He was walking on the road like a lost soul. He didn't know what to do or where to go. He cursed his company and then his life. All his dreams were about to shatter. He looked at the files he was carrying with anger and frustration. He had done so much hard work for the last ten years for the company. He had pushed himself beyond his own limits during each and every project he was handed. He had never complained or envied anybody. Yet life was mocking him right now. Wondering how to break the news infront of his family, he crossed the last signal and started walking towards the last building in the corner with worry lines on his forehead. He passed the main gate and saw his son playing Cricket with his friends, who wanted to become a Cricketer and play for India. But for that he needed good coaching which meant more money……..
Feeling let down, he marched straight into the elevator and reached his floor. Unaware of his surroundings, he walked straight towards the open door on his left. Nita was already waiting for him. She had seen him from the balcony. She smiled and opened the door more widely.
“So how was the day?” she asked, stretching her hand to take the files.
“Fine” he muttered without looking at her and went past her into the bathroom.
Nita lowered her hand and felt instinctively that something was wrong with her husband. She went into the kitchen and made tea. She brought it towards him, who was now sitting on the sofa, staring blankly at nothing. She sat beside him and looked closely.
“Anything wrong?” she asked softly.
“Where’s mother?” he asked, trying to avoid her question.
“She is resting in the bedroom. Her knees were aching again since afternoon” she answered without taking her eyes off him. When he still refused to look at her, she sat straight and took his hand.
“Suresh, you know you are not telling me something” she stated abruptly.
Suresh sighed. What was the point in hiding? Sometime or another, this will be known to everyone. Especially when the neighbours will see him sitting at home….
“They have given me the notice period. I have to leave the company by next week” his voice cracked and he lowered his head, unable to speak further.
He felt Nita gasp. He knew what she was thinking. Rent, school fees of children, maintenance fees, electricity bills, mobile bills and all the daily needs of survival like food and water needed money. Both of them depended on every month’s salary for fighting against the rising prices in the market. But now with no job, how would he cope? He didn't know when he will get a new job. He doubted whether he will ever get a new one any soon. And his elder son’s hostel fees were due and he had a next week appointment at a hospital for his diabetic mother. At the last thought, Suresh felt disgusted at himself. What kind of a son he was about to be proved, if he wouldn't be able to afford a good treatment for his own mother?
“Don’t worry” Nita broke into his thoughts.
“Huh?” he turned and looked at his wife. She looked calm.
“Yes, you will find another job” she persisted.
Suresh stared. Here he was, all tensed and worried and expected a full burst of emotions from his wife. She was educated enough to know the competitive environment of different companies. She knew the effects of unemployment. She had herself gone through it immediately after they had got married. But that was for three months and he had got a new job based on someone’s reference. Now the time had changed. References hardly work nowadays. People, young and old, have to get through written tests, interviews, group discussions and more tough rounds to get any employment opportunity. What he would do this time, he couldn't think.
“It’s your company’s loss, losing an employee like you” Nita urged, “You, on the other hand, have so much experience at your disposal that you can work wherever you want.”
Suresh smiled inspite of himself.
“You trust me, don’t you?” he asked earnestly, taking her hand in return.
“Completely” she smiled and looked at her husband with proud eyes. He doubted that he deserved them. As if reading her husband’s mind, Nita replied,
“Don’t worry. I will always be with you, no matter what.”
Though he had no job and no salary for the month, at that moment he felt that he was the most fortunate man on Earth. His worries vanished instantly. He had been worried sick since the time his company had given him the notice period. He had felt humiliated and scared to face his family and friends all alone. He knew the amount of gossip that would be created in the neighbourhood. The unfairness of it would be the losing of respect he had created for himself in the society. But now he was ready to face anything, even unemployment. Seeing the determination of his wife, his confidence and strength rose. He felt relieved and content with the thought that his wife was there with him, no matter what. She was ready to be with him happily even now when he had just lost his job. In every trouble she had been there to support him in the past. Even today when he was facing the worst crises in his life, his wife just told him not to worry about it. That was the extent she believed in him and his capabilities. What more could he ask for? He hugged her and made up his mind to never let her down. Come what may, he would face it head on and fearlessly for her love and support. That was all he needed in life. His love and companion to be with him always, no matter what.