“The multi-tasking home machine”- 17 October 2012

That’s a bad description of the lady of the house — The multi-tasking home machine! But nothing fits better. For, the lady of the house is that kind of a machine capable of impossible-sounding multi-tasking. And because she works like a machine — noiselessly for years on end, she is taken for granted by most others in the family, never mind a few kind words thrown in for some superficial comfort of the woman who slogs the day in and the day out to keep the family’s systems running smoothly all the time.

This hurts — the taking for granted by almost everybody in the family, husband, children, in-laws, maids at home, neighbours, friends (and of course enemies, if any). It also hurts to see the lady of the house make some decent money, too, for the family, but has little control over its spending.
Some people may even argue that this stereotype is not universally available in our society today. This argument may sound correct on the surface. But deep down, things are not good enough to be described as GOOD. For, the average Indian woman — whether a plain Jane housewife, or a smart female making decent money out of her profession or a job — is yet to start getting her due respect in the average Indian home.
This is not an old record replayed; this is a reality which none can ignore or wish away.
For, the larger Indian society still takes the woman as a weakling, as someone who cannot rise independently, as someone who has to be following in men’s footsteps and not as someone who leaves her footprints behind.
True, Indian woman has made a great advance in the past fifty years. She is everywhere — in every profession including the armed forces or exploration or police or medicine or sciences….! But is it also not true that even as she achieves success in every possible field, she also has to be a caretaker of the family, the cook, the accountant, the driver of kids to school and back, the record keeper, finder of husband’s handkerchiefs and neck-ties and socks in time. She also sits upright through the night when a child falls ill, pampers the husband when the fellow is supposedly down with headache, takes care of the mother-in-law’s breakfast and father-in-law’s blood pressure pill every morning, sells newspaper ‘raddi’ every month, takes the kids to tuition classes or music lessons and brings them back in time…..!
And yet, this multi-tasking superstar of the average family is taken for granted almost as a machine and not taken seriously and respected as a human being. And when a society keeps this standard of consideration for its women, then that society is not destined to prosper not materially but harmoniously. The present-day ills dogging our society today stem mostly from this neglect of the lady of the house.
What does one mean by word ‘neglect’? The answer is both, simple as well as complicated.
Simple, because ‘neglect’ means not giving her, her due respect in the scheme of things, and taking her for granted for anything and everything she does.
Complicated, because ‘neglect’ means, a range of indifferent responses, to the achievements of the average woman. It also includes denying her a freedom to make the right choices for herself in right time. This part involves not just the large-heartedness of the families — men and women included — but also the family’s fundamental belief in the prowess of the woman as an interdependent human being with her own niche in the scheme of things.
For, in our society, the lady of the house has been given the status of a multi-tasking machine! — That is far from being respected as a human being.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *