Half-past three. It was a still, yellow kind of afternoon and the partner was at home. After finishing our lunch, I rested my head on his chest and stared at the rooftop fan.

‘Do you know what I yearn for most?’ I asked him.

‘I know, you want a stellar career.’ He gingerly ran his fingers in my hair-curls and replied.

Indeed he was right. I was raised by a father who had an entrenched belief that women should have careers. Sorry! Women should have ‘exceptional’ careers. I reckon, post my tenth standard as I waited to join the next class, there was an intervening 3 month vacation. I asked father to bring some books so that I can use that time. To my horror, he got a BSC First year honors book of physics from his professor friend. Physics ran in our blood.

‘How can I read that?’ I asked him. ‘How can you not?’ he asked me. The next three months, I finished one fourth of that book. That was my first and only lesson he gave me in the marathon of life. You cannot fear vertigo in your profession. I’m blessed to be raised by my father as an invincible woman who takes pride in her dreams and goals and not contend with what she has. I’m driven by what I can but do not have.

I come back to present as the partner shakes me.

‘You just don’t have to aim for a career. I want to see you walking up to podium in a Banarasi Sari and taking the medal from the president. I want to see you getting a Padma Shri. I know you deserve it. You now have to work hard to get it. And I’m not ready to take any excuses.’

I was stunned! Stunned at the extent of his imagination for me..

But the pessimist in me interrupted him in between. ‘Who will take care of the child. You know what. You are not here always and the child runs around me the whole day, wanting my attention and time for him. I cannot dismiss his desires and I cannot concentrate on my work.’

‘Do not worry about the child. I will take up all his responsibility and you are free to pursue your dreams and travel the world over for meetings and networking. Alleviate all your worries from the child.’ 

His care, romantic sweet nothings, and gestures aside, this was one moment where he lighted the fire in my soul. His words reverberate in my mind still and I hope to make our dream true.