Thursday, January 22, 2015

Warm Winter

Unlike most people, I love winter. Winter makes my heart cozier and everything around me also feels cozy. Winters are so cold on the outside, but it never fails to make my heart warmer.

Every winter, I am home (my maternal home) at least for a few days. I spend the days basking in the soft winter sun and the evenings chatting away with the family in front of the fireplace, with a cup of hot beverage and plate of hot snacks. This time, unfortunately, I could not go and I am homesick. Here in Delhi, I am managing with heavy woolens and a room heater.

Winter is the only thing I absolutely love about Delhi. This season, winter knocked on Delhi's door a month early in late November and it is still on in full swing. Today it has been raining and it is quite chilly outside. Dense fog has been drawing on its heavy white curtains throughout this winter. People have started to crib about the cold. But I am praying it stays on a little longer this time. Delhi is so much bearable in winter. Even people are much more calmer and less aggressive in this season. Lesser quarrels and fights are seen in public places.

Winter is the time when I am able to wear my beloved woolens. Other then the regular, I love shopping for the warms knick-knacks like socks, caps and scarves. Socks are my favourite winter accessory. I love to buy different types of socks with different patterns and colours, and flaunt them whenever possible. Wearing pretty socks make me so very happy and they make winter so much warmer. To me socks are the coziest winter item. Let me share a glimpse of my cute favourites with you.

Don't forget to share what you feel about winters!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Official Laundry Officer

I have grown up in a nuclear family and my father is the only male in the house. And I have not seen him washing any of his clothes ever, not even his own handkerchief. When I got married and moved into my new home, I found that the situation is quite similar. Before me, one or the other aunt was there and they took care of all the household chores including laundry. And after my entry into the house, the burden fell on my shoulders. Of course, this is nothing new and unexpected.

As long as I was not working full time, things were fine. But then unwashed laundry became an issue. You see, we are six people, of which four are males. So you can understand. Thank God for the washing machine. And except two people, the others know how to use it. Still it is only once in a while that a couple of them would wash something on their own. But now that every house member goes out either to work or to study, the remaining two members are also getting trained.

The most disgusting aspect of men not doing laundry, I feel, is that they don’t even wash their own undergarments themselves! Neither by hand nor in the washing machine, as long as there is a woman around. Daughters are always taught to wash their own clothes, then why not sons? In my community, there is a belief that if the husband washes his wife’s undergarments, his life shortens. As if by washing her husband’s undergarments, the wife’s life lengthens!

The only man in my life who washes his own undergarments is my maternal grandfather. And he still does. He never allows my grandmother to wash them. In his younger years, he helped around the house too. My mother remembers fondly that whenever grandma had to do wash the heavy linen of the house, grandpa would always help her out.

As a student and a single working woman, I have always done my laundry physically with my hands. Even now I don’t have any qualms of washing a couple of my garments that way now and then. The single men (who stay away from their families) I know either has a maid or a washing machine. But the moment they get a wife, she becomes the official laundry officer.

Do you know 77% of Indian men depend on women for doing the laundry?

In most households, the women are inevitably in charge of doing the laundry. For women who work, the weekly off day becomes their laundry day. In families who can afford a washing machine, the chore has become somewhat easier for the women. But nonetheless, this particular chore eats up a major portion of her time.

It is fortunate that we have started to bring up our daughters like our sons. But it is not enough. The situation would not get better and balanced unless we start to raise her sons like our daughters. And what better way to start than teaching our sons to help in the household chores.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bit by Bit

​On my birthday this year (it was last week), my husband gave me a card which said "To the wonderful woman I married". Today we were talking about the card and he said laughing, "I had married a wonderful woman, no doubt about it". And added gently that but the woman I am today is not that. I cannot blame him for saying that. With each passing month I am becoming a crankier woman. I am hardly in a happy mood. I lose my cool in triflest of matters. I no longer enjoy any of the household chores.

Before I quit my job to move to Delhi after marriage, I had a confidence to do anything. I fiercely guarded my financial independence and it was my pride. My job gave me an identity and a sense of accomplishment. But it was my bad luck that the organization I worked for didn't have offices outside northeast India. So when I got married I had a major decision to take. I argued that family comes first and career is not everything. Plus I knew that being the woman I would have to make the ultimate sacrifice. So I quit my job and moved to the capital of the country.

As I had already known, I enjoyed the first ​couple months at home. I liked doing everything around the house, taking care of things and people around the house. But I also knew that it was only a matter of time. In the meantime I was doing my job search and realized it was not easy as I had thought. It is a jungle out here. I took up a part time job ​but practically it didn't make any sense.

Having my career at a standstill has several implications on my personal life. My forced idleness makes me feel inadequate and wasted. I don't feel like doing any household chores either and I just do it out of compulsion. With my financial independence gone I feel crippled and useless. I don't broach the topic much with my husband because it starts making him feel guilty. So it's just me. And this feeling of helplessness is eating away my head. My idle mind is becoming the devil's workshop. And he is happily hammering away my happiness. 

I try to keep myself occupied by reading books, writing, watching movies and trying out new recipes. But for how long? Without a professional career, I am incomplete and unhappy. I feel the original me is slowly withering away. I am scared that this new cranky and unhappy me will take over completely. For I know the woman I originally was is dying bit by bit with each passing day. 

P.S.: I wrote this piece  while I was between jobs and stashed it away. Today I stumbled upon it and decided to post it. I am sure working women who had put their careers on the back-burner due to personal reasons, can relate to what I went through at several points.