I would have liked to believe that today was like any other day. Except it wasn’t. Life changing decisions had been made in the past few months and today was the of reckoning. My wife, on a sabbatical for over 2 years in which she gifted me a beautiful daughter and devoted herself to taking care of her most demanding years, was now ready to go back to work.
I could be partly held responsible for the decision. The anxiety had become unbearable in the past few months. Every morning, I would wake up at 4 in the morning with an overwhelming sense of dread on what the day held for me. My vitals seemed to be in a race to outdo each other while the exterior presented a calm stupor which belied the mess within.
I seemed to be sinking into a deep and dark abyss from where the light seemed to shrink farther and farther way.
I was desperate to find a way out . I always believed that work was meant to live a life. However, here I was, expending my mental faculties for up to 18 hours daily for work. I was irritable, moody, staring lost into space and seldom participating in any conversation. The best years of my daughter were passing by and I had no time for her nor her mother.
So, when my wife told me about this offer she had received from her previous company in Mumbai, it didn’t take us too much time to arrive at a decision. We were ready to move out as it seemed to be God’s answer to our prayers. My wife was eager to climb the corporate ladder again and I was eager to step away from it.
Leaving behind Delhi was an easy decision; we never grew too fond of the city anyway. Our previous stint in Mumbai of 5 years had convinced us that we were more Mumbaikers than Dilliwale. We loved the vada pavs, the local trains and the rains. We loved the city for its people. Behind all that garb of professionalism, we always found Mumbai to be more human.
Leaving behind our family and the relationships that we had forged in the past 3.5 years was, however, tough. Their love and affection for us is what sustained us through the tumultuous times in Delhi. I will miss my evening ‘chai with folks’, my weekly fellowships with my cousin and friends and our monthly meetings with this growing family in Church that we call the diaspora; essentially people who have been born and brought up outside Kerala. These relationships anchored us strongly to life and to the simplicity of it.
Taking up a new job wasn’t the only decision that needed to be made. We were absolutely sure that our daughter, all of 1.5 years, would not be left alone at the mercy of a nanny or a play school. One parent, as the case had been up till now, had to stay at home. That one parent was from now on, me.
I am now officially a ‘Stay and Work at Home dad’ or ‘dada’ as I got my baby to call me affectionately. I have help, the quintessential Mumbai nanny who seems to be around with every other kid I see in Mumbai. However, I consider myself fortunate to be able to now see her through the day; her antics clearly pointing at our genes. I am fortunate to have a wife who understood the need of the hour and did what the family needed. Much love to her. Beyond all, I am thankful to God who has taken us places and always points us towards the smaller and simpler things of life that give us more joy and happiness than all the luxuries that our money can afford.