I scraped the last bit of scrambled eggs from the pan on to the plate. The bread was in the toaster and the coffee was ready. Archana entered the kitchen as I was just finishing laying out the plate for her. She had just showered and had the fresh morning look which amazed me every time.
"That does smell and look good. Any special occasion, dear husband?"
"I'm in a very good mood today morning, dear wife. Especially after last night." I winked.
Didn't I love seeing those cheeks turn red. We sat on the table for our breakfast.
"Looks like Mili had a good night's sleep yesterday, so you should not have much trouble today morning."
"I actually love the fact that I get to spend more time with our daughter than you. How many fathers can say that eh? We always have a blast together without you around."
"Some people also say that I'm an irresponsible mother, working while my child is yet to even start walking. What do you say to that?"
"Just that those people don't realize the joy of switching roles from time to time. You just worry about bring home enough money for us to pay our bills and I'll worry about taking care of the house."
She squeezed my arm.
"You do know how much I appreciate you doing this, don't you?"
"You are doing the real hard work, I'm just sitting at home lazing around and spending time with my daughter. So if we are done with all the sentimental talk, off you go to work."
"Before I go, I want to remind you to do something about that compost pit you have started in the garden. Its beginning to smell bad."
"It is a compost pit. It will smell bad for some time. But then you just wait and see how well our plants turn out. Shoo now."
Archana left for her office. I checked the baby timetable that she had kept for me. The next feeding was due in a couple of hours.
I liked this feeling of not having any work pressure and the time that my situation gave me. It was a tough decision, but I was glad for it. Traditionally a mother gives up her career to care for a child. In our case, Archana had a better job and a better salary than me, so it made some sense for her to continue working while I could care for the baby. And I insisted on it.
Sitting on the sofa, I opened the newspaper. All depressing news as usual. Economy is down, blasts occurring in some remote corner of the world, a burglary here and there. My eyes stopped at a news article about a missing corporate tycoon, Karan Joshi. Wasn't that name familiar? Of course it was. We were in college together, in fact we were at that time thinking of starting a venture together before life happened and things didn't turn out the way we thought they would. The article said he was last seen going out for lunch from his office and did not return. His phone was found in a dustbin next to the office building. It had been a week now but there was still no trace of him. There hadn't been any ransom call yet but the police weren't sure of ruling out kidnapping.
Did I feel bad about it? I wasn't sure. He was my best friend in college, my only confidante. The idea on which he built his company was my idea, and I ended up not being a part of it. While I was trying to make my ends meet, he was pitching the business plan to various investors connected to his rich father and managed to get an initial investment. One thing led to another and he became one of the youngest business heads. All of it, started with my idea, not his. And now he was missing. Did I feel bad about it? Maybe a bit for his family, but not for him.
I remembered Archana had told me to do something about the smell in the compost pit. Maybe I should put more soil on it to reduce the smell. As I shoveled soil into the pit, I felt a surge of anger. It should have been the both of us who would succeed together. My idea did not benefit me. You son of a bitch Karan, you stink. Literally. I do hope the worms and insects are feasting on you right now. I hope they finish you fast so that the smell can reduce before Archana gets more inquisitive about this compost pit.
I washed away the dirt and checked the time. It was time for Mili's feed. I took her bottle and went to her. She looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes. I love you my child, and I will make sure that nobody plays with your dreams ever.