Her clock ticking ‘twelve’ and sweat trickling down her face, Shayra was battling the scorching heat, anxious to get back to her five-year old daughter, Linda, stranded alone at home. She ruffled through the documents neatly filed in her hand, sixth time in an hour, to ensure everything was in place lest she spent additional time figuring them out at the counter yet again. It was the last day of payment of the monthly fees of her doll’s school and there was no excuse to miss it this time.
Two hours of wait in a serpentine queue and she stood fourth, stretching her limbs and twisting her neck to shirk away the pain. Thoughts of the string of activities that awaited her back home gave her nervous pangs. Linda’s school uniform had worn out and a new one had to be ordered over the weekend to ensure the vendor delivered it in a week’s time. In addition, her little angel had been yearning for this new set of Camel pastels to participate in the National Crafts Festival organised early next month. More than the tasks it was the fatigue of hovering through numerous vendors to ensure she made the best pick.
Packed to the neck, Shayra almost missed counting in the project updates she had to share with her team to prevent further delays in the process. After all, it was a crucial business deal and could be foregone for nothing.
Juggling between home and office, little did she realise that it had been a decade since she had enjoyed a peaceful nap with Linda. Catering to innumerable roles, she missed being by her daughter taking an active part in her childhood and innocence. Those playful sessions of craft making or holding her hand as she shaped the first curves of the English alphabet were lost in between corporate-household battles. It took her back in time when she had her mother frantically attending to similar roles while she grew up in the arms of her granny and later a nanny.
‘Shayra’ is just another single-mom striving to seek the best for her child and missing out on life in the bargain. Striking a perfect balance between monthly pay-outs and pushing away a penny for the hay day while attending to the growing needs of the child, single parents are exposed to challenges that are rarely understood or discussed. With limitations on various fronts, primarily being finance and time, single parents are under the constant pressure of availing their kids of opportunities and an all-round development for their future. Joining kids to their hobby classes, participating in their childish elocutions or walking them through career goals are a distant dream.
While challenges are many, solutions to the same are rare or none. We still have parents running end-to-end, stealing life between presentations and report cards and remunerations and expenses.
Wonder if we all had access to a genie who could get us things with a snap of a finger, saving time to see our kids grow up, be a part of their smiles and tears, indulge in pillow fights or kitchen plays, etc. If only…