Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
They were her parents, and she knew they would stand by her no matter what, even if her choice saddened them. May 2016 Muse of the Month winning entry.
This year, we bring you the Muse of the Month contest every month. Congratulations to all the winners of the May 2016 contest.
The cue for May 2016 was:
“Doubling that peaceful sense of contentment was the beaming pride she saw shining in her parents’ eyes.” — Kavita Kane, Sita’s Sister
The fourth winning entry is by Hip Grandma.
Her parents meant the world to her. She had seen them struggle to give her the very best that they could manage to give. Good education was a priority but it did not stop there. They realized that she could sing well and sent her for music classes. She was just six years old when she was awarded the first prize in a talent contest held in school She barely understood why she was selected to sing in the school choir but managed to sense that she had somehow risen up to their expectations and made them proud. She saw it in their eyes.
Doubling that peaceful sense of contentment was the beaming pride she saw shining in her parents’ eyes.
She grew up to be a beautiful young lady. A jealous relative decided to be mean –
“She looks better than both of you. Are you sure she is yours? Or did babies get exchanged in the hospital?”
She was outraged. How dare she say something like that? She was about to react when something stopped her.
They were proud of her. A beauty with brains! The insult didn’t mean a thing to them. They had been among the poorer relatives in the family and yet people were jealous of the product of their love.They felt like achievers.
She was a trifle embarrassed. But she could not deny them the pleasure.
She grew and took her place in society. She landed a job in a multinational firm. Their joy knew no bounds. “She is already drawing a salary that is more than what I get” beamed her father. “And I am nearing retirement”.
The company sent her on an assignment to Australia. It looked as if they were planning to accompany her. They pored over the Atlas, checked out the weather conditions in Australia and worried whether she would be able to deal with the cold weather having lived all her life in Chennai. If they had their way they would have put up an announcement in the local newspaper and told the world how proud they were of their daughter. She had to hush them up.
“My company is sending a whole team with me. We are a group of seven trainees and a senior manager will be accompanying us to guide and direct us”.
Finally she married a man who doubled up for the son they did not have – the satisfied look in their face said it all.
She has made the right choice – they beamed. We could not have found one better.
As she had observed on so many earlier occasions – Doubling that peaceful sense of contentment was the beaming pride she saw shining in her parents’ eyes.
But had she made the right choice? She was not sure. Her husband was certainly not the person she took him to be. He seemed to put on an act in front of others. May be it was not even an act. Whatever it was within a month of their marriage she realized that they were not made for each other.
He was good to everyone and went out of the way to help neighbors and friends. He made regular weekly calls to her parents as well as his. He expressed concern about their health and tried to make them comfortable when they visited. It was in the privacy of their home that he became an entirely different person putting her down whenever he could.
Her responsibility towards her children slowed down her progress at work. She took a break when they were infants. Instead of appreciating her decision to place her children ahead of her career and later picking up from where she had left, he chose to be sarcastic.
“What have you achieved that no one else has? Anyone could do the job you do.”
She was either overdressed or did not how to dress as per the occasion. She never tried to cook food the way he liked it. The food was either too bland or too spicy.
“Are you cooking for an invalid recuperating after a prolonged illness? If you cannot even do this much I don’t know what else you can. I think you should take a break and learn culinary skills from my mother. She has magic in her hands!”
But there were other times when he would be nice to her. He’d surprise her with flowers and gifts. He would arrange for someone to look after the children and take her out for a candle light dinner. He’d wake up early and fetch her bed tea when she least expected it. She was truly confused. Which side of his nature was real? His bad behavior was never directed towards anyone but her. Was he trying to be good just to offset his sadistic behavior? Would anyone believe her if she told people that there was another side to his nature?
She wondered if he had some mental disorder and was bipolar or mildly schizophrenic. After all he did seem to show symptoms of a split personality. She wanted him to go for counseling. When she suggested that he should meet a psychiatrist he flew into a rage and almost hit her.
She could not muster courage to share her worst fear with her parents. For the first time she found the pride she so often saw in their eyes, to be a limiting factor in her interaction with them. Could she shatter the sense of peaceful contentment that filled their heart? The faith they placed in her capability now seemed to be burden. She felt alienated from them. How would they react? Would they be disappointed if she decided to end the marriage in the worst scenario? Would they feel humiliated in eyes of their relatives and friends? Should she remain trapped in a suffocating relationship for their sake? Would they want her to do it?
However, it was time for her to act. This could not go on forever. A solution had to be found before it was too late. She owed it to her children as much as to her parents. She would ask her husband to go for counseling and make it clear that his emotional abuse had to stop here and now. The sense of contentment that her parents had felt till now needed a change of direction. They would have to derive satisfaction on seeing her take charge of her life and feel proud of her decision to say ‘no’ to abuse – whatever the reason.
She realized that her parents would stand by her come what may. They had always been her cheer leaders. Neither was their faith in her fragile nor was the pride she saw in their eyes misplaced. She could count on their support come what may. The very thought was soothing to her mind and brought solace to her troubled heart.
Hip Grandma wins a Rs 250 Flipkart voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the 10 top winners at the end of 2016. Congratulations!
Image source: worried Indian woman by Shutterstock.
The Hip Grandma lives in a small industrial town called Jamshedpur and despite all its
Lovely unfolding of this story and the interesting way you have used the writing cue ! I particularly liked the line – they would have to derive satisfaction on seeing her take charge of her life…and her decision to say ‘no’ to abuse!!
Thank you Sonia.
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