"I can’t handle this anymore. I have tried and tried and I just can’t anymore." These were the thoughts running through my mind as I looked at the full moon from my window. I was breastfeeding my two-month old daughter, Riya, while my son Aryaan was fast asleep next to my workaholic husband, Arun. I was surrounded by people – our family of six and about fifty employees from my publishing house and yet I found myself feeling completely lost.
I have always been a working woman, working 24/7 to tend to my family's needs, in addition to the few hours I invest at my publishing house. But sometimes I wonder about the direction my life is headed in. I couldn’t stop wondering when I had last spent a day on myself in a spa, or in a library. I was so caught up with the duties, customs and traditions of my life that I was starting to suffer from an identity crisis.
Homemaking is a passion you can pass on from generation to generation, American writer Elizabeth George once said. For almost a decade now, my life had been about striking a balance between the roles of a daughter-in-law, a wife, an entrepreneur and a mother. Honestly, I was tired! I almost choked on my emotions as I fed Riya. I wanted to cry out loud – I was so desperate to have a day just to myself. My heart aching, I slowly drifted to sleep.
I woke up very late the next day and soon realised I was all alone in my room. I squeezed my eyes and rubbed them hard. As I walked out of the room, I could see no one else in the house. I felt scared and lonely, walking from one room to the next. Soon I could hear some whispers and giggles – they seemed to be coming from the backyard.
Barefoot, messy braids all over my face, I ran towards the backyard where I could now see my whole family decorating the porch with flowers. Breathless, I grabbed Arun’s hand, looking questioningly at him. But before I could say anything, he was hugging me tightly, whispering, “Happy Birthday, darling”. This was followed by a round of applause.
Aryaan was circling me; Riya was licking my cheeks, as usual. My parents blessed me with prasadam made out of dry dates. Arun covered my eyes with his hands and led me to the banyan tree. I opened my eyes to find a brand new car in front of me – a red i10! As I sat in the car, Arun handed me an envelope containing tickets for a three-day trip to Bali with my friends! I was speechless.
Tears rolled down my cheeks. Before I could thank him, Arun grabbed what looked like a diary from the dashboard. “This belongs to you Archana,” he said softly. "I found it in the store-room while hunting for my car keys. As I was picking it up, a few torn pages fell on my feet. I glanced upon a line and could not stop myself from reading further. Each word filled me with guilt. I realized you have not had any time for yourself. I was overwhelmed and could not think of better gifts than these.”
I reached for Arun’s hand and almost burst into tears. Just a few words from my diary had changed so much in my life. It was not so much about the gifts as it was about Arun’s appreciation for me, something I had been blind to all this while.