A Tale of commitments and fulfilments (Short story)

Oh god! Anita, I have been telling you for the past 1 week now to spare some extra time someday and clean the loft on the balcony and help me with the remaining cleaning. It's just two more weeks to Diwali and so much of work is still pending.", maintaining my tone, I still managed to issue a firm notice to my domestic help. 

A Tale of commitments and fulfilments (Short story)

"Oh god! Anita, I have been telling you for the past 1 week now to spare some extra time someday and clean the loft on the balcony and help me with the remaining cleaning. It's just two more weeks to Diwali and so much of work is still pending.", maintaining my tone, I still managed to issue a firm notice to my domestic help. 

"I know bhabhi. But it won't be possible today. I will try to do it tomorrow."

"Every day you give me this false commitment of tomorrow. God only knows, when is this tomorrow going to come?" I blurted in utter arrogance.

"Okay listen. You like that crimson-colored saree of mine no. You can have it if you manage to complete the cleaning by the coming weekend."

I tried to make the offer lucrative enough to get my work done. Anita kind of instantly seemed to be trapped in my offer and announced to accept the challenge. She left for the day promising to return the next day. 

"Seriously! Are you seriously going to give that saree of yours to Anita.", questioned my puzzled half Aakash.

"Aah! Don't worry. I am sure she will never be able to complete the cleaning by the weekend. I know her. Worry not. I am playing safe.", I replied over-confidently.

"Piyu, I asked you to complete your civics lessons by today evening. Did you do that? I am going to take your revision.", I questioned my 7-year-old daughter.

"I will do it by tomorrow mamma. Promise!"

"What tomorrow? Yesterday also you said the same thing. You must learn to value your commitments beta. Remember, if you have committed something to someone, you must always anyhow fulfill it. Otherwise, no one will trust you ever. 

Anyways, make sure you complete your lessons by tomorrow evening.", I temporarily retired after delivering a brief lecture on values and commitment to my (generally sincere) sweet-heart.

(Next Day), 

"Ding-dong!"

I heard the doorbell sound before that of my scheduled alarm. Rubbing my partially opened eyes, I went to open the door. 

"What? Anita? How come so early today. Is everything alright at your home? Paise chahiye kya?", I shot dozens of questions at her all at once. 

"Arey didi, you only told me na to finish all the pending cleaning by tomorrow. So today, I have called it an 'off' at the rest of the places and will work the entire day here only. We will finish the entire cleaning by today itself." I couldn't believe my ears for a moment and even ended up pinching myself, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

I suddenly recalled my vague and unintended promise of giving Anita's favourite (and mine too!) saree to her as a reward for completing her targets and meeting the deadline.

"Didi! you go and get freshen-up. You can continue with your routine. I will prepare tea for all of you and later carry out my cleaning task for today."

I was totally in a fix now while sipping my first cup of tea. I started thinking of all the potential excuses that I can make to Anita and avoid giving the 'trophy saree'.

Maybe I will tell her that I had lent that saree to my mother-in-law and now it lies with her. (The most convenient and realistic one). Or maybe I mistakenly misplaced the saree and now do not remember, where I kept it. (But what if she insisted on helping me to clean and organize my wardrobe on the pretext of finding the saree).

Or, if not I will simply disown my promise and give her another saree, which I had anyways intended to give her as 'Diwali Bonus'.

I know, I am being undoubtedly 'nasty' here. But I couldn't imagine handing over one of my most prized possession to Anita, just like that. Not that I ever wore that saree even once in past more than a year or as if I didn't have any other beautiful saree as good as that one. In fact, like most of us, my wardrobe was stuffed beyond capacity and was overflowing with so many such sarees, suits, and dresses some of which had literally remained untouched for years and only did the job of appending beauty to my closet. Then, why was I behaving so selfishly and critical?

Clearly, Anita's work wasn't that drudge of a task and wasn't worthy enough to be rewarded such an expensive saree. This would look like rewarding her more than it's worth - I explained myself.

Anyways, the day passed quite rapidly in evaluating all the pros and cons of refusing the desired 'saree'  to Anita. 

Anita was now in the last segment of her day's work and indeed, she had done a great job. There wasn't any scope of oversight in her work.

"So what have you thought? Anita certainly seems to be on a roll today.", my over-smart half poked me only intending to pull my leg and further irritate me.

Anita finally returned to me after almost an hour only to update me that she was done for the day and will resume tomorrow. Saying this, she hurriedly exited.

What! she didn't even ask me about the saree. Did she read my mind? I felt a bit ashamed.

"Okay Piyu, are you ready? Go and get your textbook. It's time for revision."

"Mamma, actually I am only half prepared. Can we do it tomorrow? Please!"

(Boooom!) This was an instant trigger to already brewing hot-pot inside me and my daughter got scolded badly for not keeping her words.

But wait! What was I doing? Wasn't I equally guilty for not keeping my commitment and honour my words?

The following day, my ears were longing to hear the doorbell sound. And as soon as "she" came, I happily handed over a neatly wrapped packet to Anita containing "the trophy saree" along with another new saree that I had intended to give her in the first place. 

"Arey didi, thank you so much! So you were serious. I thought you were kidding."

"Kidding! yeah, I was kidding", I said as I heard my irritating half deliberately coughing in the background. 

The same evening, Piyu came running to me all excited that her lessons are now fully prepared and yes, I was equally astounded to discover that she did byheart her lessons excellently.

Someone admittedly said it righty that kids imbibe and learn from our actions and what we practice, and hardly understand what we preach. So, as a parent, we must constantly be aware and awake about our own actions and behavior that can lay an example for our little but constant learners and their little feet can follow our footsteps confidently.

A few days later, on the day of Diwali, Anita sent me a pic on WhatsApp which was a selfie with her family, wearing the most deserved 'saree'. I was surprised to see that she chose to wear this pre-owned saree instead of the new saree that I had given her.

I could only reply to her with a smiling emoticon and wrote - "Happy Diwali!"

Thank you for reading!

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