It had been a tiring day on Friday and I was looking forward to catching up on my reading in the night over the weekend. Oh, how I look forward to weekends! Done with my dinner, I switched on my smartphone’s Wifi. After browsing through the emails and social media, I was about to log out and wind up for the day when suddenly there was a beep and popup on my messenger. It was my friend, Avni. She lived in another city, and we had been out of touch for almost a decade now. I just knew that she worked with a bank there. We began with our greetings and general exchange of news in each other’s life. Soon, we were joined by other women friends – Harsha, who was a homemaker and lived close to my home; Sanskriti, who was a mom with a toddler and had quit her job after having her baby girl; Laksmi, my maid (she chatted sometimes with me on her son’s smartphone); and Manorama, who was an older aunty now retired and lived in the neighborhood.
Avni: “Hi, Good to chat with you. How old are you kids? Are you working?”
Me: “Hi! Same here. They are 11 and 6. Yes, both inside the house and professionally.”
Avni: “Okay! What do you do professionally?”
Me: “I am a content writer and a blogger.”
Avni: “How come? You are an MBA? What happened, did your break get too long, and you did not get a good job later? You should have never taken a break with kids?”
Me (Irritated but patient): “No, I love this work. I actually prefer to work from home and flexibly. I can be hands on in raising my kids. Yes, I am an MBA but I do enjoy writing a lot.”
Avni: “You know I am the GM now. And my kids are doing good too. I found a nice nanny to take care of them while I could continue with my work. It is very satisfying. I feel elated that I got where I always wanted to get.”
Me: “That’s nice to know. I am very happy for you. And, it might be tough for you to imagine but I love my work and my life as well“. I am quite happy too :).
The others join the conversation now.
Harsha: “I quite admire how Rachna balances her time, work and home. I for one can never seem to find time to do anything.”
Sanskriti: “Avni, I know what you are saying. I really hate quitting my job. This stupid society – everyone wanted me to have a baby. Look where I have landed – from a high-profile career woman to an unpaid maid servant.”
Lakshmi: “Did someone talk about me? Madam, don’t forget I earn my living working in your houses and have managed to put my son in college. Please do not make fun of my profession.”
Me: “No Lakshmi! We dare not make fun of you. Our houses will not run a day without you. I hope their views will not colour your opinions about me :).
Me: “Thank you Harsha.” Sanskriti: Been there done that, including the frustration part. If you are so unhappy try looking for jobs now that your daughter is older. Were you forced to quit your job?”
Avni: “Come on yaar. You were so bright in college. Who would have thought that you would be just sitting at home minding kids? I am sure your parents must be disappointed.”
Me: “Oh, they are not! Everyone is very happy for me. I think you should be happy for me instead of being cynical. It is my life, and I have chosen to lead it my way.”
Harsha: “I always wanted to be housewife. I know people find it strange but I did. I don’t seek value in earning money but earning love. I like being around for my children. Besides I do try to spend time in pursuing my hobbies. You know I even took up Bharatnatyam learning after my second child.”
Me: “Wow, that is amazing Harsha! I love seeing content people. Everyone cribs — those with jobs and those without them.”
Avni: You guys amuse me. Where is the value in sitting at home and taking money from your husband?
Sanskriti: “You are right, Avni! I hate it that I have to ask my husband for money. He never says no, but I am an independent woman. What the heck!”
Me: “Avni, you amuse me with your thinking. My husband and I are raising a family together. And I am certainly not competing in the ‘Who earns more’ game. I don’t see it as taking. I see it as sharing all our resources that includes love and companionship.”
Me: Sanskriti: Independent women don’t have relationships? Do they not rely on others? Did you have the same qualms accepting money from your parents for your education? Oh no, father is superior to husband?
Lakshmi: “In my house, I earn more than my husband. He has no problems in taking what I earn.”
Avni: “Rachna, You are clearly domesticated. No point in arguing with you. Sanskriti: Let’s keep in touch. And get back to me when you want to look for a job again. I will try to help you. I am signing off now.”
Sanskriti: “Sure. I will.”
Me: “Avni there is nothing to argue about. You are happy with your choices and I am happy with mine. Why can’t we be happy in this knowledge without going judgmental on each other?”
Avni: “Whatever…” (Avni leaves)
Me: “Lakshmi, you work very hard for your family. And look your son is in college now despite an alcoholic husband.”
Me: “Hi Aunty”
Manorama: “I just finished cooking dinner. My daughter-in-law will be back a little late from work.”
Me: “So nice of you to handle the duties at home.”
Manorama: “I have been a working woman too. I know how much this support matters to our peace of mind.”
Me: “Exactly. A kind word, a helping touch is what women need.”
Sanskriti: “I live in a nuclear family. And my baby sitter keeps taking so many offs. I hate my life.”
Harsha: “I know maids keep taking off without informing. That really upsets our schedule.”
Lakshmi: “Madam, we are made to work 7 days a week. Yet, we do it without complain. One day’s leave and people start complaining and abusing. We have families to run too.”
Manorama: “We give our maid a weekly off and two weeks paid leave every year. We find that she takes very few unscheduled leaves. That helps us plan better and fret lesser.”
All of us: “Kudos to you.”
Lakshmi: “On the topic of intimated leaves, I have to tell you that I need to take an off tomorrow. Have some guests over for lunch. And let me know whether you prefer Saturday or Sunday as the weekly off. With a huge 🙂 she signs off.”
Me: That’s just great!
Suddenly imminent issues are more important than posturing, and the weekend does not look the same anymore!
I sign off.
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