms this time of the year. The flowers peek through the leaves of fallen branches and the storm nips so many possibilities in the bud. Mac thought.
The left-over rain-washed green leaves on standing trees are dancing in the breeze, inquisitive sun rays are peeking through breaks of cloud and sparkling on the leaves making a kaleidoscope of color.
Mac was enjoying the natural phenomena absolutely distrait.
Suddenly his eyes caught the sight of a broken nest lying under the tree. Two broken eggs, half hatched chicks are lying dead, they grew quite big! Their wings, heads etc. are clearly visible. Surely it would be only a couple days that the chicks would hatch out.
It touched Mac. The storm devastated all so prematurely!
A stifled breath heaved out of his chest.
One bird alights near the broken nest with dead chicks. Then another one. They are yellow-billed magpie, seemingly couple. They looked searching for something.
-Might be it’s their chicks! Thought Mac.
The birds looked around for sometime, picked from the dead body of their chicks and then had a quick shower in the nearby puddle to wash their soiled body. They spruced up by fluttering their wings and busked in the sun peeking through the branches.
They looked very light and fresh, chirped and flew off to start all over again.
The spectacle of sun shine sparkling on the rain washed green leaves intermittently fluttering in gentle breeze and on the wings of the spruced up birds made Mac lively.
Door cracked open and Mac turned.
His two minor children are standing at the door. They all look happy with smiling face. His wife Jolly standing by them.
Mac remains startled.
He takes a close look at himself. He is on a hospital bed with a saline cord attached with his hand. All the memories bounced back.
-But how come, Jolly is here!
Seeing his confusion, his daughter ran and stuck her face in him.
-Baba, Molly aunty will live with us from now on.
Molly is elder sister of Jolly. She teaches in a high school in the town. They are identical twins. Molly became sterile owing to some disease while studying in college and remained unmarried ever since. She stays in a women’s hostel in the town. As per plan, she was supposed to move to her sister’s house once they hire a flat in the town.
-Don’t worry Mac, whatever ordained by God is good for human. Jolly is very lucky girl, else God himself won’t take her to Him like this. There were so many people in her funeral, you fell in swoon and couldn’t see anything. All has to die, my daughter is lucky and different than others.
His mother in law entered uttering the words in a stifled voice.
By then, Molly stood by Mac’s bedside taking his baby boy in her lap.
By then cloud dispersed and the sun was shining from the blue sky. The parent magpies chirped in the branches.
Col. Meher Mohabbat Hossain (Retd.)
I had a long career in Army. I was trained to follow orders, instructions and set rules, taking those as axiomatic. That strayed me a bit from free thinking as happens with all technology users. Basically I am a free thinker always and now in search of some basic truth in my own way. ([email protected]).
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