The alarm creaks in the morning; she wakes up startled and drags herself out of the bed. The sun has still not come, and the whole family is still sleeping. She looks at her husband snoring away, she checks her clock to see if she can afford another five minutes of sleep. But the clock glares at her telling her, “Another minute and you will be late”. She laboriously walks to the washroom, then to her toddler’s room to check on her and finally to the kitchen, as the whole family sleeps. Her maids come in and she busies herself to prepare the breakfast and dinner. By the time all is done, she has only 15 minutes to take a shower and get ready for work. She is glad that her toddler is still sleeping. She hurriedly takes a shower, gets dressed, puts on little make up and rushes back to the kitchen. Her husband is leaving for office, if she does not remind him, he would forget his lunch or breakfast, or almonds, or his glass of milk. She grabs the keys to her car and rushes to office.
As she spends her day in the banal activities of the office, she realizes she has forgotten to have her cup of coffee today. She orders one and sips it. The hot coffee instantly relaxes the muscles of her body. She longs to lie down, and just sleep. But just then a call for a meeting comes in. She gulps in the rest of the coffee and moves to the conference room. The day ends uneventfully as she rushes home. Something in her longs to see her toddler. As she reaches home, voices from the regular television soaps blare out of her in-laws room. She finds her toddler sleeping in her room. She resigns to her bedroom to get some rest. The maid comes in telling her that she is leaving for the day. She grabs a book to read, the one which she has been trying to finish for a good two months now. She reads two lines and can see her toddler rubbing her eyes and entering her room. She places a bookmark; the bookmark has been on the same page for two weeks now. She hugs her toddler who insists to sleep in her arms. She sleeps as she tries to adjust her body according to her toddler’s liking.
She places the baby in her crib and goes to make preparations for dinner. Her husband comes back before dinner, busies himself on his phone and laptop. In between she initiates conversations with him, but gives up when he does not seem to have time to look up from his phone. She serves dinner and goes back to the mundane routine of making her child sleep. As she readies herself to sleep, she tells her husband that she feels tired. Her husband suggests keeping another maid as there is no point stressing and to let go of the toddler a bit. She ponders over it while lying on her bed. But she feels helpless; she finds it difficult to give control. It’s her obligation to take care of her family, her child, her house. She cannot fathom to be like her husband, not bothered, carefree, he has the luxury as he gets everything ready. She cannot possibly do this, no matter how much she wants to just lay back and relax. She goes to sleep.
Her husband informs her the next evening that there is this family wedding that they need to attend next Wednesday, she says it would be difficult for her to take leave from office. But her in-laws need to go too, he says. The family decides that all would go and would take her toddler too along. There is no pressure on her to attend the wedding, her husband understands. She spends sleepless nights in anticipation of the days that she will spend without her daughter. She frets about her food, her hygiene, her nap times, her clothes. She knows that her mother in law is better than her in raising her kid but nevertheless she frets.
And the day comes; all is packed as the family readies themselves to leave the city for three days for the wedding. Her toddler is sleeping when they are about to leave. She is glad, she would have cried a lot if she was awake. She stands in the balcony watching them go. As she bids goodbye, tears fill her eyes. Her husband assures that they will be back soon, and that she should take care of herself. She nods and hugs him.
As she sees the car leave, there is something in her wanting to explode, she cannot figure out what it is, it is too subtle and elusive to name. She does not understand what it is but she gasps and mutters “Free, Free”. She sees the three days ahead which belong only to her. She is suddenly drinking in a very elixir of life through the breeze that blows in the balcony. She realizes that in her subconscious she needed this, she needed a break.
And just like that, she calls her office to inform them of her three day sick leave.