Arjun spent most of the night tossing in bed.
Over dinner, his wife, Aruna had excitedly told him about her new role in an upcoming project which would soon need them to relocate to Australia. Arjun on other hand was expecting a promotion any time now. To accompany Aruna at this juncture would mean a big setback to his career and he was not sure if he was ready for it. He tried to reason out with her, making her understand how risky it would be to let go of a secured job and promotion. Rest of the dinner was spent in silence. “I will talk to my boss tomorrow and tell him I won’t be able to take up this offer”, said Aruna dolefully before retiring for the day.
Arjun could not fall asleep. This sudden development had left him feeling lost and sleepless. As he lay awake in bed he thought about ‘them’.
They had met 10 years back at an inter-collegiate debate competition. As Aruna, easily the smartest of the lot, spoke against the topic, “Sita’s Agnipariksha”, Arjun gave it a new twist by convincing the audience that it was actually Ram who suffered more. His oratory skills combined with a different angle won him a first prize. When Aruna came to congratulate him she said, “Your Ram should have expressed his Love differently. Perhaps, then they would have never suffered”. Arjun won the prize, but lost his heart. And tonight that same feisty, highly opinionated and immensely independent girl had passively told him that she will reject the onsite offer for him. What had his love and their marriage done to her, he thought? Exactly when did these familial expectations and age-old definitions of sacrifice become a hindrance in his wife’s career, stopping her from achieving her dreams? Where did he lose the woman whom he loved and why? He kept pondering over these questions for a long, long time.
In the morning no one spoke. A decision was already made during the night. On reaching office, a resignation mail was typed, informing the boss about the regret for not being able to continue as planned. An unforeseen situation had made it necessary to choose between personal priorities and professional milestones. And personal priorities could not be sidelined.
Aruna sat staring at her cubicle blankly. She had worked so hard to get out of it, to reach to the next level. And now when it was her chance to snatch that opportunity she would have to let it pass. She was crushed when Arjun did not reciprocate her exuberance about shifting base to another country to take up new challenges in her career. Would she react the same way if it would have been his case? She could have very well argued over it with Arjun but that would have led them no where. His first reaction had told her all she needed to know and beyond that any argument would have proved meaningless. Would it still be Sita’s agnispariksha, hers alone?
As she got ready to go to her boss’s cabin to tell him about her decision to turn down the offer, her cell-phone beeped. “Forgive me for last night. Today on reaching office, I sent out my resignation mail. That thing which seemed so difficult before became incredibly easy after I knew what I needed to do! I am going to be with you wherever you decide to go. Love you forever!” .Her cell phone screen blurred as her eyes welled up with tears. Her Ram could love differently!