Do you ever wish for time to change its course or really to reverse itself? I most certainly do. I wish I could go back to the good old school days where there were no worries and no responsibilities. At that age where I was throwing a tantrum rather than handling my child’s. Where I was making demands to my mom rather than requesting my domestic help and pleading my child. Sometimes I just wish if somebody could sit for an hour and feed my child. Life is not complicated it is stressful. Some days there’s absolutely no joy in living. Your whole existence seems as mindless as if you live only to yell, first at the kids, then the servants and needlessly at your husband as well.
Where is your catharsis? What do you do with the growing dissatisfaction crawling in and gnawing at your life? I don’t know. I am simply sitting and keying some words while my child is hollering “mamma mamma” in the background. Is there something called ‘peace’, I don’t know when did I feel it last? Raising a child and a difficult one at that is by far the most challenging task that I have known. It challenges not your knowledge, not your skills but your very being and your very intrinsic qualities. It tests your patience almost every five waking minutes. I am not exaggerating. And trust me it’s humanly impossible to pass this test that often. So how should I feel? Normally, at any other failure I would have felt a twinge of regret or sadness but here it is anger and irritability that surges through every vein in my body.
My frustration or strained existence has no particular effect on my child. He goes about his stubborn ways with the same equanimity and joy. The only flicker of hope is that he turns around and says sorry sometimes. Well, if your child’s airs and whims are not enough to destroy your stability, there are your domestic help to ruin it for sure. The comfortable Indian lifestyle is on its way to becoming a myth. Life does come a full circle. As history records the upper class crimes of human slavery and exploitation, I record here my case of mental harassment by my domestic help. They have become the bane of a comfortable lifestyle. I say this not as a classist, I have due respect for all the classes of the society. But it’s not far that we shall have to renounce our Indian lifestyle with all its taam jhaam and adopt a more practical American lifestyle. Trust me on this, I am actually scared to question my domestic staff about any deed or misdeed for the fear that they might not turn up the next day. Yes, I tolerate the nonsense because I need them. And agonisingly, they know this fact too well and have decided to sit up and dance on my head. Sometimes I seriously feel blood shooting to my head and whirring in my mind.
With all this humdrum sucking vitality out of my mind, I decided to read a Sunday column to freshen up. But to add to my dwindling stock of patience, I regretfully chose Chetan Bhagat’s infuriating article that day, thinking that it’s usually a light and simple read. The article started with a brief synopsis of the recent movie Cocktail with its two very different female characters, the shy and homely girl Meera versus the outgoing and modern Veronica. And the swanky and debauched Saif Khan in the movie still prefers Meera to take home to his mom. So far so good. It further went on to question Indian men’s attitude to choose a traditional non-working, roti–makinggirl for a wife. True, this attitude is indeed questionable. A working woman can surely be and is a good wife, mother and daughter-in-law.
But the way Mr. Bhagat drives his point is offensive and disrespectful. He almost loses track of the original idea. He literally downplays a housewife to prove the worth of a working wife to the extent that he point by point lists the advantages of marrying a career woman as compared to a roti maker. According to him, a working wife is more informed and aware of the world and its happenings and thus can help the husband in his career choices, she knows the office games and politics well and so understands the husband’s situations better and finally she is also probably more knowledgeable and so can raise more informed and smarter children. So are we the ‘roti-makers’ some ignorant fools who indulge in the menial job of making hot phulkas (as he almost considers it) for our husbands and kids? And even if we do, he has no right to belittle a home-makers job. I am a roti-makerbut neither my husband nor I have felt myself incompetent to help him take work related decisions or raise our child.
The problem here is not whether a woman should choose a career or otherwise. It is absolutely her choice and circumstances that will decide her path. The point of the article was to make men change their perspective and see both working and non-working women through the same eye of respect and acceptance rather than shift the balance of preference from non-working to working wife. Any way as they say each to his own and so does every man has his own take on matters. But frankly I almost cringed by the end of the article and by the end of the day. That’s how life is… some days need more self control than others. Some days assault the core of your character and being. But thank God it’s only some, the rest are beautiful and bright.