When I decided to go and watch ‘Tumhari Sulu’, I was looking forward to a care-free Vaidya Balan sway to the tune of ‘Banja tu meri Rani’ and curl my own toes. In the beginning, I thought I was going to set up some couple goals similar to those of the lead couple. It was so much fun to watch them enjoy their life within their limited resources. My heart really warmed up to this very average middle class household whose protagonists never stopped dreaming. But as the plot revealed itself, I became more and more uncomfortable and kept shifting in my seat. There were moments when I gritted my teeth at the way this enterprising lady in her 30s was expected to submit to the norm and not dream big. Everyone around kept telling her to focus on her house, her child and not harp on the possibilities of making it big in a job that no one had an iota of idea about.
I kept wondering through the second half that the cliches highlighted by the story teller are not new. There is nothing unique about what the female protagonist is facing or suffering. Yet these are realities with huge implications. We claim to be a fast developing nation, but the society is still plagued with limitations that seem to have made a permanent existence. Here are five questions that may be clichéd but leave a lot to ponder upon –
Is academic record the only parameter to predict or judge a person’s capability?
As a student I was made to believe that academic excellence is the only way to success in life. I grew up looking down on low scoring classmates (not exactly, I had quite a few low scoring friends. But yes, I did have my inhibitions). Twenty years fast forward, when I look at them through my lens on the social media, I figure, they are earning a decent (some even exorbitant) livelihood and most importantly leading a happy life.
Now that I am a parent and worry to no limits about how my kids will do in life, I continuously check and tell myself that academic excellence is no parameter of success and happiness in life.
I hope I keep this promise and not pressurize my kids to become something they are not.
Is raising an accomplished child only a mother’s responsibility?
I recently came across the campaign inviting stories of working mothers who hold two jobs but get paid for only one. The generalization of the statement is that home-making and motherhood is a thankless and payless job. You got to do it, complete your key responsibilities, meet the targets within timelines. Yet you never get paid for it. Getting paid is a high ask, because you hardly ever get appreciated for it.
It hurts most when your child gets herself into trouble, and the entire blame is laid on you for not fulfilling YOUR responsibility. I know the feeling when it feels like that your entire world has become meaningless. But is it really right to do that? Does the responsibility of raising a child lie only with the mother?
Can the father just shirk from his responsibility in the name of being the primary bread earner of the household?
Are we prepared for our kids to foray into unconventional career paths?
I remember how strongly the entire department, faculty included reacted when one of our seniors decided to give up his engineering and become a guitarist. Few understood the call of passion that he followed. Our generation has grown up to be the flag bearers of unconventional career choices.
But when I think about what career choices my kids will make, I flinch at the prospect of my son walking up to me one day and telling me, ‘Mom! I want to make my living as a painter.’ Yes this is a confession in the face of all judgment I may face.
Are you as a parent prepared to allow your kid to follow her heart and pursue her call of passion as a full time profession?
Are the men in our society ready to accept wives who earn more than them?
I know of a friend couple who put their wedding off for three years. That was time when the guy found an opportunity that would would pay him more than his girl. Just before their wedding, I happened to have a heart-to-heart with this guy friend of mine. He confessed, ‘Arre yaar, I personally have no issues but who would take the continuous vocal or behavioral bantering from the family for being a man any less.’
I also have a friend who went ahead to pursue his management degree after he got married. His assurance was that, ‘I have an earning wife to fend for me.’ After 5 years of working in the corporate, he again left his job to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations. This time he had his savings, but yet he was more relieved at the fact that there is a regular inflow of income from his better half.
How many men do you know who would be fine with their wives being the primary bread earner of the family
How to ensure that double income parents keep in touch with their kids’ daily life?
I grew up in a place where there was a healthy mix of working mothers and home-makers. One of my friends resented the fact that her mother wasn’t there for her when she needed her. There were also numerous friends who love the fact that their mothers worked. They confess that they did face some challenges but seldom did they feel insecure or unguarded. But that was back then. Our childhood was simple.
With today’s kids, the level of exposure they have with the kind of choices they have to make so early in life, parents going out of frequency is a huge risk. In India, both parents working face more problems because few day-care facilities provide an environment to ensure an all round development of kids. In this scenario grandparents or extended family could be of help, yet the role of parents as anchors remains unquestioned.
How then in such circumstances can parents ensure that they do not lose touch with their kids’ emotional and mental turmoil while keeping their jobs?