Vidya climbed up the stairs sighing. It was just May and already the heat was unbearable. Teaching tiny tots as such was tiring, coming home at 2.30pm in the extreme heat was unbearable. She could feel the sweat trickling down her back.
But the thought of her daughter running towards her in joy as soon as she opened the door brought a smile to her face. Her daughter Akshara, 6 yrs old finished her school at 1pm, By the time she came home her husband Hemant would pick her up, feed her and start her on her homework. He being in sales had split timing as many others in the Gulf; 5 hours in the morning and 3 in the evening. Of course he never returned on time in the evenings.
But when she opened the door she could feel that something was wrong. She found Akshara sleeping and Hemant watching TV with a long face. ” Oh something is wrong”, she thought, “Hey had your food” she said cheerfully. “Did you want me to wait for you” he replied. Something disastrous she thought gloomily.
She finished off her food, cleared the dishes, took a deep breath and went and sat near her husband and asked, “Hemu whats the matter?”
“I have got one months notice, Vidi”, he cracked up,”what will we do?”
“Whats the reason”, she said.
“Oh” she said. Kunnimoosa was the manager at her husbands office who was always trying to belittle Hemant. Vidya suspected he felt insecure because of Hemants abilities.
“I am confused, what to do? Return to India or search here for another option?” Being a good salesperson the sudden ouster had shook him.
“Search here for another option”, She replied,”Don’t forget we have two loans back home to pay off. So update your CV and start distributing,” she said.
Why do always good people have to go through tough times, she thought while lighting the evening diya. Her husband was a good honest person who always had to struggle for everything. Anyways I have faith surely he will get something. Otherwise how to pay off our home loan and the other loan. The other loan was the loan taken for her brother-in-law’s business. As if we are millionaires she thought bitterly. But then immediately she thought, I shouldn’t think like that. Bhai saab is the one who raised Hemant like his own son. It was only right that we help him out in his hour of need, she concluded.
10 days passed but Hemant still couldn’t get any placement. Vidhi informed her school authorities that she might be leaving the job. Stopped buying any provisions in the thought that if they have to leave the country they have to finish off the existing stock. The next step she thought was to inform her neighbours and friends that they may be selling off their furniture and then wait for any buyers.
Back in India they would have to ask their tenants to vacate the flat. Oh my God she thought henceforth there never will be any peace. She felt as if she was under a scanner with her mom-in- law and Manjubhabhi around. They could find faults with whatever she did. Right from her bobbed hair to her dress sense to her cooking. But everything is not so bad she thought, we do have our good times, those chai time gossips, those shopping sprees, she smiled. And of course going back to Mumbai with its eateries and its “busi”ness will be fun. And its pollution too she sighed.
Another week passed and Hemant was completely demoralized. The loss of a job added with the fact that he could not find any other opening made him feel as if he was no good.
” Come on Hemant maybe its for the better. Maybe something good is waiting for you back home.” She said. ” don’t know Vidi, what happens if I don’t get anything how to run a house” and the first time in their married life he cried.
“Hey come on Hemant don’t cry.Don’t you know tough times never last, tough people do”. But she too was shattered.
During her evening prayers she always spoke to God. I have always spoken to you God about my troubles and our joys. Please don’t desert us now. Don’t let him lose faith in himself. I will offer a special puja for you at Manama Temple if you show us a way God and immediately thought am I bribing HIM?
2 days later she came home to find Akshara playing at their neighbours and her husband missing. Calling on his mobile she found it switched off. She felt an evil foreboding but kept on repeating to herself-no news is good news.
Hemant came at 5pm with a box of chocolates and hugged her. “Vidi, vidi I got an opening in a British concern”. “Really”, she said. “Yes, actually they are our customers and the GM liked me. When he came to know that I have got the sack he himself offered me the opening and you know at double the existing salary. Vidi I am so glad.”
“Me too”, she said. thank God she thought, is it because of my bribe?
OK now I have to tell everyone that there is no sale of furniture and also the Principal has to be told that I won’t be leaving.
‘Listen”, she yelled, “lets go to Megamart, have to get some provisions. I will cook up a storm tonight. After all its time to celebrate”, she said jubilantly.