Chapter 221: Another Wedding

“Guess what?” Avantika sang out as she tripped into office wearing a pretty blue and obviously new suit.

“You are getting married!” They shrieked and jumped up in excitement. “Your parents agreed? Finally! His parents agreed? Fantastic! When’s the date?” Avantika was smothered with questions, good wishes and hugs. She sparkled and laughed clearly on top of the world. “Wait! Wait!” her protests fell on deaf ears, “At least let me answer your questions!”

“First tell us how this miracle happened.” Rajani asked.

“It was a lot of hard work!” Avantika laughed with a glance at Pakhi. “Actually he got a job in Bengaluru…”

“Bengaluru!” Rajani cut in, “You’re going to Bengaluru?”

“Yep.” Avantika nodded, “that’s the price I have to pay.”

“And may it be the only one,” Aditi said with a sour expression. “I thought at least you had better sense.”

Avantika stared.

“Couldn’t keep away from the honey trap could you?” Aditi sighed.

“Don’t you worry Ma’am,” Avantika said a bit cheekily, “I’ll make sure he is on my side in this battle. I was the one to encourage him to move to Bengaluru – far from the madding crowd.” She bared her teeth.

“Good.” Aditi’s lips twitched. “Make sure to keep him dancing to your tunes.”

“I will!”

Aditi nodded and walked away.

“I wish you didn’t have to go away.” Rajani said glumly.

“Aww.” Avantika gave a quick hug. “We’ll stay in touch. And I’ll come to Delhi, meet my parents, in-laws you guys. But yes I will miss you all too, especially our lunches.”

Rajani sniffed.

“I thought you would say the gossip,” Pakhi joked.

“Oh that I intend to keep abreast of, never fear.” Avantika vowed. They laughed.

Avantika put in her papers and was married soon after. She moved to Bengaluru and despite her apprehensions, Rajani had no time to miss her. She was busy juggling career home and motherhood. Rajani felt as if she was constantly running and always late – either for office or for work. Battling guilt at not being able to do justice to either, she had attempted to raise the topic of her leaving her job and being a stay at home mum. She even offered to go back to taking tuition classes at home. Sunaina jumped at the suggestion. She clearly wasn’t quite the doting and willing grandmother for Anisha as she was for Akash and Dipika.

But Harsha would have none of it. “That would be foolish.”

“Foolish? But how?”

“Avantika has left. It’s a massive opportunity for you. You should ask that you be promoted to her post. After all you can write too. Or better offer to do both jobs.” Harsha explained. “For a price of course.”

Of course.

“How’s that even possible Harsha? What about Anisha?”

“What about her? I am with her till almost noon every morning and then her grandmother is here. It’s not like she’s in a crèche or being taken care of by servants.”

“Harsha you don’t understand,” Rajani tried to control her rising annoyance at his deliberate obtuseness, “Mummyji is tired of playing Nanny. She also wants to be free to do as she likes…”

“So who’s stopping her? Anisha? She’s just a baby and Mummy loves her.”

“I’m not saying she doesn’t love her,” Rajani said evenly, “but she likes to go out with her friends, hold kitty parties, see movies and you have to admit all that is not really possible with Anisha.”

“Nonsense. I’ll speak to Mummy.”

“What’s the point of speaking to her if you don’t see her side? And tuitions pay very well these days. In fact Mummyji said she could get at least 6 or 7 students at the click of her fingers. What does that mean?”

“What?”

“That she’s been exploring that angle. That she wants me to take care of Anisha. And it’s really not fair to expect her to bring up my baby. Besides I want to be there for Anisha.”

“You are there for her the whole night. What more do you want? Besides a job has it’s own advantages…”

“Like?”

“Like if we want to take a loan.” Rajani stared. “Your car loan is almost over. I was thinking of investing in a house…” he droned on and on about his plans future plans for them and Rajani tuned out. There was just no respite for her. She was getting sucked in deeper and deeper. On one side was the rising job pressure – the office business wasn’t doing well, she needed to work harder, everybody did, they couldn’t afford to hire another person in Avantika’s place, Tanya, Aditi and Rajani would have to divide her work amongst themselves, put in longer hours if necessary. And on the other hand, by 5 pm, her MIL would begin calling her up with diverse queries and information. Rajani was hard put to read the subtext. Where was the thermometer? Anisha was fussing. May be she was coming down with something. Maybe some fresh air would do her good. If only she had a car, she could taken her out for a ride. The baby feed had finished, could she order from the local chemist? There was an impromptu dinner party. Rajani should swing by the Monday market to buy vegetables at wholesale prices. And fruits too. Especially watermelon. And while she was there, may as well veggies for Rekha as well. Poor thing didn’t even have a car of her own. And she had two demanding school going kids. Rajani was lucky she didn’t have to bother with homework like Rekha did. And why just two kids, poor Rekha had 20 kids. The job of a teacher was never done. Poor thing…. Sunaina went on and on until Rajani was dizzy and wanted to scream. She couldn’t breathe, she felt as if she were being slowly strangled. She slept fitfully with reiterating dreams of climbing endless and ever-increasing flight of stairs. Her legs ached and her heart thudded as she strived harder and harder. Would they never end? She despaired.

If she ever reached the top she would jump off, she swore.

“You look terrible,” Riteish was brutal. “Take an off. Take some rest.”

Rajani shook her head. “I get more rest at the office than at home.”

Riteish stared. Rajani flushed and looked away. “It’s true.” She said a bit defiantly. “In the office I can put my head down for a bit and no one would even mention it. But at home there’s no scope to even sit.” She yawned deeply.

“But…but that’s… that’s impossible!” Riteish burst out trying to match Rajani home sketch to the image he had embedded in his head.

“Haven’t you heard? Nothing’s impossible.” Rajani said. “Home is different for men and women.”

Riteish flinched at the raw anguish in her eyes. “That’s not true!” he said defensively. “Shweta is free to rest and do as she likes. We never force her to do anything. Half the days she doesn’t emerge from her room until evening, nobody says anything. And my mother is the one who cooks her favorite dishes and coaxes her to take a bite.”

“If only I had a mother-in-law like that.”

***

10 thoughts on “Chapter 221: Another Wedding”

  1. Poor Rajani. MIL wants her to stay at home and look after her own baby, do housework, take tuitions so that she can buy groceries for sister in law. But Harsha wants her to continue with her job so that they can get a loan (he has a list of things to do with the loan she will be repaying).Perhaps her father can help out.After all, that’s the least he can do.That way everyone will be happy.MIL will be free to care for her daughter.(if only her own mother was like her MIL). Harsha will be happy spending money on his projects.(whatever they are).And Rajani loves to be a dogsbody so she will be happy too.
    That is enough of my rant.
    It has been raining since morning.No sign of the sun and it is freezing cold.
    Have a good day Dahlia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In this case no rant could ever be enough – I wish each would rant more and more would rant. This is far too common and has gone on long enough. And it is interesting what you said, if only her mother was more like her MIL. Strange and quite inexplicable. Have a wonderful (non-rainy) day – we have an exxtra long weekend!

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  2. Hi… dahlia… long time… hope u r good….well it seems.. except that Rajji has been promoted to a mom… nothing has really changed… for not-so-happy, nor healthy young mother… Though u have to consider Sunaina s pov too.. but I wonder why there’s no dialogue between mom n son???🤔and Harsha is d same with some fleeting moments of goodness… just to give our Rajji a flicker of hope…and d self appraisal by Rajji herself”she was getting sucked in deeper n deeper ” sums up everything…door door thak koi hope Nahi dikai de raha hai…
    Though an involuntary sigh comes off my heart… I know this is d plight most working women are facing now…. sometimes seeing them… I feel was it a mistake to educate girl children… cause in many families they are exploited for monetary gains…we give them education to be independent..but sometimes it results in more shackles….. I feel girls today r caught in a vicious circle just like abimanyu s chakraviuh…u can enter…but d escape route dodges u….. I think d ranting is gone a bit too long… hope to see u soon with a light at d end of d tunnel in Rajji s life….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Machli for sticking with us and the rant. It is both gratifying and disheartening to know that you can see parallels with today’s society and it is exactly how you said ‘Abhimanyu’s chakravyuh’ entry is easy but escape routes are impossible to find. I have a couple of more developments ( before the light at the end of the tunnel), to underline and highlight the dangers of continuing an untenable relationship and also to bring out what goes on behind closed doors in many families. I will try my best not to delay and drag it but it has to be said – thanks.

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  3. Overworked, underpaid, underappreciated. Seems like there are so many choices she could make, but just keeps making the wrong ones. Now with a baby the walls are closing in even more. Don’t know where this train is headed, but I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, unless she starts asserting herself. Young mothers’ lives are so hard….no-one prepares them for the sheer drudgery of motherhood, let alone the emotional swings- well expressed, D!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Suraja! I feel today’s young generation are very well aware (or are even over apprehensive) of MIL and SIL issues and are defensive enough to be offensive. Yet they are hazy about motherhood and all that it entails – perhaps it’s the demanding and overriding biological urge (internal or otherwise) that deliberately shields her and makes her overlook so many things that would make her run from it. I am not against motherhood but just not for it for the wrong reasons, which can have disastrous consequences for the most innocent of parties. Also the problem with making choices is one never knows when enough is enough, especially when ones parents keep exhorting ‘everything will be alright’ I really feel there ought to be workshops and group discussions with all parties concerned before tying the knot. Or maybe not for then no one will tie the knot 😀

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  4. Please do continue to do urgood work…we r all with u n Rajji…. thick n thin…yes it is depressing to read some one suffering …and we feel that a few words here n there can change d whole scenario… just like in films where d hero raises from rags to riches in one song… but then d truth sinks in..that there r many Rajjis some where out there going through all this and noone ..let alone dahlia s words can change anything…so I am ready for d journey through the tunnel

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