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“Are you saying that I am responsible for this aloofness and mundane life? I am the one struggling here between home, work and kids. I am no superwoman.”
The alarm seems to be not working properly. I am late again! Naina ran towards the kitchen, scolding herself for sleeping late at night.
“Tea is ready,” his words resonated in her eardrums. Am I daydreaming? Slowing her steps, she reached for the cup of tea. She was surprised, but maintained her calm while settling down on the chair.
He sat down opposite her and quizzed enthusiastically, “How is it?”
Seriously! She tried to gulp the steaming tea too quickly, and burnt the entire tract of her taste buds.
It tasted amazing. She suppressed her disbelief and managed to speak in her usual tone, “It tastes good.”
He smiled and patted his shoulder. She smiled back and hurriedly tried to finish the tea, but he asked her to slow down and enjoy the aroma.
“I have to prepare their lunch boxes,” Naina huffed and dismissed his request.
“Don’t worry; I have chopped the vegetables and kneaded the flour. So, take your time.”
There is something wrong with this man? Or else I must be hallucinating? After all these years, what has happened to him?
She contained her misgivings and said, “Thank you!”
As she entered into the kitchen, her legs froze at the sight of the horrific mess. The platform was cluttered and untidy with vegetable leftovers. Flour trailed on the kitchen floor. Almost all the kitchen pots and pans were out of place.
It was not the time to show her displeasure. She cleaned the minimal leftover space and prepared the breakfast for her twin toddlers, getting the kids ready for their school.
During this mayhem of an hour, she mentally checked the to-do list for the day before leaving for work. She was finding it difficult to concentrate… these sleepless nights…
She nearly fell off her chair when she realized he was sitting close to her. He pulled himself away swiftly as she shrugged. In that moment… the silence, the awkwardness, the coldness was most evident.
What happened to us?
“I see you reading these days till late night. You don’t sleep well.”
“Yeah, it is not possible during the daytime.”
He pulled his chair closer, cleared his throat and tried to converse, “It has been three years since they came into our lives. We are over the milestones of breastfeeding, diapering and restless long nights. Let us think about ourselves, just you and me. This silence, monosyllable conversations, half-heartedness, has turned our lives to run-of-the-mill.”
He continued after a pause, “Is it possible to fall in love with each other, again? If not like our first date, be it like our fights of those days, which we used to end up often with after accidentally bumping into each other.”
He was smiling. It made her knees go weak and twirl like a silly youngster, just like the good old times. How she wished to smile back through her teary eyes. She tried to hold the tears back, but failed to. He tried to wipe them off but she she signalled to him to stop.
“Are you saying that I am responsible for this aloofness and mundane life? I am the one struggling here between home, work and kids. In these years, has your career graph dipped, have the official trips lessened, or have you extended your support in household chores? I am no superwoman. I am here in this marriage because I love you and I am a responsible mother.”
She sobbed uncontrollably. He took her clamped sweaty hands and said, “Naina, I’ve realized that I have let you down many a times but now I want to make it up to you. Let’s not keep anything from each other that hurts.”
He came closer and she melted into his embrace. She cried, he carressed, they kissed. He tried to sway her into his arms but then the doorbell rang. He whispered his plea, “Give me a chance.”
She giggled and asked him to open the door first. The house help had arrived. As she entered the kitchen she asked, “Didi, some earthquake came or what?”
Yeah, and the tremors dusted off the thickened agony and lovelessness.
Naina asked her to clean the mess and gave the required instructions for preparing lunch, and rushed to get ready for her office.
He too was rushing to catch up with office time. Before leaving, he tiptoed into the room, admired her in the mirror and said, “You look gorgeous in this ocean blue shirt.”
He kissed her passionately and waved a good bye.
While driving to office, it occurred to her that love, compassion and compatibility was always there just like those trees, cattle, śāl forest, tube wells, playground, and kids.
The earth had music but she turned a deaf ear. Nothing had changed over these years except her grief stricken lonely self. She decided to listen, enjoy and swing along.
She reached her workplace and walked in with bouncing steps and blushing cheeks.
Did she twirl? Cannot say, as she was in love all over again.
Image source: pixabay
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A researcher, an advocate of equal rights, homemaker, a mother, blogger and an avid reader.
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