A Temporary Matter. Essay

9411 WordsMay 24, 201338 Pages
A Temporary Matter Husband and wife Shukumar and Shoba are notified that their electricity will be turned off at 8:00PM for five evenings in a row in order to fix a power line. Shoba tells her husband this news. He looks at her, noticing that her makeup has run from her time at the gym. He reminisces about how she would look in the morning after a party in happier times. Shoba insists that the electric company should work on the lines during the day. Shukumar takes slight offense at this idea; since January, he has worked at home on his dissertation. The outages begin that evening. Six months earlier, Shoba went into labor prematurely when Shukumar was attending a conference out of town. Shukumar remembers the station wagon cab that took…show more content…
When the child died, she did not know if they had lost a son or daughter. Shoba took refuge in that mystery, spared of that knowledge. When Shukumar arrived at the hospital, Shoba was asleep. The doctor suggested he hold the child before it was cremated in order to begin the grieving process. Shukumar recoiled, but then agreed. He tells Shoba that he held their son. He describes what the child looked like, how his fingers were curled just as hers curl in the night. Shukumar takes their plates to the sink, leaving Shoba alone in the living room. He watches their neighbors walk arm in arm and the lights suddenly go out. He turns to find Shoba at the light switch. They sit together and weep for their new knowledge. When Mr. Pirzada Came To Dine In the autumn of 1971, Mr. Pirzada comes to Lilia’s house to dine each night. Mr. Pirzada is from Dacca, then a part of Pakistan. He left behind his wife and seven daughters for a fellowship to study the foliage of New England. Since his fellowship provided for only a meager dorm room, he comes to Lilia’s home to eat with her parents and to watch the news of the Indo-Pakistan War. Dacca had been invaded by the Pakistani army and torched and shelled. Thousands of people were tortured or killed. Although Mr. Pirzada writes a letter to his family each week, he had not heard from them in six months. Lilia is 10 years old, living with her parents near a university north of Boston. Her parents, originally from India,
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