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A Perfect Mask Of ‘All Is Well’ – The Story Of My Interrupted Life

Posted: July 28, 2019

In a poignant essay, the writer shares her experience of not being able to prioritise her own career and life goals. This will resonate with so many women.

As I stumbled upon an article, one sentence struck a chord with me. I couldn’t agree more with what had been mentioned, Marriage is a part of life, not the purpose. It took me back to my memory lane. Back to my naïve days.

Hailing from a small town, surrounded by people with conservative mindsets, and brought up in an orthodox family, questioning one’s elders was unimaginable. Complying with what they said, was appropriate. A three-year graduation course, mainly an honours degree in Science was considered prestigious. And soon after graduation, marrying girls off, was ideal. The demand for higher studies was always hushed. A few here and there got into engineering courses and have stuck to their career though.

But for me, I consider myself fortunate because my parents, amongst others very few, believed in the financial independence of women. And so, one among the two most preferred sectors – getting into either a teaching field or into a Bank was encouraged. But alongside was a search for a good match. Back then, I wasn’t clear about my calling in life and hence chose to walk the path I was shown. The compromises in life had already set foot a little too early.

My career versus supporting his career…

At twenty-two, my marriage was settled with an engineer who worked for a steel plant. In parallel, I had cracked the most sought after bank competitive exam. That was a stupendous achievement. My parents couldn’t ask for more.

My tender mind never knew that something called a career existed.  All it knew was what was imbibed in me ever since my childhood, that I would be the one responsible for looking after the family apart from supporting the family financially while my partner would be the main bread earner.

As events followed, I joined my dream job in one corner of Goa while my husband worked in another corner of Karnataka. But soon I had to give in to the demanding compulsion of cooking and looking after the household chores, supporting him while he was stuck in his demanding career with the commissioning of the projects in the gigantic steel plant he worked. I had to give up my dream job.

My second career began in the same firm where my husband worked because I couldn’t cope with the idle time. A fresher again, only to resign after six years to join my husband who had hopped on to a new assignment abroad. After two long years, it dawned on me that being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t my cup of tea.  So, panning out my way, I got back into the corporate ladder again – a fresher again, the third time.

Another six years I toiled to get back into the competition, but I had already missed the boat, I realized. Steel plants were always located on the outskirts of the town and hence there wasn’t any option but to join the same firm where my husband worked. Compromising with the nature of the job and the pay package become a burden.

Did I ever have a life of my own?

When I couldn’t see any growth in my career, I felt that if one-tenth of my effort or time at work was spent with my kids, the outcome would be something marvelous.  So again, I chose to quit. A painful decision though, at least I could be of some worth – or so I felt.  Compromise by then had become my way of life.

One leading to the other, with the kids on their fast growth track, helping them with their academics and settling them in good schools, the years passed by.  Moving places with my husband, changing jobs, amidst the chaos I lost myself.  All I am left with are unanswered questions; did I ever have an identity? Did I ever have a life of my own? Yes, I answer feebly though, life was unfair. Or was it? Or was it that I gave it a chance to be unfair to me?

Now, with my kids settling in good schools and colleges, having all the time in the world, I find myself wasting my life doing nothing worth.  But deep within, I feel, there is something more to life, more to me for which I am on an endless quest. I still have a zeal to take up challenges if given a chance. Being financially independent and gainfully engaged is nothing but motivation to live a purposeful life.

Marriage, for me, was a purpose and now it is too late to think that it was a part of life. I wish I understood this back then. I wish there could have been an instruction manual with merits and demerits mentioned.

Like me, I am sure, there are hundreds of women, suffering the helplessness, worthlessness frustrations and pain, wearing a perfect mask of ‘All is well’. Kitty parties, get-togethers or hitting a gym are fun, people say but it is just a pass-time for me.

Big organizations bragging about Corporate social responsibility – sponsoring a child, women empowerment, could have come forward and provided opportunities for women who are keen on resuming work and given them the much-needed financial independence. Couldn’t it be considered as a part of a women empowerment initiative? What if this issue is addressed, wouldn’t the families be happy and content, contributing their best to the society? Is it too much to ask for?

It is said that if a girl is educated the whole family is educated. Likewise, if a woman is happy, it isn’t just the family, but the entire fraternity who will be happy.

When a woman can manage the show perfectly, juggling roles, she no doubt is a super multi-tasker and an able leader with excellent skills to plan, organize, communicate, delegate and much more.

Wouldn’t it be an onset of a revolutionary wave!

Image via Pexels

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A mother, a wife and a woman defines me. I became a homemaker by choice

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