Saakshi tiptoed to the door and opened it. She didn’t want to garner any unwanted attention. Listening to unsolicited advice was the last thing on her mind. All she desired was to spend the night in peace. The delivery boy arrived and gave her the package. She thanked him and was walking toward her room when “Who was at the door?” her mother-in-law’s voice startled her. The tune De re na, De re na played in her mind. She turned and felt as though the famous Ammaji was standing before her.
“It’s nothing Mummy Ji,” she said hiding the packet behind her. But the aroma of oregano flakes and cheese ratted her out.
“Did you order a pizza again? You had one recently,” spoke her mother-in-law through her gritted teeth.
‘By recently do you mean three months back?’ Saakshi ignored her urge to speak.
“Mummy Ji,” before Saakshi could speak the doorbell rang. Her mother-in-law opened the door and Saakshi’s darling husband Rakesh entered.
After speaking to the neighbour who was passing by their door for a few minutes, her mother-in-law excused herself and closed the door. The domino’s packet in the neighbour’s hand didn’t go unnoticed.
“Your wife is burning your money over fast food,” said her mother-in-law.
Saakshi couldn’t stop herself anymore. This wasn’t the first time that her mother-in-law blamed her or belittled her. “Mummy Ji, I just heard you tell the neighbour that it’s good to order in occasionally. If she can then why can’t I?” asked Saakshi with tears threatening to break the shackles and cascade freely.
“Oh, don’t compare yourself to her. She is a working woman. You are a homemaker. She wants a break and you are just too lazy,” spoke her mother-in-law.
The packet slipped and fell to the floor. She didn’t want to eat the pizza. She didn’t want to eat anything. She felt like she didn’t deserve to eat. Emotions gripped her and tears choked her from within. Finally, it had come to this.
Suddenly, Rakesh pitched in like her knight in shining armour. “Maa, Saakshi deserves to relax. The working women get their share of sick leaves and other benefits but Saakshi doesn’t get any. Moreover, don’t forget that she had left her job to take care of you post your surgery,” he said.
Saakshi was shocked to see the otherwise Shravan Kumar like ideal son stand up for her. His support boosted her confidence.
“Mummy Ji, I’m not salaried but I’m a working woman too. I work all day and what I do is a thankless job. My efforts are not recognised by my family. My heart goes out to the neighbour whose plight at home is similar to mine despite being a salaried woman. I will order in whenever I want and I deserve the break,” spoke Saakshi and entered her room without waiting for an answer.
It was her first step toward following her heart. A lot was yet to come. One step at a time and she would accomplish it. Tomorrow was yet another day but first things first she decided to focus on her pizza staring invitingly at her.
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