On a typical Monday morning, her day begins at 5. It wasn’t a pain to get up that early irrespective of the time that she would sleep in the night at. She devotes almost an hour to herself and loved every single moment of those sixty minutes. Her eyes would open up only with her wake up tea, mind would start functioning with her morning walk and she would breathe easily and peacefully only with her customary long hot water shower; that one hour was her sanctuary of calm and compose. Everything that had gone wrong yesterday, all the tasks that she would have to handle today and all qualms about the coming week would slither away with the running water. In those moments, there was no pretence about the absence of issues, no over exaggeration about the same burdens. In those moments, she weighed everything with just as much significance as they required, not an inch higher or lesser. In those moments, she garnered the strength and reminded herself of who she was. In those moments, she felt empowered and emboldened, bloating and taking pride in the grace of the fact that she was the mother of two beautiful daughters. She was wife to a wonderfully cooperative husband and it was a beautiful family that they were raising. In those moments, she would remind herself of all that she has achieved – a working mother who doesn’t forget to listen to her daughter’s stories any day and who doesn’t find tending to her kids a strenuous and tiresome job. In those moments, she would live for herself, wondering about everything that she has done right and everything that she will make right. So every morning, she devotes almost an hour to herself living every single moment of those sixty minutes.
The next alarm at 6 is accompanied by her husband’s desperate attempts to get the girls out of their beds, even as those two whine and scream at their father to let them sleep for “just a little longer”. An everyday affair, she knows he’ll handle it and get her daughters to make it in time for their school bus. She finds her duties rather peaceful. Sure, the kitchen is not the most pleasant place to be in. But she merely has to deal with herself and her things. So while the breakfast and the water bottle and the tiffin box are set on the table with a deliberate loud thud, it is her sign to her husband that the girls should be wearing their shoes by now. She wrestles with their school bags while her seven year old and ten year old eat their cereal and fruit. The parents both kiss them goodbye and get back to work. He goes in first. He always wins and takes the shower before her. Meanwhile, she lays his clothes on the bed and food on the table. By the time it is her turn, it is time for him to leave for work. So she sets him off before getting ready herself.
It was force of habit for her to ensure that her bag had everything from her files to documents to papers to laptop and her make-up set. She opens the door to her maid at the same time while fitting her feet into her Charles & Keith pumps that she wears to work. Rest assured, she makes it a point to awaken her maid with a brief reminder about the dishes to be prepared for lunch for her daughters and about the corners of the house that need cleaning, and she is good to go. She grabs the keys and pushes them in to start her car as she races to reach work on time. Punctuality is one of her master-plays. She is hardly ever late. An icing on top, her boss never fails to take note of that. Nevertheless, a sigh of relief is natural and almost instinctive as she settles in her seat and her cabin, ready to begin with the day’s work. As the last alarm of her office clock goes off, she gets up only once she is satisfied and content with the completion of the day’s assignments. Puffed up with the fulfillment of another loyal day at service, she heads back home, reaching in time before the maid leaves. Nothing soothes her as much as the smiling faces of her two little daughters. Her husband walks in the middle of her natter with her kids as they hop around the house with stories of how they aced the spelling test in class. The rattling goes on till dinner time, their most awaited meal of the day. Dinner was the time when all four of them would get together and celebrate all that family love. They were a proud family and each one of them applauded the other for doing their job right. But she never understood why, her husband always raised a toast to her in order “to celebrate motherhood and womanhood and the exemplification of the perfect blend of the two”. He would remind their children every night before tucking them into bed that their mother is the strongest person he knew. He would never go off to sleep before silently thanking God for his wife and for making her the mother of his kids.
So while his day would be complete at that, his wife would lay in bed, close her eyes and picture all those women struggling to feed their families. She would visualize all those women who are involved in the battle to fight for their space in the public sphere. She would visualize all those women who vow each day that that will be the day that they would step out from behind their purdahs and face the world directly. She would visualize all these women and with heartfelt gratitude, pass a prayer and a plea to the Maker to bless them with the resources and the opportunities that she had got. She would hope with all her might and all her faith that they would come out of such petty obstacles and live fully what describes in the true sense, the life of a woman, a wife, a mother. She wished that the world would appreciate this world that also makes space for women like her, who lead their lives as ordinary as possible, yet extraordinary for themselves. She wished that all those women would get that one hour in the morning, to themselves, their moments, their time, their sanctuary.