The morning alarm is the only true companion which despite of my hatred and shouting, still wakes me up every day. Without opening my eyes I just stopped it ringing and given myself 5 minute bonus sleep. Exactly at 7:00 am, I am awake and now it’s time for me to start my daily routine. By 8:30 Mahira and Mihika, my daughters will leave for their colleges and half-an hour later my Husband Ravi will leave for his office. Before that I will have to take shower and do the morning Pooja, clean-up the bed and rooms, prepare the break-fast and lunch for them.
Oh! By the way, I am Madhurima Srivastava Aka Madhu. A mother of two beautiful daughters and wife of a Merchant banker; and this is- me in the middle of the hunt of “Finding myself”!
It’s been 24 years that I am successfully and happily married and it’s been 24 years that I have been following new schedules with every passing stages of my daughter’s lives. If you would ask me who am I, 24 years ago; I would have told you that I am an Engineer and a motivational speaker, a daughter of proud parents and an independent girl.
Now my introduction includes- I am a “home-maker”. Though the responsibilities are much-much higher and important, though I am being valued the most in the family; though I am being called first in every matter and I am not at all ashamed of what I am; BUT- this “But” is something which makes me feel that there’s still no ME in all this.
The Individuality, the confidence, the zeal, the Spark which were the “plus-points” of my personality then, are now the motivating factors for my daughters. I tell them about myself and my struggles only as “stories” of my youth until last month, there’s “something” which got changed in me for life from last month.
Last month on a “as-usual-type-Friday” when I was done with my daily routine, for a change I walked out to the nearest market, I accidently met Samira, my friend from college. She looked so radiant and smart. We went to the nearest coffee shop and spent hours talking about all the good-old days. She is now working in an MNC in Bangalore and her family relocated there too with her. She is a mother of two kids and her Husband is working in a Govt. Organization.
When she was talking about her office and work, I was just thinking in mind- how does she manage? On her every explanation, I was giving myself an excuse to satisfy myself that she and I are not in similar stages.
But my self-esteem could not be held long and I asked her -
“How do you manage Samira? When did you thought you should start working? How your family manages when you are at office?”
Samira smiled and patted my shoulder – “You have let others do some work on their own to make things work for you my dear”.
“What do you mean?” I asked her confusingly.
“Look Madhu, as of now, your home is your utmost world and your children, your husband are your major and fore-most priorities in life, which is why all the daily routine and work for them, from morning till night is not a big deal for you and in all of this- YOU have LOST yourself.” She came close and looked at me.
“But if I will not look after my home or them, my home will not be the way it is now! Everything will not be in place if I will not manage everything.”- I justified her.
“Everything will still work Madhu. Who told you to stop caring for them? Who told you not to manage? Who told you not to look after your home?
But, who told you to lose yourself in middle of all these? The answer is – “YOU!” –she pointed at me.
“Me?” I was surprised.
“Yes! When we get married, first year of marriage seems like the shortest year of the entire life. We focus on adjusting ourselves in new place and whole new environment; and then we get blessed with kids, our every thought process start revolving around those innocent lives.
When our children were kids, we thought- we can’t work, else who will take care of them? When they start going to school, we thought- we can’t work because there’s no room for my work schedule in their development time and it will hamper their growth. By the time they pass-out their schools, we feel- we are of no use for the Business world and now it’s not the age to start working again! This is “US” Madhu- restricting ourselves and doubting on our own powers and strength!”
Samira looked at me and I could so relate to her every wording. Yes, this is what I have been doing all the while. So many times Ravi have told me to start working, but every time I denied saying all the above what Samira just said; and now, everyone is engrossed in their own schedule. I am on the other hand busy in finishing the household work, maintaining the home, buying grocery or going to relatives places and waiting for my husband and kids.
Samira held my hand and continue- “There’s no perfect time to start Madhu. You were one of the top students, the most loved and popular speaker. People used to admire you, love you and you, yourself had so many ambitions. Start all over again, use the techs and then sky is your limit. Just you need to “Let go” a little and there you are- Back on track! - She smiled and hugged me.
Meeting Samira was an eye-opener for me. She was right, that we confine our world into a shelter which only has family. We under-estimate the strength and overlook our personality.
I assured myself that there will be difficulties to start all over again, but in life nothing is simple. I am sure the habit I have given my family, the dependencies they have on me- it will be difficult for them to step by my side, but I am sure they will learn gradually. The battle of finding myself is not the battle with the world or society or family, it’s with me because I have to gain enough confidence to step in to the old Madhu.
After returning home I was full motivated and charged-up. I was ready to discuss all these with Ravi and my daughters.
‘Mom, you look so happy today. What happened?”- Mahira asked me as soon as she noticed me.
“Yes, something good happened today. I will tell everything after dinner.”- I smiled and winced at them joyfully.
After dinner, as usual we all went for a quick walk. I was bit nervous, my throat was dry as if I am giving an interview. “Achha Ma, you were about to say something that time. Tell us now!”- Mihika innocently asked me.
I cleared my throat, nervously smiled at both of them and then looked at Ravi (who looks totally clueless).
“Today I met one of my old friend at market. We chatted for hours and while I was talking to her, I realized that there’s something which I am missing in my life or I should say I was ignoring..” I took a pause and looked at them.
All of them was looking questioningly at me.
“I want to work again.”- I stopped and said softly looking at the road.
It was all silent as I finished speaking.
I nervously looked up at Mahira and Mihika. Before I could see their faces, both of them hugged my tightly,
“Finally! Mom, this is so great news!”
I was feeling as if I am dreaming..
I instantly looked at Ravi, who was standing right in front of me. I had a request in my eyes, a permission to take from him. He was there in all my decision and I was there in his; inside me, I wanted to take permission from him for this new start and want him by my side.
He was looking straight at me with straight face, I was not sure whether he liked my thought or not, I was not sure what to do, if Ravi disagree.
Ravi walked towards me and looked straight in my eyes.
He took my hand and held it with both of his and said- “I so wanted to see the old Madhu from long back. I missed her every day, I am glad that at last somebody could change your mind. Feel free, think, do research, do whatever you want to do, it’s a big YES from all of us!”.
Tears rolled from my eyes and I could barely talk. All of us hugged each other for a minute and started talking about all the possible things I could think of starting.
I could not describe the happiness I felt inside me that day. I realized that, it was ME who was not ready to take the step.
The entire night Mahira, Mihika and Ravi choose their respective works at home and also made a schedule for me, so that till the time I actually start something I can invest my time in doing some research work.
Today is different!
No no, not my alarm; today also, my alarm is the only companion who wakes me up at 7 am without failure. Today also Mihika and Mahira will have to leave for their colleges and Ravi has to go office too. But what is different is-
"Today is my first day at office where I have been given the role of a “Motivational speaker” and I have to inspire other people to believe in them. The difference is - Earlier I used to speak about the stories of other successful personalities but today, I have one to share!"