March 08, 2015

THE REAL 'HEROINE'

HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY

Source: Whatsapp
As the world celebrates International Women's Day today, newspapers and magazines are filled with articles on women who have made it big across various disciplines, battling all odds in a male dominated society in pursuit of their dreams. Some of these include Indra Nooyi - the CEO of Pepsi Co, Chanda Kochchar - the MD of ICICI Bank, five time World Boxing Champion and Olympic medalist Mary Kom, the late astronaut Kalpana Chawla, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal and multiple Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza. Their stories of struggle, pain and ultimate success while breaking sterotypes are truly an inspiration, not only to the fellow members of the fairer sex but also for the men who can certainly learn a lesson or two from their lives. However, amidst all this, on this joyous occasion, I think we are forgetting one often 'underrated' and much 'overlooked' breed of ladies in the country - the great Indian Housewife.

A lot of you might be appalled by what I have written so far. Before you judge me as a 'misogynist', let me put across my point. I am in favor of more women breaking traditional barriers and joining workplaces. I mean, an office without women is akin to a garden without flowers. I would never want to be in such an atmosphere. However, in my opinion, the underlying theme of Women's day is celebrating womanhood. And while we do that, we just cannot afford to ignore the immense contribution of the millions of women in our country who forsake all their personal likes and wishes just to make sure that the family is happy as a whole; so what, if it that means time and again, their own dreams and preferences have to take a back seat. And in my opinion, the Indian housewife should be as much a role model to us, as is someone like Indra Nooyi, Saina Nehwal or Kalpana Chawla.

There is a general conception that the lives of working women are much harder than that of the housewives. I strongly disagree with this. Of course, working women have to deal with gender bias each and every day, at every level within their organizations. However, the lives of the housewives is equally, if not, more difficult. They have to spend a large part of their lives within the confines of the home, their ambitions are curtailed and they do not have much say in the family matters in spite of the fact that they are the ones who keep it together. More importantly, unlike their working counterparts, most of the housewives do not have a regular source of income. Common sense tells us that economic independence can be a game changer as far as breaking social barriers is concerned. After all, the BCCI's dominance in world cricket today is solely on the basis of the vast reserves of cash it possesses. Money talks and talks big time! With cash at their disposal, the lives of the working women is at least a little easier compared to those who don't as far as fulfilling their materialistic needs are concerned.

There are certain traits that make the Indian housewife such an enigmatic species. Her hectic life revolves around the family and still she finds her happiness in it. She sacrifices even the smallest of her desires for her husband, kids and in-laws without cribbing about it. Her unflinching love is often not reciprocated in equal measure and yet, she never fails in what she thinks is her 'duty'. A large number of Indian women who do not work, do so, not because they are not lack the necessary educational qualification or cannot find jobs. In fact, for many, it is a conscious decision that they make so that they could devote a lot of time in raising their kids. Now that is what they call being selfless, isn't it. Another aspect regarding them that largely goes unnoticed is their 'business acumen'. Though many of the housewives may not be 'highly educated', their street smartness is unparalleled. They will precisely know where they will get the cheapest grocery items, which shops sells the best quality grains and so on. And at times, when the family needs financial support to buy a property or to educate a child, she will not think twice before offering to sell her gold or readily hand over the money that she has saved out of the monthly expenditure. She is the perfect home-maker, the best mother and an ideal companion.

In fact, she is the real 'heroine' and the very foundation of the Indian society although we in most cases, we may never give her the respect that she truly deserves.