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House Bound
By Sneha Kothawade
Sneha Kothawade awakenyog@gmail.com

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I sacrificed my career for you darling I appreciate your act of kindness honey. But I think now the time has come for you to step out and chase your dreams Ok. Then will you chase Chiku for finishing his homework? Yes I will Chikuuu...chiku now mummy will help you finish the trigonometry sums and make your science project Half asleep Chiku responded, No pappa. I want you to do it please. Pappa basketball match today And with a victors smile, Joy pulled his wife into a tight hug. Chikus recommendation meant that he would continue to be the house husband and Soni would continue to be the breadwinner for the family. Each morning when Soni would have to reluctantly to get up from the bed, she would feel envious of Joy - her college boyfriend and now husband since twelve years. But she couldnt really blame him for sitting at home. She was herself part responsible for this situation. Jayant Omprakash Yadav, better known in college as JOY was one of the brightest student and everybody expected him to get the best placement. Soni was just six months younger to Joy and one semester behind him. They entered into a relationship within the first few months of college, and remained committed to each other ever since. They were one of the most

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long lasting couples of their college. Within the span of four years of their engineering, they witnessed their friends go through multiple break-ups and falling in love with a new person every semester. The loyalty of Joy and Soni however stood out as an exception and they came to be known as the best couple of their college. The litmus test of their love was when Sonis parents came to know about their affair and turned up at the college to drag her back home. It was all because of a friend of Sonis younger brother who took admission in the same college. In his first week itself he learnt about Sonis relationship and he rang up Sonis brother to tell him that his sister was famous as the Joy wali Soni here. Within no time Sonis parents were inside her hostel room and packing her bags. Sonis parents had always been conservative but that hadnt deterred Soni one bit. Her mother never wanted Soni to stay in a hostel away from home, but she had rebelled to study engineering. And now when she was just one examination away from her B.Tech and she couldnt let her four years of labour go down the drain. It was the time for Soni to rebel again to defend her love. And she did it rather well. She declared to her parents that she wouldnt marry anyone else except Joy, and wouldnt leave her college without completing her degree and getting a placement, come what may. To the latter they agreed, but the parents didnt like the idea of marrying Joy much, because he was still studying. Joy had chosen to do M Tech from the

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same college, instead of taking up the placement offer. But this was not the main problem. The biggest hurdle to their marriage was made out to be the caste difference, even though it was marginal. Soni was a Gupta and Yadavs were considered backward than the Guptas. But the difference wasnt much really. They were like third and fourth rank in the caste system. Yet this marginal caste difference was played up. But both Soni and Joy were not going to let any of this come into the way of their marriage. Joy called his parents too, who were much more rational and accepted Soni as their daughter in law. Joys parents tried to convince Sonis parents for the marriage. It helped that Joys father was a senior bureaucrat in the same department where Sonis father served as upper divisional clerk, and therefore could convince Sonis father with some authority. The best solution that emerged was to get both of them married immediately as none of the parents were comfortable with the tag of girlfriend and boyfriend for their children. They were married without much fanfare, in a small ceremony where only minimal relatives and neighbours were invited. But the ordeal was far from over. They were faced with yet another difficult choice after marriage. Soni, not wanting to study further and itching to earn, opted for a placement after B Tech instead of studying for M Tech. And she got placement in another city with a top notch fortune 500 company. Sonis

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parents refused her request to go there alone. Either she takes Joy with him, or she leaves the companys offer and stays with her husband. Soni didnt want to ask Joy to leave his M Tech as she knew that he really was very serious about his studies. But she also didnt want to let go of this dream opportunity. She was heat-broken and it was apparent. Joy couldnt stand the sadness of Soni and he worked to silence his internal tussle. He surprised Soni and himself by booking their tickets together to the new city and deciding to quit his M Tech. Soni knew that for a person who wanted to do doctoral studies and get into research, quitting his masters was the biggest sacrifice he could do. Why are you doing this? I am doing this because God says we should do acts of kindness Please dont kill me with your kindness. Your selflessness makes me feel selfish. How will I ever forgive myself? Come on, start packing now. No time to waste and Joy walked into other room pretending to be busy, but hiding his tears, which Soni had already spotted. At that moment, she had felt like the luckiest woman on the planet to be blessed with a man who not just encouraged her to pursue her ambitions, but sacrificed his own to make hers possible. Recalling this moment, Soni would pull herself out of bed each morning. She knew that her husband had earned the right to be a house husband. And again, he was best one at that. He would serve the breakfast, pack the lunch,

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and keep the dinner ready for the family. Getting grocery and vegetables, paying the bills and the fee, it was all his responsibility. And for Chiku, he was not just the father but a mentor for Chiku. Because of Joys coaching Chiku was already playing in the junior basketball team of school and was one of the toppers in his class. Joy would do everything else, so that Soni could focus completely on her career. Twelve years had passed with this arrangement. And everything was smooth and perfect. The only time when Soni had lived like a housewife was when she was pregnant with Chiku. Joy had strictly asked her to be at home for two whole years, starting from the first month of pregnancy till the time Chiku turned one year. Only a few months were sanctioned as maternity leave and the rest were leave without pay, but Joys brilliant money management meant that they could survive the entire period very comfortably. I cant believe we could live so well without me going to work. How much savings do we have? Your company pays you very well darling. This is why I can afford to be a house husband! Joy had replied with a chuckle. Soni would be clueless about the bank balance as she would hand over the entire salary to Joy, who was the one in-charge of managing all the fixed deposits, policies and their investments. He had specially created a fund for the baby and only when there was sufficient amount in that for Soni to rest for full two years, did he plan their baby. Joy had never given a reason for

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Soni to complain. The house would be always tidy and the bills would always be paid before time. Yet Soni had now begun to feel that something was wrong. Probably she was influenced by one of her younger colleague who was getting married. This colleague had received a marriage proposal from a highly rich, but a very orthodox family of businessmen. The only condition by the in-laws was that she would have to quit her job and be a housewife after marriage. Initially the colleague had refused their offer as she didnt want t o give up her financial freedom and didnt want to let her education go waste. But later this colleague decided that being housewife was actually a convenient option as she would get everything she wanted without having to slog eight hours daily for it. Soni had now subconsciously begun to feel that she was doing all the drudgery while Joy was having a good time. Her mind concluded that whatever she thought to be kindness or a sacrifice was actually only disguised as such. It was instead a very clever move by him to conveniently stay as the house husband forever. She recalled how their maid would often complain that her husband didnt earn a penny, and instead lived off her income like a parasite. And only now it occurred to her that she was actually in the same position as well, but she wasnt able see it blinded by Joys love. Questions like Why didnt Joy apply for a job anywhere from the last twelve years?, Why did Joy accept to do what every other man refuses to do?, Why did Joy not get perturbed by the ridicule coming his way for

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being a house husband? began to spiral in her head. She was visibly upset thinking about all this and it was visible to Joy as well. One day when Chiku was out with friends, Joy sat down with Soni. His experience so far told him that Soni would never speak her mind, unless coaxed to do so. Is there any problem at work? You look tensed these days... Ya, work is very hectic Soni knew this was the moment to say it, but couldnt collect her courage to say it directly. As an afterthought, she added I dont feel like working anymore. I have had enough Thats true. You really have enough. Let me show you Joy got up and returned with a laptop. He opened the websites of banks and after filling in certain details, the windows revealing the bank balance opened up. This is all yours Joy turned the screen towards Soni. She checked the amount in all the tabs and was surprised to find that almost her entire salary was saved. How did you save so much? How did you run the house expenses then? Soni was now completely surprised. All thanks to you. Actually I started a blog and shared my adventures as a house husband. And I also started getting a lot of followers. And then you

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know what? I started getting advertisement! Within six months, I could earn enough to pay all our house expenses from this blog. Today four other house husbands write for my blog as freelancers. AND the BIG news is that I was recently approached by a publishing house to release the best of my blogs in a book. I wanted to tell this to you on our anniversary next month. By then I would have also signed the contract! REALLY???? Why didnt you tell me this? Soni screamed in happiness and in that instant she realised how foolish she was to think so much crap all this while. Suddenly all the happiness converted into guilt of doubting her lover and his biggest sacrifice. All the moments came flashing in front of her eyes, when he had handed her the tickets for the new city, when he had prepared the first egg curry, when he had changed the nappies of Chiku and each memory rolled down her cheeks as a tear. Stop crying come on! I could have done none of this without you After a long time, Soni was feeling like she used to initially, like the luckiest woman on this planet, blessed with a husband so kind that he truly is one of his kind. And when her tears stopped and allowed her to speak, she whispered into his ear All my happiness is because of you... All my tears are tears of Joy!

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Sneha Kothawade

About the Author: Sneha is the co-founder of Awaken Yog along with her mother, Ujwala Kothawade. It was a recent realisation that nothing else brought her so much happiness as doing Yog and meditation and also sharing this knowledge with others. After her graduation in journalism B.A. (H) from Kamala Nehru in 2009, she worked as a Sub-editor, wrote Press Releases for social work organisations and also dabbled into the content writing industry before she finally decided to switch her career completely. She found her calling in Yoga and pursued her Diploma in Yoga Vidya from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan in 2012 and is now also enrolled for her masters in Yoga from SVYASA, and works as a corporate Yoga trainer. She is also the vice president of recently formed NGO - VOICE (Volunteers Organisational Inititative for Community Empowerment) and fond of planting trees with her like-minded friends. When she is not thinking about story ideas or doing Yoga, she can be found painting in her sketchbook.

Sneha Kothawade awakenyog@gmail.com