23 May 2018
Out of the three stories we had to read, I found A Temporary Matter the most insightful. It tells the story of Shoba and Shukumar, a married couple who are still trying to cope with the loss of their first born child. Lahiri peels back the layers and reveals the intimate details of their relationship and eloquently words all the reason for the couples downfall. The title itself is ironic because none of the couple’s problem can be solved in a temporary fashion.
Shukumar is a 35-year-old man, who is supposed to be working on his dissertation to gain his PhD, while Shoba is a working woman. Since the story is told from Shukumar’s point of view, we don’t really get much insight on her besides Shukumar’s shallow thoughts on the person she used to be. The author tries write the narrator as a person to sympathize with, however, in my opinion, he was probably the reason why their marriage deteriorated so fast. Shukumar reveals that he was a “mediocre student who had a facility for absorbing details without details.” Even before the miscarriage, he was just simply unmotivated to more forward from being a student. So, it isn’t very surprising that after the death of their child that he becomes even more unmotivated as displayed by his lack of hygiene and sleep patterns. Shoba returns the sediment by dropping the pretty wife act and caring less about her appearance just like her husband. Their brief conversations with each other also reveals how little Shukumar cares to really engage with his wife. After they get the notice from the electric company about the blackouts, Shoba mentions how “. . .They should do this sort of thing during the day.” in which Shukumar replies “ When I’m here, you mean.” His sarcasm isn’t appreciated in t...