An Unmatched Couple
[A True Story]
A young woman of about twenty-two, together with a miserable-looking older woman, entered my clinic consulting office and politely sat on the patient’s chair. She complained of her ailments.
“She had been married to my son, a well known C.A., two years before and since then she had had several problems with her health. I have seen her health deteriorating day by day after her marriage;” her mother-in-law confirmed this.
The mother-in-law went further:
“She gets tired after doing a very little household work. She feels pain in her entire body, with severe itching now and then. She has developed severe headaches, which bothers her more during the night and when she is lonely. She complains of loss of appetite and colic pain, even if she takes only a little light food. She also suffers from gastric and constipation problems.
She sleeps now and then at short intervals and dozes while reading or viewing TV. At times she is seen dozing during a family discussion. She does not get sound sleep at night. Sometimes she is frightened by nightmares and weeps for some time. She is unable to concentrate for long. Sometimes she seems to be absent-minded. She is not just the store but the godown of problems.
I have consulted three famous doctors for her ailments but to no avail. At present she takes medicines for gas, acidity, constipation and headache. She eats very light and non-gaseous foods and avoids spices and sour items in her diet. Still, if she does not take her medicines even for one day, she is congested with gas and her headache become unbearable.”
The mother-in-law briefed the situation.
The parent-in-laws, especially the mother, were very much worried and scared by these problems with her young, beautiful and the only daughter-in-law. According to her good knowledge, her daughter-in-law had none of these problems before her marriage. Everything in not good health started after the wedding.
She treated her daughter-in-law with respect. The family was well-to-do, with every conveniences to hand. There were two domestic servants and a driver. The mother-in-law did most of the cooking. There was nothing obvious to cause such a situation. In fact, the young woman’s circumstances had been much improved by her marriage. Then what was wrong with her health?
The family doctor was available to visit as and when required. Still, the health of the daughter-in-law did not improve. The doctor referred the case to some expert physicians. Numerous tests were done. But all in vain. No doctor had found the right cause of the ailment. Expensive medicines worked only temporarily.
Mrs. Indiraben, the mother-in-law, had heard of my clinic solving such problems with positive results. She knew about my strictness over diet control. She had talked the matter over with her daughter-in-law, Shanta, and she had brought her to my clinic only after she had agreed to abide by the course set by me. Shanta was tired of her sickness and the regular use of medicines at such an early age. She was ready to try the Ayurvedic treatment with all required restrictions over food.
I asked Shanta about her food, stools, urine, menses and her mobility. She had some problem with the menses, which was believed to be the result of gas and constipation. I took her blood pressure, temperature and pulse. All seemed to be a little higher than normal. She was being treated for those by the family doctor as and when necessary.
She said she was very weak and could not bear even a little load or do some hard work. She was taking vitamin tablets and a tonic for that.
Her blood tests showed no abnormalities, although her weight had gone down to 51 from 59kgs. Her urine report showed an excess of pus cells and albumin. The stool report exposed bacterial and undigested particles. However, none of these could explain her malaise and the treatment given by the specialists would surely have dealt with them by this time.
The physicians consulted were not ordinary doctors. They had vast experience and had used the best medicines. But so far the problem of Shanta was not sorted out.
This was not an easy case. My talents in Ayurved and Naturopathy would not help me much in this particular case, I was sure. I had to use psychological theory and knowledge.
I asked Shanta very politely about her personal life with her husband and about her sex life as I expected some deficits in the matter.
I could see from her wet eyes and the tears rolling down her cheeks that I had pressed the right button.
I asked her to speak her mind and not to hide anything from me. If she could pour out her heart to me, I assured her that would lead to a cure for her problems.
I asked Mrs. Indiraben to sit in the waiting room for time being, as it was not possible for Shanta to clear her mind in her presence. I offered Shanta with cool water before she began. She started from the first night.
“She had had no sexual relations with her husband from the first night of the marriage until now. He did not even sleep in the same bed. When they were alone, they never spoke to each other except in the presence of the parents and other family members. They had hardly gone out alone as husband and wife usually do. There was always somebody from the family with them when they went out for an occasion. Her husband had hardly touched her body, leave aside sexual touches or kisses. Her dream of her husband embracing her never came live”
Nobody else knew about this. Shanta had never tried to talk over the matter with anyone, as she thought it not wise. She was hopeful that it would be sorted out sooner or later on its own. In the mean time she would find out the reason for her husband’s awkward attitude towards her sexual need and she would adjust to the situation.
She was pretty enough to attract any man. Her nature was also very gentle and co-operative. She was a good cook, too. She always prepared the dishes of her husband’s choice.
So what made her husband stay away from her, especially at night? She was ready to serve his sexual pleasure at his wish and to his satisfaction if he asked for it. Only if he dared to sleep with her on the same bed, she would sort out his sexual requirement. She was ready to go to any extremes of sex techniques of his choice if he showed a little interest and responded to her.
Now and again she tried to talk with her husband while alone in the bedroom but he would speak only if it was needed badly and to the point only. She even tried her best to tempt him to sleep with her but without success. He ignored all her attempts to allure him and even dared to tell Shanta not to do this, as he was not interested in any sexual commitment to her.
Eventually she had lost courage. She considered herself much inferior to her husband as she was poorly educated and her husband was well qualified academically, with a good reputation. But that should not be the cause of her husband avoiding sexual relations with her. She possessed all the qualities necessary to be a good, loving wife. She had seen uneducated wives living very happily with highly qualified husbands. Hers was a special case.
At last she came to realize that her husband was avoiding her just because she was not educated. He had married her because he had been forced to do so by his parents. He felt he needed a wife who had enough education to accompany him to parties and other gatherings of educated and civilized people. He wanted a modern wife who would join him in his business while also taking care of the home. He had discussed this with his parents, who overlooked his choice and found a good-natured but uneducated wife for him in Shanta.
The parents thought that every thing would turn out well once their son, Jeetu, was married and living with Shanta, who, they thought, would attract his son with her good nature and charming outlook.
Neither of the parents bothered to look into the matter after the marriage. No one ever asked Shanta about her life with Jeetu. Since neither husband nor wife complained about each other and were always in good terms in the older couple’s presence, they had no reason to suspect a problem.
Shanta had never allowed them to know about her difficulties, so the matter continued as it was. They were not aware that Shanta’s illness was the consequence of their son’s behaviour towards her.
In reality, Jeetu was the main cause of his wife’s long lasting sickness. She was literally sick of her husband’s attitude towards her. She had no other problems in the house at all.
I had no choice but to talk over this matter with the mother-in-law, who was not only surprised but also shocked to learn the cruel fact. She was worried as to why Shanta had not talked over this matter with her or with any other reliable person from the family so far. Indiraben knew that Shanta was not the choice of her son, but she had never thought that he would ignore a pretty and good-natured young woman like Shanta after meeting her. Had she known the truth earlier, she would have done her best to find the solution.
However, she promised to bring the matter under control and try to make Shanta happy. I advised her to tackle the matter gently and be sure not to provoke or annoy Jeetu, who might react badly and divorce Shanta.
Fortunately, Indiraben knew how to play her cards positively, so that her son would surely come to a compromise on her advice. The son respected the mother very well. He would never go against her wish and that was why he married with the choice of his mother although Shanta was not of his choice.
I offered her my services if needed as a mediator. I proposed to Indiraben that she should discuss the problem with Jeetu and try to bring him to my clinic in the next week, if possible.
Not the next week but the next day, first thing in the morning, I found Mrs.Indiraben with her son in the waiting-room. Jeetu, who was a well-known business tycoon in the area, stood with a gloomy face reflecting his guilty feelings. I was very happy to see him in my clinic in that condition. That surely was hopeful to sort out the problem of Shanta.
I asked him to take a seat and I tried to learn the nature of the person who had ignored his attractive and well-behaved wife just because she was not highly educated.
Mrs. Indiraben went outside immediately after introducing her son.
I talked about Shanta’s sickness in detail to Jitu. I did not tell him the real cause of her illness, but talked to him about the personal tension underlying her problem.
“ It is good you have come Jeetu. I request you to co-operate and look after your wife Shanta as a responsible husband; otherwise the sickness could worsen and ruin the poor young woman’s life. In the present circumstances, medical treatment would not help much as she was undergoing some personal problems, very well to your knowledge. She needs your attention especially at night when she is alone and is frightened of nightmares. I am sure of good character of your wife but certain things were out of reach for her because of her illiteracy. Shanta is your wife and it is the humble duty of a husband to look after his wife at all times.
Education, or lack of it, should not be a barrier between a husband and wife. After all, what was the particular use of education in family life? Shanta already possessed all that was required to make for a happy life. If lack of education was the only deficit in a good- natured and pretty wife, this could be very well remedied after marriage. An educated woman can’t always be a good housewife, but a good housewife can become an educated woman after the marriage if her husband wishes her to be so “
Jeetu listened to me politely, thought for a while and agreed to look after Shanta properly as a wife from the immediate effect; he would never overlook her requirements as a woman. He assured me of his co-operation.
I thanked him for that as he had helped me to cure Shanta, his wife and my patient. He thanked me softly and asked me to forgive him for what he had done and agreed to come with Shanta for her next visit.
I was happy to learn that the mother had really played an important role in bringing Jitu to the required standard.
The couple visited my clinic twice a month. Every time they came each had a smiling face and a bond of love shining in their eyes. I gave Shanta treatment as necessary and soon her condition improved.
When she was recovered, a lady teacher was employed to teach her what was required. A music teacher and a dance master were also seen at her home. Shanta was trained in the use of computer and learned fluent English. In no time, she was going out to parties and other functions with Jeetu. She turned out to be a good singer and a dancer. It did not take long for Shanta to become the proud mother of a bright and lovely son.
Today, Shanta and Jeetu are regarded as one of the happiest couples in the area and several others are envious of their contented family life. Now Shanta once the ignored wife has become the darling wife of Jitu who respects her well and can not stay far from her any more even for one night.
© H. V. Kerai