By Somali K Chakrabarti
The flight landed at Gatwick airport on a cloudy Saturday. After clearing through the immigration, Anika collected her luggage and headed towards the Arrivals hall.
It was the mid of March, in 2003. This was Anika’s first trip to Brighton; she was posted there, from Delhi, on a consulting assignment.
The wind outside was chilly. It started drizzling as she got into the cab. It was a 45 min drive from Gatwick to Brighton. On reaching the Bed & Breakfast in Brighton, where a room was booked for her, Anika checked in at the concierge and sluggishly headed to her room.
The room was small but neat, with a single bed and a well lit desk. Rain drops splattered continuously on the window. Throughout the day Anika sat in her room like a grumpy cat, thinking about how she would spend the next six months without her family, particularly without her 6 year old daughter Rinku.
She wished for the weekend to be over soon.
On Monday, Anika joined her office. Her client manager, Bob, was a pleasant person who introduced her to his team. Soon she started getting along well with the client team.
Within a few days, Anika found herself a rented apartment and moved in there. Her office work picked up and she started keeping busy. During the day she enjoyed her work, but coming back to an empty house in the evening peeved her.
Those were the times, when Skype did not exist. Anika could get in touch with her family only by phone or through emails. She spent the evenings writing emails to Arun & Rinku.
The weekends were the hardest to pass.
Brighton was a beautiful place but Anika was not quite enthused to explore the place on her own.
The feeling of loneliness engulfed her from time to time, and the thought of leaving back her child for a prolonged period made her uneasy, though she knew that Rinku was in good care of her husband Arun and his mother.
A month passed by and it was vacation time for her child. Anika’s joy knew no bounds when her family decided to come and visit her. She started counting the days when she would meet her loved ones.
Finally on a weekend, Arun and Rinku reached Brighton.
By then, the dull, short, cold and grey days had given way to bright, warm, long, sunny days.
Now the feeling of loneliness paved way for togetherness and cheer.
While she was at work, Arun would take Rinku to places in and around Brighton and Hove. After she came back home in the evenings, together they would often go for strolls to the beach and Marina.
During those three weeks they went around to see different places. On one of the long weekends they planned out a trip to London and Greenwich, and on another to the Isle of Wight.
As she prepared to return to Delhi, Rinku had a lot of stories to tell.
Anika heard her excitedly speaking about the mermaid at the Brighton pier, the sea side palace and museum at Royal Pavilion, Rudyard Kipling’s house at Rottingdean, the Big Ben tower and London Bridge, the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the wallabies at the zoo and the donkeys at the Donkey sanctuary at Isle of Wight.
Anika was happy to have found the work-life balance with the opportunity to explore a new place together with her family.
#Together at Housing.com
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