Incidents Short story Thought and Reason

Withdrawal symptoms – a housewife’s confession

Today was the day. I was a slave, about to be freed. My husband had an inkling, but didn’t know how rapidly the last six months had devoured me. I had started doing it once a week, when loneliness was my sole companion. It gave me a ‘high’ – it liberated me. Slowly, the frequency increased to once a day, sometimes twice, and sometimes all day long, only to feel terribly tired and sick by night, when the family returned home! But I had heard it wasn’t good for me or for us. I was visibly gaining weight, developing dark circles under my eyes, and looking haggardly. I finally resolved – to break free – to abstain for a day (to begin with).

Today was the day. The first hour was a breeze. I didn’t even think about it. The second hour was very busy with mundane morning chores – cooking, cleaning, etc. I was doing better than I expected. So I thought. It started by mid-day. The withdrawal symptoms. I started getting restless. I stretched out on the old sofa and switched TV channels like a zombie. “But why is this idiot box an accepted indulgence? Is that all we housewives are allowed? Why are men never questioned?” I thought angrily. The news was boring. The TV soaps were killing! I thought I’d go for a walk, or gossip over the phone with Mummy. The health-freak that I am, I chose option 2, but at the end of it, I was actually more irritable.

Something was not alright. People watching me would have thought I was tapping my feet in tune to “Kabhi kabhi .. Aditi”, little did they know that my nervous twitch was just at its worst! My head was beginning to throb. I tried to sleep a while. The thing with Sleep is, it is a rebel. When you really need to be awake, like the night before your Financial Management exam, that’s when your droopy eyelids are too heavy, even to allow you ogle at Hritik Roshan dancing in the rain! And today when I was desperately in need of sleep, my pillow turned lumpy, sheets turned cold, and the windows clanged incessantly with the wind. I tossed and turned until I finally gave up.

I was in a terrible state. Restless, irritable and moody. My craving was overwhelming. Its only been 12 hours, I reminded myself. Then a phone call did it. My mother-in-law. “Beta, I saw your holiday pictures, very nice. Looks like you’ve put on a lot of weight. What do you do the whole day??”, she innocently asked. I snapped. Here I was, putting my career at stake for the sake of the family, and all I get in return is a questionnaire on how I spend my time! I couldn’t care less about what anybody thought about my habits or me. My husband didn’t know, atleast not yet, so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

So I sneaked into my bedroom, feeling guilty and excited at the same time. I opened it, touched it nervously (as if it was the first time!), caressed it lovingly, deftly moved my fingers and punched something. And the screen read, “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”.

What the ****! I do not touch the computer (my new-found love) for the longest 12 hours in my life, and broadband doesn’t work! Grrr! Anyway, tomorrow’s another day. I’ll try again. The Internet I mean, not the abstinence.

(Today was the day I had decided to abstain from the Internet. And here I am, typing out this post for you! Three cheers to the Internet, the housewife’s window to the world :-))

11 replies on “Withdrawal symptoms – a housewife’s confession”

Take it from someone who works full time! Its not just housewives who r in grip on this addiction…suppose its wives and mums in general…which includes me!! i spend all day in front of the comp! yet when i go home…the first thing i do is check my personal email and then some blogs that i cant visit from work!

[:)] Pallavi..LOL

Its not just housewives.. its for many other women also.. Internet is now a part of our life .. no no.. Us

Thanks, girls , for making me feel better. I was wondering if I was the only one inflicted with this disease 😉

Some more feedback from some wonderful people on Ryze (C’rati):

Varun Rajagopalan: Hey Pallavi,

Enjoyed reading it. I have to say I kind of predicted what the ending would be (not that I could pick your poison, but knew it wouldn’t be drugs as you made it sound!!!)

But really enjoyed reading it.. Had a smile for a long time.. 🙂

Varun (again): Please!! When I said predictable, I wasn’t commenting on what you’ve written. What I meant was that after reading a certain amount, one tends to get the hang of story-progression.. And one tends to start guessing (followed by predicting) where one’s being led.

And owing to all that, I was able to guess / predict / foresee that there would be an unconventional ending in store. I had no clue what it would be, but I was sure that it wouldn’t be drugs or booze as you very cleverly led us to believe 🙂

The story is perf..

kusum choppra: that was a fun post Pallavi. building up the suspense and to tell the truth my guess tied between pregnancy and cigarettes. i’ve seen people going through what you described when going off smoking. the net was a good one on me. keep it going.

Shivendra Gahlot: Heavens!

You’re writing my words! How’d you know!?!?!

Seriously… identified with it completely. I’m in that place so often nowadays…my wife often has to physically drag me out of my chair!

I (cliche time)marvel at the potential and possibilities of this medium.

BTW, what’s with the Internet Explorer… dump it and get on the ‘Fox Train, ma’am.

sycerith sirvaniah: good one, the internet stuff totally blew me off, my imagination went wild before the internet explorer sprouted
anyway nice write up
keep writing
susmita dasgupta: Surprise ending. Very good. Anti-climax has been used very well after a staccato of suspense.

LC aka Lycra Creations: Nice one! Could totally identify with the urge you speak of.Its a good creative writing piece but doesn’t work for me as a short story.
Gazala Raza: I guess it would have been predictable for all those who are in the same position…ie who are addicted to the net ( ps mea culpa too)

Wonderfully warm feedback from S&Co (Ryze):

Bina Ashok: Sounds terribly familiar. When I stayed home for about 8 months after my grandson was born( I didn’t do that when I had my own children; besides there was no internet those days!) the internet was really my window to the world.

Pragya Thakur: Very hard to give up this addiction even if one is an “officewife” 🙂

Pallavi…one thing…in the beginning – “sole mate” – needs to be corrected.


Pushpa Moorjani: On the days, when this window to the world is closed from my room, I pick up a book to read, or go shopping or visit a friend, and finally..I walk to the nearest cyber…..control hi nahi hota…..

Alankrita: How how how can you stay without the internet….. its not possible….hell is aplace without an internet connection

Seekersought: Beautiful story Pallavi. It seems to have touched a chord with many readers though I am surprised no one questioned the premise of why internet has such a predominant place in our lives now. Purely from a housewife’s point of view, does the addiction to internet imply living vicariously? Those with ‘real lives’ live it, those without watch it happen to others, like bystanders, through internet/ media? Oh i know the advantages of reaching out, finding your tribe, honing your skills, sharing stories etc etc. But hey, should not these things happen in our real lives (and reflect on the virtual world), and not the other way round!
Theres something wrong in the way society has organised itself whether its relationships, commerce or family structures. And its a housewife that bears the brunt it.

If i were your neighbour Pallavi, i would have dropped into your house right now, fussed over your baby, brought you some hot steaming lunch and taken you out for a ladies only night out! We would have got drunk on coffee laced with scotch, bitched about our mother-in-laws, claimed superioirity over those poor working mothers, counted how many cat-whistles we still manage to elicit, promised to go on a diet together…

In love and empathy

Bina Ashok: Yes Suja’s right too. With the evolution of the ‘nuclear family’, we seem to have less time and energy (visiting your neighbours does take some – energy I mean) to do all the things that made our lives enjoyable a few years ago. Frenetic lifestyles are what’s making the internet a viable ‘window to the world’.

Mahendra Rathod: Pallavi

Welcome to the world of closet addicts…

You say why are men not questioned?

They are…

You have yet to go on an internet rehab…You don’t know what abstinence can do for you…

Maybe our gerat epiphany lies in internet cafes! :-))


Or maybe I ought to send this to your hubby…hmmm..that’s a thought….

ratna rajaiah: I know exactly what you mean, Pallavi. There are days when i have vowed not the switch the comp on before 9.30….only to squeeze it in between rushing to have a bath and heating up a cup of pre-bath coffee..
Very nice writing indeed!
Ps just wondering – window “clanged”?

u know what when i read the title, i thought it is internet. then i thought no no.. may be its just me addicted and after reading it all and the comments, i got a relief, i am not alone here 🙂

So, what do you think?

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