It’s that time of the year again, where every part of India glitters in a way of its own with joy and colour for ten whole days. Garba,Dandiya,Ram Leela, Durga Pooja, Ayudha pooja-every zone shimmers with its own cultural beauty. As I sit all alone in my room travelling through my childhood memories, I could see a car entering my housing society . I saw a young couple accompanied by a woman in her late 50s getting down from the car. On the other side I saw a happy Punjabi family welcoming them. There were people of all age-kids, teenagers,elders, all their faces filled with smile and joy. I peeped out to have a better look and found out the reason for their smiles- they were celebrating the joy of the arrival of a tiny, cute new member in their family. Honestly speaking from the 6th floor all I could see was just the outline of the baby, however the joy-filled voices did travel till the 6th floor which made it very clear that the whole family was brimming with joy as a girl baby had born during Navratri. They felt that the girl has been blessed with wealth, valour and skills. It was so happy to see them as I love girl babies too (well.. no gender bias, just that I can play and enjoy dressing them up like dolls..err.. not my fault guys, the stores offer so much pretty stuff for girl babies). All of a sudden, an incident of the past struck my mind, which made me think of certain things- are girl children really celebrated this much even after they grow up? How does it/does not change? Now, I am not going to talk of something like women rights/equality/safety and all these stuff. Everyone sees the bigger picture, I just enjoy pondering over my thoughts from what I see/hear everyday.
It was a busy Monday morning (of course for everyone else!!) and I was standing in the queue of a bank for some work that my parents had given me. I was just passing my time looking around, checking my phone and finally I was nearing the bank official sitting in the counter,a woman in her 40s-50s. I was second in the queue while a lady in her 50s was standing in front of me. The bank employee and the lady in front exchanged greetings on meeting each other. They appeared to be knowing each other pretty well. The bank employee was engaging herself in a conversation with the other lady while rendering her services. The conversation was about the daughter’s marriage of the woman standing in front of me. She was telling that her daughter had rejected a guy because she did not want to leave her job and move to another place. In an anxious tone she said “already she is quite tall and we have to find guys matching her height. On top of it she does not want to leave her job at any cost. I wonder how and when is it all going to end well”. Her further talks revealed that her daughter had graduated from one of the topmost institutes in the country and had found her dream job too. Apparently the company did not seem to be having any other branch in India. Hence she did not want to move out anywhere and was asking to either find a guy in the same locality or someone who can shift his location. The lady was done with her work I also finished my work at the bank and left. However my thoughts were still hovering around the conversation at the bank. Was the girl right in her stand or was the mom in her worries? Well.. both of them were right in their own ways.
As curiosity crept up, I just wanted to know what my married friends (guys and gals) were upto now. As I caught up with them this was what I could find out- some girls had left their job and are in some other state/country, some at home taking care of their babies and few others in a different location of the same office totally unhappy with the not-so-challenging projects that they are handling right now. While this was the scenario with girls, the guys had rightly done their job of making their spouse leave their job and come along with them- from an MNC in Chennai to interior parts of Karnataka, from Mumbai to Nigeria and so on.. There were a few more aunts whom I knew, even after completing their Masters never took up a job just because their husbands were on frequent transfer. They just packed and moved from one place to another, a few of them pursuing some hobby in the duration they were stationed in a location. I am not here to point out at the men here and blame them because my life has been filled with wonderful supportive men too- dad, brother-in-law and many more. If we take a closer look, haven’t the wedding norms given very less importance to an educated, working girl’s career dreams? I feel we have started taking for granted that in a marriage, it is the girl who needs to shift, how much ever high/low she may be earning. Has there been any situation where families have asked the guy to get a transfer or find a new job in the girl’s location. In a guest lecture by the VP of an MNC, he mentioned ” we do not want girls to have any location constraints. We are supportive enough to transfer you to a new location after marriage!!!” What was I hearing? Has this issue been stamped/ taken for granted that even companies have started framing so-called ‘women-friendly’ policies?? I understand that a marriage needs certain adjustments to be made, but shouldn’t it be from both the ways? Is only the groom and his kin responsible for this or it involves support from the bride’s side too? Being in final year, when I talk to mom (eeks!!! Its mom again!! I am pretty sure she is going to break my laptop the next time I sit to write!) regarding placements, I get a reply ” Why do you worry so much? Who knows where will you end up getting married? This is just going to be temporary, later let us decide!!”.. Damn.. then why did they spend all their life earning to make me what I am today. I went through the same academic rigour that a guy does, then why this unfair approach when it comes to my career alone!!
If I appear to be someone who is too obsessive with my career rather than relationships, then let us analyze how much have we recognized the ones who were kind enough to let go off their own wishes for tying the nuptial knot. By ‘we’ I mean all of us-husband,son,daughter,in-laws everyone. The necessity to keep such a woman happy does not lie in the hands of the man alone, after all he also slogs for the family. Have you as a son/daughter thought of this part of your mom and made any move to fulfill a small wish of her or identify her talent?She might have been a great singer/dancer/painter at your age. Where has her tambura/ghungroo/brush gone now? Probably they have charred over the years as she
stood bearing the heat of the kitchen flame. I do not know whether I would be sitting and writing like this after a few years. Someone who has seen the movie ‘Mitr, my friend’, may realize how much happiness it gives to get back to something one was good at once upon a time. How many husbands here take time out to pay attention to these opportunities that would have added value to the woman’s life who has been tied to the kitchen and household chores for years together. After all she has also spent her life in school and college in the same way as you did.She might have even been a brighter student. If the wedding norms call for these adjustments and sacrifices, then make sure to recognize them. Cook a meal for her, take her on a drive, help her pursue her hobby/art- these small things would bring a big change in her mental state and eventually that happiness is going to spread throughout the family. We celebrate ten days of Dussehra worshipping Goddesses in various forms, but what blessings can a mere idol worship bring in when we forget our own women. If you recently entered/going to enter into a wedding of the above mentioned types, do give a thought about the girl’s career and ambitions. This request goes for the girl’s family too. If you already have a wife/mum who has left everything for you, then make sure to give her back her lost happiness in the best possible way you can. May this Dussehra light up the hopes of happy times and dreams for a year full of smiles…