This has been a tough work week. I was out of town on work for two days and had a business dinner on the third. So I have been feeling separation anxiety and guilt pangs like never before. The day I returned from my trip was especially stressful. I had planned it all very well so that I would get back in time to spend at least an hour with Ayaan before his bedtime. But everything that could go wrong did – the flight was delayed by 15 minutes, the check-in baggage took ages to appear, the driver took a wrong turn and there was bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way home from the airport. I got terribly stressed out in the car drive, shouted at the driver and shed a few quiet tears of frustration and guilt. Eventually, I did get home in time to meet Ayaan but for just about 15 minutes…
Though I must admit that travelling does have its upsides:
- To start with, one can theoretically sleep late in the mornings. Let me clarify this a bit though. Firstly, 'late' in the current context means till 8 a.m. Also, note the strategically added ‘theoretically’ – as I discovered on this trip, my body’s internal clock seems to have decided that no matter what the circumstances or levels of exhaustion, sleep beyond 7 a.m. is just not an option.
- Since I am travelling and away from home any way, I can indulge in some guilt-free socialising with friends who stay in that city and stay out as late as I like.
- I can go shopping by mysef and for myself, without the added burden of having to worry about an unwilling, bored husband and a restless toddler. (Ayaan's list of retail mishaps now include breaking a clothes hanger, bursting a bottle of buttermilk, throwing up on the floor and opening a packet of nicely wrapped apples and digging his nails into it!)
- I can spend quiet evenings without toddler arms wrapped around my legs or grubby toddler fingers poking and pinching me with gay abandon.
- I can actually walk out of a room without a wail following my departure.
Yet, they don’t make up for:
- Not being the first person Ayaan sees in the morning and the last one he sees before he sleeps at night.
- Coming home to an impersonal and empty hotel room with no ecstatic, six-toothed grin to greet my arrival.
- Hearing about his antics from Jai on the phone and feeling miserable about missing out on them.
- Seeing other women with their babies during the course of the day and getting a horrible, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
- The guilt accompanied by the never-ending internal debate of “Is this really worth it?” - which really makes its presence felt at times like these.
- Worry about whether he is missing me and the tinge of sadness that comes with admitting to myself that he is not.
And then I’m back home and life goes on… until the next trip, that is.