Sunday, March 16, 2008

The lives of quiet desperation

About three weeks ago, my maid went to her village to marry off her youngest daughter.

Her daughter got married and sent off to her new house with the inevitable bitter sweet pangs.

A day later, her 11 year old grandson died. Drowned in the public village well. While her completely drunk husband waited on the sidelines- too inebriated to realize that the child needed help, but just sober enough to go home and tell his family that the ‘kid had been trying to swim’.

Today, I heard that her elder son, (the father of the child) tried to kill himself by imbibing powdered mosquito repellent. He couldn’t handle the grief of his child’s death. He has two other kids. Fortunately, he survived.

Which is the bigger culprit – the alcohol or the mind numbing, constant, ever-present poverty?

Such a colossal WASTE of life.

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau

4 comments:

narendra shenoy said...

Both are related. Alcoholism is for the brief respite from the ever present hardships that poor people face. Can you fault them for it? The earnings of a life time of hard work rarely amount to more than a tattered bedsheet and a few aluminum utensils. Their generations are eternally doomed to a life of servitude. After a point, I think they just stop thinking about it and live for the moment. Quiet desperation. It describes their predicament very well.

Drenched said...

I agree with NS that both are related. After a while, maybe they give in to their situations and stop thinking about the future. I doubt if they ever think about planning it anyway, what with living hand to mouth and worrying about the smallest of things that we take for granted. Maybe poverty was also the reason which caused the frustration to reach so high that the boy's father tried to kill himself. I'm not saying that it'd have been easy to deal with such sort of grief if there'd been no poverty but then, I think poverty must have already made him frustrated and bitter and once his child died, he perhaps lost control. It's sad.

vEENs said...

I don't see that alcoholism is a problem just with poor people and this as u state -colossal wastage- is just happening in slums near our place!

look around and we see this a lot in the so-called respectable families too.

Ashwin said...

Poverty is a vicious circle and life feels like a buoy - stationary and in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes one might wonder, what good is a life like that?
Nobody has the right to take a life, though. But, maybe the alcohol didn't know that.