There is a sheet of paper-virtual, Microsoft outlook compose an email,150 words- Arial, font size 12 and 120 seconds difference between 'working' and 'not working'. It took me two minutes to draft my resignation letter after two weeks of my wedding and eight years of working in the corporate. My husband was scheduled to travel to the US on H1b visa and myself on H4. It did not strike then. The thunderbolt hit just after three weeks of landing in the United States.
I left my job and relocated with him simply because I wanted to be with him. It mattered so much to me or maybe to my hormones. Isn't it strange how ambitious, talented, knowledgeable, smart young women do not give a thought before dumping their job just to be with their husband in an alien land? It does not take long for lovemaking to be reduced to sex, the soft whispers and 'bombshell' fragrance of a newlywed to transform into a clatter of unwashed dishes and fishy odour of unwashed underwears. Six months down, I chose to have a baby for lack of anything better. One day I googled suicide and immediately logged off fearing I would get what I was looking for. I have a baby, I reminded myself.
It's been ten years of 'not working'. First, I did not have a work permit, later the rust, as they call in a rapidly changing world, did not permit me to work. The past two years have been increasingly onerous. Latest certifications can make you market-ready but where do you get certified for confidence, the genuine one, the kind of pride that beamed on your face years ago and the world seemed to throb in your fist. I belonged to the category of people who dreamed of something bigger and better, of expanding and going beyond the orbit they are born into and stepping outside their tiny spheres of existence to sparkle like Sirius. Now I play hide and seek, though growing up as a child, I was never adroit at sports or board games.
My neighbour broils me with envy because she comes home every evening from work, exhausted and drained but resplendent with satisfaction and pride. I lie to her that I am a work from home Marketing professional, and a thriving freelance food blogger who has a series of food festival invitations pending. I evade potluck lunches, social gatherings, parties because I must live my lie of being a working mom. Sometimes, when someone knocks at the door, I immediately open my laptop, throw some papers around and transform my expression to suit the lie. Once the door closes, I crash on the floor repulsed by my own game, huh!
Tomorrow is a new day and I have two interviews lined up for market analyst at a startup. The freshly printed resume smells of ethylene glycol as I slip it in a black leather file along with a cover letter written in - Arial, size 12, certification proofs and other minor details. There is something missing in my file...again.Does CVS sell confidence pills? I pick at the cuticles tearing the dead skin. Back of my mind, a thought lurks; a batchmate back in India got promoted as Director Marketing for a multinational. Her Linkedin account was swamped with congratulatory messages. She is doing good in life, I am not poor too. My husband is reasonably affluent. We are not rolling in money but a decent amount does roll up every month through his paycheck and we are taken care. Howbeit, is money the only driving force behind work? I wonder.
Author's two cents
Thank you for your valuable time. I hope you enjoyed reading -a slice of life- not big enough to be a complete story, not small to be a quote. It is just what is it- a slice ...from the life of a woman torn between identity, love and marriage. This is not something new and this is not something that will ever go away. Life tests your patience and I hope each woman who finds herself on the unsteady, rocky cliff, hanging precariously finds the way back to happiness.