Stretching her aching back, Asmi reached out for Chai. It was stone cold now. So focused was she on the task at hand that she'd barely taken a few sips and kept the cup aside. The presentation had to be finished and sent off by tonight. Hopefully she'd get to let her hair down slightly at least over the weekend. Ohhh! she was so looking forward to sleeping in for a bit. Just a bit, before all the piled up household chores beckoned.
Sighing, she picked up her mug and went inside the kitchen to make some more Chai. This time, she would drink it. Yes! she'd sit by the window and not even glance at her waiting laptop. Even the thought of these few minutes of peace was soothing.
"Mom, can you make me some Popcorn please!" shouted Kabir. Her boy had been a star. Despite being confined to their tiny home, he'd managed to keep himself occupied with books, painting, playing his guitar and listening to music. He'd even taken to dancing behind closed doors though he refused to let Asmi watch. His Screen Time had shot through the roof but some things just couldn't be helped. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Of course he had had a few tantrums, especially when Asmi was bogged down with her Office work and couldn't get their meals ready on time. After all Hunger could do that to you. This lockdown had totally turned their life topsy turvy. What with Ronit stuck in Jaipur, things were even tougher. Thankfully he could stay with his aging parents there and take care of them. At least that was one thing less to worry about.
Young Kabir had literally taken his title of being the man of the house to heart; pitching in with the sweeping, dusting, washing dishes, even chopping the vegetables and helping Asmi in the kitchen every now and then.
Quickly handing Kabir his popcorn, Asmi took her Chai and sat at her favorite place by the window. All kinds of thoughts cascaded through her mind. They would just have Maggi for dinner. Kabir could manage that on his own. She would make some later if she had the energy left to eat.
This lockdown had really started getting to her. More than 40 Days confined to the house with the never ending tasks. Office and Housework had just melted together. She felt like the Hamster perpetually stuck on the wheel. All this was taking a toll on her mind, leave alone her health. She didn't remember the last time she woke up fresh without feeling any pain. It seemed like a neverending nightmare.
One after another, her emotions seemed to bubble over. Shock and bewilderment had turned to grudging acceptance; after all they had been struck by a bolt from the blue. Now with exhaustion and desperation setting in, she started seething with anger.
"I can't take this anymore. I want my Life back! I want to go out for dinner. I want to take Kabir to watch a movie in the mall. I want Ronit to take us out for a drive. I want to take off for our usual Summer break....
It's high time, things start to normalize. How can they just take away are basic rights? The whole situation is just ridiculous. Every few days, they've just gone on and on increasing this prison sentence.....
As anger bubbled over, the very real fear of totally collapsing overcame her already overwrought mind.
Clutching her pounding forehead Asmi closed her tired eyes. "My God! What was she thinking? What about her boy? She didn't have time to fall ill. She couldn't afford to have such awful thoughts!"
Sipping her tea; she drew in some long deep breaths, mentally urging herself to relax. Focusing on the horizon, her gaze settled on the kites cruising in the far off sky.
Asmi sent up a silent prayer, "Please!!!!!!!!!!! I just want to go out into the fresh air and feel the soft breeze on my face again. All I want is to Breathe. Just Breathe."