Anika opened her eyes slowly as the rising Sun's rays caressed her pretty face. Usually, she would have jumped out of her bed realizing that it was too late, if she were at her home. She turned to her side and closed her eyes as a feeling of tranquility enveloped her. She was far away from her home, kids, in-laws, work and above all her bossy husband Ashish. Though he was her 'life partner' but only for a name sake. She had to shoulder all the household responsibilities and the family, single handedly, apart from handling her work pressures. Ashish never cared to bother about anything except focusing on his career and bank balance even though the parents were his and children were his too.
"Enough is enough," Anika snorted as she thought of her self centered husband.
She has made a promise to herself to not let him staple her under his feet. She promptly took three vows - to make time for herself, to do things that she love to and to take a much needed break from her boring routine life. She sent her kids to a summer camp as soon as their summer vacation began. She appointed a home nurse to take care of her in-laws and told Ashish sternly, as he tried to intervene, that she was human too and was badly in need of rest and relaxation. She packed her bags, left a note for Ashish who was sleeping soundly at that time and left for her ancestral home by the early morning flight. Her parents had died years ago and the house was empty except for a maid who came to clean the house once in a while.
She got down from her bed and made coffee for herself. She sat in the garden enjoying the scenic beauty of rising Sun along with a cup of coffee. Her thoughts wandered back to her home in Mumbai, to her struggles there and finally to Ashish. He also held a postgraduate degree in management like herself and was in favor of letting her pursue her career after their marriage. But he never understood the role that a husband has to play to make a working woman's life flow smoothly.
He behaved immaturely and sometimes even rudely when she asked for his cooperation. She too had work pressures like him. But once they returned home, she had to play the part of a housewife as well. She had to cook, help kids in their studies and take care of her aged and ailing in laws. While Ashish took no involvement in any of the family matters and was free to do his work at home as well. Anika could attend to her official jobs only after she has taken care of the home and family. And hence, she had to burn midnight oil while everyone else dozed peacefully. She was also the person to get up early the next morning before anyone else did and help everyone get ready to face the day.
In return of her toil, she was never applauded and her efforts were never appreciated. On the contrary, she was the one who was blamed for everything. If the children didn't do their homework or fared badly in exams or even fell ill. She was labelled as a bad mother. If the interiors were awful and the food was bland she was accused of being a bad wife. No one ever cared for the sacrifices she has done for the sake of the family. It was her, who took a day off from work to take care of their ailing kids or to take his aged parents to the clinic. She was equally qualified and talented as him. But she had to struggle through the burdens of her household responsibilities before she could think about her office work. While Ashish does nothing except sipping coffee and making presentations for the client meetings. The same job she does in the dead of night while he enjoys the comfort of sleep. If she ever tries to revolt, he threatens her to resign from her job and sit back comfortably at home.
But why should she resign? She also had studied hard to reach the position she holds today in a multinational company. How could she let go of the job and let all her hard work that she did over the years, become worthless. Moreover, if she is able to stand equal to him today, it is only because she isn't dependent on him financially. If it weren't so, she would have to literally beg to her husband for every penny!
She was jolted out of her thoughts as her mobile phone rang. She went to pick it up and chuckled as she saw Ashish's name flash on the screen.
"Desperate...huh?" She mocked him before picking it up.
"Anu," Ashish's voice trembled, "Our son Sid has fallen from a swing while playing. His left leg is fractured. Please come back Anu, he wants you. He is not taking any medicines and is not listening to anyone else. You were the one who have been taking care of all of us, all these years. We all are already missing you very badly. We all have realized we can't survive even for a second without you. We all have admitted, how vital a part you play in our existence. Forgive me Anu, but please don't punish us anymore. Please come back."
Anika has never heard her arrogant husband talk so meekly in all these years. But instead of pleasing her, his agonized voice rendered heart broken.
"Don't worry, Ashish," she said in an almost teary voice, "I'll be there soon."
She sprang to her feet and packed her bags to reach home as early as possible, stuffing her three vows back to some dark corner of her heart.