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The kitchen walls and pillars have witnessed their dance, sorrows, longings, sufferings and laughter.
As soon as Neha rushed inside, her Dadi shouted, “How can you enter the kitchen with shoes? You are turning naughtier day by day.” Neha exclaimed, “Mamma, I am very hungry. Today, Pooja ate all my lunch. I need a lot of milk.”
Neha’s mother, a typical Indian mom got hold of her, “You always narrate a different story for skipping lunch.” Neha quickly folded her hands across her chest and gave a pathetic look to her mom. Neha’s mom smiled at her intelligence and Neha flew as a butterfly grabbing her lotta.
Neha was the eldest grandchild of a closely knit affluent patriarchal joint family where woman weren’t even allowed to stand in front of the household men. The household women knew no place other than the kitchen.
The kitchen walls and pillars have witnessed their dance, sorrows, longings, sufferings and laughter. In her relatives’ point of view, Neha was the luckiest little princess of the family.However, Neha never sensed it personally.
When Neha’s phone started to ring, she was brought back to reality.
“Neha, it’s Diya, what are you doing? Why did you take such a long time to pick my call? Is everything fine? Where is Rahul?” Diya shot one question after the other, While Neha simply replied, “yes Diya, I am alright.”
“I can’t observe that in your voice Neha. Is the problem between you and Rahul getting worse? Why can’t you talk to him?” Neha began with a sigh, “Diya, being women, we have been programmed since childhood that obeying our life partners is the utmost responsibility. What do you expect me to say?”
“Neha, no, don’t assume anything. Rahul seems to be broad minded.” said Diya. “No Diya, I have accepted things the way they are. I am totally exhausted”, replied Neha.
The conversation continued between the cousins for a few more minutes when all of a sudden Neha busted out into tears.
Diya was scared. She said , “Neha, try to control yourself. Please be calm. Drink some water.”
Neha had lost her mom to lung cancer recently. Thanks to her lifelong association to the solid fuel in the kitchen. Since then her behaviour changed drastically which was visible to everyone around her.
Her relationship with Rahul experienced cracks due to her unmanaged stress and depression. She started to feel insecure. She deeply wanted Rahul to be by her side every single minute.
Rahul could not satisfy her needs on a regular basis and whenever he wanted to settle down the issue, Neha would just reply with , ” yes, everything is fine. I am alright. Nothing else!”
Neha didn’t allow Diya to talk to Rahul about this
At the same time, Rahul had figured out that Neha is not going to say what is bothering her. But that doesn’t mean he should not take other alternatives.
One Friday when Neha reached home late night she found Rahul had fallen asleep in the couch. Neha entered the bedroom and when she switched on the light she was surprised to see the walls completely covered with colourful charts.
Every single chart had been written by Rahul and Neha started to read.
“To my Rani,
I open my heart to you. We know ourselves, we are not normal these days. I can realise what you are going through currently. As your husband, I take up utmost responsibility in safeguarding your physical and mental well being.
I don’t want you to cook for me when you are starving. I don’t want you to do rituals when you are in misery. I don’t want you to say, ‘yes I am fine’ when you are really not. I don’t want you to consider my mom as yours just for the sake of having.
I don’t want you to smile when you are gloomy. I don’t want you to live for the society when you can’t live for yourself. I don’t want you to obey me, I already owe you lot. I don’t want you to take care of me when you are not taking care of yourself.
I promise I won’t be the husband who you saw in your father. I promise all my life,I will struggle hard to match the care and affection your mother had showered upon you. I promise kitchen is not your only place of dwelling.
I promise I would love to lend my ears whenever you need to express your thoughts. I promise I will not judge you or offend you. I promise I would treat you the way i want you to treat me. I promise I would share my responsibility in up bringing our children.
I RESPECT YOU & WILL ALWAYS TREASURE YOU.
Rahul had inserted some of their pictures amidst the wordings. Neha had tears in her eyes and smile on her lips.
At that time, she sensed Rahul’s hand gently rubbing her head. She turned around and hugged him tightly. His shoulders got soaked in her tears.
Rahul made her sit comfortably on the bed. She looked straight into his eyes .In a whispering voice she said, “I am sorry.” With a romantic look, Rahul asked, “Is that all you wanted to say?” Neha blushed and replied, “I love you.”
He went to the kitchen and brought a big glass filled with milk. “Neha, here is your lotta“, he said. She remained speechless for a moment and then said, “Rahul, how did you know I am hungry? He crossed his hands across his chest and said I love you.”
Image Credits : Unsplash
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