Maze

Anahita sat with her fingers on the keyboard but her mind far away. She was a columnist with a local weekly, writing her feature from home but was just not able to concentrate today. Earlier she had been able to keep her professional and personal life apart, but the recent events had confused her.
Married to Ajay for 16 years, having 2 kids-Suhani 14 years and Sanket 9, Anahita felt trapped. Initially Ajay’s possessiveness made her happy. She felt happy that her husband didn’t want to share her with anyone. But as the years went by she realized that it was not possessiveness but ego. While her career was going good, had got her name, fame and money, his had been slow going. She had been a banker earlier who had resigned her job so that she could devote more time to her family. Had taken up feature writing because it gave her flexibility of time plus she could work from home. Singlehandedly she had raised their kids, looked after their home, connected with friends and relatives while Ajay was BUSY. So where have I gone wrong, she thought. His constant nagging and bickering was getting too much.
She remembered in the beginning when she became famous, she had expected him to be happy for her. But instead found him to be grouchy and as the years gone by he had become sullen. She had taken a break for two months in the summer this year devoting her entire energy to the family but the situation had not improved. In the end she panicked. She thought if her marriage was going to break how she will survive without a career and rejoined her job. It had affected her children too. Suhani had become shrewd; she understood her parent’s equation and manipulated the situation to further her wants. While Sanket still young didn’t understand what was going on and had become confused and timid.
At the moment the phone rang. ‘Hello-hi Rob’, she answered. Rob was the editor of their weekly.
’Anu how is the feature coming up’.
‘Not so good Rob, been thinking’.
‘Make some decision fast, Anu, If u say no we have to think of alternatives.’ And he hung up.
Rob was retiring soon and she had been offered his position. Which meant a better pay, more responsibility and she would have to spend time at the office. Will I be able to do this but more important will Ajay allow. But do I really have to take his consent, am I his property?, she thought.
The phone rang again, she picked it up and said automatically, “yes Rob”
“Anu Its me Ma”, her mother said.
“Ma”, she said and the entire tumult of her life came out in tears and slowly she told her everything. In all the 16 years she had never told her problems to her parents not wanting to trouble them. But now she wanted solutions and didn’t know where else to turn.
Her father could sense something amiss when his wife spoke over the phone. And got real worried when she sat down with a sigh. “what happened’ he asked. And she retold the whole conversation.
‘ I think she should give up this career of hers and just do what he says. After all he is her husband and she should respect his wishes’, she concluded.
‘is it? Years back when she wanted to be a housewife, who had asked her to work? Because they needed the money. And has she ever neglected her duties. In fact it is he who has shirked his responsibilities. Has he been with her for any household chore or has he attended any school function. She has been managing alone all the time. He wants a wife who will earn and give him money but he can’t accept her as his equal. Hypocrite.”
‘I am going to call her now and tell her that whatever decision she takes, I am with her. Just because I have done her Kanyadaan does not mean that I have thrown her out of my life.’
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