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January 01, 2020 Wednesday 02:46:34 PM IST

Togetherness a Stress Buster

Cover Story

“It was on 5th November 2010 that Kamal and I decided to be together. Being a girl born with a physical condition called ‘Spina Bifida’, life had gifted me with a bundle of hurdles.I left home and went to my cousin’s placeas my parents weren’t happy with a job offer, I had received from Cognizant, Bangalore during mysecond year of college.Kamal was my cousin’s best friend and he soon became my close companion.Yet, I was not sure if he was ‘the one’ for me.

On the day I left home, I was distraught, unable to hold back the tearsgushing down my cheeks.I cried the whole day.It was Kamal who stayed with me.That night, I received something from him that told me he was the one. It was a message from him telling, “I will be there for you, forever and ever.”“From then on, we are together,”says Meerawhile comforting little Bhanu,her daughter who was trying her helpless best to get back mommy’s attention.

Kamal and Meera got married in 2015 and it has been four beautiful years now. Meera is a PhDscholar doing research on “Representation of Disability in Malayalam Cinema” while Kamal works as an Assistant Marketing Manager in a private hospital. The couplehave built a house—a small nest of theirs, which they have fondly christened‘MEEKA’.

“Leading a jammed professional life,we always try to divide our duties and move forward together.Nuclear families induce some stress, but the greater space andfreedom in being ourselves,is the best part of it,” Meeraadds, with a self-indulgent wobble of the head.Family matters for both of them, and hence, before their marriage, Kamal dropped his job from Oman and came back to Meera as hervisa got rejected.

Funnily enough, on their wedding day, both of them were jobless butnobody knew about it.Chuckles Meera, “we celebrated our honeymoon voyagesfree from the clutches of our work schedules.Later, wedisclosed our secret before all. Together, webuilt our new job profiles and waited.There were timeswhen I was paid more than him, but surprisingly we had no ego clashes.”

It was difficult for the couple to achieve work-life balance in a professional world. They could make it simpler by division of duties.Kamalsays, “I am a morning person and gets up early,whereas Meera lovesher beauty sleep.So,our day begins with my getting up,as Bhanu opens her eyes. Without disturbingMeera who would havesleptlate after feeding Bhanu,we quietly move out.I quite enjoy changing Bhanu’s night suit and diapers.”

“Kamal manages our household better than me.He arranges for breakfast without waking me up and that grace hour of sleep which I get is myhappiness pill,” says Meera.Meera’s mother takes care of Bhanu when the couple go for work. Meera reacheshome early in the evening and looks after Bhanu, until daddy arrives.

In the middle of all this mad rush of life, the twosomedon’t forget their “couple time”.One hour in the evening is when the couple spend time with each other, by either going for a walkor having a hot cup of tea in their balcony. This couple time is sacrosanct, as Bhanu will be looked after by her granny.”Bhanu and Kamal will then have their ‘daddy-n-daughter’ time and I will engage myself with my paper work,” Meera’s eyes glitter as she gazes contentedly at her loving husband and dear daughter.

Working days are busy days, but the couple try to pack it with random talks,gossips, and laughter,which tightens their bonding and helps relievesstress.They also find time to discuss about everyday things and wait for the otherduring their lunch break.Theygivesuggestions to each other and together plantheir monthly budget.

“We basically learnt everything together,even cooking.Now Meera is a perfect cook, and I usually help her by chopping vegetables and dealing with the laundry work,which she hates the most.We mostly share our household duties by considering our interests and then it is easy,” Kamalasserts.

“We never force each other in doing something,and thus enjoy our individual space.I am basically a disorganized person, whereas Kamal is obsessed with cleanliness.But he never forced me to change being myself”,confidesMeera,giggling away as Kamal joins her,“Meera is a better financial manager than me, and helps in making investments.”

There are some ‘couple secrets’ too. “Kamal is my personal groomer,and it is his secret wish to become a professional hair stylist.I know him better than anyone else.”They agree to one thing—basically it is not just about the physical time spent together, but being mentally present in it. A healthy work-life balance means being active in professional goals but still finding time for personal pursuits and life’s little pleasures. “This togetherness is our stress buster,” the couple sign off, looking into each other’s eyes with renewed fondness.