"Are you going to be late again tonight?", Neha asked nonchalantly, without taking her eyes off li'l Yash.
"Umm...I dunno. Hopefully, I'll be home by 10.", said Aditya, still gazing into the mirror and adjusting his tie. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed her giving him a cold look. He quickly reframed his sentence, "I'll be home latest by 10.30, I promise."
Neha wasn't really expecting a convincing reply. The man of the house had been jobless for almost a year, till three months ago. And then, one fine day, he found a job that seemed like a dream - good pay, flexible working hours, a laptop and phone, allowances, employee engagement programmes, et al. But since then, he'd been spending three-fourths of his day at work and travelling to and from work. The rest of the day was only spent on dinner, sleep and getting ready to go to work. On many occasions, he'd go to work on weekends too. His whole life now revolved around work, and she wasn't liking it at all. Of course, this schedule brought home the money and rations, and savings. But all this at what cost? One year old Yash had been down with high fever since two days, and Aditya was nowhere around. She had to manage his treatment all alone. She couldn't blame Aditya much, he was still on probation after all. Unemployment was not a luxury that they could afford again, at this point in time.
As she patted Yash to sleep, like all mothers do, she remembered the Aditya from a couple of years ago, when Yash wasn't born yet. On weekends, after having helped with household chores, Aditya would rest Neha's head on his lap and pat her to sleep, all the while holding her hand and gently rubbing her thumb. Neha smiled while thinking about how she sometimes pretended to fall asleep, simply to savour the feeling of being loved and touched. Aditya really was a loving guy.
But what had happened to him suddenly? After the kid was born, all his attention simply seemed to have turned towards Yash. He'd spend all his time around the baby, singing to it, cradling it, changing nappies...Of course, she loved Yash too, but sometimes she felt envious of him.
And then Aditya lost his job. He suddenly seemed to have gone into hibernation. He'd always stay indoors. He'd stopped meeting and speaking to friends. Most importantly, he'd lost his smile and the ability to spread joy. He stopped showing love.
Still patting Yash, Neha suddenly began to feel that she was being unjust to Aditya. The poor man had been through hell while he was unemployed. He'd wake up in the middle of the night to look for jobs on job portals. He'd look up unconventional sources of income. He tried to think of business plans. In other words, he had been trying his best to get work and support his family. Even now, that was exactly what he was doing - trying to support the family the best way he could. She fought back a tear.
"Aditya", she mustered, this time in a more loving and inviting way.
"Hmm". He was now shoving his breakfast down his throat.
"Come here baby".
Aditya was slightly amused at the word 'baby'. He hadn't heard it for months. He left his breakfast and sat himself down on the bed, next to her and Yash.
What she did next stunned him. She simply kissed him gently on the lips, and lay her head on his lap, and placed her hand in his.
The touch of her hand suddenly evoked a feeling of love within him that seemed lost since ages. As if by instinct, he began patting her to sleep, all the while gently rubbing her thumb with his fingers.
The Power of Touch is PHENOMENAL.