June 8, 2009 3:29:39 am
As young girls today take flight to their chosen careers applauding them all the way are their mothers who never had this kind of encouragement in their time,but are making sure their daughters are free from such limitations
Mom is the world. Women have finally arrived and I see them every where,full of energy,driving two wheelers,taking their children from one tuition class to the other; ferrying them from dance classes to tennis,badminton,painting and many other diverse subjects. One beauty queen after the other credits her mom for not only encouraging her to fill the form for the contest but for having toiled herself to exhaustion to give her brood a comfortable life. If that is not enough many a first timer i.e. girls joining non traditional professions are crediting their moms for encouraging then to take the paths least traveled. I meet these moms often; they are of my age,well educated,aware,articulate,attending various forums. But some feel that they missed the bus. A few of them have been working too,while many have invested heavily in home making,doing only part time or traditional jobs at the most. They do value their home making skills and are proud of them. Yet many feel that they did not reach their full potentials,and worse that they did not allow themselves to do so. Mind you this is what they are eager to teach their children,both boys and girls.
Dont miss the opportunity,but grab it with both hands. The sky was open to them too,but my generation,and I understand it pretty well,dare not fly. We created boundaries for ourselves. Some of us could see the open blue sky,we were aware of our capabilities too,but no one was there to help take the first flight,no one to launch us as they say. No one was holding us back either and that is what kills us,those missed opportunities!
We can blame others but deep down we know that had we taken that plunge,the sky was within our reach. Why we missed them,there are individual reasons but the culture of women with ambition was neither existing nor encouraged. So,many of the generation older than mine thought it was not possible to have a career of choice and home life.
My mother,who is a post graduate,decided to leave teaching after marriage as was the tradition during 1950s. She,like others in her age group,however,was very vocal that their daughters should study and work but mostly as teachers or professors. The written and unwritten boundaries were there. Marriage was to be the end of all.
All this while my own generation was growing up and watching quietly,sharing the success of Kiran Bedi in a totally male dominated field,identifying so strongly with her. And then grew the young brood flush with the thought of equality and an open economy. Moms having missed the bus themselves and waiting in the wings soon joined them in their career plans. Waiting outside the 10th and 12th examination halls these moms are a breed in themselves,anxiety written large on their faces. You can guess an examination Centre from a distance not from the students hovering around but from the looks of the parents standing outside. It has become a culture of late. Neither of the parents came with me for 10 or 12th exams during our times. Yes,moms did cook dishes of our choice during the stressful examination season but never ferried us for tuitions. In any case two wheelers like Lambreta and Vespa were so hard to come by,and moms were quite vehicle unfriendly. Career choice discussions were with fathers,hardly any one thought of moms contributing any thing substantial. And look at the modern middle class woman of today. Her extensive information on career choices gives a complex to professional career counselors.
Recently I had been invited for the first ever All India Women Rugby Tournament in Mumbai. While being introduced to the young players,I noticed many band-aids and bandages. The finals were fiercely fought. The coach of the winning team of Pune in his speech mentioned that he had informed the mothers of the possibility of broken bones and noses but it did not deter them from sending their daughters for regular coaching. Let their breed increase! And let the women from the lower income group and rural areas too join the ranks of urban empowered moms to finally announce that mom is not only the word but also the world.
(The writer is the special inspector of police,CID)
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