She sank on the sofa after the day-long training. It was supposed to be fun – the training. The faculty was good and topics were engaging. A lot of brainstorming was done at the end of the session. But ‘The brainy one’- as her colleagues used to call her, was unusually quiet. The reason was simple – her heart was not at it.
She had no reason to be upset about this whole training thing. She had only asked for this. Actually, she had asked for a few quiet days, still as backwaters. She had everything a woman dreams of, a nice home, a jolly life partner, a bright kid (She should not mention him as kid, though! He’s entered his teens now). The only thing she lacked was peace of mind. She was always bursting with tasks at her hands: getting up at 5, making meals, giving ‘the boys’ a wake-up call, setting up breakfast for them, sending them off to their destination, gobbling her own breakfast, getting ready for office and finally leaving house at 8 o clock. At night: Coming home at 8PM, making dinner, serving dinner, cleaning afterwards, and finally taking updates of her son’s studies and activities. Weekends were also full of activities.
In this busy schedule, she never got a chance to sip a mug of coffee in solitude, curling up on the recliner with her favorite book in her hand. She had many hobbies like gardening, painting, and playing squash. But her life didn’t permit her to take timeout for herself. She never complained about it too, well certainly not until now.
Though, now this had changed. She used to think that nobody cares for her or the things she does for them, or cannot do because of time crunch. Agreed, this was her duty, but that didn’t mean she shouldn’t get a reward. She used to get incentives and awards at work for her excellent performance. Well, she was performing at home too, and she didn’t expect any fancy award here. All she expected was a hug, or two words of gratitude showing that they appreciated what she was doing. But she got exactly opposite of the same. The things that were running smooth were never recognized, and whenever there was a glitch, she was the one to blame. She was also astounded by her husband’s tendency of bashing her whenever her son performed badly. But when the same son would win over something, he used to take the credit.
All these things along with the menopausal hormones led her to think that she was not loved anymore. That whatever she would do, they would never appreciate her. This negativity was weighing her down. So she asked, no, prayed for some quiet days, where she would be free of all this drama (according to her, anyways) and worries. She wanted to live that bachelor life again, just for few days. She wanted to taste the freedom of getting up late, sipping bed-tea, eating meals that were not cooked by her and sleep whenever she wanted. She wanted full access to the TV’s remote control, wanting to watch all the sappy movies which normally she missed because of the game of cricket. She wanted to go street-shopping.
And so, when her boss wanted to send her to the One-month long training to Pondicherry, she pounced on the opportunity. This was the break she was dreaming of. She sought after peace and what other place could be better than Pondicherry to find peace? In her mind the countdown had begun, her travel plan was set. She would visit the Auroville on the first weekend there, then Aurobindo Ashram. Next weekend would be reserved for the beaches. Then she would visit all the temples and churches. And on the last weekend she would go on a shopping spree. But she would not exert on weekdays. Just be the coach potato for the weekdays.
And she followed the routine too, for a couple of days. But at nightfall, she used to become restless, checking her cell phone for countless times hoping to receive a call from ‘the boys’. She missed them a lot. But was this feeling mutual? She sometimes doubted it wasn’t. In the next instant she used to brush them away saying that they simply didn’t know how to show love. Every night she was the one to call them. Interestingly, whenever she called them, they were out having fun.
‘Well, like father, like son. They don’t need me anymore.’
She used to think.
This feeling was what triggered her loneliness. She was in a paradise, but she didn’t wish to open her senses and enjoy nature’s abundant beauty. Every day she met with many intelligent and influential people at the training, but her mind couldn’t focus on the interaction. In her mind the countdown had begun, again!
Finally the day of return had come. She was going back to her old life. She was tired suddenly. The training had been very informative, but extensive too. This demanded a lot of energy. Plus, she also spent significant amount of energy thinking about her husband and son and how they were doing. She was exhausted mentally and emotionally.
That night she slept like a log.
She was a little surprised when her husband insisted that he come to receive her on the airport, but as she had planned to take a pre-booked cab, she told him not to come.
As she entered the lobby to her apartment, she automatically reached in her handbag to take out the keys, assuming that nobody will be home. But as she inserted the latchkey into the slot, the door flew open and her husband greeted her, an apron tied around his waist and a sheepish smile on his face.
“Hi, uhh… You are early!” He said tentatively.
She just stared at him as he stepped aside to let her in and took her luggage to the bedroom. she threw one quick glance all over the living room. It wasn’t messy; they had tried their best to clean it up. But to her eyes everything seemed out of place. The flower vase was out of sight; in place of it sat her son’s helmet. The sofa was adorned with same cushion covers that she had changed one month back. There was dust on the coffee table. She couldn’t even imagine how the rest of the house will look like.
She looked up only to find her husband staring at her. She shielded the reproachful look on her face and asked, “Why are you wearing an apron?”
“Umm… I thought you will be tired after the journey. So I am cooking dinner.”
Her jaws dropped at the unexpected answer. She was about to say something when her son walked in the room and hugged her. She heart was warmed with their gestures. The last time they hugged was his 11th birthday, or was it 10th?
“Hey mom, when did you come?” he said.
“Just now. “She said her voice heavy with joy.
She knew he wanted to say many things but just like his father, he didn’t know how to express things. For a quiet moment they all looked at each other.
“I am happy to see you guys.” She finally decided to break the awkward moment.
“Me too” they said in unison as she laughed at how similar her son had turned out to his father.
“Well it seems you guys have lot of activities lined up for me” she said suggestively as she glanced over the room.
“You know well how hard it can be to cope up with all this with an angry teenager at your side.” Her husband muttered under his breath.
“Dad! You better check what has happened to whatever you were cooking, because I smell carbon.”
Her husband hurried to the kitchen.
She was amused. She couldn’t remember when the last time they had such light-hearted conversation was.
“I think I should go help him” she told her son, who simply nodded.
“Hey mom!” he called out as she rose and took a few steps towards the kitchen. She stopped and turned.
“I just… I just wanted to tell you that I missed you a lot.” He said awkwardly and was quiet for a moment. “And … dad is a terrible cook. We had to eat out every day.” He said with a sheepish smile which reminded her of his father. “And yes, that was not the reason I missed you.” He finished and stared at her, his eyes full with love she hadn’t seen in months.
“I know, I know!” she said, her voice thick with emotions.
She continued walking towards the kitchen to her loving husband who was at present attempting to cook for her. She knew he wouldn’t make it without getting third degree burns, so I was wise to intercept at this stage only.
She smiled broadly as she saw him desperately trying to salvage whatever was there in the saucepan. She was home now, and she was suddenly at peace.
she serves the dinner and does the laundry,
She is the liveliness of house, she is the beauty.
without her the house is nothing but a mess,
She is wife, mother, and a perfect hostess.
Do you know who is she? I know without doubts!
She is the one and only: The woman of the house.