The flight was about to land and she found her mind embroiled in a volley of emotions, not one in particular that could be discerned…regrets for all the choices of the past mainly involving moving away from the homeland…elation of being able to touch base again…anticipations of meeting all the loved ones she had once decided to leave behind, only to desperately long for them later so much so that she had started losing hopes if she’d able to ever see them again …Well, all of them and several other more impalpable feelings that she could not herself understand or recognize.
The only thing she was conscious of now was, of the heart brimming with joy and excitement, while tears welled up her eyes. Controlling herself with great difficulty, she scurried past the immigration and check out formalities.
Disha had moved out to the states through marriage to Vikram. Well educated, she had felt that she should make the most of life’s opportunities and much against the wishes of her parents, chosen a groom who was based abroad. Much as she loved her family, future was more important, was what she had strongly felt then. Her parents, perceiving the challenges of leading an independent life, had gently tried to make her understand and dissuade, albeit unsuccessfully and in the end, had reluctantly given in.
Home coming after eight years, she could not wait to meet her folks. Her parents had grown older (which never escaped her notice during their skype chats) and her only brother had got married… a wedding that she could not attend and now he had a cute baby boy too…Swallowing lumps of regret, repeatedly forming in her throat she marched ahead, taking purposeful strides, determined to look at life ahead with a fresh approach.
Life had proved tough for her after all and had failed to shape up the way she would have wished for it to. When she had decided to marry Vikram, she had no idea about what was in store for her. Main importantly, she had no clue as to the reality of the conditions of existence for the H1B employment visa holders and the spousal employment restrictions in place. It was only later that she had realised how difficult it was to find a sponsor, besides the kind of opportunity she had aimed for. Finally, after much struggle to re-align herself in terms of the qualifications required of the place and a search of two whole years, when she did find a job, she had to accept it, despite the low salary, long travelling distance and a limited job role because the longer she would have waited, the more she would have lost out on experience. On the whole it was not a satisfactory break. The feeling that, had she been in India, she would have risen to the next level, by this time, did not escape her. However, considering the long term pros of the likely eventual growth, exchange rate difference on earnings etc., she knew that she would have to give this time and a tough commitment too.
Due to cost constraints they could not afford a house close to their work locations, let alone a help and that left all the housework to be managed by themselves. As far as Vikram was concerned, he was still a carefree bachelor at heart. An only son and extremely pampered, he found it difficult to handle the kitchen side of the household chores. Even if he offered to help, most of the times it was a half hearted effort that resultantly ended in a bigger mess and more work for Disha. Consequently, she had to single-handedly take charge of household affairs, besides the long office hours.
She began missing her mom dearly and often remembered her advise and experiences on men, while dissuading her from an independent life. The stress of balancing a home and career, coupled with Vikram’s careless, uninterested attitude towards her concerns, including when it came to furthering of their family began taking a toll on her physically, mentally and thereby her fertility health too. She had several times attempted to make him understand and correct him. They had even consulted some doctors but all in vain. Though he was an affable guy, she found him too lazy, casual and zero in his priorities towards home or family. After much persuasion, they shifted residence somewhere close to their offices which did help in creating some personal time. However Vikram’s friends who lived close by, gained easy access to them and began encroaching upon their personal space and time and in this, she could do nothing and the situation only seemed to go from bad to worse. She began missing her family more. Probably there could have been some relatives to whom she could have talked to and made Vikram understand. With no way out to bridge this gap, she only felt more disoriented. Well, since it was she who had made her choice to live away from family, she now had no option but to accept and live with her decision, she consoled herself. Things seemed extremely difficult.
Finally, after four years, her parents informed her that her brother’s marriage had got settled. She was extremely elated and eagerly looked forward to attending the wedding, besides meeting all of them. Then, just as she was planning to book the tickets, Vikram arrived home informing her that he had lost his job along with few others, a result of restructuring, consequent to losses suffered by his company. With the salary that she earned, she was now not only the sole bread winner of her family, but also had a house to run. Financial constraints now prevented her from making it to the wedding. After six months Vikram did succeed in finding another one but it paid lower than his previous one. And for some more time they had to drop the idea of going in for a child. With the endless continuance of problems, there appeared to be no meaning or objective to the way they were living together. Initiative to rise up to the occasion or progress further in life was zero on the part of Vikram. He appeared too apathetic and unconcerned about it. Gradually, it led to a situation, where they began to drift, feeling like two distant people shackled up under the same roof, who certainly were not against making it work but aimless and unknown of the objective as to why fate had thrown them together at all. Many a times, she felt fettered and completely misplaced.
The ambitions that she had nurtured and the aspirations she had cherished, while completing her studies, had not come to fruition in the way that she had anticipated whether it was her career, financial or personal life, so much so that she was now not even able to meet her parents. Besides their visit visa had got rejected twice. Dejection clouded her and made her wonder if at all it would be right of her to stick to her decision to continue in this country anymore or would it be better to re-locate back. But Vikram adamantly refused. He had grown used to the lifestyle, besides he had his friends there. He refused to consider anything else. His parents had visited him thrice during these eight years and though his mom seemed to understand Disha’s problems with her son, she declined interfering into it, lest it inflates into further troubles. Disha also did not feel comfortable pushing the matter any further and left it at that.
But now as she left, she had made a decision. She did not want to brook all this anymore. It was her life too and only she could cure it’s problems if she did not want to endure them and if that had to happen, she had to take the necessary steps to bring in the changes. She needed to take charge of her life if she had to re-mould it and that was in nobody’s but her own hands. ‘That’s a must’, she decided, if she had to get herself out of the current state of affairs. She need not keep following Vikram and his wishes, if it is not fetching her any happiness. It was time to pull up her stockings and begin thinking independently, irrespective of what and how he wanted things to be.
She had decided to put the two month’s vacation to effective use, by searching for the opportunity she sought. Once she would find it she will push Vikram to join her. If he refuses then she will have to proceed with her life, based on where her interests lie. A lot of water had been already wasted to no avail. As such, she had given a great deal to this relationship. Now it was his turn to understand and accommodate. If he does not, some things are probably just never meant to be, no matter how much we wish they were. If that be the case, then someday, she will know the reality of their relationship.
Lost in thoughts, she reached the ‘Arrivals’ area. As she spotted her mom and dad, overwhelmed by a barrage of emotions, she almost ran to hug them when everything suddenly blacked out and the next thing she knew when she opened her eyes was that she was lying in a hospital bed.
‘Congratulations!!! you are six weeks pregnant’ announced the doctor smilingly, ‘everything is perfectly fine’, he continued. Her father, choked with emotions, appeared speechless, as he sat by her side stroking her head. Her mother sat on her bedside, eyes were filled with tears. Disha tried to sit up, feeling groggy and slightly weak. Her brother was beaming happily, bestowing delighted smiles. One look at all of them and she simply broke down. Hugging all of them at once, she cried her heart out.
‘Vikram has been calling up to enquire about you every ten minutes. He has been distraught with worry ever since you fainted at the airport. He had almost booked the next flight to be here by your side but we have told him to stay put and assured him all is well. We have communicated him of the happy news.’ her brother said beaming once again. ‘There he goes again’, he handed her the ringing phone. Smiling through tears, as she took the phone, she could not believe what she heard ‘Disha, we have made it. All has turned out well. The Multi-national Conglomerate where I was interviewed last month has offered me the role of a Vice-President, with a triple compensation, including housing facility and other perks. Now you can enjoy a carefree maternity break and afford all the help you had always wanted. I am so happy for us.’ Tears of relief and joy shone through her eyes, releasing all the pent up, but at the moment, all she could do was to burst into tears, sobbing even more louder while uttering ‘I love you’ into the phone.