(Author – Soma Vyas)

“No Amaa, I am not going to do it”, said Ramya emphatically and left for office, leaving behind a furious Malathi while her father Mr. Ramaswamy silently sipped his usual cup of coffee.
“Did you see? How arrogant she is!! How can I find a suitable match for such a stubborn girl?”Malathi spoke in a frustrated tone to her husband who just smiled in response. Mr.Ramaswamy had been a silent observer of such scenes on a daily basis and he long understood that his words will have no effect on his wife and daughter.

While Mr. Ramaswamy was the so called “Head” of this South Indian family, Malathi was the “Brains”. They had been blessed with a beautiful and intelligent daughter “Ramya”. Ramya was a carbon copy of her Mom; as determined and strong minded as Malathi. There was just a slight difference though…Malathi believed in a lot of rituals and followed them to the core even to the extent of being superstitious while Ramya hated them to the core. It was a bone of contention between these two since Ramya reached adolescence. Now Ramya is 25 and Malathi is all set to find a traditional and suitable groom for her daughter who on the other hand turned all her proposals down …thus adding more salt to the already sour relationship. This morning was no exception when Malathi tried to convince her daughter to meet another suitor for a cup of coffee which the latter declined so bluntly.
But obvious that evening dinner was somewhat tense and moods were grim. None of Mr.Ramaswamy’s efforts to lighten the atmosphere worked. As soon as they finished dinner, Ramya spoke in a very calm yet steady voice, “I am sorry Amma for annoying you so much over marriage proposals but I have a choice of my own and I would like to go with it.” Watching the shock and utter disbelief on Malathi’s face Mr.Ramaswamy took command of the situation and enquired about the prospective groom. “His name is Shekhar Papa; we work together and understand each other quite well. We believe that we will be happy together….so if you and Amma agree I would like to get married to him with your blessings.” And without another word she left the table, leaving her parents behind …giving them some time to think and respond accordingly. Now the ball was in their court!!
That night, in their room Malathi cried quite dramatically, hugging her husband, baring her heart, calling it “the ultimate betrayal” by her own daughter. Mr.Ramaswamy however consoled her, expressing his confidence in their daughter’s choice and advised his wife to go along with her wish. He pointed out that even Malathi wanted her daughter to be happy and it was crystal clear that Ramya’s happiness lay with shekhar. For the first time Malathi listened to her husband!!
As Mr.Ramaswamy predicted Shekhar turned out to be a very bright and caring boy. It was very clear from his attitude that he was totally in love with their daughter and secretly Malathi also admitted that she couldn’t have find a better choice. This alliance brought the mother-daughter together like never before and Malathi got busy in fixing a marriage date with the Panditji. As it happened, Panditji saw a certain flaw in Ramya-Shekhar alliance. It indicated that if they don’t marry on a certain date after performing many rituals; Ramya will not live more than 3 years. As expected, Ramya had another big fight with her mother over this matter as the date was a crucial one for her and shekhar’s career. Getting married on that day would have been a complete disaster as far as their career was concerned. Moreover, she never believed in her mom’s belief and her rational mind couldn’t accept that if she was supposed to die then how come rituals by Panditji save her? Who is strong? Destiny or Panditji? On the other hand, this time Malathi was doubly determined as how could she compromise on her daughter’s life? …this argument even Mr.Ramaswamy couldn’t challenge, whenever he tried to reason with her it ended badly. Understanding his father in law’s situation and to lighten the things, Shekhar tried to find an alternative date which happened to be two years later. This infuriated Ramya more and strengthens her resolution. Owing to all this hustle and tussle Ramya decided to marry Shekhar in court, putting a full stop to all the discussion about the marriage date. Mr.Ramaswamy attended the marriage along with a reluctant Malathi who kept wiping her eyes every now and then. When the couple came to take her blessings she couldn’t stop herself reminding Ramya that what a grave mistake she did…..that left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth!!
Soon Ramya and Shekhar got settled in their married life…they were happy together and soon their love blossomed in the form of a sweet little daughter “Jhanvi”. Her innocent smile and Shekhar-Ramya’s happiness melted Malathi and finally she let go of her belief….Jhanvi’s birth gave a new birth to Ramya-Malathi’s relationship too.
Time flies and soon it was their 3rd marriage anniversary and Jhanvi’s First birthday which was coincidentally on the same date…. A perfect gift to each other!! The whole family was excited and planning was in full swing.
It was one of those early winter days when Shekhar came home from a jog in the park only to find his wife lying on the floor. He immediately took her to urgent care and everything turned out to be normal. They both waived this incident as an effect of over work and planned to take a vacation as soon as the party was over. After 15 days, it happened again along with a severe headache. The doctor’s conducted more tests but the results didn’t show anything negative. Soon such incidents began frequent and symptom more severe, besides headaches now there were sleepless nights and loss of appetite too. Ramya started looking like a skeleton…this made Shekhar really worried and he decided to call his in-laws who were on a trip to Mahabaleshwar. It was becoming increasingly difficult for him to take care of his daughter, a fading Ramya while handling office affairs too. As expected one day he was called by his boss, Mr.Raman. “Is there something bothering you Shekhar? Is everything all right at home?” Mr.Raman was well known for being a generous and sympathetic boss. Shekhar found himself confiding in his boss, he told him all about his wife’s failing health, the treatment and the family crisis he was going through. Mr.Raman listened intently and his next question surprised Shekhar, “Have you ever considered going to a psychologist? If you want I could suggest one.” Looking at Shekhar’s surprised face Mr.Raman smiled slightly, “Try it once if nothing else is working, you might find your solution.” His boss was known for his wisdom and Shekhar was so exasperated that he decided to give it a shot.
With some persuasion Shekhar was able to convince Ramya to visit this renowned psychologist, Dr.Sugandha. After meeting her first time, Dr.Sugandha suggested weekly sessions with her. After 4 sessions Shekhar was called to the doctor’s office.
“Hello Doctor”Shekhar greeted and asked with some concern, “Is everything all right?”
Dr.Sugandha smiled in assurance and told him that she needs some information from him before revealing her diagnosis.”Shekhar ,Please tell me how’s your wife’s relation with her mother?” Shekar was really surprised and curious but he told her everything from the beginning till date …..The sourness in the relationship, the reasons behind it, the situation at their marriage and how it all ended with Jhanvi’s birth. Then she asked him if he observed anything odd about his wife’s behavior after either of one visited each other. Shekhar thought for a moment and replied that he found it strange that Ramya fights with her mother over every small matter but when she is gone many times he has noticed that she followed the same things which her mother suggested. “There lays Ramya’s disease,Shekhar”exclaimed Dr.Sugandha. “I don’t know what you are talking about Doctor?” Shekhar was totally confused now. Dr.Sugandha then explained in detail, “ Shekhar Human mind is very complex and it acts in a strange way. In reality Ramya is very close to her mother and loves her deeply but due to her education and strong personality she doesn’t believe in her rituals consciously but her subconscious mind follows every single word her mother believes in. Moreover, it’s funny that we tend to become like our parents ….you will observe that we might hate some of our parents personality traits but over the period we start doing the same thing. Parents are a great influence in their kid’s life, more than they will ever know. That’s why I suggest every parent to watch their steps, be careful of what they speak in front of their kids because you will never know what they might inherit. Children’s learn what they live!! Try to raise them as objectively as possible, give them your faith not your blind faith. Ramya is a copy of her mom. Born with the same characteristics but due to her education and being a rationalist she opposes everything her mom suggests. These things are rooted in her since childhood and that’s why her subconscious mind believes in them to the core.” Dr.Sugandha concluded her diagnosis.
Shekhar was surprised at this turn of event and asked Doctor if she could cure his wife from this inner struggle. Dr.Sugandha admitted that she will do her best but she cannot cure her completely as inwardly Ramya believes that she will die after 3 years of her marriage and only she can fight that belief. The only person who can cure her completely is the person who put that belief in her subconscious mind. Once she comes out of this critical situation we can work upon the subconscious stuff and how to deal with it.
“I think it’s high time when you need to talk to your mother in law. All the best Shekhar”, with this Dr.Sugandha left the cabin, leaving Shekhar deep in thoughts and marveling at the fact as how human mind works. Few moments later, sitting in his car and dialing his in-law’s number Dr.Sugandha’s words were still echoing in his mind, “Parents are a great influence in their kid’s life, more than they will ever know. Children learn what they live so try to raise them as objectively as possible. Give them your faith, not your blind faith.” After all, he also had a daughter to raise.

Special Note: A work of fiction which is based on real time observation of human behavior.

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