Nevertheless, She Persisted!
Nevertheless, She Persisted!13 mins 192 13 mins 192
‘Wake up, here is your tea,’ Kavisha chirped.
As she moved the curtain to allow the sun to peek, I rolled over to the other side of the bed. The freezing temperature of Delhi was already taking a toll on my health and hocking phlegm had become a normal routine. Inspite of that Kavisha never let me sleep till late. The maid has come- she would always say and force me out of bed. In our three years of marriage I had realized one thing that she was eccentric. She wanted things in order. She wanted cupboards to be clean. She wanted chores to be done on time. And if by any chance things were not according to her will, she would start working on them almost immediately. Her habit irked me. Always.
It was a Sunday when all this began. Having slogged for one whole week, my body was low on energy and high on emotions. With each ray of the sun I could feel the warmth over my blanket. But the light blinded my vision. Squinting my eyes when I looked for Kavisha, I accidentally punished the poor cup that was placed on the side table. With the steaming tea splattered over my hand, I jumped out of bed and hurried to the bathroom to put my hand under the running water.
‘Why on earth would you keep the cup on that table everyday?’ I barked.
‘It is already 8 o’ clock. The maid has come and she needs to clean the room. Since you came home tired, I thought a cup of tea will refresh your mind and body,’ slurred Kavisha.
‘I think one extra hour of sleep would have done just the same.’
Kavisha left the room. She wasn’t angry; I think she had become used to my outbursts which had become more frequent recently.
I went out and saw her running behind my younger son with a glass of milk. What big deal, I thought! She is always badgering him to do things he doesn’t like!
‘Kavisha, I am hungry. Are you going to let us all starve because you have another agenda in mind?’ I taunted.
‘One moment. It is ready. I will serve in a moment,’ she panted.
By that time my elder daughter had come down for breakfast as well. There was something strange about her. Her hair was unkempt; she was still in her night suit and had not even brushed her teeth.
‘Now what’s with you? Why haven’t you changed?’ I inquired.
‘Why? Am I supposed to?’ she countered.
‘Is this how you talk to your father?’
‘Effect of the same genes, I guess.’
Fuming with rage, I rushed towards the kitchen and stared at my wife right in the eye.
‘Is this what you do the whole day? Teach the kids how to disrespect elders?’
She didn’t say a word. This was not something new. Anything that went beyond my control had to be, by default, blamed at Kavisha. She had retaliated in the past. But I had never paid any heed to her explanations.
The day wasn’t going well for either of us. I grabbed the newspaper and found a comfortable spot in the verandah. The warmth was just sufficient to cease my shivering. Kavisha brought my breakfast outside. We did not even exchange any glances. Within no time I had finished my poha and had read the first half of the newspaper. Before I turned to the next page, my eyes were at stalk, for I saw my wife’s name. May be it is someone else, I thought. But to my utter dismay, it was my wife’s name. I understood that she was awarded the ‘noble citizen’ award for the year because of her charitable work. I knew she had been teaching the poor children for quite some time, but never in my wildest imagination had I visualized her being acknowledged.
I folded the paper and got up pretending that nothing had happened. Our Sunday was mostly spent in finishing household chores or watching TV. Kavisha asked me after an hour to check if the vegetable vendor had come. I ignored. She asked me again after ten minutes and I persisted. Finally, she left the unwashed clothes and hurried to the balcony to check. But still, she didn’t say a word. I saw her grabbing the basket and wearing her slippers. Wondering where she was off to, I croaked,
‘Where are you going?’
She didn’t answer. I resumed being a couch potato. My younger child came running to me and urged me to change the channel.
‘Why don’t you read something. TV is bad. Papa bought a nice book for you last week. Where is that?’
‘Oh yes! But I don’t know where that is. Can you help me find it?’ he asked.
‘I will come in a while. Till then why don’t you go and search in your cupboard?’
And I forgot all about the book. Minutes later, Ravi (my son) came running with the newspaper in his hand.
‘Mummy is in the paper, mummy is in the paper,’ he shouted at the top of his voice.
‘What, really?’ interrupted Kavisha.
‘Why would mummy be in the papers?’ I smirked.
But then she saw the photograph. She was exhilarated.
‘You know how I have been teaching these kids for a while now. The society decided to nominate my name for the ‘Noble Citizen’ award. I won. Isn’t it exciting?’
‘If only I had some free time, I would have also done some charity work. You should dedicate this win to me. Only if you stepped out of the house and worked like me, you would understand what life really has to offer,’ I snorted.
She did not say anything. Later that day, I went downstairs for a walk and met Mr Mehta, who resided in the same building. He was all admiration for my wife. And I could not take that.
‘It is not such a great thing. She has desires to do things that never cross her mind when the sun is in the sky. Had she told me about it, I would have helped her get this award long ago,’ I explained.
At dinner, my wife asked me to drop my daughter, Ria, to her tuition classes.
‘Why? Why aren’t you going to drop her?’ I asked.
‘I have to run to the bank as my ATM is blocked. They are issuing new cards to all the customers whose cards do not have a chip.’
‘Yes, I know. You can do that later.’
‘But I have been postponing this for long. Since you are on leave tomorrow, I thought if you could drop Ria and I could go and get the new card.’
‘Kavisha, I might be on leave but that is for me to rest so that I can resume work on Tuesday. Please stop giving excuses.’
She didn’t argue the toss. And I decided to persist on what I had said. We went to bed late, for I had to catch up on the new episodes of Crime Patrol while Kavisha had to wind up the kitchen and get things ready for Ria and Ravi.
The next morning I woke up late. Very late- literally and figuratively. Kavita was gone. Ravi and Ria were not to be seen either. I didn’t know what to do. I called on
Kavisha’s number but it was switched off. As I paced around the house, I spotted large paper hanging on the fridge with the help of a fridge magnet. It had Kavisha’s handwriting.
When my alliance was fixed with you three years ago, I wasn’t ready for the marriage. I had refused. But my parents persisted and tried to convince me by telling me that you the right person who will make the sun shine brighter for me. I couldn’t understand the real essence of that statement but it sounded good! Finally, I gave in to my parents’ wishes and started dreaming about a life that was no less than a utopian world. I had you in that world and I thought that was enough. What I did not understand was the fact that sometimes respect becomes more necessary than the presence of the person. In my three years of marriage, I have learnt a lot from you. I know you are different. Even I am. And what is the use of marrying someone who is just like you? Neither would you learn anything from your better half nor would your better half learn anything from you.
I learnt that no matter how much I care for you, you just don’t care back. I learnt that no matter how much I do for you, for our kids and for our home, it will never be enough. I learnt that instead of rejoicing at my victories, you rejoice at my failures. I have failed to connect with you on an emotional level. I have failed to give my best. Your scornful remarks make me feel miserable and I think this is the right time to get back to being what I was before. Trust me, I was better then because I did not bow before anyone. I have dropped the kids at school but I think you will have to pick them up. I am not seeking separation but I need some time to rediscover my soul- the soul that I lost while catering to your demands. I need time to rise in my own eyes. I need a break.
Not yours anymore
It is said that if you wait for the happy moments, you will wait forever. But if you start believing that you are happy, you will be happy ever after. We come across many people in our lifetime-most of them are like garbage trucks that run around throwing frustration, anger and disappointment. When their garbage piles up, they look for another host to share their load and they dump the garbage on the new host. I was once a garbage truck. Or may be I am one even now.
As I put on my jacket and set my hair looking in the mirror, the sudden vibration of my phone alerted me.
I will be there by 12. Urgent meeting lined up. Okay?
Kavisha’s text sent jitters down my body. She had finally agreed to meet me after a long haul of two months. It was already half past six and my eyes were heavy and sore. I came home late last night and was kept awake by the kids because they needed my help in their Math project. Juggling between the roles that were earlier divided between Kavisha and me, I had lost the track of time. I wanted her back. I couldn’t do it anymore. I put the messy sandwiches in the lunch boxes and asked my kids to put the boxes in their bags. With grumpy faces they asked me the same question for which I did not have any answer. The next few hours were filled with frenzy. I couldn’t wait for Kavisha to come back and take over the in-house responsibilities.
Few hours later in a restaurant...
‘Why did you want to meet me?’ she probed.
‘I want you back. Please come back home,’ I pleaded.
‘You don’t need me anymore, Ritvik. I still have those unhealed scars- not on my wrist or thighs but on my heart and soul. Your hurtful words still haunt me at night. It is only now after two months that I have resurrected my identity.’
‘Don’t you feel guilty that you are running away from your responsibilities?’ I rebuked my stupidity instantly after I asked her this. My ego and my manhood were trying to get the better of me.
‘Responsibilities? I work the whole day managing the house, the kids and other chores. I buy, cook and store food for the family; I make clothes, wash them and iron them so that three of you look immaculate every day. You grumble about not getting enough rest. Did you ever ask me if I needed a break? And when I took a break voluntarily when no one understood my need, you call me irresponsible! Think again, Ritvik!’
‘I get your point but you should understand my plight as well. I have been trying to reach you since a long time, but you wouldn’t put your ego aside even for a second. How could...?’
‘I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I have become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste time on what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature.’
‘But I am your husband and we are meant to be together. Are you saying that we should file for a divorce?’
‘I don’t know. I need time alone for myself. I am done pretending to care for all your needs and trying my best to be a better parent. Seeing you like this has made the children lose all the respect for me as well. I need time to figure out things. I need time to come out of this jigsaw. I know this is a risk but I am willing to take it.’
I didn’t say anything. Nevertheless, she persisted.