Date: 2018-06-19 13:42:09
"Shashi, Chai Kahan hain? Mujhe office jaana hain?"
"Mom! I don't want to eat paranthas, please get me brown bread."
"I can't find my shoe, please find it for me."
Shashi scrambles her way around the house while the rest of the family shower all their morning crankiness on to her hands. She has lived through such mornings half her life and has accepted her fate as an obedient housewife. She puts the parantha aside and takes out the hot brown bread from the toaster. She makes her way to the other side of the room all the while accepting every comment her family passes. It takes her two seconds to solve the mystery of the missing shoe and hurriedly gets her son ready for school.
In India, she is considered a bored housewife who is living out her fantasy of having a job by selling ladoos but in America, she was seen as an entrepreneur. She prepares the ladoos with the utmost care and diligence, she packs them up and motors around the city delivering her specialty. In all these years, she has never heard her husband or children appreciate her skill or business acumen. She has nobody to share her joy with but every time her husband receives a promotion at work, she is expected to jump around in glee. She returns back home quietly and starts racking her mind deciding what to make for dinner.
She has not met or talked to Laurent in over a year and she knows she never will. In her lower most drawer, there is a picture of the entire English learning class, smiling. She wonders what each of them would be doing right now, Laurent must be working as a chef in a restaurant. She wants to call him up and tell him all about her day but she knows that it is only a stupid fantasy. She remembers the amount of surprise and happiness he had shown towards her ability to make ladoos, he must have been flirting but in a long time, someone had seen Shashi as more than just a housewife but a capable, beautiful and intelligent human being.
English had been a hurdle for Shashi but now, she had gathered a command over the language but she had realized only after coming back to India, that was only half the battle won. She flipped the pages of the English newspaper and confidently read out the news. The house was empty and she switched on the music player which was connected to her daughter's I pod, the voice of Rihanna slurring 'work, work, work...' filled the room. She started to move around the kitchen, making "sabzi and roti."
The doorbell rang and her children returned back from school.
"Mom, what kind of music are you listening to? This is so embarrassing."
"It is not embarrassing when you listen to it."
Shashi signals them to go to their room and change. She quietly goes across the room and switches off the music player, her enjoyment was their embarrassment. "How was your day?" she asks her children even after being humiliated. "It was fine." Nobody had bothered to ask her about her day, they just assumed it to be inconsequential. Using the end of her sari to wipe her sweat, she served them lunch.
Shashi's life had changed but the life's of people hadn't changed, they hadn't changed. When she looked at herself in the mirror she no longer saw just a wife, daughter or a sister but an individual who has the ability to help herself. She looked outside the window, thinking about the confusing streets of Manhattan, the innumerable skyscrapers and a glimmer of hope for a better life.
The front door slams open and comes in the husband.
"Shashi, I am back from office. Where is my food?"
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