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I didn’t want to hear anyone’s voices and see anyone’s face anymore! I removed my car from the parking lot and drove away. As far as I could get from everyone and from myself!
“Mummaaaaaaaa!” my child yells.
“Anusha where is my laptop charger? I can’t find it!” My husband asks me.
My MIL adds to it, “This house is such a mess! Toys are scattered everywhere and things are not kept in the proper place. No wonder Viren can’t find his charger! It wouldn’t take much for you to be a little more organised. Why do you buy so many toys for Aarav? I never bought Viren that many toys when he was small and he turned out just fine!”
I ignore what she says and ask Aarav to pick up his toys and put them in the toy basket while searching for the charger.
With a toddler around, it is difficult to manage things. Everything is a toy for him and he misplaces important things. How do you stop him when he can climb chairs and open locks now?
My mil starts again, “Why are you asking him to pick up the toys? He is too little, he doesn’t understand! Ask him to do all this when he grows up. I’ll only pick it up.”
I stop my mil and tell her, “I’ll do it Ma, you relax.”
I look at the watch it’s almost four in the evening. It is time for Aarav’s dance class; I need to get him ready.
“Aarav please get ready, you have class in ten minutes!”
“But Mumma I don’t want to get ready. I want to bunk class today,” Aarav replies.
“Yes why not Aaru? You can bunk class today. Let him play Anusha, it is no big deal if he misses one class,” Ma says.
“He already missed the last class Ma, it will become a habit. Nowadays he says I want to bunk school too!” I replied.
“He’s just in the second grade! Not like he has to give a board exam. Unnecessarily you are making a big deal about things! So what if he doesn’t attend school a day or two?” Ma scoffed at me.
Aarav danced in glee, “Yayy no dance class today!”
I replied sternly, “Get ready immediately and log in for your class. You can’t miss class again and that’s final! You are anyways dancing around now; might as well dance in class!”
Ma looked at me with anger, “Why will you listen to anyone? You keep troubling my poor baby! Who am I to say anyway, you are the mother after all!”
She is interrupted by my husband Viren.
“What is all the commotion outside? So much noise! How can I possibly work from home like this? Anusha can you make a cup of tea for me, please? I am craving for it.”
I help Aarav log in and enter the kitchen to make tea. Ma follows me and asks me to make some snacks too.
”Viren must be hungry, make something to eat for him.” She said, continuing, “Anusha what is this? The whole sink is full of our lunch utensils. Why haven’t you washed it yet? It is so unhygienic to keep the kitchen dirty like this. You should have immediately washed it after lunch. Now that the maid is not there, we need to do all the work by ourselves. It is our responsibility to keep the house clean.”
I apologised to her, ”Sorry Ma but I got busy with mails, I had a few back-to-back important calls so I didn’t get the time to clean the kitchen. I’ll do it right now while making tea.”
“Washing utensils hardly takes up time! Make it a habit to finish cleaning them after lunch every day.” My MIL replied.
Thudddddd!! We both heard a sound and rushed into the bedroom where Aarav was attending his class.
He fell down while dancing. Ma tried to rush into the room to check on him but I stopped her.
“Wait for a moment Ma! Look he is getting up on his own and is starting to dance again.”
She was really upset with me by now, “What kind of a mother are you? If you don’t care for your child it is okay but I love my grandchild a lot!”
“What if he is hurt? How can you ignore him like that?”
I replied patiently, “If he was hurt, he would be crying right now, not dancing like he is.”
She stomped away in anger.
I stood in the kitchen waiting for the tea to boil whilst washing the utensils. My phone rang and I realised I had totally forgotten about an important concall. I ran out to get my laptop so that I could log in on time.
Just as I was logging in, Viren called out to me, ”Babe is the tea ready? It has been a while.”
Before I could even answer Ma answered , ”I’ll get it for you. I don’t know why she takes so long to make a cup of tea.”
She was welcomed by the tea on the kitchen platform. It had spilled all over the cooktop and the platform!
My bad! In my rush to log in I forgot to reduce the gas!
“Wow look at this! Half of the tea is already wasted; now there is just enough for two cups and the kitchen is a mess to even look at. I’ll only clean the utensils and the platform now!” she remarked. “Here is your tea Viren. Do you want biscuits with it? Anusha hasn’t made anything to eat. I had told her to make snacks.”
Viren replied, ”No Ma I don’t need anything. Are you and Anusha not having tea as well? I don’t see your cups.”
“Of course I am having. See my cup is on the dining table. Anusha spilled most of the tea so there is not much left for everyone. She has to get on a call now so I don’t think she will drink tea. Let us both have it. She can make it for herself later on!” she replied.
“Let me give her half of mine.” Viren got up to share his cup of tea but he was stopped by Ma.
“You have it Viren. I’ll make a cup for her in five minutes; by then her call will also be over.”
She and I both knew that she was not going to make that cup of tea for me!
Aarav finished his dance class and I finished my call. I rushed to the kitchen to tidy up so that I could take Aarav’s studies in the evening.
I called out to him, ”Aaru hope you had fun in dance class. Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes Mumma, I had so much fun! I love dance class!”
“Can we study after a while? You have exams coming up soon. Just for an hour? Okay?” I asked my little one.
He happily said a yes and pranced away.
I cleared the mess in record time and sat with Aarav to complete his homework. I had a few emails to reply to as well. I didn’t know I could multitask so well before I had a child. Maybe I should be adding it to my resume.
Ma entered the room and sat beside us, ”My poor baby! He must be so tired! How much you make him study! First dance class now studies; he doesn’t even have time to relax! When are you going to start making dinner? It is almost six now! By now your dinner should have been ready. It is good to eat by seven and sleep early.”
“Just some time Ma. I’ll finish his studies and make dinner soon,” I replied.
“It is okay Mumma, you make dinner now. I am so tired! I don’t get time to relax. First dance now studies!” My child repeated the words of his granny.
Viren entered the room and asked Aaru what he was doing.
“He is so tired and he wants to relax. He just told Anusha but she keeps taking his studies!” my MIL answered instead of Aarav.
“It is okay. Let him play Anusha. If he is saying he is tired then he must be.” Viren replied.
I was overwhelmed and exhausted beyond words. I was tired of being judged, I was tired of all the unrealistic expectations!
Every inch of my being needed space. I wanted space from all the madness and I needed to breathe!
I needed to be away from all these people- my children, my MIL and my husband. I wanted to feel what it was like to be ‘ME’!
I wanted to remember who I was before I became a wife, a daughter-in-law and a mom.
I had reached my limit! I could feel my inner urge taking over me. I had lost the last bit of my patience and sanity!
I could feel the frustration and urge increasing inside me. The urge to leave it all and burst out of the front door not looking behind!
Something got into me and I grabbed the car keys, my purse and ran out of the door. I didn’t want to hear anyone’s voices and see anyone’s face anymore! I removed my car from the parking lot and drove away. As far as I could get from everyone and from myself!
I could hear my husband’s and my child’s voice calling out to me but I didn’t look back. I had to ‘Run’!
I drove farther and farther from home, from my darling husband who didn’t realise his folly, from my innocent but needy child and his day-long cries of Mummy! Mummy!
I ran away from the house we built together with love, from the mess and the chaos that I couldn’t handle anymore, from the power struggles between me and my MIL, from the expectations I couldn’t keep up with, and lastly from all the mayhem and noise!
I drove for two hours around town; I passed street lights, markets and people. The blaring sound of the horns and the hustle-bustle of people gave me greater peace than the sounds from my home. I could finally feel I was far away from all my troubles.
I felt my burdens slowly slipping away- the physical tiredness of working all day and the emotional turmoil of not being able to manage things. I could finally hear my thoughts again!
I parked on the side to catch my breath; I sat in my car and looked around. I saw a lady watching her toddler play in the park while feeding her younger one with a bottle.
I wondered if she ever got tired, I wondered if she could handle two children, her home and her work.
I wondered if she ever felt like running away just like I did.
I didn’t have answers to any of the questions. I closed my eyes and exhaled! I removed my car from the parking and took a U-turn back in the direction of my home.
I wasn’t stressed anymore, I felt light and I could feel my heart beating in my chest normally. It wasn’t racing anymore.
I was not damaged anymore, I was happy and I could breathe!
I was ready to be a ‘Mother’ once more! My ear’s missed the repeated sounds of “Mummaa”, “Mummma”!
I missed my home and wanted to go back to the life that I loved.
I felt I was a new person as I rang the bell to my house.
Aarav came running to open the door.
“Mumma where did you go? I missed you and I was waiting for you! I made a car town with blocks, please come and see it.”
My husband and MIL were quiet.
“Are you okay Anusha? I was so worried. Where did you go and you didn’t even take your phone. I have been calling everyone since the last two hours to check on you.” Viren asked me.
“I just wanted some fresh air so I went for a drive,” I replied.
“Next time please tell me before you go running off like that! You scared me love.” I could see Viren was worried.
Ma asked me, ”Is this the way to behave? Viren was so worried about you. It is already nine now when will you cook and when will we eat?”
I was calm and composed. “Let us order out today. Who wants pizza?”
“Me, me, me” Aarav danced around me.
“Sounds like a plan! Been a while we ordered pizza.” Viren said.
“Why pizza? It is not good to eat outside food. If you had come home on time, you wouldn’t have had to order pizza.” Ma was angry.
I replied, ”I want to order pizza because I feel like having it. It is okay to take a break from cooking.
Yes I do burn meals at times, my kitchen is a mess and the tea I make sometimes overflows but my child is well-fed and healthy.
I might not have enough time to indulge in art and craft activities with my child because of my work, but I do take the time to play with him as and when I get. We love acting silly together and it doesn’t matter if nothing productive comes out of it.
When he falls and I don’t help him get up, I teach him to trust in his own abilities and rise on his own after a fall.
The house is in a mess and the toys are scattered but that means my child is using his creativity to explore things and the environment. He will be little just for a while and I will miss the mess then.
I encourage him to attend various classes so that he is exposed to different activities. He can make a sensible choice of what he wants to do when he grows up. Maybe be will grow up to be a dancer or a footballer, the possibilities are endless.
I want my child to be disciplined and responsible, so that he completes his homework on time. This has to be taught young.
When I ask him to pick up his own toys, I am teaching him to participate in the household activities so that he grows up to be a good human being.
Before I became a mother I thought embracing motherhood would feel like buying tutu’s, clicking adorable pictures, cuddling your baby and being a yummy mummy but in reality, it is changing diapers, handling tantrums, selecting the best for your child and maintaining your sanity through it all!
All mothers know they are blessed to have their little ones and they wouldn’t change a thing about them (though it would be nice if they ate all their vegetables and slept through the night) but we all struggle to find balance.
We question ourselves if we are doing our best and if our best is enough! There are days when you don’t comb your hair, you don’t remember when you last had a bath or visited the parlour.
It is hard for me to multitask and I battle with feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. I may not be perfect but no one would ever love Aarav the way I do. I am the ‘Best Mother’ he could have and the ‘Only Mother’ he wants!
Nothing will ever be perfect because I am not perfect, and we might never have it right but I will strive for more laughter, less perfection and fewer expectations!”
Ma was shocked as she didn’t expect such a long monologue from me but she realised her mistake.
“I am sorry Anusha, I didn’t realise what I was doing and how difficult I was making things for you. All these unrealistic expectations I burdened you with. You manage home, work, and Aarav so well; even I couldn’t do it as well as you.”
Viren who was standing sheepishly all this while hugged me tight, ”I promise not to take you for granted anymore! I will help you with the house and with Aarav too. It is our house after all!”
All was well in my home.
Running away from the chaos taught me a valuable lesson today. I was striving to be a good mom, a good wife, a good daughter in law, and a good employee. But it was impossible to make everyone happy!
You cannot always hold the fort alone; you need help from the others who live there too. Perfection is a myth and a Perfect Mother is a myth too.
You can love your family with every bit of your being and all your heart but still feel the need to escape them sometimes. You can feel fed up and overwhelmed at times. Sometimes you forget yourself and who you are because you are busy playing so many other roles. In times like these it is okay to run away.
Just grab your keys and burst out of the front door. There is a world that awaits you outside!
Run away from the chaos. Run away till you feel the fresh air in your lungs, run away till your heart feels lighter, run till you feel renewed, refreshed and run till you find peace!
Your body might come back tired and famished, but your heart and soul will thank you. Take those few minutes every day to escape from the monotony-read, draw, sing or just sleep. You’ll find the girl who was lost and burdened by the cares and unrealistic expectations of the world.
Running away is the best decision that I took for myself and my family!
So what are you waiting for? Go Run away from home!
Image source: Still from Eastern Condiments Ad, YouTube
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From all news reports, clearly, Aftab Poonawalla seems to be a psychopath, and It was a well-strategized story of domestic violence, abuse, subjugation, and a well-planned murder.
Trigger Warning: This deals with domestic violence, gaslighting, murder, and abetting violence, and may be triggering to survivors.
One case has gripped the nation and I do not need to mention which. My problem is with how the news reflects a victim’s character. The disrespect we show to someone who was long abused and lives no more is appalling. The disservice we do to her through spoken and written words lies in the sensationalizing of the entire case.
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Fathers play a crucial role in nurturing and raising children, so why isn't paternity leave considered essential?
Some time ago, Bollywood couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt were in the news, yet again. An entertainment website, Bollywood Hungama, reported that the expectant father, Ranbir, wished to take paternity leave to spend time with his baby when it arrived.
The website claimed that the actor would not be signing new films for the time being. He would take care of the child, while his wife Alia would return to work at the earliest.
One would think the internet would laud this sweet and thoughtful gesture. Instead, Ranbir got trolled for his decision to be a stay-at-home dad. Netizens made fun of him; they claimed that it was because he had no offers in the pipeline, and Alia was far more successful than him. Others claimed that it was the right decision – his recent films (other than Brahmastra) had bombed, and it was time he reflected on his roles.
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