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A poignant short story on a woman’s wishes on Women’s Day – a little space is all she asks for. Is that too much?
She smiled at the hush-hush smiles of her kids, making cards for Women’s Day for her. Her kids thought that she did not know. It was quite impossible to keep anything a secret in her small apartment. She knew every corner and every corner knew her.
She spent considerable time cleaning, sprucing and decorating it. Her house had to be perfect. Everyone who came to their house had compliments to give her. She was a source of envy for many women in her society.
Her husband was romantic, good looking and doted on her. He brought her gifts and generally supported all her endeavours. His sense of humour and adventure kept their lives constantly alive and active…
He too in some corner was secretly hiding a gift for her. A sleeveless dress perhaps, or shorts. He knew her well. Her tastes never ran into jewellery or expensive demands. She knew her home budget and finances too well to expect more.
She sighed…obedient and loving kids, adorable husband and lovely home. She was the Queen…or was she?
To maintain the house in the time constraints and financial limitations was a struggle she hid skilfully.
Her beauty regimen and many such needs had to be shelved to meet the demands of daily life as and when they arose. Sometimes the electricity bill was high or the kids’ fees were due. Some relative’s ceremony needed funds as gifts to be purchased; in-laws coming over for a full week stay.
They managed somehow, working together. She had taken up work at home which paid her but just about enough to tie the loose ends. She did not particularly like her work. It brought her money and so she continued. Imitation jewellery, a mechanical and economic option for women who make-believe and cannot have it real. She remembered giving up so many of her aspirations and of the workshops she longed to take. Either finances or responsibilities impeded the process. She saw all those independent women who made headlines and wrung her hands silently.
She looked around her. The familiar environment greeted her. “Is it not enough?” she would ask. It should be…but when she wanted to so much as eat something of her choice, she could not. One of the family members does not like it.. Too much effort to cook separately!
Just when she would open a book to read, a kid would come forth with some homework to handle. Just when she took the tea cup to her lips, someone demanded her attention. If she desired to catch up with a programme on TV, her hubby would get a ticket for a film that he may enjoy…she would just get along and enjoy it. Was she pretending? Was she fake?
She just thought that if it kept peace in the rosy bubble, why burst it? All is well, why jeopardise the peace with demands and grouses? Hell, she never gave her opinions on social situations however strongly she felt…she served and listened while the family debated.
Already she knew that she would have to carry out yet another function, guessing from the ‘sexy’ looks her husband was sending. He was waiting for the kids to wish her and sleep.
She knew that she would participate. Why create a fuss over a matter that one was likely get through with in a few minutes? He would sulk and feel hurt for the rest of the day. The kids would wonder what was wrong. If she co-operated, all would be smooth and hunky dory. She enjoyed sex but there were days when she did not really feel like it. Today happened to be such a day. Her husband was as sexy as ever. She just felt no desire today. All day long, she had felt crowded and bombarded. All she wanted was to wrap her favourite blanket and sleep ‘alone’.
“You are the best woman I have met; ask me anything and I will give you, My Queen!”, declared her husband with a long sleeveless summer dress.
“Can I sleep alone?” remained unasked!
She had wanted it from quite some time. She was thrilled. She took it gratefully…
Her kids danced around her,”Yes Mom… the Chance of a Lifetime!”
Really.. her heart asked…can I sleep alone…just for a night…without anyone fussing over me? Can I say it aloud? Can I do it, even if I am not unwell?
Her husband had come pretty close and kissed her. It was a delicious sight for her children. It filled them with security and happiness. All was great in their world.
Her world…sometimes, she longed for a mental space when worries did not crowd her…where the insecurities of finance did not surround her… when the heavy workload of home and work demands left her; a time when her body muscles did not ache…a time when she could state her mind’s and heart’s desire to just be left alone with nothing to do…
Her husband had picked her up to take the kiss to its logical conclusion and headed to their bedroom.
She sighed. Everything was perfect. She was just being philosophical and a tad bit ungrateful. She shrugged and looked into the eyes of this man who had given her this perfect world. So many women would love to change places with her.
Simply greedy and illogical, she was being.
“Tzzzz Tzzzz..” rang the cell phone!
Her husband frowned and set her down reluctantly.
” Hello, Ajjubhaiya.. Yes.. When?? Ohhh! Yes Yes, ofcourse… I will join you. ”
He looked at her. “Renumaasi from Pune, she is no more… Ajjubhaiya is on his way. Mom and us will have to go. The kids have exams, so they will understand if you and bhabhi don’t come.”
She went to the cupboard, fetched the travel bag and kept a few clothes. The rest would be provided in their family home in Pune.
She turned and looked at the sofa.. Her blanket…the children off to sleep…silence and solitude for a few hours…but she did not want her husband to go!
Should she be happy or not with her predicament. Had she got what she asked for?
A Women’s dilemma…to merge or be separate?
Where lies her wholeness? In dependence with others or in being independent?
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Top image via Pixabay
First published here