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It's 6 am. Tring… Goes the alarm. Snooze it.. Tring.. Goes the alarm again. Keep snoozing it for another 5 minutes on and on. Tring.. Goes the alarm yet again. It's 6:30 and my mind yells at me saying, “It's 6:30.. Wake up!!” and I wake up with burning eyes. Rush to the bathroom to splash a handful of freezing cold water just to keep me awake for a busy start of the day.
There I enter the kitchen. I pressure cook Sal to prepare Sambar, steam hot Idlis on another stove. Oven is busy boiling milk and there I bring down the cooker from the stove to cook vegetables for lunch on the same stove. Have a check on the milk, meanwhile having an eye on the vegetables so that they don’t get overcooked or burnt. Grabbing a cup of HOT coffee, my eyes run through the paper headlines and realize I haven’t prepared rice yet. Run back to the kitchen keeping aside the remaining half cup of my coffee and continue my cooking. My stove is busy too!!
My mind yells yet again, “Oh.. Its 7:30 and I need to wake up Harshu”. “Harshu, get up! Harshu, wake up!” and she cries, yells, or simply wakes up with a smile depending on her mood for the day. For the next fifteen minutes she doesn’t turn up to the wash basin. I get back to my kitchen during this time. Completing the left aside chutney and curry, I get back to Harshu yet again. It's 7:45 and I carry her to the wash basin to make her brush. Spending the next half an hour with her, I give her a bath, get her dressed with the dress code of the day and get back to the kitchen while she wears her own shoes. With a glass of hot Pediasure and 2 Idlis I get back to the dining table and now have the time for my remaining half glass of COLD coffee. Packing the tiffin for her, she is all set to go to school now.
Guna takes her to school and there I start getting ready for office. The next 9-10 hours is not for my family. We definitely have our own set of friends in office, enjoy our work and then get back to our home by 7pm.
Relaxingly having a cup of coffee, I switch on the TV and start the dinner preparation. My mind reminds me to check Harshu’s diary and check for the pre-preparation for the next day to school. Sometimes I will have to get pictures of a particular theme, some colouring or some activities to be involved. My stove gets busy to work for the next one hour, so would my little daughter. Zooie barks with her puppy voice and I notice her Pedigree bowl is empty and fill in the same. I realize that there is still some office work pending and I get back to my laptop while the curry is still on the stove. I also get reminded of the telephone bill payments and other miscellaneous work and finish those.
It's now 9:30 pm and Guna is back from work. All are set for dinner at 10 and we try to put Harshu to sleep. Depending on her mood, she sleeps by 10 or listens to stories till 11. My mind reminds me of the clothes left in the washing machine and I get back to the balcony to put the washed clothes to dry. Done with my final checks at the kitchen, I retire to bed at 11:30, the earliest. Unable to sleep, I browse through few pages of some book or keep listening to songs and never realize when I fall asleep. There goes my busy day.
I never wondered or worried that I’m handling all of these even without elders with us. I feel happy that I’m able to manage and take things through smoothly. I had never expressed my busy schedules to anyone or even written a note on it till now. This is not only Subha’s daily routine but many other working women’s daily routine. Why did I feel to write this down today?
I have been hearing instances and experiences from my friends and personally experienced situations wherein people have this idea in mind that the “IT industry people have a free schedule and earn well enough!! They engage maids for every work at home or rather do not bother about their family or homes!!” We do have maids just like all others to help us with some household work like cleaning vessels or cleaning the floor. Does that mean we do not really care for our family??
We do eat outside at times, but does that mean no one other than us has food at restaurants or we do not cook daily?? Recently while talking about kids, one of my friends who is not working, told me that she is struggling with her new born infant. When I just said “It’s a tough time with infants”, she immediately said “Your duty was only to deliver and leave the new born with your mother” reminding me of the tough initial two years I had undergone staying away from my dear Harshu. I just smiled and did not want to explain further.
One of my best friends and colleague told me that sadly that her relative asked her why does she need a maid to take care of her baby while she was going to work from home for a few months. We get the privilege of working from home at times only after our management knows we are capable of working from home and do work dedicatedly and sincerely. Please understand that working from home doesn’t mean we are simply sitting in front of our laptops. Another friend said her in-laws keep calling her to give her useless work thinking she is simply browsing whenever she works from home. Few are even worst. They do not even understand that we are in the mid of meetings but feel we are chit chatting with our friends.
One of my best friends told me that she feeds her infant while attending calls at home in the nights. Would you call her an irresponsible mother?? I just had tears rolling down my cheeks hearing this statement from her.
If this was the case with my own friend, another case is still worst. A colleague of mine still remarked worst. He remarked “I did not want my wife to leave my family aside and come to work and so I looked for a home maker while doing a bride search”. Does that mean, we working women do not MAKE a HOME?? Or are our husbands worst and beat us to go to work? In fact the reason behind us balancing work and home is because of the help we get from our beloved husbands.
Another friend worryingly said she is being constantly put down as being short tempered by her sisters in law. They have even remarked that she is not fit to be a good mother. We get back to work within a couple of weeks after the wedding leave, work throughout our pregnancy even until the day before we are due, get back within 3-4 months after delivery, still have our own great time at office and home. We do get irritated, angry, stressed at times, after all we are also human beings. And of course every other person, male or female, working or not working, young or old, exhibits all these emotions. Why are we working women only branded for being short tempered or stressed? Haven’t you seen us smiling, laughing, enjoying ceremonies and functions??
On the eve of Pongal, another colleague asked us, “You won't have chores at home like cleaning, preparing the house for the festival etc right??” We simply laughed and moved on. Do we not have festivals or do we not celebrate them? In fact we can make better Pongal (I mean the festival and the dish). When few of our male colleagues themselves do not understand that we are doing what they do at office and also what their beloved home makers do at our homes, what do I comment about other ignorant people?
As usual, I was interested in writing this blog in my mother tongue, but wanted to reach out to other people as well. This is not to blame anyone or any section of women. Please understand that we do not put down home makers but we are only saying we also make good homes. Next time you point out to a working woman saying that she doesn’t care for her family, just understand she is definitely taking a part of the burden from her husband and shoulders it. Working women are also good maids, good cooks, good wives, good mothers, good nurses, good time managers and above all responsible home makers. We do not expect to be called GREAT but only long to be respected and not hurt.
This is not just my story. But every working woman’s feeling from the heart.
Dedicated to my beloved sisters and friends Meena, Rathi, Divya, Aparna, Malar, Anita, Latha, Suma, and many others!! Thanks for finding time to read this blog! Now ladies, let's get back to our routine!! Good Day ahead!!