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“You know, in our days we hardly went to our parents’ home once or twice a year, that too during festivals. This is your home now… We are your parents now.”
Swathi finished up in the kitchen, and stepped into her bedroom. She glanced at her husband who was already in bed fidgeting with his phone. She sat on the bed and took a moment to gather herself. Slowly she leaned over towards her husband and planted a kiss on his cheek. He smiled barely looking up from his phone. Softly she started speaking… being very careful how she constructed the sentence.
Vikrant…. I was thinking of going home this Saturday for a few days.
His smile faded and he stared into the phone even harder.
After a few seconds of awkward silence, he said, you going to your parents’ home so frequently doesn’t look good, you know…
Saying that he turned his back to her and went to sleep. She lay awake thinking of struggle that lay ahead of her.
The next morning, she woke up with a heavy heart, she prepared breakfast for the family, and packed up lunch for her husband. Her husband left without a word.
Still working in the kitchen with her MIL, she hesitantly started talking. “Aai… I was thinking….can I go to my parents’ home this Saturday…?” Her MIL looked up, disappointment clearly evident in her eyes, “ask Baba” (FIL) was her answer for everything else.
She nodded and went about doing her work. An hour later, she was dressed and ready to leave for work and dreading the ride to her clinic with her FIL. In the car, they talked about the weather and other mundane things. She was mustering up the courage to ask him the Question. She tried but her tongue failed her and she had reached her destination. He dropped her off and went about to do his work. She worked till afternoon and went back with her FIL in silence. Once home she scurried to the safety of her room and with new determination went out to serve lunch to her FIL. Trying her best to keep her tone light she broached the dreaded question, “Baba, can I go home, this Saturday?” He looked up and went back to eating. After lunch he asked her why she wanted to go and how long she intended to stay?
She answered that there was no specific reason, she just wanted to visit and would be back in a few days. “Okay.” he said.
She almost ran to her room and called her parents, to tell her brother to come and get her.
Later that evening her MIL chided her, “Baba didn’t like that you want to go to your parents’ house, but he still gave you permission. At least don’t stay for long. People start talking. You know, in our days we hardly went to our parents’ home once or twice a year, that too during festivals. This is your home now… We are your parents now.”
When Vikrant came home at night, she excitedly told him that Baba had given her permission and her brother was coming to take her home. He gave her a wry smile, “That’s good. But make sure next time you go home only at Bhai dooj and not in between. You know my parents don’t like it. And anyway what is it that you don’t have here, you have freedom, my parents allow you to work, you have all the comforts in the world… ”
Swathi’s smile shrank, she wanted to say, “They are my parents, I miss them. What has the world got against it?” But she didn’t want to start a fight and diminish her chances of going home. So she stayed quiet…
Image source: pixabay
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