I am the eldest of three sisters. In a country fixated about having a son, we never heard any such comment in our household. If at all my parents ever missed having a son, they definitely didn’t express it to us. I remember many occasions when women used to ask my mother at social gatherings how many children she had, and on hearing three daughters, always waited expectantly to hear ‘and a son’. We three were provided with a good education with no pressure of having to learn household activities, though all of us knew and contributed to basic household chores.
I went on to do my Masters and then further research to obtain an MPhil degree, which, thanks to the encouraging nature of my academic guide, also got published. In the course of my studies, I met my husband and we both embarked on our life together with a lot of optimism. Fortunately I got a teaching post in an under graduate college very soon after I completed my education. Initially it was easy to juggle home and work. But when my son was born, it became more and more difficult, especially as my husband started travelling more and more on work. Eventually I reached a crossroad where I had to take a decision if I wanted to continue work or just focus on bringing up my son with undivided attention. After a lot of soul searching I decided to give up work and be at home with him. It was a very conscious decision that I reached after a lot of thought. I have always loved teaching and it was not an easy step for me. But I also knew it was the right one for that particular moment.
Along the years my daughter was born and I got totally immersed in bringing up my two children. That’s not to say I neglected my own interests and pursuits, but they were never my priority. For a long time I have run my own business from home. A flexi time venture where I have been able to pick and choose to work according to the children’s schedules. It is fulfilling and a better option to being idle. Again here I am one of those women who equate the word ‘idle’ to a mental state of mind. I have been told many a time that, “you are a home maker. How can you feel bored? There is so much to do at home. “ Creating a home is a beautiful task, but beyond a point there is more to life than keeping a clean home and cooking a tasty meal. At least to me there is. It was probably this thirst for soul feed that has made me run a business from home for around fourteen years against all odds.
I would term this entire process as something that taught me so much. The day I decided to become a full time homemaker was a day, which marked the beginning of a new journey, which led to the individual that I am today. Many don’t realize that when one gives up a career, one also loses financial independence and subsequently a certain degree of self-confidence. I know that because I kept myself occupied with an alternative, to a very great degree I managed to salvage that loss of confidence. But there are days when I wonder what I would have been as an individual if I had continued teaching. I know I would have been very different from what I am today. My thought processes would have been different.
In the last few years, there have been many moments when I have wondered about the merits or demerits of a higher education. It opens our mind and thinking so much. It shapes our thinking and polishes our rationale. And while it is this rationale that made me take the decision of taking time out from my job, it was also like trying to put the genie back into the lamp. After exploring a career, it took some mental adjustment to being confined to a home.
I am sure all of us in the same boat go through those random days of ‘what if ‘?