Chapter 222: Of Choices & Consequences

 “You want another loan?” Aditi asked.

“Yes Ma’am.” Rajani mumbled.

“Why?”

“To buy a car.”

“Didn’t you buy a car with the last loan?”

“That was for me. Now my MIL wants to buy a car.”

“With your money.”

Rajani’s eyes flickered. “She looks after my daughter Ma’am.”

“Why don’t you leave the job and take care of your daughter? You seem to be having trouble wearing both hats.” Aditi gestured at the manuscripts on her table. “There are so many mistakes and obvious oversights.”

Rajani straightened, “Oh! I am sorry Ma’am. I’ll take care. I promise I will.”

Aditi looked at her with a strange expression in her eyes. “Perhaps it would be better for you, if I took the decision out of your hands and handed in notice.”

No!” Absolute terror and panic made Rajani forget herself. “Please don’t do that Ma’am. Please. I swear I will take care…”

“To be honest Rajani I don’t think you can,” Aditi spoke gently. “There is a limit to how much…”

“No Ma’am please,” Rajani was begging now, “you don’t understand Ma’am, I…if I don’t have a job they’ll throw me out.”

Aditi’s eyes flashed. “Would that be such a bad thing? If that’s the reason they are keeping you, its better that you end that relationship.”

“But where would I go Ma’am?” Tears streamed down her cheeks. “My parents don’t want me back. Especially now that I have a daughter.”

The fire in Aditi’s eyes banked out. “Where would I go with my daughter Ma’am? I can’t leave her can I?”

Aditi’s lips thinned. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Yet,” she paused, “who knows that maybe for the best.” Her voice was low and indistinct.

“Ma’am please!”

“The company is only too pleased to give loans.” Aditi said. “It keeps its employees tied to its apron strings. But I would still urge you to consider the implications. If you take a loan you have to continue working until it is repaid or repay the full amount before they will consider releasing you.”

“That’s good Ma’am.” Rajani said dully. “At least they will think twice before they throw me out. But I promise you Ma’am I will pay greater attention to my work. It’s just that I feel so sleepy and tired.”

“Well?” Pakhi asked. “Did she agree?”

“I’m not sure.” Rajani massaged her temple. “I think she would love to throw me out.”

“No!” Pakhi was shocked. “She would never do that.”

“Wouldn’t she?” Rajani looked down at the manuscripts she had collected from Aditi bearing evidence of her shoddy work. “I would.”

“What do you mean?”

Rajani dumped the papers on her desk and flipped through the pages. “All the errors that I missed. If this had gone to print,” she shuddered. “I would have been out of a job for sure. They may have made me pay for the damages as well.”

“Oh no.” Pakhi commiserated. “Was she very angry?”

“She was angry.” Rajani said slowly. “But strangely enough it wasn’t directed at me.”

Pakhi smiled. “I knew it. Ma’am would never throw you out. She couldn’t, even if she wanted to. She is a lamb is wolf’s clothing.”

“You think?”

“What do you think?” Pakhi pointed to the bunch of incriminating sheets. “She didn’t call you to yell at you did she? Which she would have been justified in doing?”

“Ye…es.”

“So what did she say?”

“She advised me to resign from the job and stay at home with my daughter.”

“That’s an excellent suggestion. Then your MIL could take your car. But I don’t get it,” Pakhi said, “Why does your MIL need a car?”

“Because I have one?”

“Is that what she said?”

Rajani shook her head. “Not in so many words but she has been complaining about how she’s tied down at home because of Anisha. She wants to join the gym. Take zumba classes. But she doesn’t like to travel by auto with Anisha, as the pollution is not good for her. And cabs are so expensive.”

“Cabs are expensive!” Pakhi burst in. “And buying a car is not?”

“She doesn’t have to shell out the money does she? The other day I had to take Anisha to the hospital and I convinced my FIL to go along with me.”

“And?”

“He didn’t have twenty bucks to pay for the parking. It was so hot in the car. Anisha was screaming. I couldn’t find my wallet among Anisha’s stuff but he just sat there. Twenty bucks.”

“Wow.” Pakhi whistled.

“If they can’t shell out twenty bucks for their granddaughter, will they pay for my upkeep?” Rajani shook her head. “I also want to give up my job, stay with my daughter but I don’t have a choice.”

“All for the best, I suppose,” Pakhi said bracingly, “just imagine having to stay in that house the whole day long with only your in-laws for company.”

“There would be Anisha too.” Rajani pointed out. “She’s such an adorable darling!” Rajani’s eyes lit up. “She makes everything worth it.” 

Pakhi’s eyes flickered.

“I’m sorry.” Rajani kicked herself for her insensitivity.

Pakhi shook her head. “Why should you be sorry? I made my choice, you made yours.”

“Don’t…don’t you think of going back? Don’t they pressurize you?”

“They used to, but then I blocked their numbers.”

“Even your parents?”

“Especially theirs.” Pakhi was bitter. “My husband often comes down to the PG.” She swallowed. “He’s very cut up and apologetic. He’s even offered to move away from his parents, do anything to have me back in his life.”

“Don’t you think you should forgive him and move on?”

“I have moved on but I cannot and will not forgive them.”

“But life is a long journey, how long can you stay alone?”

“Alone is in the mind isn’t it? Even if I stayed with them I would be alone,” Pakhi’s voice broke a little, “and without my daughter.”

“Don’t think like that,” Rajani was distressed, “she wasn’t meant to be.”

“Or we didn’t deserve her.”

“Don’t blame yourself.”

“How could I not? I am the one who took the decision for her.”

“Keeping her interests in mind.”

Pakhi shook her head. “I’m not so sure.” She raised anguished eyes to Rajani. “I think I took that decision because it was the easiest way out, because I was a coward and didn’t have the guts to take on the world. Like you have.”

Rajani looked at her helplessly. “And I often wonder if I made a mistake in bringing Anisha into this world. Will I be able to do justice to her? What if I end up creating another Rajani?”

“You’ll have to make sure you don’t. Make sure you are there for her, even if nobody else is. That’s the least you can do as a parent, as a human being.”

***

 

13 thoughts on “Chapter 222: Of Choices & Consequences”

  1. Ahh, Rajani!!! She finds excuses for everything. I think Aditi should have pushed her off the nest…I mean the safe haven. I fear Anisha is going to grow up as another Rajani, with low self-esteem and kowtowing every one, apologising for her existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ferdi! I thought you (and any old IPK fan here) might like to know that I posted an SS short story today under From DM’s Desk. It is after ages and wonder if it still appeals. Anyhow I would be happy to have you read it. Have a great weekend 🙂

      Like

      1. I just read both the stories and I loved them. I had read them before but had not commented on them. I am still reading IPK stories.

        Liked by 1 person

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