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So my husband travels a lot ; he travels mostly for work , at other times he has to go visit his mom in another city , and sometimes he likes to travel with his friends , take his ‘space’. In the initial years of our marriage , I used to be quite distraught every time he would travel , I would cry my eyes out , I would bawl as if someone is dead and l am left on my own . I guess the feelings of separation and abandonment were too overwhelming for me . I had a few friends and I had my daughter but the friends got busy and well , daughter was too small .
Once my husband had gone out of town and I was home alone as my daughter had gone to visit my parents ; in the middle of the night I woke up with a very strange noise coming out of the cooler , a purring kind of sound . I was naturally terrified and could not sleep the whole night , next morning I found out that a few kittens had taken shelter inside the cool confines of the cooler.
One winter my husband was out and I remember coming back home from our hometown with my little daughter . The train was about twelve hours late , thanks to winter fog in North India . We came to a dark , freezing cold home , with no food and the heater was not working . I sat for some time not knowing what to do, there was no one to take care of these things . I was on my own. Then I made up my mind to go to the market and buy a heater first , then some food . I bundled up my daughter and both of us went hunting for a market that sells room heater .
Then again , a couple of years later , on my daughter’s birthday , my husband was travelling . He was travelling on her birthday the year before and we had decided to have her birthday party on the weekend after my husband was back , as usual . Daughter had gone for a birthday party of another friend whose birthday was on the same day . After I picked her up , both of us sat on the bed in the cold November evening not knowing what to do . My parents were supposed to come for her birthday but even they could not make it due to a freak storm in their city.
I think that day was a turning point for me . I felt so helpless and vulnerable that I decided- No More , no more will my daughter depend on her father to throw a birthday party when her mother is around , no more will she have gloomy birthdays celebrating other people’s birthdays . I was done waiting , waiting for someone else to take care of me , of daughter , of my needs , of my priorities . I was done expecting bread from a hardware store .
First thing I did was got busy . I was a stay at home mom at that time , so I started taking home tuitions . I am a damn good teacher , word spread and I got a lot of work . Next I found myself a social circle where I had to meet people on a regular basis.
I started making plans with my daughter . My husband does not like watching Hindi films and I love films per se . I started going for films with my daughter ; I would pick her up from school sometimes and go for lunch . I also started going alone for movies . I started travelling with my daughter , first with a women’s group , then just the two of us , then when she started going for her summer camps , I started travelling alone as my husband would be busy with his work .
Initially I did all these with lot of resentment – angry that I am unattended , upset that my husband does not understand my needs etc. As I started doing these things more and more gradually I started enjoying my time alone . Too many years in marriage , adjusting ,adapting , fighting about in laws , running a house , and I started looking forward to my alone time – away from it all . I also realized that my ‘space’ is very important for the marriage to survive .I need space to retain my sanity , to regain my perspective and to value it all. I started appreciating that the hardware store also has its benefits and has a role to play in my life and my life would be incomplete without it .
As a family we started travelling more . My husband decided not to make any travel plans around my daughter’s birthdays. Anyways even if he would travel , me and my daughter would go ahead with the celebrations . I stopped waiting around for him . I got so busy with work that I could not even take his phone calls sometimes.So I am eternally grateful to my husband for making me who I am today . I discovered inner resources that I did not know I had ; I became self reliant , confident .
And that is a big deal for a girl whose parents changed cities so that their daughter won’t have to travel far for attending college . And then I was admitted to a college which was ten minutes walking distance from my parental home . If I came home after six , my mother would be worried and give me an earful. She herself had never travelled anywhere without my father ; her parental house was two hours away but even there she refused to go without my father . I was brought up in a very sheltered environment . When I started travelling alone , every time I would call my parents to let them know my whereabouts , my mom would worry that there is some marital discord between me and my husband and I am going to leave him .
I of course haven’t left my husband . He is still travelling alone, sometimes for work sometimes for fun . Daughter has grown up and in college hostel . In the bargain I got comfortable in my own skin . I discovered I am awesome company for myself . I rediscovered my love for movies , for travelling . And I have started cherishing my ‘space’ without him , just reading a book ,pottering about the house , getting busy at work , writing a blog ! And then there is always cell phone and face time !