Out of the Ordinary
‘Are you okay?’ Neeraj asked. ‘You look…’
‘Tired? Exhausted? Drained!?!’ Raina snapped.
Neeraj looked at his wife and blinked a few times. ‘Well, yes! And upset.’
‘What do you expect?’ Raina said, flipping her hands in the air. ‘My whole life revolves around the same usual rut. What do you want me to do? I can’t always look happy. If I’m not feeling that happy feeling from within, it isn’t going to show on my face!’
‘What is upsetting you? Come, sit next to me, and let’s talk about it,’ Neeraj said, sitting on the couch.
‘I don’t want to talk about it!’ Raina said, rolling onto the couch and curling up into a fetal position. ‘I feel there just isn’t any point because it’s not going to change anything.’
Just then, Raina heard giggles from the children’s bedroom. ‘How come they are still awake? I turned their lights out about an hour ago.’ Raina said, getting off the couch.
‘Let them be. Tomorrow is not a school day. Stop stressing yourself so much,’ Neeraj said.
Raina and Neeraj had been married for fifteen years. Their two children, who were not so little anymore, had grown into healthy, happy beings. Their mother ensured they kept themselves busy, ate healthily, and got plenty of physical activity. All of Raina’s time and energy was spent on her kids, her husband, the house, and her job.
Now and then, Raina would feel overwhelmed with her daily routine. Right from the moment she opened her eyes, her mind would start plotting and planning her day. She led a stressful life and always longed for a good night’s sleep, which often seemed impossible.
Later that night, the twosome got into bed. Raina set the alarm for the following day and added reminders to her phone. Neeraj was busy scrolling through Instagram. Without speaking to Neeraj again, Raina fell into a deep sleep.
The following morning, something unusual happened. Raina’s alarm didn’t go off. She had overslept. The children were still in bed, soundly asleep. Neeraj had gone for his usual morning walk and had just arrived home. He let himself through the front door and found Raina in the bathroom, hurriedly brushing her teeth.
‘My alarm didn’t ring,’ she said after spitting out the foam from her mouth.
‘Yes! I turned it off last night,’ Neeraj beamed.
Raina’s eyes widened as she looked at him in the mirror and stopped in the middle of her routine of gargles.
‘WHAT? WHY? Why would you do THAT?’
‘Because… I felt you needed the day off,’ Neeraj said.
‘But I’m already running late. I have so many things I need to do today. I have to buy groceries. I have to meet my mother later this afternoon. I have to get the kids ready for their karate practice in the evening. I need to finish off my presentation for Monday. I need to get the kids ready for school tomorrow. There are so many errands that….’
‘Ssshhhh!! Breathe!’ Neeraj said, putting his finger on her lips.
Raina blinked a couple of times, trying to allow this unusual moment to seep in.
‘Sometimes it’s okay not to go as per plan,’ he said softly.
‘But…’ she muttered.
‘Sometimes it is good to do something different.’
‘But…’ she murmured.
‘Sometimes it’s good to break the routine.’
‘But…’ she mumbled.
‘Raina. It’s O-okaaay,’ Neeraj said softly. ‘Now go get dressed. We are going out for a Sunday brunch.’
‘Okaaay?’ Raina blinked a few times.‘Are we taking the kids?’
‘No. Your mother is already on the way. She should be here in about an hour. And the kids have a lunch date with her. She’s getting their all-time favorite - idli sambar, so their breakfast is taken care of.’
Raina looked at him, stunned. ‘How did you manage it all in such a short time?’
Neeraj put his arm around her shoulders and guided her out of the bathroom. ‘You’re not necessarily the only one who needs to take the lead. I’m pretty good at all this stuff,’ he boasted.
‘Really! Then here’s the shopping list. You can pick up the stuff on your way back home from work tomorrow,’ Raina winked and pecked him on the cheek.
‘Hey!’ he replied.
‘You know what I’m going to do now,’ Raina said, sauntering back into the bathroom.
‘What?’ Neeraj raised an eyebrow.
‘I’m going to take a long peaceful bath.’
Just then, Raina's deep sleep was interrupted by the sound of her alarm clock. She turned it off and sat up in bed. ‘Was I dreaming? Wait! What day is it today?’
Later that morning, Raina and Neeraj were eating breakfast and talking about their plan for the day. The children were still asleep as it was a Saturday.
‘You know I had the weirdest dream, and it seemed so real,’ Raina said as she sipped her coffee and then narrated her dream.
Neeraj smiled and said, ‘you know what?’
‘What?’ She sighed.
‘Maybe we can actually make your dream come true. Tomorrow is Sunday. And it’s been ages since you and I have gone for one of our special brunches. Ask Mom if she can drop by and look after the kids.’
‘Of course. It’s about time we do something out of the ordinary!’