Working Women – Mother, Wife and Daughter

womenVaruni Anandatheertha (Bangalore): “Should a woman work when her children are very young and family is financially okay. There are different opinions on this which makes it even more difficult to decide. If you can write something about this, it really helps many women like me who are confused ….”

Priya Kamath (Boston): “Our elders say that we have do bhajans (singing songs to please god) every day. It was okay during olden days when female didn’t to work outside. In today’s hectic world we are not even getting time to breath…How is it possible Paimam?”

Minnu Joseph (Delhi): “Uday Sir, shouldn’t all females go for work? Wouldn’t that be fitting reply to Indian male chauvinistic attitude?”
Three different messages. I am compiling all into one. These are inter-related issues.

I am not good at advising people. All I do is sharing my personal experiences and what I have learned from our ancestors.

I have interacted very intimately with four women in my life: My mother, my wife, my daughter and my best friend. So I have tried to learn what women want to do through them.

When I think about my childhood, the first thing that comes to my memory: me getting up from the grass mat. (We didn’t have a cot or bed). I would go to backyard of the kitchen where my mother would have kept the tooth-powder (Umikkari – Cinder of rice husk mixed with bit salt and a pinch of powdered pepper) and tooth brush (twigs from mango tree). She would keep the same for all five of us (children) and my father.

And after brushing and a small prayer in front of Tulasi (remembering ancestors) she would get morning coffee in bronze glass. It was just jaggery boiled water and a pinch of ghee in it! No coffee powder.
She had to get up early morning. There was no alarm then. She had to depend upon the firework sound in the nearby temple. Drinking water had to be collected from the pond or streams then. (Today, put on the tap = water ready). She had to fill the water in the bathroom and toilets manually and heat up water to take a bath. Other duties are to collect firewood (no gas, no electric heater), vegetables, banana leaf etc. from the courtyard.

There was no mixer, grinder, choppers, etc. To prepare breakfast, she had to powder manually using huge grinding stones. And you cannot keep powdered grain or batter for more than 2-3 days (No refrigerator). To prepare sambar, she had to make sambar powder manually. She had to prepare breakfast for seven and a couple of relatives who were dependent on us.

Apart from the breakfast, she had to prepare lunch for all of us and pack it in lunch boxes. There was no washing machine, no cooking range, no cooking gas, and no vehicles – so imagine the workload that generation had been facing then. And if you think, her job is over, I have not yet begun….

For further reading please check the book : TIDBITS: From The Life of Pai
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