No more a Stranger…!!
I was sitting in the reading area of the reception lobby of a hotel when a voice came — “Your daughter is very beautiful just like you..!!”. I looked up to the gaze of a handsome middle aged man with a flirtish smile. Seeing me quizzed by his compliment, he repeated the lines again in a hope of starting a conversation with me. But my lips became tighter and my eyes lowered with shyness. Blushing, when I looked up again, I could see him walking away… The story didn’t end here. In fact, it began…
For hours, my heart thumped and mind stayed unsettled at the thought that a woman, mother of two, had managed to make a head turn so effortlessly. As people around saw me randomly picking books from the shelf and turning pages disinterestedly, little did they know what a turmoil lied beneath my calm face. The running years and accumulation of experiences had made me believe that I had grown old. The faded look in my husband’s eyes assured me that increasing responsibilities had made me loose my charm. But this brief, but special moment was a contradiction to all this.
I reached back to my room, but my mind stayed there whole night. As I sat in front of mirror, I could see beyond my new emerging wrinkles and shoots of new gray hair — into the twinkle in my eyes. The unmaintained face in the mirror was once a charmer, and so were these beautiful brown eyes, which now lay caged behind spectacles. All these years I had either spent in dull home-wear attire or occasionally would get ready to please my better half. But all would go in vain in front of his ignoring eyes, which would only focus on those extra bulges and spot the stubborn post delivery stretch marks.
Over the years, those night long conversations of the courtship days had reduced to brief meaningless noise. I hurtfully recollected how gradually I had become a punching bag to my husband and kids who had started taking me for granted. Silently, I took it all, thinking that it was my responsibility to keep them off their stress and worry. By taking one-one step backwards, I had killed my ego to survive my relationships. Like everybody, I too had a castle of dreams which had fallen apart as one by one, all bricks were taken out and thrown away.
As stranger, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I realized that the girl out there who was once a decision maker, could not even voice her opinions now. The bold one, so sure of herself was now in a constant state of uncertainty and doubt for her each action. For the love of her family, she had left everything and slowly driven to a point where she had become a stranger to herself. Yes, I hated this girl in the mirror in front of me.
I wanted to put an end to the burden caused by responsibilities, to my each and every move dictated to me, to being judged time and again of how despite everything I was an incapable wife and mother. I had, very graciously accepted that maybe I was not enough. But today, my defeated soul was shaken, and awakened.
Meeting the stranger marked the revival of the chirpy, optimistic and full of life kind of a girl that I once used to be. And that was the beginning of an amazing journey of self-transformation. As the seasons changed, so did my life. I started off once again professionally in a competent workplace where I got a set of new like-minded friends, Everyday was a day of intellectual growth. My stagnant mind was now multi-tasking — juggling between job, house chores and family commitments. But I loved it all.
The incident made me find the key to the locked closet which had my old clothes that smelled of my lost self. As I wore a new set each day to office, it also adorned me with my lost confidence. My head was held high with pride of being able to contribute my bit in home finances. I was completely off the guilt of being a ‘freeloader’, and once again was a happy, content soul.
Some days after, at night, my husband came to me and very lovingly embracing me, little quizzed by my transformation, spilled out of his racing heart — “ Are you in love with someone lately?” Smilingly I replied — “YES…!! I am in love….with my soul….and this time it is FOREVER…!!