• Vijeta Gawdi

A Cinderella Story

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Chores by Tanya Gawdi


Dear Ella sleeping by the cinders,

Your hopes and dreams smashed to flinders,

Only if Fairy God Mother was real,

All the chores, would be no big deal.

So, another day just like the one before. It's 11 am, the 3 month old is down for a nap. I quickly decide to finish cleaning the house. We are at my mom's place for the week. Now, you may wonder amidst the lockdown, how was I able to go to her place. Well, mom lives very very close by and had been in self-quarantine for 14 days. After my father passed away, mom found peace and solace in meditation. Now she has been an ardent fan, follower and believer of the Art Of Living foundation. Over the last fourteen years, she has delved deep into the practice of meditation and found the strength to make peace with life. As Guruji, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says and I quote "Favourable and unfavourable conditions are part of living, smiling through them is Art Of Living."

My mom is such a vibrant person, full of positivity and enthusiasm, the program has imbibed in her the patience and perseverance to deal with the ups and downs of life. Over the last 14 years, I have never once seen her complain or blame her destiny or deem herself unfortunate. She has very graciously picked up the broken pieces and lead her life dutifully with her head held high.

So when dad passed away, she decided to pursue some advanced programmes at the Bangalore Ashram. It was a 5 day Silence program, that ended a day before the 21day lockdown was announced. With only a handful of flights plying domestically, mom was fortunate and blessed to have reached Mumbai on the last evening before midnight, when the flights were stopped. Because she had traveled from Bangalore to Mumbai, she put herself in self-imposed quarantine, just to be sure she was COVID safe. So it had been 14 long days of staying all by herself in the house, the WhatsApp video call, her only connect to the outside world. My in-laws were worried not so much for her safety but more for her sanity. So I was due to go with the kids and live with her for a week.

Now, mom likes her space to be clean, organised and well decorated. She has a hobby for gardening and houses over 60 pots and planters in the house. So we enter the maayka, with my three musketeers, one on the hubby's arms and two in tow. Mom is all smiles, a bit teary but happy. I know she misses dad like crazy but puts on her brave face every time. She remarks at how big the 5 month old looks, how thin the 3 year old has become and how the 8 year old needs to cut back on sweets:) Mom is also looking fresh, charged and relaxed. My hubby bids us goodnight and is bubbling with joy. Yes, he is getting a whole 7 days off and is boggled with what all he can do with that time on his hands. My words to him as the elevator door closes "Jaa Simran Jaa, jeele appni zindagi"

The next few days go by in the blink of an eye, we are just settling into moms space, but her house already looks unsettled and disarrayed. Of all the things she is willing to let go, there is but one she is very strict about her pranayaam and kriya with meditation. My 3 year old is a diva. Even when she does not go anywhere, she changes a minimum of three shirts every day before deciding on what makes her truly comfortable. I think she is the one who will take my legacy the farthest:) 3 times over baccha of mine. I am guilty of being callous too. I am mentally on snooze mode and have barely looked into what the kids have been up to. After two days, I become cognizant of the fact that the house looks less pristine now. Mom is looking a teeny bit haggard. The benefits of all the rest and rejuvenation from 5 days of rigorous meditation slowly evaporating from her system:) The paints from hours of painting and drawing are lying half-dried on the room floor, the 100 tiny pieces of Lego all strewn around, and not one of the 6 Barbie dolls have their clothes on. Instead, those teeny weeny clothes are in moms washing machine.

So today, I have decided to take charge of my brigade. Mom is sitting on her mat meditating, the 3 year old is mimicking her sitting barely a few centimetres from her. I call both the girls, get them to pick their toys, wrap up the art kit, put away the drawing papers, stack up the clothes that have rendered defeat and fallen submissively to my 3 year olds constant pulling. I am filling up the bucket for sweeping the rooms, I hand over two pieces of clean wet cloth to the girls. They are now required to scrub the panes clean. The girls are enthused, they go at it with so much gusto. Giggling, pushing, smirking, competing "My side is much cleaner than yours!" Over the next hour, the girls are busy, my mom is looking at ease, she can now finish her meditation in peace. The 8 year old remarks "Mom we are like Cinderellas today!"

I smile, yes each one of us is a Cinderella today in our own homes. With the current situation at hand, we are going to be Cinderellas for a long long time brooming, sweeping, dusting, cleaning, washing and cooking. The irony is that there is no Fairy God Mother to help us out because this time she too is in lockdown. The pumpkin needs cooking for the afternoon lunch. The Royal Ball-the Earth has gone for a full toss, the slipper in the story- us women, as we slip through the cracks, our efforts often undermined and the handsome prince is a modish man, watching the kids:) as I finish writing this one down.

If the girls felt like Cinderellas, did they mean I was like the stepmother? Now, who's being cruel?!

Bye I am off to find out.

Vijeta Gawdi:)

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