The alarm clock was about to make a screeching noise and just in time I grabbed the phone, swiped it across the screen to stop it from snoozing before it could wake up others in the room. I woke up from the bed and then with sleepy eyes walked to the dinning hall, opened the tap of the basin and splashed some water to properly wake myself up. It was still dark outside as I opened all the windows of the house. The birds made their tiny voices heard. Sometimes I think such tiny creatures are the happiest ones. They can fly flapping their wings and in whichever direction they want to and whenever they want to. They are synonymous with the word freedom for me. Someday, I too want to fly away like them to a far, distant, and unknown land, away from all the cacophony…. may be someday . I looked at the wide canvas of the sky with infinite horizons, holding so many secrets in itself and yet keeping absolute quietness. I paused for a few seconds before my thoughts tapped me on my shoulders and I had to return to my reality.
I went ahead and opened the door before the bell could ring to disturb the serene silence of the morning. Rajni, our maid had arrived. A sight that I crave to see every morning lest my day becomes a little more chaotic than it already is. She walked in and went on with her routine tasks of cleaning the floor with the broom and other series of tasks assigned to her. I got myself engaged in wiping the dust off the surfaces of all the pieces of furniture. I looked at the watch and could only panic that I had been slow today. I hurried into the kitchen and the four-burner gas kept staring at me, challenging me to master it. I just had a little less than two hours to prepare breakfast along with lunch and every second was precious now. A look at the vegetable storage cabinet of the fridge and I quickly made all the permutation and combinations of the dishes that had to be made. A parallel calculation of how to finish the leftover food, when to start preparing for the next dish kept running in my brain. With all the calculations done, I had to now implement the plan with finesse as there was no other alternative, well there never is. Rajni had left by now with her usual banter of how late she was for the next project in hand, the next household that she served.
A look at the four-burner gas again and I wished and prayed to have a set of two additional pair of hands in my next birth if I had to repeat an equivalent life pattern. I closed my eyes for a split second before taking the crazy ride which I repeat every single morning. The vegetables got chopped in different sizes and eventually got converted into two kinds of sabzis, the milk got converted to tea, the flour transformed to chappatis and many many metamorphoses took place with just those two set of hands. I kept praying to Almighty to help me keep the pace going and not slow down.
While I was busy packing the tiffin boxes, I heard ” Mumma…. Mumma, I am not able to get my toothbrush!” .The elder one had woken up! “Mummaaaa…” He screamed, irritated at his failure to find what he wanted. This was his fuss when he wanted me to brush his teeth, a morning dose of pampering that he demanded from time to time. I ruffled his hair and helped him finish the task. He grinned at me mischievously, knowing that his real intentions were very well known to me. I wanted to scold him but the innocence in his smile had an upper hand where I could just manage to direct him in my firm voice to quickly complete other tasks and be ready by the time the school bus arrived.
I rushed to the kitchen. A delay of eight odd minutes can snowball into major consequences! I hurried again and started attending to the four flames that were adjusted on different modes, some on the sim, some on low, and some on high, testing my ability to give equal attention to each one of them. After few minutes, the pressure cooker whistled with its tilted cap as if giving me another reminder to not lose focus. Just when I was feeling a little relieved that I had magically managed to adjust the eight-minute delay so far, I heard my little one cry!
Why did she wake up now? Another 20 minutes of her sleep was still intact! Did something happen? No, she can’t have a temperature and all. She was fine the whole night. I rushed to the bedroom ,to my baby while directing the elder one with big eyes to wear his school uniform ASAP. I discovered that my little bundle of joy had wet herself and that is the reason why she had woken up. I quickly changed her diapers and tried pacifying her while praying simultaneously for the school bus to delay itself at least today and that would be a miracle. I tried putting the feeding bottle in her mouth to make her at ease but she kept pushing it out. I had to tend to her myself today. I kept tapping her gently on the back while the elder one did as per the directions that my eyes kept giving him. I passed on a little note of thanks to God as she had fallen asleep on my lap. I safely put her on the baby bed, tucked her in, and gave my little fairy a small peck on her rosy cheeks.
I almost ran and completed everything on a war footing pace before the school bus honked right on time. I almost dragged my firstborn with his tiffin and water bottle, and we both ran the whole stretch from my veranda to the our gate while shouting ” Bhaiya… Wait…. Bhaiya ” The driver Bhaiya with his big mustache gave us his usual irritated look and nodded. My child was now on the bus, sitting on the window seat and waving me a bye with a smile. I feel relieved every time I achieve this moment. A sense of fulfilling my duty. I wanted to stand there a little longer and reciprocate the gesture to my child, but I just couldn’t. I had to rush back as I realized that probably I just had another one hour before the office time and again everything had to be in order.
My husband had woken up by then. I knew he wanted tea more than anything after waking up and I made sure this was complied with so that I didn’t have to hear his taunting remarks the whole day. I went quickly into the kitchen, brought the tea to a boil, and went straight into our bedroom to hand him his cup of rejuvenation.
“Come on… where is your smile? A cup of morning tea should always come with a smile !!” He remarked.
I forced a smile and handed over him the cup. I rushed back to my chamber; my place in the kitchen to make preparations to set the breakfast table and pack his tiffin.
After another one odd hour of continuous working, I managed to see my husband off on time, thereby experiencing another moment of relief.
I sighed, took my cup of tea, and sat on the sofa, taking my first sip and breathing some life into the robotic me. I looked at the newspaper and the headlines gave me a headache. I put it down instantly and switched on the TV set. Before I could set the channel number, the home channel had started playing with some Baba giving Gyan about how easy it is to find happiness if only we could focus on now, the present moment. I wondered if I was happy, well I guess, I was. This is my world now. This is where I belong. I gave up my job to create my own little world with care, affection, and complete dedication. How can I be not happy?, I asked myself. I took a long breath in and then exhaled out . Just then I realized that my little one had woken up and wanted my full attention now.
Sharing the load can actually make not one, but all involved truly happy in today’s fast-paced world.
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