In a recent article by the poster boy of Indian writing from the flock of B'School graduates - advises men to marry women who do not make hot phulkas at home but work in a potato chips company (am paraphrasing) i.e. are working. He lists lot of advantages a working woman can bring to the family and home. For e.g. she can help her husband in dealing with office politics and bring back information and knowledge as she is better exposed to the world. So now not only do I have to be fair, beautiful, slim and homely to get married, I have to be working woman as well. That is if I have to meet the criteria published daily in newspaper matrimonial pages. Not only convent educated mind you but working. Thinking that one article can influence the age-old marriage market is perhaps naive but going by his book sales you never know.
Though it has changed, the market that is. Now educated working women are the need of the hour or rather homes. Therefore I never had a choice. Earlier I was not allowed to study , then only allowed to study so that I become eligible for marriage as times changed and people wanted educated DiLs and then allowed to work but its continuation depended on the in-laws. Now they want working DiLs. Where is my choice and my freedom? If I choose to make hot phulkas after doing PhD who is anybody to tell me that I should not do it? And use my grand education for a job and mind you earn well. What if I want to pursue a different career and god forbid not marry at all !! Why should anybody tell me what do to and not to do and question me about it.
My mother taught for twenty years and stopped working before reaching retirement age. Did that make her suddenly incapable or did her job as a school teacher make her less capable as mother or wife because she could not tell Dad about mutual funds? Many of friends in school and college had non-working mothers and they were as well-brought up as me and others who had working mothers. Education should lead to jobs is a topic for another post. But where is it written? More so and more importantly education does not come from sitting in a classroom. That is literacy. Was it not the so called highly educated who were managing the i-banks responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. Education means how to live your life well and make your surroundings if not the world a better place. And knowing the difference between clothes and culture which equate wearing a sari to purity and shorts to promiscuity. You may be a financial wizard but you make millions at the cost of others you are nothing more than a common thief. You maybe Lalitaji in the whitest of white sari yet can be a dowry seeking torturing MiL.
Managing home is a mind blogging task which is to be done 24/7 365 days an year. It involves all the disciplines in the world be it management, finance, politics, ethics, you name it and you get it. The word Economics originates from a Greek word which means household management. Rejecting household work and being a homemaker (now that housewife is out of fashion) is down right ridiculous. The fact is anything I do there is counter by the so called society. If I don't work after completing my education then I was not worth of getting a job. If I don't take a break for having babies and leave them in the care of the maid then I am a callous mother. I am also guilty of stereotyping and questioning others. When after class XII my classmates started getting married and I was like 'so soon'. I did not know under what circumstances and conditions. Maybe after their marriage they completed their education and went on to careers. One of the examples that comes to mind is Tarla Dalal.
Career and jobs are not the be all and end all of life. The reason they are given importance is because through it mostly and especially for women stems their freedom and liberation. What is needed is firstly respect for what ever I am doing be it managing home or managing a fortune 500. Secondly freedom to choose my way of life and the encouragement to pursue my dreams. This not only for me or women but for everybody. In a modern free society the freedom to choose, to be different, have the courage to reject stereotypes and labels are a must. Breath. Live and let live.
P.S. I don't know how to cook !!
Written on 28th September, 2012.
( You can read the article mentioned in the blog here
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-toi/all-that-matters/Home-truths-on-career-wives/articleshow/15243750.cms. Don't have much to say now just that respect others and their choices and yes you may think of all the caveats that are legal :) Till next time Happy Dusshera !!!! :) )