Story of a middle-aged couple falling in love again due to COVID-19 (based on a true story)
“I don’t want to spend another second with you under the same roof,” said Sachin, the father of two kids, who has lost it completely this time while fighting with his wife, Amrita. “I have never forced you to stay either. You may leave,” yelled Amrita. That was the story of the Patil family.
Sachin Patil and Amrita Mishra got married 25 years ago, and it was a love marriage. They decided to rent a small house in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh. But, things didn’t remain as they were. They used to fight every other day because Sachin was not earning much at that time. Amrita was a working woman herself. She was a primary school teacher. But, they were about to start a family, and she knew that her sole income would not suffice. Time passed, and the fights continued, but now they were not alone. They had two handsome boys, Aditya and Ayushman, who were growing up fast, and maturing faster due to the circumstances at their house.
Sachin decided to start a business in his hometown. It was three to four hours away from Indore. Everyone and everything was familiar to him there. That helped him rent a factory with minimum capital investment. While all this was happening, Sachin used to stay out of town because of his new business. That left Amrita handling both her job and kids all by herself. That fuelled the fights even more between the couple. Days passed by, and Amrita stayed mostly alone and handled her life without much help from Sachin.
Meanwhile, Sachin’s business took off slowly, and he became a successful businessman. He started making good money, and soon he bought a house for his family. A luxurious life was waiting for the Patil family. Amrita was relieved seeing the financial conditions improve. But, there was always a piercing sadness within her which was not difficult to identify. She had everything in her life, all the branded clothes, shoes, car, and whatnot. But, she did not have a loving partner with whom she fell in love a few years back.
Here, Sachin was not very content either. He loved his kids. But, he knew that if he went back home frequently, his business could get affected. That made him spend his days away from his boys on most days of the month.
In the meantime, the boys were getting used to their father not being there all the time. Aditya, the elder of the two, understood things pretty early in his life.
Ayushman was the one living life on the edge. These two were the only people bringing a few moments of happiness into Amrita’s life.
Fast forward to 2019. Aditya was now working in an MNC as a software engineer and earning good money. Ayushman wanted to become a DJ and was pretty good at it.
Aditya was living a good life as he was staying in Delhi due to his job. He was away from all the fights back home. But, once every month, Ayushman would call him and tell him that their parents got engaged in another quarrel. And that their father has again left.
Sachin used to visit Amrita and their kids once or twice a month. But, rarely do those visits had ended peacefully. He always used to leave after a huge fight and not coming back for another month or two. Everyone in the family was now used to this never-ending cycle.
Things changed in May 2020 when Aditya had to come back home due to the pandemic worsening in Delhi. He did not want to return home because he was scared that he would be in his worst nightmare for God knows how long! Staying inside with his parents fighting half the time was his worst fear coming to life. So, he tried to stay where he was even when all of his flatmates left for their respective hometowns.
But, Amrita watching all the terrifying news about Delhi becoming the new COVID hotspot, was worried about him and urged him to come back as soon as possible.
Amrita was worried, and Aditya didn’t want that. Being left with no good choice, he came back in May 2020. To his surprise, his father hadn’t been home since the lockdown started for COVID-19 containment. He got stuck in another city. Aditya knew it was a lie, as everyone had managed to return home from all over the world. Even Aditya himself came back home in a private car after fourteen hours of travel.
Almost 6-7 months passed, and in those months, Sachin came once or twice and left as usual after small arguments. Amrita used to say he waited for those fights to happen to get rid of his responsibilities.
Like every year, her husband was out of town this time as well. He was celebrating the arrival of 2021 with his friends. While Amrita and her children were in their house watching other people enjoy on TV. They discussed that they don’t recall being in a pandemic as everyone is out there dancing, drinking, and enjoying with the crowd. The three of them threw a small party to themselves that night. They danced to 90s Bollywood songs. Aditya being the shy one, started to record the video of the other two dancing so that he doesn’t have to join them. But, Ayushman knew this trick his big brother used to play, so he pulled him with his hand, and Aditya had to do the awkward non-dancers dance.
Amrita was surely missing Sachin amid all the dancing and enjoyment. But it has been like this for the last 25 years!
Things were not as bad for them the last year as they were this year. Sachin was back home, and this time he stayed for a month. It was February 2021. Now, Amrita didn’t want Sachin to leave and asked him to start a business here as she cannot deal with all the household chores on her own. She was getting old and needed someone by her side. Rumors about Aditya’s company calling him back and Ayushman getting a gig in a different city also tensed her. She will be all alone if both the kids left. Her only support was Sachin now. But, Sachin refused to shift his business to Indore. It was a lot of work, and due to the pandemic, it was hard getting the same response from customers in a completely different city.
Sachin and Amrita got into a huge fight due to this. This time Aditya was on an office call, and Ayushman was not feeling well. Ayushamn called him. Aditya was upstairs in the little office he made in the storeroom before the terrace. Ayushman told him that both their parents are screaming. Aditya lost his calm this time. He went downstairs, yelled at his mom and dad for being the worst parents and ruining his childhood and life. He couldn’t take another second of them fighting. Listening to Aditya bursting with anger made Amrita and Sachin feel guilty and embarrassed. They thought that all their life, they worked so hard, yet their kids felt this way.
But Aditya was resentful. He asked his parents to take a divorce.
Everyone was in a state of shock except Aditya. But Sachin said yes to that. Amrita was also very angry and didn’t resist her anger and said yes without thinking twice. So, it was official, and the legal procedure for divorce started. Sachin left the next day. While leaving, he made it very clear that he will not come back to this house again. He asked both the children to stay in touch with him. And that he will meet with them whenever they call him. He cared for his kids a lot. But, his relationship with Amrita always acted like a barrier with the kids too.
A month passed, and the other three went on with their lives.
Then things took a turn when the pandemic started worsening in April 2021. Nobody had seen that coming. Ayushmann had caught a fever while performing at his gig at an event in Banglore. He came back home and was sick for almost a week. He was sure that he didn’t have Covid-19. But, his health was deteriorating. Aditya and Amrita were taking care of him. Then one day, he was panicking as he never felt so tired and helpless. And in those weak moments, Ayushman called his father. He said that he was feeling very sick and sad. He asked him to come back for a few days. Both Aditya and Amrita were furious at him for doing that, as they didn’t want the added stress of Sachin coming back after what happened last time.
Then after a day or two, Amrita was feeling very tired and had a high fever. She was taking all the medicines that were available at their home. She didn’t want to go to the doctor as the hospitals flooded with COVID patients. Days passed, and her condition started worsening. Ayushman was better now, but he knew that his mother had caught the fever from him for sure as she got sick a few days after him. Both Aditya and his brother were doing everything in their hands to make their mother feel better, but it seemed like Amrita was not even trying to get better. She stopped eating properly and spent most of her time resting.
Then one afternoon, they had no choice but to take her to the hospital. Aditya stayed home as he had his office work. Ayushman took her to the hospital. And then something strange happened. There was a knock on the door, and when Aditya opened the door, he saw his father standing outside. He came in and asked about Ayushman. He didn’t know that Ayushman was better now. It’s Amrita who was sick. Aditya told him everything, and his father didn’t sit for a second and immediately left for the hospital himself. Aditya didn’t understand. And he was worried that what if his parents started arguing at the hospital?
Then his worst fear came to life with a call from his younger brother. Amrita tested positive for Covid-19. And Aditya was under a lot of stress because he knew his mother. He thought she would not take the medicines on time, she would not drink lukewarm water, and not eat non-spicy food. All the guidelines for the COVID positive patients would be out of the window. Amrita was very stubborn. He prayed for the test to be a false positive, as he didn’t know how would he and his brother take care of her. How will they cook for her? Who will bathe her? To whom would she listen about staying quarantined in one room for a week or two? He was so tensed. That day he couldn’t focus on his work at all.
Then Ayushmann called again. He said that the doctor wants a CT scan as Amrita was diabetic and had high blood pressure issues. He also told Aditya that their father is asking Amrita to do as the doctor says. Amrita agreed and went for the scan. She was scared of the CT scan machine. And the idea that she’d be inside one was scaring the bejesus out of her. Ayushman saw his father staying there with Amrita so that she doesn’t panic.
They came back home. Aditya was unable to believe what he was watching. His father was holding his mother’s hand and helping her out of the car. In all his life, he had rarely seen moments like these. His parents did not hold hands even at parties while dancing. Amrita was visibly pale and weak. Ayushman and Sachin helped her lie down. While Amrita was resting, Sachin told both the boys that Amrita doesn’t know that she is COVID positive. And that he will inform her about that himself when she wakes up. He didn’t want his wife to get stressed and get more sick.
What happened over the next few days was like a miracle. Sachin helped Amrita take her medicines and even gave them right in her palm and made sure she took them. As Amrita was COVID positive, they called their maid to take two three weeks off. In the meantime, Sachin used to cook, especially for Amrita. He gave her everything to boost her immunity, be it light food, fruits, multivitamins, and what not! He was washing her clothes, even offered to bathe her after a few days. All this was happening, and Aditya and Ayushmann were unable to believe it. How could this shift happen when two months back they decided in favor of separation?
The boys weren’t allowed to go to Amrita’s room. Aditya wondered what if she was lonely and stressed out? He came down one afternoon in between a meeting to see how Amrita was holding up. What Aditya saw made him emotional. He felt like crying out of joy for a bit. Aditya saw his father sitting by his mother. He was showing her all the funny memes and videos to lighten up her mood. He has never seen him sitting near her.
Sachin’s changed behavior towards his family was raising a lot of questions in the kids’ minds. Not only did Sachin took care of Amrita, but he also made sure that Aditya and Ayushmann ate well and did yoga for immunity. It was like a perfect family. Ayushmann used to go on long walks with his father in the evening. Seeing them together would make both Amrita and Aditya very happy. Sachin had hardly shared such moments with his children.
After that, they came back home. Sachin went to Amrita’s room and started talking to her. Both their kids saw their mother genuinely smile after a very long time.
Nobody knew why Sachin changed so much. Nobody knew why, after so long is he doing what he never did before. Was he worried about his wife, or was it just for a few days until she gets better? It was something amazing to witness. It seemed like both Aditya and Ayushman got their father back after so many years due to the COVID pandemic. Amrita got her partner back after so many years due to the pandemic. And Sachin also had his family back due to the pandemic. The broken puzzle pieces were back aligned perfectly and created a beautiful picture. Sure, they felt like they all were doing well by themselves. But, this feeling of being stuck together because of Amrita being COVID positive and wanting to remain stuck longer was something else.
Love is not about expensive gifts and luxuries. It is about the time and attention you give to the other person. Love is always there even when other people are not able to see it. It comes alive when your partner is going through something difficult. True love is your partner being there in times of crisis.
Amrita recovered from COVID after two weeks. She was getting better slowly. For at least this family, Covid-19 came as a blessing in disguise. Amrita and Sachin have not fought in a while. Instead, now they talk for hours about their lives. It seems like they have forgiven each other for the past mistakes. They laugh together. It seems they like each others’ company a bit more than before.
It seems like they are falling in love again!
(The inspiration of this real-life story is the family of a very dear friend of mine. I hope he likes my interpretation of it. Only the names of the people in the story have changed. No other detail altered.)
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