‘Weekend,’ Madhu murmurs and pulls the curtains. ‘When will I have one in my life?’
Rohit squints in the bright sunlight. People in this house will take their own time for the following two days to wake up, eat and bathe whereas Madhu’s routine will be the same one she follows in rest of the weekdays. Rohit has now buried his head under the duvet like a tortoise. Madhu detests the sight. She switches off the AC and opens the windows.
‘This will give me some peace, at least,’ she thinks and comes out of the bedroom.
6:00 am, Saturday. A weekend. Unfortunately, the word ‘weekend’ doesn’t exist in Madhu’s dictionary. She is a housewife and literally lives in the place where she works. With her sleepy eyes, Madhu gives a cursory glance at the mess the living room is in after last night’s TGIF in-house party. Empty pizza boxes, coke bottles, chip’s packets, popcorn pieces are scattered here and there. She slides one pizza box to a side and sits on the sofa with her head resting upon her hands.
‘Feeling sleepy?’ Madhu hears Rohit’s voice.
‘Yeah,’ she replies.
‘Can understand. How can one sleep if there is a power cut right in the morning?’ He sits on the sofa and wipes beads of sweat from his forehead. Looks like the switched off AC has done it’s magic in which Madhu never succeeds.
‘No power cut,’ Madhu gets up and switches on the ceiling fan. ‘I put the AC off.’
‘Why?’ Rohit looks perplexed. It’s a crime to switch off AC at this hour in this house. What’s wrong with his wife?
‘Didn’t want you to sleep peacefully while I have to get up and start working,’ Madhu shrugs.
‘Today is Saturday. No work, no school. Why don’t you let me take charge of the house for a change?’ Rohit asks.
‘What?’ Madhu can’t believe her ears.
‘Yeah,’ he nods. ‘I will handle everything and…..’ The door bell rings. Madhu can imagine two milk packets lying like orphans on the entrance. She walks towards the door but Rohit stops her like a traffic police stops someone who has just broken a signal.
‘Allow me,’ he gives an assuring look.
‘Be my guest,’ Madhu says. ‘Why didn’t I switch off the AC earlier?’ she thinks while entering the bedroom.
‘Check if it’s boiled properly or not,’ Madhu hears Anuj and Vaibhav’s joint instruction to their father. Rohit Sahay is leading his two man army in the battlefield. Amidst this critical scenario, it’s impossible for Madhu to relax in bedroom. Every time a spoon falls, the storage cabinet doors bang or the glass containers clink a bit too loudly, Madhu jumps on the bed and asks, ‘What happened?Is everything okay?’ ‘Under control,’ comes the answer from the kitchen.
But Madhu can’t lie still anymore. A part of her is refusing to take the much needed break from the kitchen. She peeks into the kitchen and her heart skips a beat. The army is adjusting the noodle strings coming out of the big frying pan with fork, spoon and whatever armoury they could lay their hands upon. Hot water is spilling out of the pan. Masala packets are lying on the floor.
‘What is all this?’ Madhu asks in horror.
‘Breakfast,Mom,’ Anuj replies holding a fork with a big string of noodle hanging from it. If breakfast preparation is like this, Madhu has no guts to picture how lunch and dinner would be.
Madhu gives a closer look at the pan and asks further,’For whom?The entire building?’
‘Just the four of us,’ shrugs Vaibhav, the youngest trooper in the group.
‘Can I help?’ Madhu asks the leader who has preferred to keep quiet all the way. His eyes pleading for some expert help though.
‘Um…no,’ Rohit hesitates. ‘You take rest.’
‘Please, I beg of you,’ Madhu folds her hands, an indication for the army to buzz off from the kitchen. Four of them let out a sigh of relief, each for their own reason.
‘Weekend,’ Madhu sighs the very next week.
She looks at Rohit sleeping peacefully in bed. She takes the AC’s remote in hand and…..keeps it on the bedside table. The ideal weekend now looks like a myth to her.