fiction, Uncategorized

Between Right And Wrong – Fiction

The nauseating stench of liquor hit her hard as she neared the rocky terrain to the toddy shop. If her husband had been with her, he would have picked up the smell from half a mile away and would have swooned right then and there.The memory of her husband brought with it harrowing details of her past. Neither she nor her five-year-old son would remember having slept peacefully in the presence of her husband. An inevitable stub of fear would erupt at the back of their minds every day without fail when the pall of night fell upon them. The chaos that ensued at the arrival of her husband home would echo far and wide, slashing through the sublime silence of the night. Her laments and pleas would be drowned in the incoherent, lewd remarks of his hammered alter-ego.

Nevertheless, when he turned sober the next morning, they would spend few minutes in their dingy backyard, arguing about his drinking habits, while she scrubbed clean the utensils. “Leave the job. Go to the company. You will drink less. Also, you will kill less,” she would say, indirectly hinting at the many lives that had shrivelled before their eyes – all regular customers at his toddy shop. “One more month and I will start looking for some other job,” he would agree, sitting down next to her, smiling, laughing and sharing small talks, all the while eyeing her, warmth exuding from his insides.

It had been a month now since he died of liver failure. Adversity had struck her at the prime of her life. She had been vacillating between right and wrong for the past two weeks. And the array of dilemmas had finally brought her to the toddy shop today. This place had killed her husband, but poverty had left her no choice but to replace him at the job. During the ten minute walk from her house to the shop, her mind drifted to the many lives that would die a bit the moment she served them. She thought of the many wives who would drag their night in fear, crouching in a corner of their house. She thought of the many children who would end up despising their father as their flesh ached from the beatings. At the brink of guilt, a drop of tear rolled down her sweaty face. She wiped it away and mulled deep. Not far into the thought field, the agonising pleas of her son flashed across her eyes, hindering further thoughts about the lives she would harm, but reminding her of the one life for she was responsible the most.

‘One month and I will start looking for some other job,’ she put an end to the surge of guilt and walked towards the toddy shop, grateful for yet another day of survival.


11 thoughts on “Between Right And Wrong – Fiction”

  1. That’s the ground reality for so many lives in our country! You brought out the gruesome reality very deftly through clever de if words and apt expressions, Maliny! Very vivid picture of the woman and her getting torn between the two ends of her choices! It’s always a treat reading you Maliny!! Loved the story!


  2. Sometimes, it is the necessity to survive that colors our morality and directs our choices…..It is not easy to judge something as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ as your story poignantly portrays.


  3. That’s a tough choice – the devil and the deep sea. Alcohol is indeed the bane of our society….and sadly it’s not just rooted in poverty. Poor people drink cheap liquor while rich people drink more expensive stuff. But the bottom line is that alcohol kills knows no class or caste and kills anyone who abuses it.


  4. Poignant story! Such situations leave us no choice, whatever that helps us survive is opted despite the guilt and suffering that comes with it. So beautifully penned the hardships of such lives. Heartbreaking story, but the harshly truthful one in the society too.


  5. This has such a very deep meaning. Drinking one’s life away, that is a real illness many people are familiar with on one level or another. My own uncle died from abusing liquor, a few years ago. In a place where money means what you can do, it is not all that uncommon for a family to end up in the same business.

    For this, I have to thank you. This is a good reminder, a way to glimpse within the minds of people who live like this. A real treat, reading this.


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