‘Ma can you, please leave. My friends are getting disturbed.’ said Khushi in an irritated tone to Sushma. With teary eyes, she moved towards the door, looked at her daughter with a kind smile, pulled the door with the heavy heart, and walked out of the room. This was nothing new to her. Sushma was used to being treated like a punching bag by her family, but today, was special. It was her daughter’s big day- Khushi’s graduation results were out, and she had topped the University. Sushma wanted to celebrate her success and discuss her future plans. She wanted her to pursue MBA but didn’t want to push.
Next morning, when Khushi came to the breakfast table, with the pounding heart, she brought up the subject in the presence of her husband, Raj. Next, what she heard not only crushed her heart, but also her self- respect. ‘Ma, what do you know about MBA? Do you even know what exam you need to clear?’ said Khushi mockingly. Instantly, she was transported to the year that changed her life. She remembered the date clearly, it was- June 25, 1994.
It was a hot and sweaty day in June. Sushma had got up late as her final exams had got over and there was time for her MBA classes to begin. She always asked her mother to make her favorite dishes during the holidays and today, she had asked for ‘aloo parantha’. She was expecting the pungent aroma of the paranthas but; instead, she saw her father and aunt, who arrived from Meerut, discussing her ‘kundli’ with the family astrologer. She was intrigued and rushed to the kitchen to ask her mother. Her mother was busy in preparation for the evening.
‘Sushi, you are up. I’ll just serve you breakfast. Finish it and then go to aunt Sunita's salon. I have fixed an appointment for your make up. Wear that orange saree we bought last week.’ said Sushma’s mother. She was confused and didn’t know what was going on. On probing further, she got the big news- some Raj and his family, suggested by her aunt, was coming meet her, and if they liked’ her, she would be married next month. She didn’t know what to say- she wanted to study further, find a job, and then settle down.
She protested, but nobody had time to lend an ear. That evening, when she was combing her hair lost in random thoughts, her mother came to the room to inform her that the guests had arrived. She saw the teary eyes of her daughter. She sat beside her and said ‘Sushi, I know you feel awful, but nobody in the house can defy your father. I persuaded him to change his mind, but he is adamant. Don’t worry! Everything is not lost. Your dad says, Raj’s family is modern. They might allow you to study further.’ Suddenly, Sushma saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
The meeting went well- Raj and his family liked her. They didn’t mind Sushma’s studying further. Both the families were elated. A month later, Sushma married Raj, filled with hopes of a happy-ending ever after.
Few days into the marriage, she was embroiled in the household duties, playing the role of a perfect wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law. One night, after a lot of procrastination, she decided to discuss with Raj about her classes. Raj came from the office tired and was relaxing on the bed. Sushma thought, it was the right time to speak to him. She got him a cup of tea and casually mentioned,’ Raj, you know my MBA classes start in a week. Did you speak to your mother? What did she say?..’ Raj smiled and held her hand, ‘Sushi, there is no need for all this. This household should be your prime concern. Forget about everything else. Plus, ‘Ma’ doesn’t approve of this, and I can’t do anything.’ She couldn’t believe what she heard. All her dreams were shattered just with a polite smile by Raj.
Today, when Khushi made fun of her, she was torn apart. She returned to household chores, cursing her father. Lost in her thoughts, she started to gather clothes for washing, when she saw Surf Excel Matic kept on top of the washing machine. Subconsciously, she started reading the instructions on the box. It said that with its "powerful vibrating molecules", it penetrated deeper into the stains and removed them effectively, so there was ‘no need to soak’ the clothes before washing.
The concept of ‘Soak No More’ inspired her, and that moment she decided to tame the CAT. Yes, she decided to appear for the entrance exam and accomplish her long cherished dream.
When she told Raj about her decision, he appeared to be supportive, but she knew deep down, he had no faith in her. She had to prove her detractors wrong. With her savings, she enrolled into a coaching center. She got disturbing glares from her fellow students who were in their early twenties, but she was not perturbed. It was difficult for her to get back to studies, but she was determined. She solved all the possible mock exams and was ready to take the exam.
One day, before the exam results were to be announced, she was nervous. If the results were not in her favour, criticism from the family awaited her. Nevertheless, she was just happy to take the risk.
Next day, she got up at the usual time- practiced yoga, made tea, and woke up her servants. Somewhere, she had forgotten about the results. She heard the doorbell and wondered who it could be. When she opened the door, she couldn’t believe what she saw.
There were reporters and cameras outside her house congratulating her on her success. Yes, the banal housewife from New Delhi, had topped the coveted CAT exam. The journalists were keen to interview her. One of them asked her, ‘Who was your inspiration?’ She looked at Raj and Khushi, who were standing by the pillar expecting her to say their names. She smiled and said, ‘I am a housewife finding inspiration from smaller things in life. So obviously, it has to come from the things you expect the least. My inspiration comes from my Surf Excel Matic that taught me to soak no more.’
Note: This entry is for the Surf Excel contest by indiblogger.in
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Thanks to Google for the image.
Thanks to Google for the image.