Their courtship was nothing like the normal starry-eyed couples that one often observed around. They met customarily to share a meal once a week or fortnight. The foundation to their compatibility was that they both considered their work to be their first love – Rishabh a marketing consultant and Tamanna a counseling psychologist.
Tamanna was sure that nothing much would change in her life after marriage. They could both continue with their high commitment jobs. Nothing could have prepared her for what followed just after a year of their marriage. Rishabh’s father suffered a paralytic attack and as a responsible daughter-in-law Tamanna paved way for Rishabh to focus on his traveling job and volunteered to take care of the old couple. There were nurses and other domestic help, but they needed supervision. Rishabh’s mother was emotionally broke worrying about her husband that she needed help herself.
The plan was to get the boat sail through deep waters and once things returned to normalcy, Tamanna would resume her job. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and months years. The Bhandari household got used to Tamanna being around and Tamanna found herself busy throughout the day managing the affairs of a large household.
Slowly the routine started taking its toll on Tamanna. With every passing day, Tamanna missed her work life more and more. She was perpetually apprehensive and scared that her skills were slowly becoming obsolete for the current markets. That she would never be able to get back to doing what she loved. She was stuck in a viscous circle and found herself helpless at the thought of breaking it.
That night, the domestic help took an early leave. Tamanna stacked the plates with her clammy hands to clear the dining table. The noise she made while doing so was overbearing and hurt her own ears.
She finished her night time chores and sprawled herself on the sofa shutting her eyes. Her life of last 4 years moved infront of her wavering eyes. All her lifetime’s hardwork seemed to be going down the drain. Just then the bell rang. Tamanna rushed to open the door as she knew that Rishabh was to arrive today. She threw herself into his arms and dug her head into his chest.
Rishabh felt her sobs but didn’t say much. He closed the door behind him and patted her hair to calm her down. Later that night, Rishabh helped Tamanna into her bed. Before putting out her side of night lights, he ran his palm against her face.
“Tamanna, do you know what I liked most about you when I met you the first time?” Rishabh did not wait for a response, “You were a fighter. I liked your never say die spirit. You were so direct in telling me that you have worked hard against your family’s will to build up your career. But today I feel responsible for ruining it for you. I think I should not expect you to wash my dirty linen any more. I will manage my home, my parents, but I can’t see your spirit degenerating with every passing day like this. I am sorry.”
Rishabh’s words stirred something within Tamanna. Did she really feel bad about taking care of her husband’s parents? No! That wasn’t the case. They were her family too. She wasn’t the one to shirk away from her responsibility. But at the same time she felt torn at having to part from a promising career.
Sleep eluded Tamanna that night. She walked out into the balcony and felt a cool breeze against the tightened skin of her face where her tears had dried up. As she took in the air that smelled of Jasmine flowers from the tree in their compound, a realization dawn upon her.
Who was she? A counseling psychologist. Her job was to help people gain mental health and wellness. And here she was struggling to find her own mental wellness. “Quite Ironic”, Tamanna smirked with a tinge of sadness.
She realised that she just needed to get a grip over her gears.
Next morning Tamanna woke up an hour early, went to the terrace with her laptop, and sat down to do some research. Soon she found herself going around the home managing the chores with a new-found poise and looked forward to her alone time with her laptop.
Almost a year later, Rishabh stood at the far end of the hall, feeling extremely proud of a glowing Tamanna as she signed copies of her first published book on mental wellness.
This post is a part of the #WriteBravely Write Tribe Festival of Words.
The prompt for the day is –
“Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.” – Brave