Yaa right, that’s what she wanted – a break from work. Maya thought that she was finally getting some. After a long time, she would have all the time in the world for herself. Her daughter was going out for a school sports camp for an inter-school athletics competition. Her husband was away on an official tour. Her recent guests (her cousins) had also left eventually. Tomorrow is Saturday and she was already making plans for it. It’s been a long time since she was so excited for the weekend.
She decided she would get up really late, cook something really nice for herself. She planned to spend the whole day watching movies. She had the blu-ray print of all 8 Harry Potter movies, never had time to watch them in one go. She loved Harry Potter, because she believed in powers, in magic and in magic wands. “Wow, two days full of Harry Potter!” she thought excitedly. She got some potato chips, popcorn, juice, maggi and was all set to have Harry Potter marathon over the weekend – all alone.
Maya slept most peacefully on Friday night after seeing off her daughter at the railway station. She was worried about her teenaged daughter – Sia. But she also knew that Sia was exceptionally good at athletics and it would be so unfair for Maya to stop her daughter’s aspirations for her own inauthentic fears. Sia has always been truthful to Maya and Maya knew this really well. Never once Sia tried to hide anything from her mom, not even when she had her first kiss. Maya knew she can trust her daughter. Once she reached home and reminded herself about the fun-filled weekend she will have, she was over her worries about Sia in no time.
Saturday morning came, it was 7:30 am when her phone rings. Maya receives the call and it turns out to be her maid, who calls to inform her of the leave that she is taking. Disappointed Maya relaxes herself, it’s just a 2-hour job to clean up the house. “I’ll be done with it by 10 am and then I can start the movie marathon with my breakfast”.
She calls up Sia and her husband to know if everything is ok with them. Then she starts cleaning up the utensils. It is almost 9:30, when she is almost done with the work. Just then, her phone rings again. This time it is her brother in law. He just tells her that they are coming for some wedding to her city and would like to visit them and stay for the weekend. Surprised and shocked Maya tells him that her husband is not home, but like a good host she welcomes them to come over. “Yes, we’ll come over Bhabhi. We’ll be there by 1 pm and have the lunch with you” her brother in law says and hangs up. She informs her husband of the plans, and he too decides to return on Saturday night, since his brother’s family is visiting. Drained are all her plans of having the weekend to herself!
She just stands in front of mirror unable to control her tears. And before she even realizes, she is already sobbing like a baby. Just one day she wanted for herself. Just one day when she doesn’t have to cook for everybody and eat the left overs herself; just one day when she can wake up really late; just one day when she can be happy with the house all messed; just one day when she can be herself. No, but that one day is not today. She tried explaining this to Rajiv multiple times, all that she got was “What do you do the whole day? Just sleep, right? Do you know how much pressure boss gives me daily? And you only have to cook and clean, how much is it really?” She doesn’t have an answer to that.
Last weekend Rajiv came back late from work and told her that he would have food at office itself. She didn’t cook that night, it wasn’t required. Both mother and daughter had afternoon’s leftovers. 11 pm Rajiv wakes her up, she got scared to see him so furious. “You don’t even have courtesy to keep some food for me. I am working so hard trying to impress my boss for the next promotion. Do you know what it takes to attend his parties and appreciate him for nothing? After all this, my wife quietly sleeps and doesn’t even ask me if I want to eat.” Maya quietly got up, cooked a meal for him. She could never make a mistake of not keeping his clothes washed and ironed all the time. He hates even a bit wrinkled clothes.
Last month, on Maya’s bday, Sia gave her a greeting card. Maya knew that her daughter was really good in writing. She expected something very touchy and emotional from her. Sia wrote “Mommy, I love you a lot. I know I don’t have much time for you these days. But I really love you and will never hide anything from you. You are the best Maa, and you know why because you cook really awesome food for me. ” Maya was happiest that day; it was after ages somebody called her cooking awesome.
She knew cooking since the age of 17. She had always loved to cook. And when it came to decorating her house, nobody could beat her. When they bought this flat, in a month’s time she turned into a beautiful haven of flowers and beautiful colors. She really had a taste in décor. She always wanted to be an interior decorator, but then she didn’t want to be too busy making other’s lives beautiful. She was happy to keep the skill only to her place. Rajiv used to get his friends home just to show off his wife’s skills in décor.
But her interest in decorating and cooking had gone down drastically after years of marriage. She knew what the reason was; she knew that she wanted some appreciation. She wanted some recognition that she was a great cook. She wanted somebody to hold her and tell her that she does a lot for her family. She is the one who holds this family together. She is the one who takes care of their hygiene, cleanliness, nutrition. She is the one who makes this home, truly a home. So what, if she doesn’t go out and work; so what if she doesn’t earn a penny and is financially dependent on her husband. So what? That doesn’t reduce her talent in any way. That doesn’t make her less in any way. She did not work because she wanted her family to be a priority, but is it really worth if the family doesn’t understand this. She wanted Rajiv to acknowledge just one small fact that, she is important to him. She wanted to hear this from him just a few words of appreciation.
Crying in front of the mirror, she knew she didn’t have time. She’ll have to start preparing lunch and clean up the house to be guest-friendly. She did not want to upset Rajiv in any case. She wanted him to feel proud of her. But she knew deep inside that she is only working, to hope for some words of appreciation is not the right of a Housewife. All because, she gives priority to her house and her family, she is not entitled to any awards, certificates, motivation or salary, not even a weekend break full of movies. She is on full time job and this full time is not 9 to 6, but 24/7. With these thoughts in mind, she quietly returns to kitchen to decide today’s menu.