The baby’s birth was a life changing event not just for Nysa and Arjun but all of us. As grandparents we felt equally responsible in caring for our grand kid and making life easier for our daughter. We did not want a situation where she had to forfeit her career for the sake of her child.
The dilemma we were facing once Nysa joined back work was – who would care for the baby during the day? Suraj was busy with his new start up, he had teething issues with the new set up and we knew it would be too much to ask him for a part time commitment on a regular basis at this stage. I could manage to get Flexi work but thats only after 4. At this point, Arjun was the one who came forward and offered to take a break from work. Shared parental leave is a concept thats not much heard of in India and his organisation flatly refused, saying that they could offer nothing more than the customary 2 weeks of paternity leave.
Arjun had been toying with the idea of starting something on his own but he kept postponing it due to fear of failure and loss of a stable job. Now was the time. He decided to resign from his corporate job, the grind was something he never enjoyed anyway. He would spend half the day with the baby taking care of him and once I took charge in the evening, he would commence work on his dream project.
Finance was not an issue as Nysa was doing amazingly well. They had their 3 bedroom ultra luxurious apartment, car and all the comforts, a good bank balance and were debt free. He brought out this topic before Nysa, me and his parents. We were taken by surprise but equally happy to see a father take charge of the baby.
Everyone settled very well into the new routine. While we were happy to see Arjun feed the baby his porridge, sing lullabies as Nysa clinched a multi million dollar deal- we realised not everyone were as happy and proud as us to see the roles of a husband and wife becoming fluid. Colleagues, neighbours, relatives- young, old, everyone had something to say. While some mocked at Arjun for being a hen pecked husband and eating his wife’s money, others looked at Nysa with disapproval for making her husband sit at home and dominate him.
The surprise element was our 60 year old Maushi (house help) who had never gone to school and lived in a patriarchal set up all her life. With tears in her eyes she told Arjun and Nysa “Didi bhaiya (sister and brother) may you continue to flourish . You have set a new precedence and I hope more people follow. Whats wrong if a man looks after his kids and the wife earns? Who said its supposed to be done in a particular way? ”
With time people got back to their business though we would continue to see those surprised looks when Nysa left for work with her handbag and Arjun and baby Dhruv waved her goodbye, dressed in pyjamas with a bowl of food in Arjun’s hand.
Linking up with #BlogchatterA2ZChallenge
My theme for the challenge is
“A slice of life through Myra’s eyes” – a fictional tale of growing up and learning some vital lessons about self love, feminism, sisterhood, a working woman and the essence of being a woman in urban India.