April 3, 2005

A friend of mine has been taking care of a schizophrenic husband, whose condition has progressively worsened. During this time, she has undergone so much trauma…working in a school, she saw him unfit to take up any work; she could not pay the building maintainance dues and was reviled for it; she has brought up two daughters, the elder of whom took up tuitions to make ends meet. She put the elder one through engineering college, and the daughter fulfilled her promise by doing well, working for Mphasis for a while, and then getting admission to SP Jain Management College in Mumbai. Now the husband, after bouts of violence, has been institutionalized during the week. My friend has now got the opportunity to spend a six-month, all-expenses paid stint in the UK, as part of her job. Meanwhile the institution has raised the fees, and she is facing a financial dilemma. Should she go, or not? She has taken the decision to go. I salute the huge courage this friend of mine has, the grit with which she has handled life all along. She finds herself without a shred of wifely feeling for a personality which is no longer that of the husband whom she married all those years ago; but feels that if she leaves him, she might just push him over the edge, and continues to take responsibility for him, much as she would for a sick child. I admire her for her courage, the kind that I feel I might never find in myself.