“Mummy! Is my lunch ready?” Riddhima asked. “Yes, Darling! Just five minutes!” Anita hurriedly put a phulka on hot tawa and sneaked through the dining room. There was her son, Rohit, standing in front of her. “Mumma, Is my lunch ready?” He asked hastily.
Sudhir was moving hurriedly around the room looking for his socks. He stopped abruptly and looked at Anita. “Where the hell are my things?”
“Let me search, Sudhir. Last night you might have left the socks under the sofa.” Anita put off the gas stove and briskly ran into the other room to get a fresh pair of socks for him.
“What is this mumma? You just have to prepare our tiffin and you delay that too! I get late every day because of you!” Rohit howled.
“Just give me two minutes beta!” Anita quickly started packing all the tiffins. She whirled around the house like an automaton. Sudhir commented, “This is an everyday story in this house. Come on Rohit! I will drop you to the school. I am also getting late!”
Anita raised her eyebrows, gazing at both of them. Then, Riddhima came out of nowhere and hugged her! “Mom! I love you!” She whispered in her ears and moved back in a rush.
There was a momentary pause while Anita stood petrified, helpless. She was silently cursing herself at that moment. She started winding up everything in the kitchen as she had to pay the electricity bills. Unless she reached early the queue would be winding down the road till the dairy booth. And that will take at least another half an hour just to reach the counter.
But first, she had to relax, if only for a moment. She turned up the radio and listened to a station that played old Bollywood songs. She sat mulling over the chaos that ensued this morning and every morning. Then she took a deep breath and sipped her tepid tea. She picked herself up, cleaned the house quickly and went to pay the bill, in a gloomy mood.
On her way back from the electricity office she remembered that Rohit had managed to rip his school trousers. She went back home, picked up the torn trousers and gave it to the tailor for darning. Coming back again she picked up grocery and balanced it precariously on her tiny scooty and struggled to get back home finally with all the load. On reaching home, she immediately set out to make lunch. Then washed the clothes. All this while the FM was playing old Bollywood numbers. It was playing “Bade achhe lagte hain…”. On listening to the song, she remembered her college romance with Sudhir. Life was like a dream then. Now it was a hurried chaotic nightmare with no time for each other. There was no longer any love left, only a nagging sense of irritation.
“When things don’t go the way we plan, it is disturbing. Mornings are constrictive like a tightening chest. But I have a profound desire to make my home, a perfect home!” She drifted away to her ocean of thoughts. “Oh! Sometimes its good to embrace the chaos too!”
Phew! And it was already afternoon.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang and it broke her reverie. It was Riddhima back from school.
“Ahh! I am so tired Riddhi! Will you please make me a cup of coffee?”
“Sure Mumma! But why do you work so much? I wish Dad and Rohit could understand this too!”
“It’s okay, Riddhi” Anita sighed, “it is a thankless job for every mother!”
“Ah! No Mumma! I love you!” And Riddhi kissed her mother. Later both of them sipped hot steaming coffee.
“Beta, your Nani called up today. She is unwell. I think I should go to meet her and get some checkup done till your Mama (maternal uncle) comes and take over. Tomorrow, I will be leaving. So take care of everything, and help your papa. Otherwise, he will get puzzled! I know him!”
Next day in the kitchen it was chaos all over again, only this time Sudhir was in charge.
“Oh no! There is still a lot of work to be done! My holiday is ruined. Since morning I am in the kitchen and there are other chores pending too. I have to wash clothes, dry them, and then fold them. I don’t remember what more …” Sudhir was mumbling under his breath, slogging things out in the kitchen, in the sweltering heat.
“Dad! Hurry up! I am very hungry!” Rohit yelled.
“Who do you think I am? A machine? How much work can I do simultaneously? I want to wallow in self-pity! I am pissed off!” Sudhir burst out. His tone tinged with irritation.
“Dad! I hope now you can understand how Mumma works!” Riddhima mumbled.
“Yes! Riddhi di is right! I also realised how much Mom works for us! Mumma also works for us like a robot. And she never complains!” chipped in Rohit. He was now ashamed of his previous behaviour.
At night, Anita came back home. She saw how much-exhausted everyone was. She started cleaning the messy house. There was an awkward silence at dinner time.
“Anita! Today I realised your importance. How you work so much for us! And without any complains too! You never say anything when we nag you. You are an all-rounder.Women complete the existence of God’s creation. They know which rules to break and which ones to bend. “
“Thank you, Mumma! We love you” both the children hugged Anita.
The next morning, however, it was altogether a different scene from the previous evening’s bonhomie.
“Mumma make it fast! I am getting late!” Rohit screamed.
“Anita! Where is my towel?” Sudhir shouted from the other end of the house.
“Mumma pack my bags!” Riddhima cried out loudly.
Anita laughed out and ruffled her phulkas hurriedly.
If the weathered walls of the kitchen could talk, they would narrate the same chaos every morning!
No wonder the home is special where mothers like Anita heal and rejuvenate their lives. Not only for themselves but for others too.
Do you think HOMEMAKERS get credit for their job? Homemakers contribute a lot to the economic growth of the country. It’s a 24×7 job. It surely is a thankless job.
It is important to give them their due entitlement. They are the queen of the hearts and the homes!