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In the short story "Behind the Headlines," why is it ironic that Lakshmi was planning to go to the Crisis Center that afternoon (soon after her husband's flight time)?

In the short story "Behind the Headlines," it is ironic that Lakshmi was planning to go to the Crisis Center that afternoon, soon after here husband’s flight time, because it shows that she is better able to deal with other people’s problems than her own. Lakshmi has been helping other women at the Crisis Center, yet cannot deal with the crisis in her own marriage.

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Lakshmi’s marriage to Hariharan is in crisis. It’s clear from his behavior towards her that Hariharan neither loves nor respects Lakshmi. He’s so completely uninterested in her life that he never asks what she does all day long. As a result, Lakshmi has learned not to communicate anything about herself. There’s simply no point in doing so when her husband clearly couldn’t care less.

Lakshmi’s self-imposed silence means that Hariharan is completely unaware that she’s been volunteering at a local crisis center for just over a year. Lakshmi is able to volunteer at the center without in any way disrupting her husband’s daily schedule. She goes there at midday, and even if she puts in a four-hour shift, she can still be at home in time to prepare Hariharan’s dinner.

On this particular day, Lakshmi’s about to head off to the crisis center once more, but not before she’s filled Hariharan’s weekender with old newspapers instead of the items that she usually gives him. Lakshmi delights at the embarrassment and inconvenience this will cause him. She then posts her key through the door and drives off to the crisis center.

The supreme irony here is that Lakshmi is able to help women at the crisis center, but she cannot help herself. She cannot do anything to sort out the crisis in her own life and marriage.

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