Chapter Four: Up, up and Away!
You don’t know what I am going through, every cell in my body yelled, as my boss screamed at me for missing my deadline yet again. “You took leave for two weeks. I expected you to be done with your work by now. This is absolutely unprofessional.” I took leave because I lost my father, I wanted to tell him, but didn’t, because I knew I was just a decibel away from bursting into tears. He saw my face contorted with pain and lowered his pitch just a tad. “Listen, I understand you have been having a tough time personally but these things happen, you can’t let it affect your work, move on.” That was it. “Move on! Move on!? Don’t you tell me to move on you insensitive pig!” I leapt off my chair with streams of tears wildly cascading my face and looked my boss straight in the eye and said, “You know nothing! You didn’t know my dad and you don’t know what it feels like to lose him!” I could hear my decibel levels hitting the roof, but I didn’t care. I felt wild and free and dangerous, after a very long time. I even enjoyed that look of absolute shock on my boss’s face. “I quit, you insensitive asshole!” I hurriedly took the first sheet of paper I saw in front of me, jotted my resignation, signed it and violently thumped it on his table. “There you go, Eesha Sahai has moved on! Moved on from this stinking office with a stinking boss!”
I stormed out of his cabin to see the bewildered expressions of colleagues. I walked over to my desk, picked up my bag and my but one belonging, a photo frame with Dad’s picture in it, and left the office without a farewell. I didn’t get a goodbye and it was only fair no one else got one.
“So, what now?”asked Mom. “I don’t know,” I said. “You clearly haven’t thought this through... you are too impulsive, and too sensitive... You always have been. It doesn’t pay beta, to be so emotional...” “Ya, and it pays to bottle in your feelings and cry at night when no one’s watching. That’s better, right?” I said, and regretted it the minute I had. I gathered myself and looked my mother right in the face and told her what I had been avoiding telling her for a long time. “Mom, I have decided to go away for some time. I have some money saved up for a trip. Anuj has agreed to lend me his bike for ten days and I am going to ride to a few towns in Himachal. You know I am a traveller like Dad and you know I am going to go. So just let me.”
I waited for her over-the-top Mummy-type hysterical response. Instead she said this, “I should have seen this coming. You are, and always have been, your father’s daughter. Give me a map of the route you plan to follow and phone numbers to all the hotels you have booked yourself at, and then you can go. A little bit of soul-searching will do us all some good right about now.” I jumped up with joy! All of a sudden I was excited at the prospect of this new adventure. The day was turning on its head. A dream was turning into reality and I was finally running away from the ghost memories of these past few months.
“You are sending her where?” “On what?” It was official, my mother and my sister had lost it. Eeshu wanted a sabbatical in the form of a lone trip to the Himalayas on a bike and my mom had agreed. “Have you guys lost it? I know Eeshu is dumb, but what’s the matter with you, Mom? How can you allow this? You know what, I put my foot down. She is not going. She is leaving when? Give her the phone right now! Right now, Mom! I don’t care that she refuses to talk to me, this is not done! What about you, how are you going to manage alone? How can she be so selfish? Mom...mom?”
“She hung up on me! My own mother hung up on me!” “Don’t worry about it love, you tend to have that effect on people,” said my loving hubby. “You are not going to believe this...Eeshu...” “Is going on a trip to Himachal. On her bike. Sorry, on Anuj’s bike. I know, and I believe it. Who do you think funded her expenses?” he said, with a mischievous grin on his face.
“You! Why do you hate me? Instead of talking sense into that girl, you encouraged her into this madness? Was my father the only sane person in this family aside from me?” I sat dejected and disillusioned on the side of the bed.
“Your father was the one who took impromptu trips on his Bullet to Rishikesh. Your father, my dear, rehearsed a fish-hook stunt on his bullet, with your mom sitting behind him!” said Raj, with a victorious glint in his eye. “Ya, ya, I know all that, and much more, mind you. But Eeshu...she’s my baby sister. And... She’s a girl!” “Whoa! Thus spake the lone spokesperson of feminism in the Sahai-Khanna khaandaan! How sexist, jaan, really!” And with that, he knew he had shut me up. Great, I had myself a smug husband this weekend and a loony baby sister for life.