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They have had this argument before. “I won’t like it if you talk to anyone but family on Facebook”, her husband had made it clear earlier. She doesn’t want that episode to be repeated.
Every morning, even before getting up from bed she feels worried thinking about the household work she has for the day. As she gathers her loose hair and ties them up in a tight bun, she makes a mental list of tasks waiting for her attention. Every morning is more or less the same; dishes to be done, clothes to be washed, floors to be mopped, kitchen to be cleaned, windows to be dusted, breakfast to be made, kids to be sent to school, husband to be sent to office, and so on.
It is not until late morning that she gets time to make herself a cup of tea. This tea is her only solace of the day. The only time she borrows for herself. With each sip of the ginger cardamom tea, she refills her tired soul. Sometimes her neighbours decide to drop by for a friendly banter or to share a plate of delicacies. But today, today she is alone. She feels happy to be all by herself. It’s a privilege to not to be called for anything, she thinks.
After a few minutes, she gets up to bring her phone which was charging in the living room. It is the first smart phone she has had. It’s her husband’s old one. It works just fine except that it frequently hangs. But at least, she no longer has to wait for her husband to come home to call someone. She can now check on her mother any time of the day. So, however slow or old the phone is, she has no complaints.
Her 10 years old daughter had taught her to use Facebook and how to send messages on WhatsApp. It took time to learn, but she is now slowly getting a hang of how the internet works. She now likes to be updated about her nieces and nephews on Facebook, whom she doesn’t meet often.
As soon as she switched on the mobile data, notifications started coming in. That’s also a reason why she never picks up her phone when her husband is around. He doesn’t approve of her using a phone. “Why do you need a phone, you stay at home all the time?” he asks. Now she thinks so too, so she never asks for a new one.
As soon as she opened Facebook, she saw a friend request. The name reads ‘Joy’. She doesn’t recognise the tall and well dressed man in the picture. “Who could it be?” she murmured. “Joy?” she thought for a moment. “Is it really Joy?” she excitedly asked herself as she scrolled down his Facebook profile. There are many photos of him. He is married now. He has two kids, and a dog too. She is happy to see how well he is doing in life. They used to be such good friends in college, and now she didn’t even recognize him. She thought of those sincere farewell promises of keeping in touch forever.
She wanted to talk to him. She wanted to know where he lives, where he works. She wanted to ask about his wife and kids. There are so many things to talk about. She smiled thinking how wonderful it would be to invite his family over for dinner.
But she didn’t do any of it. She didn’t even respond to his friend request, knowing her husband won’t approve of it. They have had this argument before. “I won’t like it if you talk to anyone but family on Facebook”, her husband had made it clear earlier. She doesn’t want that episode to be repeated. She doesn’t want her husband to know that a male friend from the past has sent her a friend request, when he checks her phone at night. She doesn’t want any discord in her happy marriage. So, she deletes the request.
She brushed aside this thought of reconnecting with a friend; like every other tiny desire. She is used to it now. She has learned to weigh her every action on the scale of her husband’s likes and dislikes.
“Perhaps that’s how love works”, she thought, as she got up to prepare the afternoon meal. Her husband would be home for lunch soon.
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