Why the hell did you give birth to me, if this is how you treat? I raged, lying in my hospital bed.
How dare you say that!? Retarded Ammi in higher decibels. The next moment, she walked out of the hospital ward, weeping.
Abbu looked confused, whom to console at this point – his ailing daughter, or his broken wife.
He slowly got up from his chair, picked up the glass of water and sat beside me. Have some water, he said, wiping my tears. You should not hurt your mother, with such sharp words. He spoke in a soft voice.
Slowly, I got up and had some water. My throat was aching due to suppressed anger and sorrow. Tears kept flowing like a breached dam. I lied on my bed, breathing heavily. He sat there still, sometimes caressing my head and at times wiping my tears.
Little later, Ammi walked in. Abbu made way for her and settled on his chair. She quickly sat beside me, holding my hands.
Who knew, life would turn like this? She said wiping my tears. I can’t even imagine; you would ever speak like this. She spoke, lifting my head gently. I turned my head away. I was still so upset.
Say something, urged Ammi.
That was a trigger enough for me to break open.
How long do I go like this?
Where are your other children? Three sons, and two daughters!! All elder to me.
And every one busy enjoying with their family
And I being the youngest girl, have paying off the debts taken to get these bloody jerks married
Don’t you think I have a life too?
A life to enjoy my freedom, be with my friends, and have fun.
Am I the only one to own up your debts?
Ammi and Abbu sat there speechless, as if struck by a thunderbolt.
Why so many loans?
Can’t you manage your finances properly.
Aren’t your kids equally responsible to share the family debts and burdens?
Why did you allow them to go away?
Just shut up! Ammi, could not take it anymore
Dare you not speak like this anymore. Do you think, it was easy for us to raise the six children, with Abbu’s meagre earnings as an auto driver? Are you so grown up, that you challenge your parents today?
Hmmmmm!! Abbu intervened in a deep voice.
Calm down. We are in the hospital, he asserted.
He sat close to me, caressing my head. In a moment, I was back to my senses, as if out of a broken spell.
Sorry Gudiya, I know its my fault. I could not handle my life and family well enough. It’s my inability, which has broken you down. Isn’t it? He asked Ammi. She simply nodded in acknowledgement.
I know, last two years have been really tough for you. You have been working 10-12 hours a day. And as luck would have it, your employer is not able to pay you regular salary. Every day I see you walking to your office, only to save the bus fare of 5 rupees. All through, you have neglected your health, leading to your bed rest for two months and stressed with the mounting hospital bills. It really hurts me, to see you like this. My weak eyesight, does not allow me to work. Else, I would have certainly contributed to our income. I can’t even seek further help from our friends or relatives. Your siblings have also turned my requests down.
I started feeling guilty. How could I be so harsh with my parents. Sorry, Ammi and Abbu. I should not have said that, I got carried away. I never meant to hurt you both. Sorry, please forgive me. And I promise you, never again will I speak to you like this.
Its, okay beta. I understand. Said Ammi. Everything happens for good. I am sure, the Almighty has some better plans. Let us wait and see, what good things are in store for us.
The doorbell rang. Abbu quickly got up to check.
Rizwan is here to see you. He said, welcoming him inside.
How are you feeling? Enquired Rizwan, my fiancé.
Much better now. Am getting discharged tomorrow.
Wow, that’s good, he said in a chirpy voice.
`By the way, I have some good news for you. He added.
Yesterday, Sheela received a job offer from an insurance company. As you know, she is getting married next month, and will not be able to take it up. So, she recommended your name. They will call you next week for an interview.
There was a spurt of joy in the room. Thank you, God! I prayed quietly. Next day, I reached home and started preparing for my interview. I could sense some magical energy around, may be with this ray of hope
On Monday, I received the call as expected. I quickly got ready and started for the interview. May Allah be always with you, blessed my parents. I was feeling both excited and anxious about the interview. Rizwan came home to pick me up.
The interview started bang on time. Wow! How professional! I said to myself.
I came out after about an hour completing three rounds of interview.
Congratulations!! Cheered Rizwan as I stepped out into the lobby
I smiled at him, as if asking, for what
Your happy face says it all. I know you are selected. He said with a beam
Yes, with a salary four times the previous one. Am joining tomorrow as a customer support officer.
Let’s go for a coffee, my treat, he said.
Sure, and next month onwards, I will treat you, every salary day, I chirped, walking out of the office holding him by his arm.
It has been over two years now. Happy days fly fast, really fast…
Cheers to our Silver Jubilee Coffee Treat, said Rizwan raising his coffee.
Oh yes, today I received my 25th salary. I said, making a quick calculation.
And that calls for a special treat. Said Sheela, raising her cup.
Three coffee pastries please. I promptly placed the order.
While we were enjoying our coffee and pastries, I am so happy to see you like this, shared Sheela.
Thank you, Sheela for helping me with this job at Ethika. I always owe this to you. You have been really kind enough to recommend my name. I could not stop acknowledging her. I was feeling so happy, she joined us today, all the way from Delhi.
At your service Miss Happiness Manager, you are always welcome, she quipped with a bow.
You look really satisfied with your work. Am so happy for you. She swiftly added.
Of course, it such a wonderful company to work with. In a span of two years, I have grown from a customer service officer to Happiness Manager. It’s like, a promotion each year. Like everyone, I am the CEO of my function, working in the best interests of the customers. Work freedom allows me to have the right work -life balance. The learning space allows me to acquire the necessary skills, resulting in my faster career growth. Every team member is solution-seeker. No problem, small or big can stop anyone from achieving results here. There is always a way out. And yes, so many incentives. This is one company, unlike my previous employers, where I have been growing in every aspect of my profession. I feel so proud to be here.
And you, Sheela, are at the source of all this. Thank you again so much. I said, firmly holding her hands.
Ah, come on! You deserve all this, and God has blessed you for all that you went through your life, said Sheela, gently patting my cheek.
I am so happy for you that you got the right career option, with a great company, earning a handsome salary, with so many learning opportunities to grow up the ladder. See you on the top, very soon. God bless you. She added.
Come let us go, time for me to leave she added getting up from her seat. While, Rizwan proceeded to clear the bills, she gave me a quick hug.
Very glad to see you happy and cheerful. She whispered in my ears.
I quickly held her tight into a squeezing hug responding, blessed to have you as a friend.
Blessed to be with Ethika. Thank you Ethika, for coming into my life.