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My Birthdays

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A family is a unit. It’s an all encompassing medium which moulds, breeds and nurtures us into a being which we are today. The healthy development of family bond is vital to the well being of community and nation as well.

As a child, our parents are world to us. Saying so, there are about more than million kids who experience parental divorce each year, and infidelity is among the top factors associated with divorce. A child’s understanding of adult issues is very limited. Children at their tender age are incapable of comprehending the relationship dynamics. When a parent cheats on his or her spouse, a child feels as though cheated on and betrayed as well. Infidelity affects them deeply.

The emotional impact is deeper and has long- lasting impression. They begin to question the very foundation of their own relationships. The vicious cycle of shock, anger, anxiety, confusion, shame and then helplessness reruns again and again. The influence is such that the child afflicted, faces issues regarding trust, honesty and faith in future relationships all through out life mostly.

I present below a simple short story to illustrate how a child feels with this unexpected violation when being faced by parental infidelity, which was written by me few months back for an organisation devoted to social justice and welfare of community in large. The language is kept simple for the very fact that it delivers the internal conflict and dilemma of the affected child pertinently. The purpose of sharing this is to feel hard, feel deep and ask,

How infidelity can affect a child’s life?

Does it leave scars that lasts a lifetime?

Regardless, they are clearly impacted,
What if we ask children what they think about their parent’s infidelity?

“My Birthdays”

Tomorrow I am going to be twelve. My birthdays were always special. Something magical about it you know! For days ahead I would plan my dress, theme and flavour of the cake, list of my close girlies, whom I would call and invite personally. 

How I loved getting wished in the early morning wee hours. Papa would give me a warm hug and sing,
‘Happy Birthday to you….Happy Birthday to my Princess’ quite gleefully and then Maa(Mom) would stealthily place that gift under my blanket which I would uncover in a while. It used to be such a surprise! I love surprises.

Surprise it was. But this time, I just don’t want this one. I never thought that my life will change like this drastically forever. It’s been seven months since they don’t talk to each other properly except few necessities and unpleasant exchanges. We don’t eat together anymore. She watches her TV in bedroom and he, in the living area. There’s no family movie time anymore. Sometimes, he comes very late. Earlier he never did that.
I hear the bitter words and see the enraged expressions from distant. She cries and seems not at ease. Papa seems unpeaceful too. To tell you the truth, I too have lost my peace.

They think I don’t understand a word as i am a kid. I am just twelve. So, they give me all silly flimsy reasons. They used to tell me grown-up people fight and then make-up. But they never do that anymore. I know they don’t love each other anymore. Maybe they have moved apart. But Mom used to say
‘We are a family and that love is a thread which keeps us knitted and bonded together. And being a family, we stand for each other up until the last day.’
So what is it that changed everything?
Almost everything!
What happened?

I know what happened. I heard everything. He loves someone else.
Does that mean he don’t love us anymore?
Is he going to leave us then?
But I love both of them. I want both -Maa and Papa. We are a family – Maa, Papa and Anu.
What was my fault? I just want to have the same old family back where we loved each other deeply and ate, slept and watched TV together. I used to feel so protected and intact.
Now I feel hurt, insecure and vulnerable. You know, sometimes I feel so ashamed and embarrassed too to say the least. I used to think that when people love each other, they don’t break each other’s trust. They care for each other. They are committed to each other.
But Now I question,
‘Does LOVE even exist?’

He was my superhero.
Why he did that to me?
Maybe men are like this. If Papa can do that to us, any other man can. I will never trust a man anymore. I don’t want to marry when I grow up, not even a Prince Charming.
What if?

I know my family is broken and I have to live with this secret eternally, buried safely dearly inside my heart. I don’t know if I will ever feel secure again. Time might heal the wound but the scar will remain forever; ingrained.
It will remind me not to trust someone, not even a close one. It will torment me not to love someone ever deeply.
Today, I am sad.
I am angry and confused too.
In a moment I lost my childhood and with that my faith in relationships shattered. I feel unsafe and betrayed.

Anyhow I don’t wait for them anymore. I just pray if that wretched day could be skipped, or missed maybe!
Honestly sometimes I question,
“Why even I was born?”
“My Birthdays”
…………….will never be the same again.

 

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For the love of Writing…

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Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
– Unknown

It’s been a while. Excuses can be many but intentions have to be pure and plausible. So my heartfelt apologies for not been able to minister time to the blog. Believe it or not, it was always there in my mind, conscious and subconscious playing a remorse card amidst all the pressing engagements, being intensely tied up and living. In simple words, I missed being here. I write because I love writing; from my heart and of course to be read too.

Hope springs eternal. I do hope that I would be keeping a hold oftentimes from now on. Few days back I was delighted to be published in the much acclaimed Huffingtonpost India. The feeling of wonder, delight is of no essence if I don’t acknowledge and value my readers, for whom I stand contended today.
To pore over, check the link below:
http://www.huffingtonpost.in/chaitali-bhattacharjee/why-i-dont-want-praise-fo_b_7760284.html?utm_hp_ref=india

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A reflection on what mirror reflects …

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Mirror mirror on the wall

Who is the slimmest of the all?

Mirror mirror on the wall

Who is the wrinkle free of the all?

My bundle of joy, my little boy is six now. Never in fourteen hours of his wakefulness, he stands in front of mirror or catches a glimpse of himself unless in some blue moon he feels like making a fancy face or poke a joke on his own image. He just doesn’t feel the need for it. I know he will not stay the same, but that story rests for some other day when I face the gun. Is he not aware of his existence?

What is that makes a child not to be that self-conscious about his or her body?

Our body image is our reflection on the appearance that we carry or to say the personality we offer, which indeed is a part of our existence. But what is that makes us grown-up feel so conscious about our physicality and right here I am hinting on the attributes that we manifest aesthetically. The morning mirror throws a reality check as we brush our teeth or tidy up, to face the world. Our face and body stands there sometimes as welcoming as it could be and many times as a challenge to overcome. We agree or not but amidst all the engagements or hustle, we all do find a few seconds to steal a glimpse of our own self in mirror and adjust our demeneaour depending upon the reflection it throws at us. If not so, then why on earth would your profile pictures in social media sees you in the chosen best of the light?

While it’s not wrong to be conscious about your presentability but if believing or obsessing on ‘what you look like’ determines your value as a person, then somehow it carries unfavourable implication on your own self worth. Being fixated to physical appearance and trying to fit into this new found definition of beauty which changes every now and then with trending and sponsored media galleries, causes a superficial approach to find and feel the real you. The media hungry obsession of picture perfect body images of celebrities has done no good to us or to our coming generation, where mostly many pictures are photo shopped to the point of achieving a totally impeccable body shape or bearing. As it is there’s nothing left to fancy for or charm about with the abundance of incongruity and shamelessness exhibited in the name of glam or sham.

This reminds me of a day few years down the lane, while I used to work for a media house and was a part of a management team, who coordinated the supposedly most prestigious beauty contest of India. When I met the contestants backstage almost all of them between 18 to 24 years maidens sans make up or designer ensemble, I felt a sense of hollowness as if the air surrounding smelled of something so over-pretentious or affected. There was something not natural about it as almost all the girls looked alike or similar as if measured, dissected and pruned accordingly as to fit into a cast which defies their originality, for a reason which does not resonate with the very essence of beauty.

When all are almost same, how do we measure? But then why should we measure?

Doesn’t the beauty lies in the uniqueness of each one of us?

To add to the glory there were few who were mugging the jarred lines on women empowerment and social obligations to score a point or two. After delivering my duties which was little tiresome being into the core of the event, once I was out of the backstage and then making my way through the crowd and then out of the venue and stepped towards my vehicle, which was parked in that vast airy space outside the auditorium meant for parking, I felt a sense of relief, away from that stifling air inside which was nothing less than the mockery on the entirety of beauty. I was almost of the same age group of the beauty pageants but totally from different side of the world. I was neither as tall nor size zero like them, but there upsurged this strange sense of confidence within me which made me feel more beautiful inside as every day I lived I have seen the sense of appreciation and look of admiration of people around me who know me and may be even physically find me endurable enough and thankfully I was not a part of that pointless inane beauty parade.

Back home I switched on the TV and the same contest was going on live and this was something I have watched consistently in my teenage days. For the first time, I rejected it. Somewhere I felt a woman cocooned out of a girl. I was 23 then. It lost that charm or attention of mine after being exposed with the real manoeuvres of how it really works and what damage it actually does to the young ones projecting skewed versions of beauty. And ever since I have just stopped watching it. It doesn’t amuse or thrill me at all, no more. Infact it dissuades or makes me feel rather dismayed. Should we then blame the media alone. A family is a powerful system too. I have seen girls of as early as ten or twelve following dieting or exhibiting eating disorders just to be part of the insane race or to feel validated by peer group and the surroundings.

Quite recently I attended a puberty ceremony(sort of sweet sixteen) of my neighbour’s daughter. She was dressed in traditional attire with golden brocade silks and rich ornate jewelleries. She wore makeup, may be for the first time. She is not that typical beauty which certain set standards proclaim but at plumper side. But there flickered a sweet smile on her face and a sense of delight lingered in her poise. At that moment I was so sure of what I wanted to tell her being a woman who has passed that impressionable and sensitive phase of girlhood. I just looked at her eyes as there were people around and noise and told her assuredly that ‘you look beautiful today as you are a gorgeous, gorgeous girl.’ I could feel the twinkle in hers eyes sparkled a bit more with sort of a sense of achievement. And I am sure that with years to pass by, when certain days will be harsher to her, words of appreciation and assurance like this treasured in her innermost self will give her the spunk to fight back and have belief in her own being.

Our body is this amazing gift; appreciating and respecting all the things it can do will help us to feel more positive about it and notions like this if instilled at right age into our sweet little ones will create a more self-reliant and secure generation.

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And now comes the formidable question once again to be grappled with:

What is that makes a child not to be that conscious about his/her body image?

Perhaps if we think deeper, we will realise that childhood to certain stage lacks that state of self- consciousness as somewhere their physical state of being is in tandem or harmony with their mind, emotion and intellect. A child accepts his body the way it is, without making any fuss about what he is not or what he should be in terms of appearance. And there lies a subtle message for us in this as the day we accept our physicality the way it is like a child, instead of grouching on that extra inch gain or freaking on one fine line appearing in forehead, may be we will understand the true beauty God has bestowed on each of us; the beauty of being you.

The beauty which defines you and only you and no one else. It’s being accepting who you are rather than trying to chase a never ending unrealistic race of being who you are not. It’s having learned to appreciate how each part of your body connects, and how wonderful it is to be able to use it fully in harmony with your senses alive. It’s being comfortable in your own skin. It’s been feeling beautiful by being alive in itself.

It’s not about what mirror reflects,

but rather about how we reflect

on what we see is the key.

Just give your body some love and that’s what all it needs to feel the real beauty in you. Until then I wonder, How the world would have been with no mirrors around? Does it even matter as long as you feel you are beautiful inside and out!

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But I will yell this…

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Even if it sounds cliche,
I will tell this.
I know,
You heard it ten times
But I will yell this.

She didn’t ask for it.
Did she?
She was thirteen
Fun, frolic and promises.
With hope abound
Filled with effervescence.
Very First time –
Those crude intrusive
Unwelcoming eyes
Pricked every essence of her.
The deeds of brazenness
didn’t stop there.
Only thrusted through acts
More lewd and outrageous.
Cat Calls and hoots,
Groping, stalking and abuse.
The years passed
Only names and faces changed.
Every step outside
Never felt normal,
But then with time
Even the wretchedness became natural.

How can her own body
Be the cause of offence!
The very frame
Which carries the soul
Under her skin,
And offers a living chance.
The soul which lays
Tattered and smothered
With years of untold hurts
And tainted reality that hovered.

The stained trust
In deep recess of her heart
will never be speckless.
For the want of
Dignity and Respect,
the battle continues regardless.
While the mind amends
For survival,
But the soul cries in disguise.
The Woman in her
now questions each and every eye.

Even if it sounds cliche
I will tell this.
I know,
You heard it ten times
But I will yell this.

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Humanity Strips

“War is what happens when language fails.”   –    Margaret Atwood

Humanity Strips

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Children of nine and ten
Tender and scared
Frozen in fear
Blood smear.
Weeping anxiously
Terror stricken tear.
The gory witnesses,
With blank stare.
The illusive line between
Life and death,
Promises and despair
Swings unaware.
Is that fair!

They say
everything is fair
In love and war.
We are fallen messiahs
In a mission
To salvage and devour.

Women of twenty and thirty
That look in their eyes
Infused with dread and horror.
Grieving mother
Mourning wife
Distraught sister
No words of assurance
can fill their
loss or impair.
Broken heart
Amidst those wasted prayer.
Is that fair!

Men of thirty and forty
Lost limbs
Numb consciousness
Damaged spirit
Feeding on abjectness.
Hopes shattered
Too hapless to dare
Wounded morale
Beyond repair.
Is that fair!

They say
everything is fair
In love and war.
We are fallen messiahs
In a mission
To salvage and devour.

Death falls from the sky
With bombs, missiles and rocket.
And sometimes comes
Gushing from the street
As a cold blooded docket.
Smells of explosives all around
With drones buzzing
Rupturing the shrill sound.

Trees fall,
Wall collapses,
Homes in debris,
Safest harbour relapses.
Roads desolate
With clothes spilled.
a fractured plastic toy
In middle of a lane
Apathy revealed
Innocence killed.
Multiple wars
With disillusioned mission,
Pleading for life,
Empathy and vision.

They say
everything is fair
In love and war.
We are fallen messiah
In a mission
To salvage and devour.

Conflict becomes omnipresent
Discord and disagreement.
Death penetrates
Hatred resplendent.
Charred conscience
Mayhem creeps
Humanity Strips
In Gaza Strip.
And they say
everything is fair
In love and war
Truth is
Unfair is unfair
You call it
Love or War.

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Why you don’t want to get married ?

 

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Why you don’t want to get married?
You are 19. This is the right age. The younger you marry, better it is for you.

I wish I could tell you this but I respect you so….with her lips sealed, she broods over ….

“~~~yes I am 19…that enkindles me with a hope.
A hope to fly with my wings to chase my dreams.
A hope to be me and topple and stumble and arise and learn to live fully, by being me.
A hope to explore and to enlighten myself to face this resilient world ahead.
And a hope to grow; grow into a woman well-grounded yet with a voice. ~~~”

You have crossed even 18 now.
When will you have some wisdom?
Why don’t you understand it’s your life?

With a deep sigh yet unruffled demeanour, she ruminates…..

“~~~Yes, I am aware I am above 18(legal age for girls to get married in India). As far as legalities are concerned, are you aware that forced marriage is a violation of fundamental Human Rights? That implies I have the freedom to choose whether I get married or not, when to get married, and whom to get married.

Obviously, marriage will not infuse wisdom into my mind, may be time and life experiences will but how is it concerned with being married or not!
I understand too it’s my life and that’s why I don’t want to comply on this. Getting married is a choice and I reason out that I have the right to make crucial choices about my own life. ~~~”

Don’t you see, Nina already got married and nicely settled in New York. Why it is that you don’t want to get married?

If only I could tell you this aloud but I love you so as it might hurt you..words playing all over her mind, she is thinking….

~~~To make you feel better, perhaps Nina always waited for this Prince Charming from time immemorial. Or may be she was choiceless. This might hurt you though! Now I remember why in the whole world New York was her favourite destination! ~~~”

Haven’t you studied for 15 long years? What is it with all these unnecessary excuses you got? More studies? What is the use of higher studies, when after marriage all you have to do is to raise kids and take care of your family which is so important?

With a heavy heart and sullen face, henceforth she ponders….

 “~~~Oh yes I knew this was coming! Interpretations like this makes me feel numb at one side and on the other to revolt with whatever strength I got. It makes me cry, makes me scream, scream it out. But then I realise that somewhere you have lost your own voice, your own self with years of conditioned mind and prejudiced heart toying all over you. So I feel helpless for you and care to remain speechless.

Fifteen long years..let me rethink….that makes my sweet little brother got only three more years to pursue his education. But how on earth, can he be a doctor or an engineer as much as you desperately want him to be going by this ’15 long years’ logic. Or is it that he is entitled for more than 15 years to seek for whatever he aspires to be!

Now I realise that the scope for any kind of pursuit of knowledge and learning has to be eyed through blue&pink colour scheme(gender specific). How dumb I can get! It’s there for a long long time, so why question? Does it even matter if I say that I am all flesh and blood with a heart and soul too just as much as him!

And the thing you said about family; Raising kids and taking care of family is a big, big responsibility and requires tremendous maturity and endurance. I honour those family values. With kids, It’s like little life in your hand. And I am not prepared for it.~~~”

I just pray that everything is normal with you! I am asking you now, don’t play with my patience. Why don’t you put some words in your mouth and respond instead standing there mum like a figurine, from that time? 

With a colour of mischief in her eyes she playfully muses…

~~~Normal! What does that mean now! Oh, I so get it! Thank God you didn’t scout my personal diary which still got that post card of Cristiano Ronaldo intact… He is so…. I feel flushed now. Let’s talk something else~~~”

But then suddenly she collects her bearing. With those doleful eyes tearless yet drowned with melancholia… words floating all through her veins, she deeply reflects…..

“~~~There is so much to say. But will you understand what I mean to say!
Would you open your mind whole heartedly to embrace fresh new unbiased ideas?
Would you be my confidant and guide and let me be what I want to be?
I just want to live a fulfilled life. Will you take that from me just because I am a girl!
And have trust on me as I will never break your trust. If you would then I have so much to say…
As much as you think I am against marriage, to your surprise, I value marriage. Marriage is an institution in itself and it brings meaning to your life. With marriage starts a new chapter in your life,momentous and delicate and appeals for lifelong commitment and calls for two different shared life.
I don’t want to get married just to settle down. Neither I want to get married to follow a religious convention or to maintain a traditional belief.
I don’t want to get married to enhance my individual status or identity; just for the sake of being called Mrs…and definitely not for some economic or immigration benefit(I just hope Nina is happy there!).

At 19, I barely know myself. Whenever I want to jump the wagon or decide to get married, I want to do it for all the right reasons. I want to get married too but for love, for togetherness, for commitment, for a family of my own, for someone whom I can trust and devote no matter what, for time perpetual.

Haven’t you heard ‘Happily ever after’ is not a fairy tale….it’s a choice.
I will be glad, if you did rather asked me :

Why you don’t want to get married ‘Now‘?

How I wish I could have told you all this and more! But somewhere I am aware that it’s pointless and moreover I choose not to distress you so. ~~~”

This time you better respond as Why you don’t want to get married?

“~~~I thought….In my silence, you will find my confession and my utterance as I was sure you will understand that. But if you still insist…~~~”

And finally for the first time, she retorts aloud:

“Because, I don’t want to be another you.”

Only god can help you!

With a spring in her step and raring to go,  she picks up her Canvas Jute college bag and chuckles confidently,

God helps those who help themselves.”

 

 

Ref: The genesis of this short fiction comes from a real life incident. In certain stratum of society, the sad truth lingers; when a boy is born, there’s jubilation, songs of success and prayers for his bright future but with the birth of a girl, the first thing which crosses parent’s mind is her marriage. As if a girl is born to get married. An inexperienced, immature girl is emotionally coerced to get married in her early young age pressurised by these partial standards. It’s a vicious cycle and a blow to her self-worth. With this practice, a path towards individual aspiration and self-realisation is brazenly compromised just because she is a girl. How justifiable or reasonable is that?

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Girl Unborn – The Monologue


 There are issues close to my heart and then some, closer and one out of them is – Female Foeticide. I know words are not enough, neither the measures yet. There were dialogues and deliberations… I present this poem in form of a monologue, where the unborn girl child pleas to her mother, who she hopes will be her saviour:

Girl Unborn – The Monologue  

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You are precious,
So very precious to me.

I see the morning light through your precious eyes
With the nimble birds chorus sublime.
I smell the distant muddy rain,
Which drizzled all through the night.
I hear those quite lullabys you cry
Which makes my feeble heart to sigh.

Those unsweetened condiments you nibble
Is too unsavoury for me to fiddle.
And then the loving touch…
When your fingers unconsciously brush by.
I lived all the senses through you
till the creator commands us to untie.

Does the lofty full moon reflects stillness
Like quoted in the songs of temple minstrel?
Does the sky holds limitless
Like my desire for this new bloom of life to rekindle?

Does the flower that blossoms,
blushes like the crimson of my heart?
Does the hustle and bustle around
Have a face, name or a cast(role to play)?

The questions?
So many unanswered….
And the marvels of life,
I seek to unfold through me.
I sensed my life through you.
How I yearn to live through me!

Then I hear voices –
Colored, unyielding and hideous.
I catch whispers –
Biased, cold-hearted and heinous.
The subtle line between
life and death
Seems so pretentious.

Amidst all the schemes and deception
I sense your anxious heart
Mourning for a direction.
Aching for the salvation.

Break all the shackles of bondages,
Unleash all the strings.
For the love of bond we share,
For the sake of countless silent prayers,
For the angst we heaped together,
“What your bearer did for you,
Won’t you do that for me, Mother?”

You are precious,
So very precious to me.
Am I precious to you?
I sensed my life through you
How I yearn to live through me!

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[Every 12 seconds, a baby girl is aborted in India. That’s about 7,000 girls killed every day, just because she is a girl child. Female foeticide has eliminated fifty million of girls in last century in India alone. Dr. Sabu George, India’s leading advocate against female infanticide says, “A daughter is considered a liability in some part, and nobody wants too many liabilities in the house”. The child sex ratio is within the normal natural range in all eastern and southern states of India, but significantly higher in certain western and particularly northwestern states such as Punjab, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir. As per the latest Census in the year 2011, the total female sex ratio in India is 940 per 1000 males. Abnormal sex ratios at birth, possibly explained by growing incidence of sex-selective abortion, have also been noted in other countries widespread such as South and East Asia, China, Pakistan, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and some Southeast European countries too.

Despite these horrific numbers, foetal sex determination and sex selective abortion by unethical medical professionals has today grown into a Rs. 1,000 crore industry (US$ 244 million). Abortion is legal in India. Sex-selective abortion, however, is illegal but widely common. The impact is devastating, with census figures showing the child sex ratios getting worse. The Indian government has passed Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) (PCPNDT) Act in 2004 to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide. It is currently illegal in India to determine or disclose sex of the foetus. However, there are concerns that PCPNDT Act has been poorly enforced by authorities. There have been only two convictions — a fine of 300 rupees ($7) and another fine of 4,000 rupees ($98) — from over 400 cases lodged under the PCPNDT Act.

Social organisations across the globe are working day and night to put an end to this horrific act, which if not stopped will contribute more to problems such as, rape, human trafficking, abuse, child marriages and increased crime rate because of natural sex ratio imbalance.]

Citing Sources [http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2012/June/Disappearing-Daughters-Indias-Female-Feticide/] & [http://globalgirlpower.org/what-is-female-feticide/]

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Work it out Moms…

 

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 Without much ado I want to present this recollection with a gloomy heart but a hopeful mind. Few months back when I shifted to this upscale villa community, it was all that I could have fancied for in terms of an ideal sanctuary with well-maintained, secured, neat surrounding and educated residents around as neighbours. But little did I apprehend at that juncture – ‘Does education leads to true enlightenment?’

With my augmented nesting spirit, for first few days I was pretty busy with unfurling my home essentials and building up my nest. And it was one such day while I was emptying my trash can, I happened to meet an elderly lady(my neighbour’s mom-in-law), gentle and welcoming in her demeanor. While with the first tete-a-tete with her, she asked me:

“Are you a working mom?”

Quite nonchalantly, I responded that I am not working right now as taking care of the lil monster(AB my son) 24*7 is my latest preoccupation. With a big smirk on her face and a smile of affirmation and pleased look, she complimented me that ‘You absolutely did the right thing by saying no to work’. As if I have been saved from God’s wrath….
Right or wrong I don’t know, but this could not afford a smile to my face, even if it was a praise to my deed. All I did care for at that point of time was a mother should not be assessed in terms of ‘Working or Non-Working.’
In fact it distressed me. It has always distressed me, whenever I have faced or sensed a situation which smells of inequality or trails towards biased barometers against women. Let me clear the air before I pursue further on this topic that I am a woman and I love every part of being a woman. But I don’t endorse any kind of extremism be it in any form. I believe in the school of thought that recommends ‘art of balancing’. More so I believe in humanism( I don’t know if there’s a term like that which exists, but the spirit that dwells into humanity); To make it sound clear, anything that values life on this earth without putting any clause like caste or creed and in this case gender, I respectfully defend that.

We accept it or not, mothers are the strongest influence in our life and so is motherhood as daunting and responsible a task. It takes real courage, selflessness, devotion and great amount of endurance to raise a child. I always felt that Stay-Home or Working, a mother never ceases to be a mother. What better way to put it than with this quote :

“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.”
 – Margaret Culkin Banning

The other day while I was having a conversation with my husband over a much sought after weekend cup of tea, I was thrown to a delicate scenario. One of his female colleague(an HR lady junior to him) came to JB(my husband) and conveyed that since his boss, a male colleague who reports to JB has resigned and as replacement is still in process, she is worried. JB got confused – what is the worry for! Instead it was a golden opportunity for her to step up to the marks and might acquire the position. With further inquest she retorted back by saying, “I am aware of this promising break but I am not ready to take extra responsibilities in the firm. I might let go of this honour as I will not be able to do justice to either this or my kid at home, who still demands individual time and attention from me for her studies and many other aspects in day-to-day life. So, excuse me from this.”

And this made me wonder “How many men would have let go of a prospective opportunity like this?” May be none as many of the people I know around. What a bitter revelation! But truth is always truth though bitter. What is that made her to act like this? Is it her pure motherly instinct or certain subconscious underlying factors which subtly wooed her to do what she did!
It is a well-known fact that a working woman faces more challenges or dilemmas just because of the virtue of being a woman, which is sad. Even if we agree or not, there’s a blatant disparity which continues in real life, conditioned by social structuring and archaic attitudes. For ages we played the role of hunters and housekeepers, men being the primary bread earner. It had its own value but with time, this model seems redundant. I guess somewhere social attitude towards the role of a woman has to be reconditioned. There lies a pretty good amount of introspection and overhaul at social, economic, policy-making and at grass root levels in individual families to reaffirm impartial positive standards.

Be with me on this as I was exposed to both sides of the coin. Before my boy( my six-year-old son AB) was born, I worked with a leading media and publishing group for almost four years doing concept sales, event management, writing and editing, relationship marketing and even stamping innumerable pages for good old reasons God knows why. I did what I wanted to do. But then life changed when I held my baby boy for the first time on my arms, it was then that I felt the urge that now is the time to stay put, now is the time to layover. I wanted to spend each and every breath with him and be a part of this new lease of life to certain extent and bring him up to a self sustainable, well-balanced compassionate being, which I am sure all mothers want to.
Even if it’s rewarding, stay-home was not and is never easy. It’s the ceaseless never-ending toil of raising a kid by being with him/her 24/7 and constant rearing and attention they plea for, wears you out. It was my life and my choice which is the way I chose it to be and I am glad I am living it. Technology has played a bigger role in every aspect of modern life and in that sense infused the work-life stratum for people like me. And this has made me uplift my passion for writing once again even in the vicinity of AB sitting beside me practising his alphabet charts. I guess I got lucky in this but not all of us are, as other jobs demand varied deliverables.

The last piece of anecdote is as touching as it could be. We happened to meet a lady in one of the seminar on woman empowerment initiatives in a corporate scenario. Her life has been a story of sheer courage, hard work and determination. She was a guest speaker and she poured her heart out with various life instances and valuable lessons. One such tale which struck a chord to most of the moms present there is quite inspiring. Decade ago while she was working in a junior managerial level and her boy was around four or may be five, one day she noticed every morning before she left for her work, the little boy insisted upon switching the lights on which she always did in a rush. But then when the episode continued for a while and out of concern over a weekend she tried to extract the reason behind this unsettled behaviour of her son, what she unveiled could be real heart wrenching for any mom. The child said with his broken language that when the lights are on, ‘mom and dad come back home’. She was devastated…cried her heart out..and decided to quit and even went for counseling sessions. But then after much consultations and her spouse’s and immediate family’s intervention she took a position, which was of course not easy. It was more than the job, it was the mismanagement of her timings and the attention and quality time which she was not able to provide to her son which caused the way it was.

She pondered what she got herself into but then with big support from her husband and immediate family around and her sheer will-power, she completely rescheduled her life maintaining work timings stringently and coming home on time and spending some real quality hours and giving considerable attention to her son. To the extent that she was mocked for her perfect timings at office. Without paying much heed to any form of negativity, she continued with her life….it was full of effort but not impossible..and with time and patience, she mastered it somehow. Today she is a Director and Motivational Speaker for a well-known firm and continues to motivate and enlighten others with her many simple yet reliable tips. Most importantly, his son is in adolescence stage, and they are inseparable. He feels proud for his mother for what she stands for. What a real booster for a kid to look up to!

Even it has been proven by surveys around the world that quite recently the stress and depression levels have raised in stay-home moms too as I mentioned above those never-ending chores and demands from a kid around, is unavoidable. But then on the other side, the proverbial guilt most of the working-mom goes through is disheartening too. All I want to say that we are all in the same boat, balancing and tumbling it out. But then I would like to comfort them, that apart from making ends meet there are other perks too being a working mom, such as:

  • Obvious Economic or monetary viability.
  • Self-Actualisation – As being human, you cannot ignore your talent, skills or spirit just because you are a woman. And when you do something for your individual self, it leads to a happy you which in turn leads to a happy mother and that in turn will lead to a happy child. The crux is that if you are not contended inside you cannot make others happy, in this case your own child.
  • Years down the lane, you don’t have to struggle that much for ‘Empty-Nest Syndrome’ as you will have other things to hanker for.
  • Last but not the least, think about the legacy you are leaving behind …as your kids have seen it all and it will not be a big deal for them to have a working wife as for a son and to pursue a career as for a daughter.

I am not into ‘working vs stay-home mom’ game. That’s a question we need to answer for ourselves. What is the need of the hour as to have absent presence or real presence? All research points towards consistent loving, caring attitude of parents and a good mix of support, discipline and attention which are essential ingredients towards favourable child development. The need is to giving heed to rational guidance like this for optimal result, be it working or non-working.

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Life is all about choices, I disagree. Sometimes, it’s beyond the choices we make. Sometimes, it’s embracing and accepting  unavoidable, unforeseen situations beyond one’s control. Life is not always a picture we drew in our dream canvas while growing up. And the truth of the matter is choices are little harder if you are a woman. It’s inevitable we don’t always get what we want. But then we live it, we breathe it and so do we act it out in whatever best possible way under worst possible circumstances. But yes! it’s one life and your life, so you gotta Work it out Moms. And we mothers are not God.  We are just human but with godly qualities – a mother’s heart made of pure gold, unadulterated love, rock solid reliability and intentions true.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this tale, that I am hopeful in mind, yes indeed I am hopeful that sooner or later, we will see the change. I am hopeful that we will see a new day under the same sun, when terms like ‘working mom’ and ‘stay-home mom’ will become complete obsolete…..And all that will prevail is just a short simple three letter word on its own and that’s called MOM, which has a world in it. And let’s keep it that simple.