Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Women's Day to some women who worked to make me a "Happy" woman!!

Everywhere we look around today it is "Happy Women's Day".Inspiring interviews and tales of successful women,heart -wrenching stories of the abused and the ill-treated,congratulating each other on having an entire day dedicated to our species,having functions to felicitate the achievers among us and what not........It feels good but I would like it to happen everyday.Why not celebrate being a woman everyday?

Amidst all the limelight on women from all walks of life today,my mind keeps on rewinding the memories I have with some very ordinary women who are extraordinay in their own way.They are the ones who came into my life to help me manage a home,a baby and a job smoothly.Not that they gave me only peace and tranquility....they gave me my share of stress and tension too....unannounced holidays,mood swings,disappearance of food from the fridge and pantry,extended T.V.time.....to mention a few.But these are less torturous compared to the sense of guilt they gave me from time to time.Those pangs of guilt give me stress even today.

I felt guilty everytime I asked Putul(an 18 yr old who had a 3yr old son in her village who stayed with her brother's family as Putul had been deserted by her husband)to feed my 3yr old any delicacy.Didn't she think about her son who might not be getting even a decent two-square meal a day?

I felt guilty whenever my husband got roses for me or we went out for dinner.....I coudn't look into Shefali's eyes in fear of seeing her pain whose husband of seven years had left her with two kids for her own youn ger sister.She was working for us so that she could send money to her aged ailing mother who took care of her kids far away in a remote village.

I coudn't console Savita when she used to engage herself in heart to heart talks with me while oiling my hair.I couldn't help admiring that 22 year old's strength when she in an unguarded moment(like a younger sister speaking to her elder one) she told me how she survived the harrowing experiences in the previous house where she worked .She used to be abused by the father in the night and the son during the day who used to work at a call centre with the helpless bedridden mother in the house.Savita couldn't leave that house as her father needed the money to repay his debts.I felt guilty because I could not guarantee her the safety that she had in my house once her father take her away for a more lucrative job.

It was hard for me to see Malati ,a woman in her 60's to see my in-laws playing with my son when she used to yearn for her grandson whom she hasn't even seen .Her only son had thrown her away because she was always ailing unable to carry water from the well and chop the firewood.She used to earn and save all the money to buy a plastic toy aeroplane for her grandson who she believed will look after her one day.

All these women had some things in common...earning money,an abused life ,enough strength to overcome their ordeals and a hope for the future.Putul hoped that her son will one day go to school.Shefali hoped that once her sons grow up they will not let her work anymore.Savita was confident that she will soon meet a very nice man who will marry her without taking any dowry from her father.Malati believed that her grandson will take her on a ride on an aeroplane one day before she dies.

On this International Women's Day,I only wish and pray that may some of their dreams come true,if not all!May all the Malatis,Savitas,Putuls and Shefalis stay as brave as they are overpowering their misfortunes and struggles and not lose their hope for a better womanhood one day!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

For my Maa..

With age,we grow mature,independent,wise(not in all cases,though),free and experienced.We make new friends,relations,acquaintances and go through many incidents....both pleasant and not-so-pleasant.We are on our own,free to do all that we want, now that we are no longer in our parents'nests.But amidst all these freedom and independence,there are some words which I miss every now and then.....the words which were once not so musical to my ears are yearned very often now.

Check them out .....they may sound familiar to you too....

1.Wake up and get studying!!Exams are knocking at the door!!
2.Tidy up your table before noon today!
3.Finish off the fruits....they will give glow to your skin,moreover they don't come free!
4.Why don't you do something creative?I hate to see you wasting your talents!
5.Be focussed in life.It will do you good.
6.You need to be smarter in choosing your friends.....
7.All your cousins are toppers in their class ...why don't you ever aim to move ahead of being the 2nd ranker?
8.When will you be organized?I wonder how you will stay married and raise a family....
9.Be careful of what you choose in life...especially ,your life partner.
10.God knows how you'll be surviving on your own!!

Maa,I miss all these and many more but your grandchildren don't........I am constantly uttering these sentences to them as you had to me once:).I try to be a mother like you every moment of my life.I love you Maa...you are the BEST!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day and a dozen red roses

I remember Valentine's Day to be at it's peak (I mean the marketing part of it)during our college days.Showrooms of Archies and Hallmark used to be thronged by Cupid-struck youth buying cards and teddy bears.Flower sellers used to make fortune as love knows neither limits nor budgets.I was never meant to be left behind....used to buy at least 2 or 3 cards with romantic,mushy overflow of words to be sent to my long -distance Valentine only to get one single card from him with only three crisp and clear words in it...."Happy Valentine's Day"that too which made it to me only by the end of March.

Years of courtship was followed by tying the knot .Our first Valentine's Day as a married couple....I surprised him by sending a dozen red roses to his work place.I was more surprised when he came back at lunchtime with the roses in hand.I thought he had taken the day off to thank me...alas,he had come to keep the roses at home.....he was tired of answering his co-workers if it was his birthday!!

With years,my enthusiasm has also slowed down.Every Valentine's Day we remind each other that we don't need a special day to acknowledge ("display" ,in his words)our love for each other.(Sounds cliched??I know!)

Yesterday was Valentine's Day again.The morning passed away helping my little girl make cards for her teachers and friends,finding a dress for her with a heart drawn on it for her to wear to school.The afternoon was busy making preparations for a typical Bengali dinner as the hubby would be on an official tour for the next five days and would miss home food .When the son came home,I didn't forget to ask if he has anything important to tell me.He didn't....so far,so good!(No Valentine's yet...Mommy is happy!)While making dinner ,I rang up the hubby reminding him to pick up the milk and bread while coming home.

The evening went off smoothly.The dinner turned out well.When it was time to give my little one her night time milk,Iremembered that hubby hasn't bought the milk as directed.But no,he didn't forget to bring the milk,only forgot to bring it out of the car.So ,Here I was opening the car to get out the milk....and what do I see? A bunch of 12 red roses ......Yes,a dozen of them!!Seems the man coudn't resist himself from succumbimg to the society's or the store's pressure of "displaying" his love on this particular day.I smiled remembering the young man who came running from office one day, too embarassed that his wife was "displaying" her love!!

Things have changed but not our love!!:)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How much is "Too much"?

"Diplomat transferred from Britain after wife beating charges"
Senior London-based diplomat Anil Verma, accused of assaulting his wife, has been transferred back home with immediate effect and is likely to face action.

Verma, a 1986-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre and third-ranked diplomat in the Indian High Commission, found himself in trouble when his wife covered in blood was found screaming by neighbours on December 11.

When the police arrived, 45-year-old Verma, Minister (Economic) in the Indian mission, claimed diplomatic immunity and escaped action.........
This piece of news which has been doing the rounds ,I am sure, must have had far less readers than the reviews of Aamir's wife's maiden venture"Dhobi Ghaat"or the worst and best dressed actresses in the Golden Globe awards function .Not that the news went totally unnoticed.Some of us read it,thought about it before moving to the next news and even remembered to talk about it in our get-togethers.The most frequent comment that most of us blurted out was,
"These things happen among the educated and the upper class of the society too!".....as if we didn't know that.Didn't we know that many among us still don't wear anything other than saris or salwar kameez only because the husband doesn't want too?Many of our friends can't even think of calling their parents more than once a week(as fixed by the husbands)while his parents stay with him thus leaving him with no need to call them up to talk.Though it may sound strange,many women still have to ask for permission to go out to do errands,leave alone for their own entertainment like shopping and visiting friends.
It is not only our uneducated maids who are facing the brunt of male domination but also many of their "educated"employers who can't even think of taking up a job until her husband or his parents agree.The irony is that the maid can turn to the employer or police for help but not so in the case of the dominated educated woman.Who will she turn to?The society won't believe her seeing her jewllery and costly outfits,relatives and friends would think that a man who takes her for vacations twice a year and who is such a good father cannot be the reason for his wife's tormentation and her inner self will keep on trying to find 101 reasons why life would be worse without a man.Hence the domination and the suffering continues with flowers ,anniversary gifts and birthday surprises thrown in .....
We have been taught since childhood that "adjustment "is a virtue.,but is it so only in the case of a woman?Why does she have to adjust herself to be the first one to wake up and the last to sleep so that the family functions smoothly whereas the husband cannot adjust to eat a cold dinner even for a day?Well,here I have to mention that there are many lucky ones like me(touchwood!)who don't have to do with these "adjustments" .But our numbers are still few.Why does it always take woman to bleed till her bruises(emotional and physical)are seen?When is it "too much"?Only when he hits you and the world sees?If the beatings and abuses are behind the doors ,aren't they enough to cry out loud?If there are kids involved ,then should the tormentations be allowed to continue for their sake?How much is too much?Only if we had the answer...........