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It was a boring Thursday morning. Abhishek and Avigna got ready at top speed, munching breakfast on the go not even sitting down to pause and eat. They ordered their baby maid to distract their two year old, Dhruv and when the maid successfully distracted the baby for a few moments, they rushed to their car, feeling some momentary happiness at having distracted him. They started the car and went on for ten minutes, when Abhishek realized that he forgot his purse at home. They rushed back home to retrieve the purse. Avigna stayed back in the car while Abhishek went inside their home.
As he was just about to open the door, Abhishek was alerted to hear that his son was crying loudly inside. Sensing wrong, he rushed inside the house to find the maid holding his baby and trying to calm him down by handing him toys and doing funny sounds. Her serious attempts were met with no change as his son continued crying at the top of his voice. Abhishek stood rooted to the door of the room. Once his son realized that his father was at the door, he simply stopped crying and a wide smile emerged from his tear stained face. Abhishek rushed to him and hugged him. He called his wife home saying he wanted to talk to her.
Avigna came with a puzzled and worried look on her face. Abhishek told her that both of them would stay at home that day because they got some talking to do.
Avigna stared back at her husband’s serious emotional face and decided to heed to him though she had an important meeting at office, a meeting where her promotion would finally be announced. She did not talk anything to her husband as her maid was in hearing distance but simply applied for the requested leave. Her husband’s behaviour that day was different and weird and Avigna felt her suspicions taking shape. Her suspicions further grew when her husband asked the baby maid to leave the house for the day and come back the next day.
After the maid immediately left, Abhishek told Avigna that he would put their son to sleep for his afternoon nap and after that, they would speak. It took Abhishek half hour to be back during which Avigna tried her best not to think of what lay ahead.
When Abhsihek came, Avigna could see that his face was worried. He took his time before opening his mouth. After a few moments he finally said,
“Avigna, today when I came for the purse, I found Dhruv crying for you and me. I don’t ever remember asking the maid if Dhruv cried after we left, but when I asked her today if Dhruv cried every day, her answer was a yes. He was crying very badly, Avigna. My heart tore into pieces. I thought before that if both of us work for our careers, we are building a better future for our son. But, Avigna, if his present is so sad that he cries every day that we are not there, how am I going to make sure that his future would be so great? He needs to be happy now, Avigna, right now. If he could communicate like a grown up, I am sure that he would plead us to stay back at home every day. And imagine rejecting that small plea of his every day to go to work to provide for him. Isn’t that truly ironic? I don’t want to see him sad anymore Avigna. It’s time that one of us give up our careers, now. We will manage with one salary, we will move into a smaller house, have smaller luxuries but I am sure Dhruv will be happy, ever so happy if you accept to this decision of mine. You must accept Avigna, there is no other choice. This is for Dhruv, Okay?”
Avigna looked at Abhishek’s face. Being a woman, she was always of the idea that her job was dispensable, because her elders had made sure to let her know that a woman’s job however high paid was optional and the man’s job a necessity. She earned just a little less than her husband and that too because she was a year younger to him. She was on the brink of promotion till the before day and now she would be back to home, sacrificing her career while her husband went on to continue with his job. She knew it would be waste arguing with him as he was pretty stubborn. Looking at her son was not a sad job for her but, she wished that things were different and she could manage both a career and a kid. She mutely looked at Abhishek not trusting herself to say the right thing.
Abhishek took her calmness as a yes, which it technically was and told her that the plans of resignation will have to begin the next day.
A month later………..
The formalities of resignation were done with and the savings in the bank were organized smoothly. Abhishek and Avigna took a smaller cheaper flat and rearranged their new house. A maid was kept to help about the extra things. After the leave for house-shifting was over, time came for the first real day for Dhruv with his stay at home parent. Dhruv woke up to find his mom and dad seated calmly at the table having breakfast. He rushed to his daddy and planted kisses on him all the while teasing his mom turning her jealous. His mother smiled adoringly at him and rushed over to pull him closer to her and hugging him while the tiny one showed fake reluctance to her love. After a few moments of affection, Abhishek pulled Dhruv out of Avigna’s hands and told her, “Now, go, you are getting late for office. Try to come for lunch. Me and Dhruv will be waiting, okay?”
Avigna looked at the stay-at-home dad, her love, her husband, her perfect man, and tears of joy cropped up in her eyes. She planted a kiss on Abhishek’s cheek and told him that she would call in an hour from her office as to how things were going. She waved her hands to leave. Dhruv waved back to his mom, smiling from ear to ear, nuzzling in his father’s neck, tears nowhere near and suddenly Avigna realized the simple communication of Dhruv’s cries.
She was sure now that Dhruv would cry in the future for many reasons, but one of those reasons won’t be that none of his parents would be there for him when he needed them. She knew that she and Abhishek would make sure of that. She left for office to go grab that promotion, the promotion that was at the brink all this time!