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It is true that a woman’s work never ends, that she is perpetually stuck in the drudgery of homemaking, in spite of everything that she achieves at work. She might be a professional superstar, but I bet even Angelina Jolie bothers about the kind of food her children are fed. Does she have to make morning-evening phone calls to her servants from wherever she’s shooting at, to find out what her children are up to?
I wonder if Brad has the same concern. If he does, bully for him. 9.9 out of 10 men don’t bother. The home is not their domain, and it seems ‘wimpish’ to think about it. But all that’s beside the point. We’ve all been through the Mars-Venus debate a thousand times.
My point today is something entirely different. I’m tired of bashing men. They never listen to me. So instead of telling them, I want to show the b____ds. How do I show the world that I matter as a human being? I have spoken to many women caught in the rut of endless homemaking. Their husbands, they say, do not want them to work. Or the in-laws need care. Or the children are too small. Or they just aren’t qualified enough to find a decent job. Fair enough. There are many reasons why a woman has to stay at home.
In my opinion, that doesn’t mean she has to become a drudge or a mindless gadfly, bent on seeking pleasure in trivial pursuits outside of her full-time employment as nanny, cook and butler. In order to achieve our full potential as human beings, we cannot stop at merely doing what we have to do. We need to travel beyond to find something that we want to do, to do so badly that without it we suffer agonies of uncertainty, pain and lack of fulfilment. In a word, all of us need to find a passion.
We need to be irrational about something. I have a friend whose passion is cooking. Her daughters sneered at her for doing something so ‘low-grade’. And then, one day, she launched a cookbook with great fanfare. The daughters aren’t sneering any longer. My friend developed a passion for something that she had been doing as a matter of routine – homemaking. What was a compulsion initially turned into a source of excellence for her. Her beautifully decorated home sparkled, her dining table was always perfectly laid, and whenever one went to her place, one always found food of a higher order, food that actually revived the soul, it was so good. Now other women seek her advice on doing up their homes.
What is life without passion, without that something that you can hug close to yourself and declare, ‘If I have nothing and nobody left, I have this.’ A thriving passion is the greatest counterbalance to loneliness, drudgery and oppression. It can surmount the challenges posed by difficult children, unfaithful husbands, tyrannical in-laws, a boring job. It surprises me that so few women look at this as a solution to the infinite meaninglessness of their lives.
A great passion will make a happier woman, and that of course, will lead to a happier society.
*Photo credit: Jenn and Tony bot (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License)
I'm an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and now a published author.
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