Someone from BlogAdda called me yesterday and asked, "Do you know there is a campaign called #UseYourAnd going on?" He briefed about how a woman can be this and that and that and this, and asked if I could write a column on the same. I thought about it for a moment and promised to write if I can come up with the content. He quickly placed a request that it is kind of contest and closes on Feb 1st, so please think about it quickly. I thought about it the entire evening and in bed at night. What is it that defines me? Am an introvert and an extrovert. Am an engineer and a writer. Am serious and humorous. Am philosophical and silly. Which of it should I write about?! I started preparing lunch and was still pondering on the subject. As I was making Biryani, the aroma of mint and masalas took me back to cooking together with my mom and then it struck! I can be this and that and if not the world, my friends know it. But not many know about the this and that of my mother. So here you go.
If there is one thing that I admire her for the most is her ability to manage finances. Many a times I have wondered where would we be standing now if not for her. Would it have been possible for me to be an engineer? Would it have been possible for us to put our own roof over our heads? Would it have been possible for me to stretch my wings and wander around the world? She does not have a college degree. She is not great at English. But she knows stocks, shares, fixed deposit, recurring deposit, mutual funds, postal savings, ppf, infra bonds, real estate, I mean every damn thing! And me being an engineer and working for a private firm for years, I have no clue how tax is calculated in my payslip! I did not dare invest in stocks. All I know is to ask her what to do which of course I promptly does not do too. Living within the means is/was always her motto.
It had been quiet a while since I had started blogging. One fine evening I was sharing with her an interesting blog of mine and she said, "You know, you have to start sending these to magazines or write your own novel." "Do you think so?", I asked. "Oh yes, I used to write so many short stories like this and send to Tamil magazines. It didn't get published though!" I was surprised! "You mean, I have got this genes from you?" I exclaimed! I am one nut case who wants to trace the root of every trait of mine. And who thought that a writer was already there at my home!
She is a stamp collector. I am not at home right now to post the picture of her collection album. When I was young, it was the greatest fascination to me. I used to sit down with that album and run my fingers over the different sized, textured and colored stamps from various countries. I still don't get to understand how she managed to collect so many stamps growing up in a village. Sigh! If exchanging letters was still in practice, there would have been many more such albums.
She is a fashionista. I don't care what I wear, how I wear but she does take care of her well and insists me to do so. The pain she takes to keep herself well actually pays. Nobody will believe that she is that old. We have an age old sewing machine and she used to stitch pretty dresses for me and my sister when we were young. She was super good at embroidery. And when I was practicing as part of school exercise, she would teach me this crochet, that crochet, this knot, that knot! She is a great cook. I can die for the chicken curry she makes. Using all home made masalas, she would make the yummiest of food and snacks. She is a cleanliness fanatic. Fanatic is the right word for I have no clue why she cleans everything again and again and again. Unfortunately I have got this genes of hers and it is a pain!!
Is this conversation familiar?
"My wife is working in ABC firm, good benefits yaar. Yearly one international trip tho pakka, and kids education also goes smoothly. In this economy good to have smart working wife no! She gets lot of appreciation in her office. What is your wife doing?"
"Ohh.. umm nothing much. She is a house wife!"
There is a social stigma that the lady sitting at home knows nothing! For instance, my dad being a professor the near and dear ones assume that the entire household and finances are taken care by him and my mom just have to cook. None knows she is the engine and petrol of our house. Even otherwise my dear people, cooking three meals a day, for the entire family, for 365 days a year with no sign of retirement is not an easy job at all. Remember, if a woman decides to be a home maker, it is the choice she made, not that she is not capable of anything else to do.
So my dear ladies and gentle men, the next time some one asks what are you doing or gives a condescending look that you are at home, use your AND..
"I am a home maker AND a doting mother"
"I am a house wife AND a writer"
"My wife is a home maker AND she manages all the finances"
"My wife is a home maker AND the biggest gift of my life"
And if someone asks me I would say,
"My mom is a home maker and a rock star" :)