Nani finally got her wish – she cuddled the squealing squirming girls, albeit against their wishes but then Keira deigned to have her milk in Nani’s arms mostly because she was fascinated by her spectacles and had designs on them. In between her shenanigans, she kept a strict watch on the activities of Maira and her mum, both within reach but so long as not with each other!
Maira was busy with her grand-maami’s pompoms besides she was hungry not to mention too sleepy to care about her sister – usse toh main baad main dekh loongi, she drifted off to her sapno ki duniya. Keira wasn’t too keen to follow suit, itna kuch hai dekhne aur karne ko, why sleep and waszzzzz…
After the babies had been comfortably and safely ensconced on the diwan where they could be kept an eye on, the ladies sat down for a long overdue breakfast, actually more like brunch – a super excited Vimla had outdone herself, “Thank you Vimla chachi,” smiled Anya as she tucked in enthusiastically – dieting jaye bhaad main – she was starving!
“Aww Anjie,” sated, Anya threw her arms around Anjali, “Sorry for being so grumpy and weepy,” she said shame-facedly, “Maami was right, I was hungry and that coffee was really refreshing, “Forgive me?” she held her ears.
“Darling Anya,” Anjali again started crying, this time tears of relief – her Anya was back!
“Di!” Khushi jumped in, Maira twitched violently – everyone froze and turned on to Khushi with a finger on their lips – Anya hurriedly patted the little one, thankfully she soon drifted off.
“Ab batao bitiya, hua kya hai?” Nani patted the seat beside her and called Anya over.
Anya reluctantly got up from the diwan and sank down beside Nani, “Kuch nahi,” she mumbled sheepishly.
“Kuch toh hai hi na?” Nani caressed her bent head as Anya fiddled with bottle’s cap.
“Its not fair Nani,” burst out Anya resentfully, “Sab kuch mujhe hi karna padta hai, Sherry is never there, this is just not fair,” she repeated heatedly.
“Sherry is never there matlab?” Anjali froze; Khushi put a comforting hand on her arm.
“Arre Sherry is always in his office, leaves at 8 and is never back before 8 pm, akele main dono ko kaise sambhaloon?” she pleaded.
“Arre bitiya,” Nani spoke gently, “that’s how it has been for eons, the man goes out to work while the woman takes care of his children, isme galat kya hai?” she was bewildered.
“This is the twenty-first century Nani, the dynamics have changed, women go out to work so why can’t men take care of babies?” Anya argued.
“Next you will be saying why can’t men have babies,” Nani said disapprovingly.
Anya raised her eyes heavenwards, “That’s no excuse for not sharing housework or shirking one’s responsibility at home, he should be available at home for the babies, when I go to work tab kya hoga?” she crossed her arms defiantly.
“But Anya,” Anjali said gently, “You only said that you wanted to take a couple of years off from work didn’t you?”
“But that doesn’t mean he can live it up while I slave away at home, he also has a responsibility towards his wife and children and not just his job,” protested Anya huffily, “he is forever working and only working.”
“Anya,” Anjali bit her lip and hesitated, she cast a worried glance at Khushi and then took a deep breath, “Tu…tumhe kya lagta hai? That he is having an affair?” she spelt out her worst fears.
Anya looked blankly at Anjali, “Affair? Who Sherry?” Anjali nodded apologetically but firmly.
“Oh no no, fursat hi kahan hai uske paas for anything other than work!” Anya rushed to defend her Sherry; seeing that Anjali was still looking skeptical she put out a hand on Anjali’s and gave her a squeeze, “No mom, don’t worry, that’s not the issue trust me, what really galls me is the fact that he will come home explicitly to ‘help’ me and give some quality time with the girls but then he will be constantly on his laptop, or phone or his balance sheets, so many times his clients land up home for meetings!” she was disgusted, “there is just no time for us!” she declared sullenly.
Anya’s audience looked at each other blankly, “But Anya bitiya,” Nani spoke, “I don’t really see where the problem is and besides, he is just starting his career, he needs to work hard to set it up and secure his family’s future, aisan toh hoga hi na?” she exhorted.
Anya shook her head obstinately, “Itna bhi kya kaam? Its all so…so like medieval times, woman tied down at home with children while he goes around conquering the world,” she sneered and then drooped, “Waise bhi the girls get cranky and miss their father and by evening we are all sick of each other,” she paused clasping and unclasping her hands, “abhi tak till they couldn’t walk, they were manageable, I would just place them in the cot while I did my work, plus either their Nani or Dadi was always with me, but for the last month or so its been as if I have been on a constant roller coaster!” she shook her head despairingly as she looked at the twins sleeping peacefully, “Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughters very much but the truth is I am exhausted! Ever since they learned how to walk, I haven’t had a moment of peace, I cannot even go to the washroom; sometimes I have to carry both of them along with me to the loo! Just imagine! So awkward I cannot tell you,” she buried her head in her hands.
“Oho, you poor baby,” Anjali was all solicitous concern, “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have come and stayed some more time?”
“Thanks Mom,” Anya squeezed her hand, “But how long could I ask you to stay away from your home, your work?” she shook her head, “It wasn’t fair waise bhi Sherry has often given me an earful for imposing so much on everyone’s goodness and kindness,” she swallowed, “But if there was one of them I would have coped somehow, but managing both of them woh bhi akele is really very tough,” she drooped.
“What happened, didn’t you have a Nanny to help you?” Khushi asked concernedly.
Anya looked away sheepishly, “Umm well, I chucked her out, some stuff was missing and I naturally thought she had taken, so I,” she shrugged and trailed off, her color heightened.
“Phir?” Anjali asked.
“Phir kya,” Anya dismissed airily, “Phir nothing,” she swallowed, “I found my jewelry in another pouch but it was too late, besides she wasn’t of much help in any case,” she defended herself.
Nani adjusted her pallu, “So in effect you want that Sherry should shut shop and come home and hold your hand or better still change diapers because you don’t know how to manage your home?” Nani was at her sarcastic best.
Click here for Chapter 428